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June 2003 Archives

June 30, 2003

Busted By Technology

By Joe Katzman at 20:52
A couple of very interesting true crime stories from Winds of Change.NET "Circle of 10: Discovery" member Jeffrey Harrow show where things are headed. Both highlight some of the social and privacy implications of technology. Story #1: A 35-year old man who was just arrested for a murder committed 21 years ago. DNA technology then couldn't lift a "DNA fingerprint" from the victim's body, but this was finally accomplished last year. The question then, was how to legally get a DNA sample from the suspect to test for a match?
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Andrew's Winds of War: 2003-06-30

By Andrew Olmsted at 09:31
JUNE 30/03: Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's "Winds of War" is brought to you by Andrew Olmsted, who spent his last couple of weeks training M-1 tank crews. Welcome back, Drew - we're sorry to hear about Katharine Hepburn too. TOP TOPICS * Will Iraq be a democracy? Not any time soon, as U.S. military commanders have halted local elections in favor of placing hand-picked administrators in key positions. How this will affect U.S.-Iraqi relations has yet to be seen, but there's no doubt it will cause further friction. (Hat tip: The Command Post) * Dan Darling's superb briefing on al-Qaeda commander Abu Musab Zarqawi, the man Colin Powell mentioned by name in his pre-war speech to the U.N. * Meanwhile, the Iranian mullahs have thrown the dice on a high-stakes gamble by arresting 4,000 people. Either they've just broken the planned July 9 General Strike, or they've deepened the crisis and really upped the level of public hatred just before a huge mass event (Hat Tip: M. Simon). Team member Iraniangirl has some thoughts. Today's Topics Include: Iraq and Vietnam; WMD update; Palestinian truce or transparent ploy?; Iran Reports; NK nuclear test coming in 2003?; A U.S. Foreign Legion?
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  • Joe Katzman: I'd say it's worth taking a deep breath. People forget read more

Special Report: Abu Musab Zarqawi

By Dan Darling at 09:25

A Winds of War Special Feature, by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis

Over the last six months, claims of a tie between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi regime have centered around an infamous Jordanian national named Ahmed al-Khalayeh, who operates under the nom de guerre of Abu Musab Zarqawi. Yet some European and even American intelligence sources question the designation of him as an al-Qaeda operative, instead citing Zarqawi as the leader of an independent terrorist organization called al-Tawhid. The issue of Zarqawi's affiliation is a crucial one, as it goes to the heart of the recent debate over whether or not the Bush administration fabricated a link between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi regime in order to justify its case for war.

This analysis will endeavor to show readers who Zarqawi is, what he's been up to, and his critical importance to the post-Afghanistan al-Qaeda network....

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  • Rosie: I thank you for your comment. read more
  • James Rodgers: What do you bet the capture of Zarqawi is the read more

"Saving Pvt. Journalism" Series

By Joe Katzman at 05:13
LaughingWolf sees serious problems with the current state of Journalism. After the recent Iraq war and the NY Times scandals, it's hard to argue. So: bq. "The process of reforming, of saving journalism is something that needs and deserves thought, care, and serious discussion. It requires distinguishing between the press, The Media, and Entertainment; and, it requires some knowledge of how we got into this situation" He provided his thoughts on all of the above in a series of posts over the last few weeks. If you start here, you can now follow links that will take you right through the entire series. As a capper of sorts, I recommend a very fine post about what he thinks the writer/editor relationship _should_ be like. Lots of worthwhile & thought provoking stuff - good journalism is an important issue for a free society. UPDATE: Jeff Jarvis has some wise words as well.
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  • Gabriel Gonzalez: A couple of reactions to LaughingWolf's remarkable and highly informative read more

June 29, 2003

Empire and Military Identity

By Trent Telenko at 05:30
Michael Vlahos had an interesting column over on Tech Central Station titled "Military Identity in the Age of Empire." This generated a response by Jerry Pournelle, where he went on about how to run a proper imperium via client states: bq. "Ave! Ave Caesar! And make no mistake, such builds very good armies indeed. But I am not entirely sure I agree with his Old war/New War analysis, or even understand it all. bq. I do know that being bogged down in Iraq is not proper Imperialism. The proper way for an Empire is to have Legions -- Heavy Armor and Mechanized Infantry Divisions -- that can defeat anyone who seriously challenges it. That includes client states. Then use the clients to do the actual police work once the conquest has been made, and only employ the Legions when necessary or when you think it time to blood the troops. Feeding a trooper a day to the Iraqis is not a proper use for US troops. Let one of the allies who now wants some of the spoils furnish the MPs." I beg to differ with both Pournelle and Vlahos.
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  • M. Simon: The Marine Corp. is different from the Army. It is read more
  • Aakash: I just found this latest news item from the Netscape read more

The Democrats' Dilemma

By Trent Telenko at 05:02

I have touched on the Democrat's political problems with the War on Terrorism here, here and here. That meme now seems to be gaining traction, as this article "The Democrats' Dilemma" by Clifford May echoes the theme. Do they want to fight terrorists - or only Republicans?

"Democrats face a dilemma: The war on terrorism has restored national security as a priority issue just as a new presidential-election campaign is beginning to take shape.

That's a problem because Democrats have long been perceived by voters as less competent than Republicans when it comes to national security. For nearly a quarter century, from Lyndon Johnson's retirement in the midst of the Vietnam War in 1969 to Bill Clinton's election in 1992 soon after the conclusion of the Cold War, Republicans continually occupied the Oval Office — with only one, brief interlude."

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  • Trent Telenko: The problem for the Democrats is that Dean is dragging read more
  • Sean: All this speculation is dependent on who the Democrats nominate read more
  • Joe Katzman: Orrin Judd has a good and interesting analysis up, which read more

A Little Help From My Friends

By Joe Katzman at 04:04
Renovations and upgrades continue here at Winds of Change.NET. Just wanted to repeat our thanks to: * Marc Siry, for the site's banners. There are 2, and we've used them to make a subtle distinction between the site's main page and its archive pages. Notice? * Dean Esmay, for moving so many blogs we liked off of Blogspot and for upgrading us to MT 2.64. * Proud Canadian Geek, for giving us the Scriptygoddesses' Javascript code to create "instant-expanding extended posts". Works great! *NOTE:* If you use Opera or Safari, please confirm that this works for you too by leaving us a comment. * "Comical Ali," and the 3rd Infantry Division. * Finally, thanks to Brad Choate for Textile, an MT plug-in I just installed that will make formatting our posts much simpler.
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  • CBK: Using Safari and the expansion works great. CBK read more
  • Phil Fraering: It works fine in galeon. In lynx the whole read more
  • MommaBear: Ditto Opera and close perfectly. read more

June 28, 2003

Pete Best: Baby You're A Rich Man

By Joe Katzman at 06:47

Damian Penny points us to a profile of Pete Best, "the 5th Beatle." He was the original Beatles drummer, replaced in callous fashion by Ringo Starr just before the group made its first official recordings. Saturday Night Live did a hilarious skit once on the despair-inducing potential of this fate, but Pete seems to have come through OK in the end.

A very human portrait that speaks to the challenges of our lives, frustration, the nature of human teams & partnerships, and the meaning of success.

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  • jb: nod. actually have that one. very interesting to see how read more
  • Joe Katzman: Usually, people mean Pete Best when they use that term, read more
  • jb: i thought george martin was "the 5th beatle". shrug. interesting read more

Science & Tech: Here, There and Everywhere

By Joe Katzman at 06:45

Here are a few items from the science technology front, where good news is being created and/or commercialized daily. Coverage today includes biotech, nanotechnology, and various Internet-related developments.

Speaking of tech good news, gotta love our new "instant post expander" from Proud Canadian Geek. Give it a try here, and let Joe know ( if tyou have any problems.

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Sufi Wisdom: Nowhere Man

By Joe Katzman at 06:36

As militant Islam does its level best to discredit the religion, it's important to remember that there are other voices within the faith. One such is the Sufis, a branch of Islamic mystics who live islam (submission), iman (faith) and ishan (awareness of G-d, "to act beautifully"). Every Saturday, therefore, we spend some time with the Sufis' "crazy wisdom."

Today's poem comes from Abu Sa'id ibn Ab'il Khair (967 - 1049) who referred to himself as "nobody, son of nobody" to express his journey toward self-anihilation in divine love. A couple centuries later, the great Sufi poet Rumi would also follow this path. Ab'il Khair:

"Suppose you can recite a thousand holy
verses from memory.
What are you going to do
with your ego self, the true
mark of the heretic?
Every time your head touches
the ground in prayers, remember,
this was to teach you to
put down that load of ego
which bars you from entering
the chamber of the Beloved.

To your mind feed understanding,
to your heart, tolerance and compassion.
The simpler your life, the more meaningful.
The less you desire of the world,
the more room you will have in it
to fill with the Beloved.

The best use of your tongue
is to repeat the Beloved's Name in devotion.
The best prayers are those in
the solitude of the night.
The shortest way to the Friend
is through selfless service and
generosity to His creatures.

Those with no sense of honor and dignity are best avoided.
Those who change colors constantly
are best forgotten.
The best way to be with those
bereft of the Beloved's qualities,
is to forget them in the
joy of silence in one's corner of solitude."

I must admit, some recent shennanigans in the blogosphere sparked this week's choice. Exercise for the reader: consider Ab'il Khair's poem in the context of personal experiences you've had or seen, remembering that "1,000 holy verses" is simply a cultural placeholder. If you wish to share those thoughts, we'd love to hear them in the Comments section.

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  • Balagan: you are absolutely right joe. using the words you chose read more
  • Yehudit: "At the same time, their tradition of seeking direct access read more
  • Joe Katzman: Balagan, I'm always wary of trying to define a religious read more

Infidelity: What You're Doing

By Joe Katzman at 05:04

An incident at work is enough to make Courtney say "I'm never getting married" (that noise you hear is the sound of hundreds of male hearts breaking). Being caught in the middle like that is definitely tough. It can also be one of those not-uncommon situations that people look back on later as a test that helped shape their character in a number of ways.

The commenters on her blog - including Mom! - have written in with some wise advice. I've emailed mine, which included the need to put her situation and future intentions in a printed memo to an appropriate superior. Not only does it cover Courtney in case Ticking Ms. Cheat decides to play "Misery" in retaliation for her non-cooperation, it also lets them prepare for the possibility of Hubby deciding one day that "Happiness is a Warm Gun" and paying the workplace a visit. Wouldn't be the first time ever.

Any other thoughts on this one from our peanut gallery? As for marriage, Caerdroia's Jeff Medcalf had the best response in Courtney's comments section:

"It's not the institution; it's the inmates."

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  • Yehudit: This is one of the best things I've ever read read more
  • Nero: If that happenes to me I wouldn't ever get married read more

June 27, 2003

"Mexifornia" and the Opening of the Immigration Debate

By Trent Telenko at 22:34

The Parapundit and I have argued in the discussion sections here on Winds and over on his site about the likelihood of a new, policy changing, public debate on immigration starting in the USA. I think one is coming, one that will cause mass immigration to be arrested for a generation the way it happened from 1920 through 1960 and Randall Parker does not.

It looks like I'm about to be proven right as Victor David Hanson new book titled "Mexifornia: A State of Becoming" seems to be starting that debate in both the blogosphere and the Republican base in time for the next Presidential election. The latter is the important part given that Victor David Hanson made the Republican Base A-List with a Rush Limbaugh interview.

I saw this article in National Review and I was particularly taken by this passage:

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  • Trent Telenko: Randell, Foreign population control technology will have domestic application as read more
  • Randall Parker: Trent, The surveillance systems the military is developing would be read more
  • Trent Telenko: Remember what I said about Americans developing technological solution to read more

In The Times, Again

By Armed Liberal at 06:50

Two really good columns in the NY Times today.

Nicholas Kristof - not exactly at the front lines of the 'Democracy in Iraq' movement - speaks out with honest ambiguity about what the invasion has brought. With a photo that isn't for the squeamish, he confronts his own opposition to the war.

Since I've been accusing the Bush administration of cooking the intelligence on Iraq, I should confess my intentions. Countless Iraqis warned me that they would turn to guerrilla warfare if U.S. troops overstay their welcome, so I thought I'd find an Iraqi who had had his tongue or ear amputated by Saddam's thugs and still raged about the U.S. That would powerfully convey what a snake pit we're in.

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  • klaatu: Krisof's been there. And, like Thomas Friedman, he notes that read more
  • Dave: "So, facts got in the way of my plans for read more
  • Joe Katzman: Mr. Kristof, welcome to reality. On that note, Jeff Jarvis read more

48 Ways to Wisdom - Way #22: Frustration

By Joe Katzman at 05:30

An Orthodox Jewish Rabbi wrote this series so that his essays retain their value no matter what creed you follow. Think of it as a gentle way of sharing a community's millennia-long history of accumulated wisdom. As Friday night approaches, we turn our attention away from the world and toward these kinds of issues.

Installment #22 is about frustration. Tony Robbins once noted that if your life isn't as successful as you wish, it may be because you don't have enough frustration in it. Sounds counterintuitive, but he made a good case and so does Rabbi Weinberg. The key, of course, is dealing with it the right way.

My current frustration: having seen the hilarious "Gay Bar" Blair/Bush music video parody, I can't get the song out of my head....

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  • Steve Harold: Yes, in my view, seemingly negative states such as frustration read more

12 Under-Rated Global Trends

By Joe Katzman at 04:56

The winds of change are not always obvious. Analysts at the RAND Corporation lay out 10 international-security developments that aren't getting the attention they deserve in this month's issue of The Atlantic magazine:

  1. The West Bank Wall
  2. A Shrinking Russia
  3. The Hindu-Muslim Divide
  4. AIDS and African Armies
  5. The Tehran-New Delhi Axis
  6. Anti-Satellite Attack
  7. Defense-Industry Goliaths
  8. The Aircraft Carrier Shortage
  9. The Indus Water Fight
  10. Urban Warfare... to which I'll add
  11. China's Race Into the Oil Market; and
  12. Europe's looming pension crisis
That's an even dozen. Big Hat Tip to reader Mike Daley for bringing this to my attention. Yes, this blog is about quickly and conveniently briefing you on key events around our world. That's important. So is looking ahead and understanding the trends that will help write future headlines. Settle in and enjoy some interesting reads.

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  • Jonny: Thanks read more
  • craigl: Pithy John S, you are a regular Charles Atlas. read more
  • John Smith: The US/UK joint 2004 manifesto: WAR IS PEACE FREEDOM IS read more

Congo: A Response to Amygdala

By Joe Katzman at 04:48

Gary of Amygdala left an interesting comment in response to my "Congo - The Roots, And The Trap..." post, then reproduced the comment on his blog [broken permalink].

I thought it deserved a response, and hoped his permalinks would work again. Alas, he remains a captive, so it's worth highlighting and revisiting that discussion the long way. Since Gary's permalinks for that week are completely shot, I'm going to have to reproduce his words here...

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  • Trent Telenko: This is a case of be careful what you wish read more
  • Porphyrogenitus: This is the obverse my response to the question often read more

Copyright Wars: The Artists' View

By Joe Katzman at 00:39

I agree with everything Armed Liberal just said in "Not Gonna Take It". I've also come out with guns a-blazin' at the RIAA before, and still see them as an out-of-control entity that poses a real threat to the public domain and to liberty generally. Meanwhile, this grimly funny expose sums things up nicely.

That said, one must also consider a 3rd party: the artists' perspective. Photodude's "Guinea Pigs in a Doomed Experiment" is a must-read in that department, as is the estimable Dr. Frank's concurrence: "Ben Weasel Speaks for Me".

It is possible, and acceptable, to fight dangerous strategies like the RIAA's without having an immediate solution. Like the Hippocratic Oath, in the absence of a major social threat one must first do no harm - and the plans of the 'copyright cartels' fail that test badly. Eventually, however, victory will require real solutions. Read our writings here, and read Photodude. Then think it through - and join the debate.

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  • Tony Barker: Hi, Thanks for having your heart in the right place read more

June 26, 2003

Not Gonna Take It

By Armed Liberal at 21:25

In my morning paper some more annoying news (note that the LA Times website requires equally annoying registration - 'laexaminer'/'laexaminer' works - and gives you an amazing number of popover and popunder ads. Give it a break, guys...I hardly use the site any more because of them):

Labels Will See Music File Sharers in Court

Unable to stamp out Internet music piracy through education or threats, the record labels on Wednesday said they will start suing thousands of people who share songs online.

The Recording Industry Assn. of America announced that it plans to spend the next month identifying targets among the estimated 57 million people using file-sharing networks in the United States, focusing on those offering a "significant" amount of songs for others to copy.

Then, in August, RIAA will file its first lawsuits, President Cary Sherman said.

And in July, I'll stop buying new CD's from the majors. I understand the cat-and-mouse they are playing with the file swapping services, and that until they figure out how to make the new models work, there is going to be a certain amount of pain. But their unbelievably heavy-handed approach - in which they use the cost of litigation itself against individuals who may or may not be knowingly violating the law - is one which I won't support with my dollars. I just don't want to play with people who play like this.

I own about 1,000 CD's, and have a 3 - 4 disc a month habit. I'll be shopping for used discs or discs sold directly by the artists for the forseeable future, and I'll be sending Cary Sherman a message to that effect (by snail mail, since the RIAA doesn't have any way to contact them on their website).

UPDATE: Joe shares some thoughts on the artists' perspective.

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  • David Lee: How much future is there for an industry that starts read more
  • Armed Liberal: Jay - If I'm making a tens of million dollars read more
  • Jay Currie: Can we say "desperate bluff"? The cost of litigating a read more

I Wanna Take You to The Gay Bar!

By Joe Katzman at 12:49

I agree with Oxblog, this unauthorized music video of Electric Six's disco-speedmetal lyrics dubbed into a Bush/Blair press conference is a must-see. The scenes where they appear to gaze longingly at each other are absolutely side-splitting. As an addtional dose of irony, Electric 6 actually pulled this single in April 2003 "because of the situation in Iraq".

P.S. Spread the hilarity - but be work-safe! Email your friends a Direct Link to this article, rather than a URL.

UPDATE: does not seem to be functioning any more, and so access to the video is cut off.... but here's the video's new location (8.5 MB QuickTime version) as of July 2004!

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  • Erik: It's the first time I've seen it. Super! read more
  • Mirror: See also this site for a copy of the video.... read more
  • David Blue: Thanks for posting the link to the new location of read more

Dan's Winds of War: 2003-06-26

By Dan Darling at 12:33

JUNE 26/03: Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news, and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's "Winds of War" is brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis.


Other topics include: Connecting the dots?; more Saudi spin; Iran; communiques from al-Qaeda; Chechnyan nationalism & al-Qaeda; operations in Afghanistan; activity in Lebanon; more al-Qaeda in the USA; cells disrupted in Italy and Malawi; and more....

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  • Joshau Chamberlain: I think Phil Carter's overreacting a bit. For anyone who's read more

Special Analysis: Iraq's Fedayeen

By Dan Darling at 10:51

By Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis

There seem to be a number of Iraqi guerrilla organizations (or people who want us to think that they are) active in the Sunni areas of the country. In addition to the Kiada al-Makauma ve al-Tahrir al-Iraqiyyah that I've noted before, the others groups that claim to oppose the US presence in Iraq are the National Front for the Liberation of Iraq, whatever is left of the Iraqi Baathist Party, Hezbollah, as well as the National Front of Fedayeen and the Iraqi Resistance Brigades. It also appears that Ansar al-Islam is returning from Iran, where it has apparently been regrouping with the assistance of the Iranian government.

In addition...

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Blogging In Perspective

By Joe Katzman at 06:58

Prodded by this shameful incident (Hat Tip: Laughingwolf), Natalie of Pickle Juice has some advice and perspective to offer bloggers whose ego takes over [permalink]. Among other gems:

"Your blog could disappear tomorrow and within a week everyone will have forgotten about it..."
Admit it. She's right.

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  • Henry IX: Just what is meant by "disappear?" muslimpundit disappeared without a read more

Binary Morality

By Armed Liberal at 00:35

I'm not talking about a morality that appears when you mix two components; I'm talking about a morality that can only exist in one of two states: "bad" and "good".

I'd been thinking about a kind of 'Gresham's Law' of morality, in which weaker moral judgments make it increasingly impossible to make strong ones, when I read Orson Scott Card's column referenced below.

What I'd been thinking about is a kind of moral refinement in which any bad thing is so bad that it immediately becomes the equal of the worst thing....

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  • M. Simon: Here are some nice shades of grey for you. The read more
  • Anticipatory Retaliation: David, Good analogy. To take that a smidge further (perhaps read more
  • David Foster: Good post and good discussion. I am reminded of the read more

June 25, 2003

William Gibson on Orwell & Freedom

By Joe Katzman at 17:06

Vodkapundit is right. William Gibson's "The Road to Oceania" is today's required reading.

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  • Armed Liberal: PG - As I noted below, there's a material point read more
  • PG: Like many people more interested in domestic than international affairs, read more

Roadmap Roundup: 2003-06-25

By Joe Katzman at 13:52

These Regional Briefings run every Tuesday & Wednesday, and sometimes Fridays as well when we have additional material. This briefing covers the "Middle East Roadmap," which means a focus on the conflict between the Arabs & Israel.

Topics include: The financial dimension and importance of the middle class (new material added); Photodude's reality principle; a history of truces with Hamas; Arafat's ties to fundamentalism; terrorist attack statistics; the real weakness of the "Palestinian Authority"; Bush's rhetoric vs. his actions; why international monitors are a non-starter; Condi Rice, Lady of Steel; and Ghaddafi's growing role....

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  • Amjad Muhammad: Gentlemen, I am looking for the email address of Mr. read more

The Soil of Arab Terrorism

By Joe Katzman at 11:34

Donald Sensing has posted a significantly expanded version of his paper, The Soil of Arab Terrorism, online. It's a long version of the presentation he made yesterday to the Middle Tennessee chapter of the Military Officers Association of America.

To which I would add, an important part of the "soil" that nurtures it also lies in what Orson Scott Card refers to as "Moral Stupidity" in the West. He certainly makes a persuasive case.

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  • Donald Sensing: Joshua, of course OBL had state sponsorship, at least two: read more
  • Joe Katzman: I didn't bust him because he was an idiot - read more
  • Phil Winsor: Joe: As distasteful as the weasel's "comments" were, I take read more

Thanks Again, Dean!

By Joe Katzman at 00:05

Dean Esmay, whose Blogspot Jihad has liberated over 50 bloggers from Blogspot prison, also deserves thanks for upgrading Winds of Change.NET to MT 2.64 along the way. Thanks again, Dean!

You might also want to visit, as Dean runs a very fine blog. See esp. his recent story from a Cuban-American father: "Skipping Stones"

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  • Joe Katzman: You're on the blogroll, Dean - in a new category, read more
  • Dean Esmay: Aw, twern't nuthin'. Maybe I'll get on that blogroll of read more

June 24, 2003

Contracting Out Military Logistics

By Trent Telenko at 12:35

Well, I started out with an article on the contracting out of military logistics and it morphed into a fisking part-way through, so bear with me.

I saw this NY TIMES Magazine article titled "Nation Builders for Hire" by Dan Baum. It talked a bit about Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), subsidiary of the oil-services giant Halliburton, and its role in the contracting out of military logistics. It has a few nuggets of good information about contracting out, but it also has a great deal of Rainesian style leftist spin. The following paragraphs sum it up from the reporter's point of view....

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  • DAVID MALLICK: [David, I appreciate your spirit and drive, but this post read more
  • Shawn: I would first like to respond to Mr. Telenko's comments read more
  • Lou T Fixer: Having been a military (20 yrs) and contractor for 13 read more

The Nano-Revolution in Pictures

By Joe Katzman at 07:28

You may find it difficult to imagine, much less visualize, things at this scale of atoms. "Nano: The Next Dimension," is a 4-part Internet video (RealVideo or .AVI) sponsored by the European Commission that uses insightful commentary, images, animations, and other techniques to help us understand key concepts in nano-technology.

Good Lord, you mean Winds of Change.NET is giving thanks to the European Commission? Yes. You should, too, and here's why...

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  • Kenneth: Really enjoyed these. I found recently and consider it read more
  • Alain CORREA: Thanks a lot for the link and comment. Regards. read more

Exactly Whose Side Are They On?

By Armed Liberal at 05:35

Over on Politech, Declan McCullagh has a press release on Big Internet's ambivalent relationship with spam.

It appears that Microsoft, AOL, and Yahoo teamed up to block a California anti-spam law, according to a press release from the office of the bill's author, CA Senator Debra Bowen:

Backed by Microsoft, America Online (AOL) and Yahoo!, the Assembly Business & Professions Committee today refused to permit a vote on SB 12 by California State Senator Debra Bowen (D-Redondo Beach), a bill that sought to create the country's toughest anti-spam law by requiring advertisers to get permission from computer users before sending them unsolicited ads.

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  • Celeste: A.L. - Thanks for the clarification. I confused myself, by read more
  • Stephen: I suspect that AOL and MS are doing this for read more
  • Armed Liberal: Celeste - From the language of the bill:(n) "Sender" means read more

Japanese Going Ballistic

By Joe Katzman at 05:16

The Japanese government has decided to purchase and deploy a 2-layered ballistic missile defence system by 2007. Forward defence will be provided by the latest version of the SM-3 "Standard" missile, which will operate from Kongo-class navy destroyers eqipped with AEGIS radars. Backup defense will come from PAC-3 "Patriot" missiles. Parapundit analyzes the implications in detail, with lots of links as usual.

Obviously, North Korean behaviour is a big factor. I'm kind of disappointed the Japanese didn't go for an early deployment of the Israeli Arrow2 missile system, which has 2 batteries in operation now and could provide a wider-coverage defense option much sooner than 2007... I don't think Japan will be given that much time before something is needed, even if only for deterrent value.

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  • Plunge: I agree that information control is vital, but how do read more
  • Joe Katzman: [1] PAC-3s are point defense, not theater defense. Japan needs read more
  • Randall Parker: At the risk of getting repetitive: The United States needs read more

Armchair Liberty Watch: 2003-06-24

By Joe Katzman at 03:45

June 24/03. Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays. This briefing is actually a special feature focused on U.S. Homeland Security & Liberty, courtesy of Armchair Analyst Mike Van Winkle.

Topics Today Include: Librarian protection; U.S. citizens detained to date; $300m for Port security initiatives; Fed snooping on file-sharing; DCIO's BS PhD....

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God Is In The Details

By Armed Liberal at 02:50

For those of you who don't believe that - as an alternative construction - the devil is in the details:

"Buried deep within the latest news report on the deadly ambush of the 507th Transportation Maintenance Co. in Iraq on March 23, 2003, was a chilling nugget of information. It now appears that the soldiers who were killed or taken prisoner in that now-infamous firefight shared a common misfortune.

Their rifles had all jammed."
Why did they jam?....

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  • George Lee: Chris---Was that with iron sights? Didn't the front sight completely read more
  • chris: the only reason i saw anyone pick up an ak read more
  • steve: entertaining stuff guys, one more thing on the M4s failing. read more

June 23, 2003

Thank You

By Joe Katzman at 17:14

In case anyone hasn't seen this, the good folks at American Realpoilitik recommend a visit to this site. If you've ever felt like thanking British PM Tony Blair for the courageous stands he took over Iraq and the wider War on Terror, this is a good way to start. (Americans, see also the Presidential Medal of Freedom petition)

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Kate's Winds of War: 2003-06-23

By Joe Katzman at 15:09

JUNE 23/03: Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's "Winds of War" is brought to you by Venomous Kate of Electric Venom.


  • In true Apocalypse Now style, U.S. soldiers conducted a raid Saturday on an Iraqi community center which produced numerous classified Iraqi intelligence documents pertaining to WMDs, including "references to a nuclear program." Military officials describe the find as "potentially significant."

  • 20 Questions on the current state of Iraq, with answers, from a Canadian reporter on the scene.Other Topics Include: scattered attacks in Iraq from both sides; learning from Machiavelli; Iran updates; that missing 727; Kenya alerts; Jemmah Islamiyah in SE Asia; More arrests from Riyadh; and terrorist fashion advice....

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  • Military sources are reported to be carrying out DNA tests to determine if human remains found after a recent missile strike are those of Saddam Hussein. The Hellfire strike was launched on the basis of "firm intelligence" indicating that Saddam and his family were in a desert convoy near Syria. The Pentagon has not confirmed the report. (Via The Command Post.)

  • Ray of Pseudorandom Thoughts says the Americans could learn a lesson or 2 from Machiavelli. Joe thinks he's right.

  • One U.S. soldier was killed and another injured in grenade attacks in Iraq over the weekend. Intelligence officials believe that a group of hardline Ba'athists aided by foreign supporters, who call themselves as Awdah, or "The Return", is behind the string of fatal assaults.

  • Meanwhile, another Iraqi resistance group is making itself known. Calling itself the Iraqi National Front of Fedayeen (translated: "those who sacrifice themselves"), the group's purported spokesman appeared on Lebanese television over the weekend to disavow ties with Saddam Hussein's regime while pledging to kill U.S. soldiers.

  • LT Smash notes: "There are now well over 100,000 battle-tested US troops in the heart of Arab civilization, and all that our enemies have been able to do about it is launch an occasional sniper attack. At their current rate of assault, it will take about 800 years for them to take back Iraq." The rest of his thoughts are similarly pithy and to the point. (Hat Tip: Instapundit)

  • The Brothers Judd on Bremer's economic agenda for Iraq: Reaganomics?

  • Iraq returned as a player in the world oil market by making its first shipment of crude oil over the weekend; however, sabotoge continues to pose a major problem to continued shipments and the reconstruction of the country's infrastructure.

  • Gabriel Gonzalez guest-blogs from Paris, France re: the PFC Jessica Lynch story.

  • Much of the intelligence on Iraq's WMDs may remain private during the British inquiry into the information leading up to the war, and it is possible that certain intelligence agencies may not participate in the hearing at all.

  • Which "cards" have we captured so far? The CENTCOM list. And the visual version of "Ba'ath Poker," and our best poker hands to date.

  • The troops are still there. So is the Winds of Change.NET consolidated directory of ways you can support the troops. American, British and Australian. Anyone out there with more information, incl. the Poles and Czechs? [updated April 1, 2003]

  • Jay Manifold says: "we don't need a Department of Homeland Security; but we may need a Department of Defeated Former Enemies' Security."

  • Pejman is still covering Iran, noting that violence is becoming more likely. He also explains why NITV is important, and where key U.S. Congresscritters stand on the Iran Democracy Act - complete with contact addresses.

  • U.S. officials on Friday put all American interests in Kenya on a high terror alert, a move which the Kenyan government called wrong and misleading the following day. Since then, Kenya banned all flights to and from Somalia. No explanation for the ban has been offered, however it is believed to be related to intelligence indicating terrorist plans to use Somalia as an entrance point to Kenya for future attacks.

  • The terrorist group Jemmah Islamiyah (JI) is believed to be gathering support in Indonesia and six other Asian countries. Indonesian police have announced the arrest of ten JI members who were picked up in Sumatra earlier this month during separate operations. The 10 are believed to be connected to numerous bombing operations, and to have worked under the direct control of Riduan Isamuddin (a/k/a Hambali), the region's main agent for Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda group.

  • Rand Simberg points to evidence the 727 jet nicked from an Angolan runway was a repossession attempt, not a terrorist theft. (Hat Tip: Instapundit)

  • The latest trend in terrorist fashion accessories appears to be the mask. In addition to the Iraqi resistance spokesman mentioned above, al-Qaeda has apparently donned the new fashion. A recent video purportedly from the group features a masked man claiming to speak on behalf of al-Qaeda, the Taliban and followers of Afghan rebel leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who has been designated as a terrorist by the U.S. government. The video claims that bin Laden is still alive in Afghanistan, and that al-Qaeda was not only responsible for the attacks in Riyadh and Morocco, but is planning future attacks against Americans this month. Hekmatyar's group denies the authenticity of the tape.

  • In the continued investigation of the Riyadh bombings, Saudi officials arrested 44 more suspects, including four women who were plotting attacks on Mecca.

  • Pakistani officials have frozen Osama bin Laden's bank account and assets along with those of numerous organizations believed to have al-Qaeda ties. The $10 million dollars seized is considered a "small amount" in comparison with bin Laden's overall wealth and funding sources.

  • We try to close on a lighter note if possible, so today we're advising the fashion-conscious terrorists to take a clothing tip from this man, by wearing pink dresses with their turbans on all future video appearances. After all, it is officially summer and time to switch wardrobes away from those awful dingy browns and grays of Afghani winters.If you found something here you want to blog about yourself (and we hope you do), all we ask is that you do as we do and offer a Hat Tip hyperlink to today's "Winds of War". Thanks for reading!

    « ok, I'm done now

  • Guest Blog: The Jessica Lynch Story Part III

    By 'Gabriel Gonzalez' at 14:58

    JK Note: Gabriel Gonzalez is a resident of Paris, France. He's got another Guest Blog spot coming, thanks to some very smart comments he left in our Comments sections. There are important parts of this article's thesis that I don't agree with, but it's worth running as a discussion-generator and the last paragraph alone justifies its inclusion.

    The Jessica Lynch Story Part III – Empire Strikes Back
    Gabriel Gonzalez

    Sequels are rarely as good as the original movie, and sequels to sequels are of course even worse. After the often obscure director has his or her first box office hit, too many people get involved in the follow-up and what was at first refreshing and innovative tends to get repackaged for mass marketing...

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    • cleo fflener: AMERICA'S HERO I'M A SOLDIER TOO. WAS THE WORDS, THAT read more
    • cleo fflener: its been a long time hope all is well cleo read more
    • Popeye: Not sure if this will go through or not. Just read more

    Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix

    By Joe Katzman at 13:29

    The lovely Courtney spent her Sunday the same way I did, and has some thoughts for you. Her commenters have more.

    I should note that Courtney may be seeing a British subtext through American eyes here. Let me explain...

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    • rkb: That about sums up my reaction to this book, too. read more

    June 22, 2003

    What's the French For "Surrender"?

    By Armed Liberal at 18:31

    One thing that got lost in this whole "leading a real life" thing I've been sucked into was a reply to Porphy concluding our discussion of the French censorship truc below.

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    • Joe Katzman: Yes, those sorts of things do happen here in Canada. read more
    • Armed Liberal: GG - Well, if I'm gonna watch sadomasochistic orgies (!!). read more
    • GGonzalez: AL, Hear hear! Or would it be "oyez! oyez!". Take read more

    June 21, 2003

    My Own Good News

    By Armed Liberal at 23:55

    Blogging has been light lately, as work has heated up a bit at the same time that my oldest son (Biggest Guy) came home from his first year at college, and my other two sons (Middle Guy and, unsurprisingly, Littlest Guy) finished out their school years, which always seems to involve a lot of interaction for me as a parent, both in terms of one-on-one with the boys, and in terms of school activities which I just can't bring myself to miss.

    Actually, that's a misstatement - it's not that I can't bring myself to miss it, in the sense that it's a chore I endure - but that I've come to delight in it.

    Part of the philosophical change I'm going through is an appreciation of the pleasures of this kind of everyday life; in my own life it's a true gift to have learned that I can have as much fun sitting at Little League closing ceremonies chatting with my neighbors as I can have doing the other, higher-profile things I love.

    Much of what I plan to write about in the next month or so is both critical - of the fact that we seem to have trouble with the mundane details of things, and that we look on them as obstacles to the grand Romantic gestures that too many of us convince ourselves are what matter - and hopeful, because when you get away form the Washington-New York-Los Angeles media axis, and out to the Little League fields, lots of people do center their lives around the small accomplishments that real life is made up of.

    I don't deny the attraction of Romantic acts, or of introspection, or even of snobbery and elitism - and I think that a world made entirely of dutiful suburban communities would be horribly bland.

    But somehow, the pendulum has swung a little to far from those kind of virtues, and I'd like to see it swing back.

    I've been blessed to be led there by my three wonderful sons - for those of you who don't have children, or who have young children, I cannot tell you what quiet elation comes from sitting with your son and realizing that you like and admire the man he is becoming. The credit is his alone, but the pleasure - that's mine.

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    Thanks, Dean!

    By Joe Katzman at 19:25

    Thanks are due this Shabbat to Dean Esmay, who made many, many bloggers happy at great effort - and for no monetary reward. His efforts have moved over 50 bloggers off of Blogspot and onto working MT-based sites. To give in a way that enables others to give in turn is a very great form of charity.

    To top it all off, he runs a fine blog. Drop by and give him a read, especially the article about the crew of The Memphis Belle in WW2!

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    Sufi Wisdom: Moses & the Shepherd

    By Joe Katzman at 13:28

    As militant Islam does its level best to discredit the religion, it's important to remember that there are other voices within the faith. One such is the Sufis, a branch of Islamic mystics who live islam (submission), iman (faith) and ishan (awareness of G-d, "to act beautifully"). Every Saturday, therefore, we spend some time with the Sufis' "crazy wisdom."

    The great poet Rumi is perhaps the best known Sufi of all. This excerpt is from his famous poem "Moses and the Shepherd" [here's a alternate translation]:

    "When you look in a mirror, you see yourself,
    not the state of the mirror. The flute player puts
    breath into a flute, and who makes the music?
    Not the flute. The Fluteplayer!

    Whenever you speak praise or thanksgiving
    to God, it's always like this dear shepherd's simplicity.

    When you eventually see through the veils to
    how things really are, you will keep saying
    again and again,
    "This is certainly not like we thought it was!"

    Are Sufis complete relativists? If so, how can that be squared with full belief in a monotheistic deity? What is Rumi getting at? Go ahead and read the whole poem, then use the Comments section and tell us.

    UPDATE: As usual, great stuff in the Comments section. Phil discusses many paths up the mountain to G-d. Ron discussed relativism. I discuss both Creationist doctrines as an expression of "the mirror mistake," and the flute analogy as the necessary corrective. Come join us with your own thoughts!

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    • Charlie: The world is the flute. We're the music. Who is read more
    • Joe Katzman: Great comments. I wonder about the relativism label for the read more
    • Ron: Yea, probably, if they have true wisdom. One of the read more

    Smart Squid?

    By Joe Katzman at 12:47

    Last week I ran an article on the Colossal Squid, an agile, wickedly-armed, 75 foot long+ predator that may just be the most fearsome creature on the planet. Could it also be somewhat intelligent?

    I'm not talking about human level intelligence, or even anything at the chimpanzee level. Still, consider some of the things we know about its cousins. Octopi are known to be pretty smart creatures, using tools, having identifiable "personalities," and learning tasks as complex as opening jars to get at food just by watching. Smaller squid and octopi are strongly believed to use their split-second color changes to communicate, possibly enhanced by polarizing filters in their eyes that would let them communicate in ways their predators can't see. Jaron Lanier even sees their abilities as a goal for computing and multimedia specialists.

    Put all this together, and one is forced to wonder just how many of these smarts might transfer over to their larger cousin. Size is certainly no guarantee of smarts, but memory and intelligence are valuable to longer-lived creatures. If the Colossal Squid even matches its smaller cousins, those Sperm Whales are up against an formidable foe indeed.

    UPDATES: Maybe not. See comments.

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    • ebba-ebba-doi!!!: squids are crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! read more
    • cutie pie alyssa: squids are sexy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! read more
    • sexy mama: squids are sexy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! read more

    Deep Sea Needs Protection, Too

    By Joe Katzman at 09:53 staff member Steve O'Shea, the biologist who collected that "Colossal Squid" I covered last week, has some additional thoughts:

    "Now that the furore has died down, it seems the future of the colossal squid and countless other species is far from certain. Yet this fact does not appear to be of much interest to the local or world media.

    ...Tragically, many are yet to be discovered and some are likely to become extinct even before they are known to science. Five species of squid and octopus endemic to New Zealand waters face imminent extinction - three of these five were discovered only as recently as 1999.... Considering that an estimated 70 per cent of ocean-dwelling species have yet to be discovered, the need for marine reserves that cover areas of open sea is pressing...

    ...What is needed is the setting aside of some of the seamounts as reserves in perpetuity. Only then will these threatened species be given a chance to survive. It is not just the ecosystem of the seamounts that is under immense pressure from the fishery but also areas of deep-sea soft-sediment communities.... If the aim of conservation policy is to set aside representative areas of our marine environment for protection, why are we not paying any attention to such rich areas of indigenous biodiversity?"

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    • Mike Daley: Geez, When will this crap about "endangered" species and a read more

    June 20, 2003

    Central Asia Briefing: 2003-06-20

    By Joe Katzman at 13:44

    June 20/03: Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings normally run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays. This special Regional Briefing focuses on Central Asia and "the -stans," including Afghanistan.

    Today's Topics: Sean-Paul blogging on location; Afghanistan's consitution; "Taliban, Reloaded"; Islamist inroads in Kazakhstan; Georgia on the USA's mind; pipelines & strategic considerations in Turkmenistan; and the Afghan pipeline - rising again?

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    • Omar: The "Jihad" that Hizb ut-Tahrir is talking about is that read more
    • petes: I'd love to see this a regular feature. Do you read more
    • Maxim: "U.S. stands shoulder-to-shoulder with 'Old Europe' in Afghanistan" reading this read more

    From Afghanistan to the Gulf: What's Next?

    By Joe Katzman at 13:43

    A report released yesterday by the center-left U.S. Council on Foreign Relations worries that the U.S. may be losing the peace in Afghanistan. Here are more details, and a link to the full report. I'll comment next week; meanwhile, give it a read. Excerpt:

    "To prevent a return to anarchy, Washington needs to bolster the Karzai government's ability to bring security and economic hope to the people of Afghanistan. The report makes three principal recommendations to achieve these goals: 1) Improve security by extending peacekeeping efforts beyond Kabul and accelerating development of the Afghan National Army (ANA); 2) Increase pressure on neighboring countries not to undercut the Karzai government by backing warlords or failing to curb pro-Taliban remnants; and 3) Provide at least $1 billion in reconstruction assistance for each of the next five years."
    Also worth a read is Kenneth Pollack's Foreign Affairs article, "Securing the Gulf" (Hat Tip: LGF):
    "The three main problems likely to bedevil Persian Gulf security over the next several years will be Iraq's security dilemma, Iran's nuclear weapons program, and potential internal unrest in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers to these problems separately, let alone together, and so difficult tradeoffs will have to be made."

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    • Dan Hartung: In a Realpolitik sense we don't care if the Taliban read more
    • clue: Let me chime in: J.S., for God's sake review how read more
    • Maxim: "In a Realpolitik sense as long as a further threat read more

    U.S. Military -- Back to the Future!

    By Trent Telenko at 09:42

    T.R. Fehrenbach wrote the following in his Korean War classic "THIS KIND OF WAR":

    "You may fly over a land forever; you may bomb it, atomize it, pulverize it and wipe it clean of life, but if you desire to defend it, protect it, and keep it for civilization, you must do this on the ground, the way the Roman legions did, by putting your young men into the mud."
    It is this enduring truth that is now being used by partisans of the US Army Brass and Democrats to beat up Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and the Bush Administration in the aftermath of the recent Iraqi War.

    The argument is that the Bush Administration ignored the well-informed Brass, particularly Army Chief of Staff Gen. Shinseki's advise, on the need for thousands more troops in Iraq - that the Army is "executing a 12 division strategy with a 10-division Army" - especially in light of Iran and Syria sending in foreign fighters to the Sunni areas of Iraq to support the Ba'athist remnants.

    Conservatives like Stanley Kurtz have been harping on the shortage of American combat troops here and here long before this.

    I disagree with this analysis....

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    • Just seeing the green community in action makes me confident read more
    • MW: A very interesting analysis and discussion, although the political implications read more
    • Trent Telenko: O.G.M., First, we don't have several years. We need it read more

    French Repression?

    By Armed Liberal at 02:54

    Scanning Instapundit, I notice that Glenn has a blurb up that says:

    STILL MORE CRUSHING OF DISSENT: This time in France, where a book on the ELF scandal is being suppressed.

    Amnesty International? Reporters Without Borders? Go to it.

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    • Robert Atwan: nice site i really like it read more
    • Maxim: dear jeanne a e devoto, i hope you read my read more
    • jeanne a e devoto: >Judges have used a "gag order" where they feel necessary read more

    U.S. Democrats: Going Palestinian?!?

    By Trent Telenko at 02:00

    Tom Holsinger e-mailed be the following link for a David Brooks column titled "Democrats Go Off the Cliff: Powerlessness corrupts" over on the Weekly Standard. This paragraph just jumped out at me:

    "It's mystifying. Fury rarely wins elections. Rage rarely appeals to suburban moderates. And there is a mountain of evidence that the Democrats are now racing away from swing voters, who do not hate George Bush, and who, despite their qualms about the economy and certain policies, do not feel that the republic is being raped by vile and illegitimate marauders. The Democrats, indeed, look like they're turning into a domestic version of the Palestinians--a group so enraged at their perceived oppressors, and so caught up in their own victimization, that they behave in ways that are patently not in their self-interest, and that are almost guaranteed to perpetuate their suffering."
    Meanwhile I just saw this post from blogger Patrick Raffini on the Dean campaign. Dean supporters are apparently NAMING THEMSELVES "Dean Fedayeen."

    And here I thought that the Religious Right were nuts....

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    • Joe Katzman: Raoul, Pat "WW2 was a mistake" Buchanan won a number read more
    • Raoul Ortega: Sheesh. Can you cite a reputable, non-partisan source that there read more
    • Dan Hartung: I found this article a little disturbingly spot-on. I've said read more

    June 19, 2003

    Request from an Italian Journalist

    By Joe Katzman at 16:57

    This correspondence came as a result of a post in (where else?) our outstanding Winds of Change.NET comments sections. An Italian journalist wants to hear from Iranians. If you can, do it! This is every bit as important as the demonstrations - maybe more so, because it will shape EU opinion.

    "Dear Joe, Thank's for the answer. We would like to do the same as the BBC for the italian public opinion, not only publishing e-mails and letters from Iranian students in the web-site of our news ("Studio Aperto") but also broadcasting the e-mail's textes edited with images of the Iranian protest movement.

    So we are looking for students or students-bloggers with whom to exchange e-mails and opinion about the crisis. To avoid any problem for them i suggest that is better if they will use just theyr first name or different names saying just their age and their university. Thank's a lot for the collaboration

    Studio Aperto - Italia Uno, Mediaset.IT

    I don't want to sign this guy up for infinite spam-lists, but humans may be able to figure out his email address from the text above. I will also give the exact address to anyone who emails Joe (me) at Then y'all can forward him letters from Iran, blog URLs (a fantastic way to get blog exposure), etc.

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    • Joe Katzman: ... is a team member right here, big ed. read more
    • big ed: read more
    • Wind Rider: He left a comment at my place too, and asked read more

    Carnival of the Vanities: 06/19

    By Joe Katzman at 15:55

    The weekly Carnival of the Vanities is up, with lots of bloggers throwing in their favourite post. Great place to find new bloggers and interesting things. As fate would have it, Winds of Change.NET will be hosting Bigwig's creation on July 9, the day all hell is scheduled to break loose in Iran. Should be an interesting day!

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    • bigwig: We've got a new url, btw. read more

    Dan's Winds of War: 2003-06-19

    By Joe Katzman at 09:50

    JUNE 19/03: Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Tuesday & Thursday. Today's "Winds of War" is brought to you by team member Dan Darling. Dan's regular blog is Regnum Crucis.


  • #1 is Dan's Special Briefing on al-Qaeda in the USA.
  • #2 is the Winds of Change.NET Special Briefing on Iran today.

    Other Topics Today Include: Arrests in Georgia, Thailand, and Bangladesh relating to the creation of a "dirty bomb" (what's that?), the arrest of the Iranian MKO leadership in France, how Jemaah Islamiyyah was built up in Southeast Asia, the US quest to rebuild Iraq, Nigerian developments, the ongoing civil war in Liberia, and Marvin the Martian joining NASA.

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  • Two more of the Iraqi most wanted were captured by US forces, including an Ace! Which "cards" have we captured so far? The CENTCOM list. And the visual version of "Ba'ath Poker."

  • Prime Minister John Howard is stating that at least one of the Iraqi trailers is a mobile biological weapons facility. Has anyone told The Guardian yet?

  • The Pentagon is considering sending 20,000 non-US troops into Iraq after the summer to assist in the reconstruction efforts.

  • Another US soldier was killed in Iraq today, this time in Baghdad.

  • The troops are still there. So is the Winds of Change.NET consolidated directory of ways you can support the troops. American, British and Australian. Anyone out there with more information, incl. the Poles and Czechs? [updated April 1, 2003]

  • Jeff Jarvis has a moving piece about the 9/11 memorial wall at the World Trade Center site, complete with a picture and link to an online gallery.

  • Radioactive material to al-Qaeda is what candy is for young children, they just can't get enough of it. From rural Bangladesh to the capital in Thailand to a taxi cab in Georgia, rather disturbing quantities of radioactive material keep popping up, either in the hands of Islamic militants or individuals who would presumably sell it to them.

  • As has been previously noted here at Winds of Change, the French have arrested most of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq Organization's leadership, including most of the Rajavi family, which would seem to clarify the issue of where they fled after the fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and may add more credulity to the reports of the French issuing visas to fleeing members of the Baathist regime. So what spurred the French to act against a group that has been based out of their nation for years without incident, even after the fall of Saddam Hussein? The fact that MKO was apparently planning attacks in France, it would seem.

  • The Christian Science Monitor has a two-part piece up on how al-Qaeda helped to form Jemaah Islamiyyah as its arm in Southeast Asia and how its efforts in the region have culminated in the Bali bombing. Part 1 deals with formation of Jemaah Islamiyyah, Part 2 on how Jemaah Islamiyyah exploited ethnic tensions following the collapse of the Suharto dictatorship for its own advantage, and Part 3 deals directly with Imam Samudra and the planning of the Bali bombing.

  • Two high-ranking al-Qaeda operatives were arrested in an affluent neighborhood of Peshawar today. One is an aide to bin Laden himself, while the other appears to have overseen document forgery for the organization.

  • The head of MI5 has stated that al-Qaeda will carry out a crude WMD attack within a Western city thanks to the assistance the network has received from renegade Pakistani scientists in that particular field of expertise.

  • My "Al-Qaeda UK" piece on Winds of Change was one of the first media outlets to highlight the connections between al-Qaeda and the April 30 suicide bombing in Tel Aviv by two British nationals, but now it seems the Israelis are catching on, though they're also citing a Hamas connection to al-Qaeda as well.

  • Speaking of figuring it out, the Russians have recently come to the conclusion that the Pakistani and Chechen groups are receiving their support from the same source.

  • Northern Nigeria has always been refuge for tribal and religious barbarism, but now it seems that the US is fearing that the African nation is a target for al-Qaeda, something that AfricaPundit has been saying for awhile now.

  • LURD's deadline for Taylor to step down came and went, complete with mystical warriors. Taylor then called for cease-fire and entered into peace talks in Ghana with LURD long enough for 400 dead bodies to be recovered from the streets of Monrovia, with reports of explosions on the outskirts of the city. The peace talks predictably collapsed after LURD reinterated their main demand (that Taylor step down) and the fighting resumed.

  • We try to close on a lighter note if possible. Marvin the Martian is now part of an official NASA Mission. Cue the "earth shattering kaboom!"

    « ok, I'm done now

    • clue: Bad italics, bad... read more
    • clue: If Howard isn't saying anything in stronger terms than Ari read more
    • Dan Darling: Actually, the article you cited states that Howard didn't read more

    Al-Qaeda in the USA

    By Joe Katzman at 07:00

    Stephen Emerson and others have drawn well-deserved attention to this phenomenon before, and Dan Darling's analysis is worth reading. As usual, Dan shows why he's a valued team member and Winds of War host. I'm still wondering how this squares with the inferences related to the Muhajir case, though.

    Special Analysis: Al-Qaeda in the US
    by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis

    One of the most dangerous post-9/11 realities for Americans has been that within our own country and abroad there appear to be at least a sizeable number of people who have sworn what they consider to be a sacred oath to fight and destroy our way of life at every turn. Originally that number was considered as high as 5,000, but it appears to have been chopped down to several hundred. Still, that's far too many al-Qaeda operatives still walking the streets for comfort...

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    • Joe Katzman: Total agreement on the video. It will come in very read more
    • The Patriot: If you see them, shoot them. Bury the bodies deep. read more
    • The Patriot: If you see them, shoot them. Bury the bodies deep. read more

    A.L's L.A. Restaurants List

    By Armed Liberal at 06:01

    Over at Armed Liberal, I've put up a list of favorite L.A. eating places. Go check it out (secretly, I'm hoping that commenters will lead me to some new places...)

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    • horse track racing: The best horse track racing site online! Here you'll find read more
    • Joe Katzman: Attempting not to lose one's hair in the first place read more
    • praktike: Buy Propecia, I disagree vehemently with your premise. I don't read more

    Iran Update: 2003-06-19

    By Joe Katzman at 05:43

    JUNE 19/03: As July 9 approaches, the winter of Iranian discontent is turning into a long, hot summer of protest. This special Regional Briefing will focus on events in that country, as a follow-on to our previous Iran briefing a week ago.


    Huh? Pejman explains. Banner courtesy of Phelps.

    Other Topics Today Include: How the fuse was lit; reports from inside Iran via Daneshjoo, Kaveh, Iraniangirl, and Steppenwolf; "satellite revolutionaries"; the EU's role, Pedram on his personal experiences with the MKO; Hoder on Iranian blogging; and Ayatollah Khameni condemned as a blashphemer and polytheist. Plus lots more analysis...

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    • button: Joe: I blogged a disturbing item early this morning from read more

    June 18, 2003

    July 9, Bloggers beside Iranian students

    By Iraniangirl at 21:57

    JULY 9: Here's my proposal. On July 9, as many blogs as possible focus on the struggle for freedom in Iran. It's the anniversary of the pro-democracy protests that have been going on for years

    I'm sure that this work will be one of the most effective ones in this fighting for freedom, even more than street struggles & demonstrations & hope that other bloggers as he says try & use the power of web that can bring change...

    JK UPDATE: I believe what Andrew is referring to is called a Blog Burst. Winds of Change.NET will be happy to act as a coordinating site with links to all posts that day, as I did for the original blog Burst re: the SFSU Riot.

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    • Tony: For my contribution to the July 9th Iran solidarity "BlogBurst", read more
    • Jennie Taliaferro: Joe, terrific idea! Count me and Greatest Jeneration in! I'll read more
    • Wijnand: Joe, Excellent idea to have WoCh serve as coordinating site, read more

    France --The Ally of Tyranny Everywhere

    By Trent Telenko at 14:05

    On Tuesday I read a number of articles where France was actively assisting Hamas, a genocidal terrorist group here and here. Then it was followed by reports that the French were cracking down on Iranian anti-Mullah "terrorists" here and here (the quotes are rented cheap from Reuters).

    One could say that the French government has become the ally of tyranny everywhere. Winds has noted this previously here, here, and here.

    This article, part two of an symposium I clipped here earlier, makes the case that they are. This passage from the symposium fits this pattern very well:

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    • Phil Winsor: benladen: Got anything new to offer? Otherwise, crawl back under read more
    • benladen: Et ça sa marche encore read more
    • benladen: read more

    Gweilo's China Briefing: 2003-06-18

    By Joe Katzman at 13:49

    Regional Briefings run every Tuesday & Wednesday. This Regional Briefing focuses on China, courtesy of Hong Kong resident Conrad of The Gweilo Diaries.

    Today we cover: the latest financial scandal in the PRC; China's looming AIDS epidemic; Chinese doctors and their ethical dilemmas; will the 3 Gorges Dam collapse?; a lively debate among China bloggers as to whether it's entering a new era of openness and reform; and a very novel Chinese approach to zookeeping...

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    • Prince Roy: not that I don't welcome a China briefing, but it read more
    • someguy: According to an article I read in SPIN several years read more

    Sharon and Rantisi

    By Armed Liberal at 06:07

    There's been a discussion on Sharon's attack on Rantisi by David Adesnik on Oxblog, as well as Michael Totten, Dan Simon and Martin Kimel. I'd been meaning to comment on it, and jumping into this discussion seems like a good place to start.

    I think the attack (the unsuccessful helicopter attack by Israel on Abdel Aziz Rantisi, one of the political heads of Hamas) was charitably, a bad idea. In fact I think it was colossally stupid...

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    • Eric Pobirs: Criticizing Sharon this only a few months after our own read more
    • cj: I'd like to commend this site for highlighting here and read more
    • Alene Berk: A. L.-- I hope the kind of PR you're talking read more

    Winds of Change.NET Upgrades

    By Joe Katzman at 06:03

    We've made some tweaks to the site's look and feel, mostly around making the blog more "scannable," improving navigation, and providing Tables of Contents et. al. in Category and Date-based archives. Hope you don't have much cause to notice that Winds of Change.NET has a new 404 error message, too - our custom improvement on a blogosphere favourite.

    We've also got a spiffy new banner thanks to Marc Siry, with more site design help to follow from Dissident Frogman (Sekimori, alas, accepted $100 in January and neither delivered nor responded to multiple emails). Other endeavors include rounding out the blogroll, and hopefully implementing a system that lets you click on the "Continue Reading..." link and instantly see the rest of the post without moving to a new URL. We think that's pretty neat, just have to figure out how to do it.

    Feedback? Any other suggestions for improvements out there? Use the Comments to let us know.

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    • CBK: Love your blog. Did notice today that when I click read more
    • Ron McCabe: I have been wanting to make some comments, but haven't read more
    • Joe Katzman: Go ahead... read more

    Spam: The Arms Race Continues

    By Joe Katzman at 06:03

    Jeffrey Harrow's report notes that spam is rapidly becoming a serious business problem, via a survey that shows spam starting to outstrip legitimate emails in some workplaces.

    Will new methods work? What's to do? And what's this we hear about a "Nigerian Email Conference"?...

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    A Hearty Welcome Back To...

    By Joe Katzman at 04:53

    Prof. Amitai Etzioni, honoured here as one of our Circle of 10 (Humanity category), is back up and blogging after a series of technical difficulties left him down for 2 weeks. He's the founder of the "communitarian" movement, a very interesting faction of the center-left that believes in responsibilities as well as rights, communities and civil society as well as government power.

    Stephen "Vodkapundit" Green has been away far longer. Here's why, plus some thoughts on Iran now that he's back. RWN blogger John Hawkins almost went away for a lot longer than that - get well soon, John!

    Meanwhile, Geitner Simmons' "Regions of Mind" and the "Lone Dissenter" have moved to new locations and deserve a visit. Finally, IMAO - who is either a crazed right wing humourist or a leftist with the best sense of irony ever - is having a contest for his blog's new tagline.

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    June 17, 2003

    Mourning Traitors: the Rosenberg Executions' 50th Anniversary

    By Celeste at 21:39

    The Washington Post reports that on June 19th, the 50th anniversary of the execution of the Rosenbergs will be commemorated in the following manner:

    On the 50th anniversary of the execution Thursday, Seeger, Susan Sarandon, Harry Belafonte and other show business activists will appear at a benefit for the Rosenberg Fund for Children, which assists children of people imprisoned, attacked or fired for taking a public stand.
    It is important to note, however, that the Rosenbergs were not imprisoned for 'taking a public stand,' they were imprisoned and executed for providing nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union...

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    • Yossarian Reznor: When ever a few pundits, right or left, say something read more
    • withheld: Blimey I bet you secretly also still believe in slavery read more
    • Varchild: As a Right Winger I try my hardest to check read more

    Emptying My Cup: 2003-06-17

    By Joe Katzman at 17:39

    There's a bunch of stuff in my head I've been meaning to blog, but haven't. Time to fix that.

    Topics will include: The human genome, aikido, a rice strain crossed with daffodil that prevents blindness but can't be given away, aging boomer relatives spawn a left-leaning anti-idiotarian, military transformation, what peace in the Mideast has to do with alcoholism, "gypsy blogging," commercializing space, and are we headed for a depression/Kondratieff Winter?

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    Hushoor's Korea Briefing: 2003-06-17

    By Joe Katzman at 13:50

    JUNE 17/03: The Korean Peninsula remains one of the world's most dangerous flashpoints. This monthly Regional Briefing will focus on the two Koreas courtesy of Robert Koehler, a Korean-speaking expat who blogs from Kwangju University.


  • Marquand's "How South Korea's View of the North Flipped" is still worth reading to get an idea of how and why perceptions of North Korea have changed so dramatically in South Korea. See also the debate in CP's comments section.

  • The discussion in the comments section of this post is great, too.Other Topics Today Include: multinational naval interdiction plans, S. Korean views and reactions to the coming shift of U.S. troops away from the border region, Iranian nuclear cooperation, South Korea's non-policy, and N. Korean shennanigans in the Yellow Sea....

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  • Op-Ed at The Command Post summing up the current situation in Korea, and fisking NK apologist Selig Harrison's ridiculous NY Times article.

  • The United States, Australia, and Japan are apparently discussing plans to interdict North Korean vessels suspected of carrying illicit goods, such as drugs, counterfeit bills, and most importantly, nuclear materials. Venemous Kate has more here.

  • Japan has already begun to rigorously inspect North Korean ships entering Japanese ports (prompting the North to cancel ferry service to the Japanese port of Niigata). South Korea recently announced its intention to join the US, Japan, and Australia in cracking down on illicit North Korean exports, although the South Korean officials stress that such moves are not related to the North Korean nuclear crisis.

  • Adding a new twist to their logic (if you can call it that), the North Koreans announced that they are seeking a nuclear deterrent so that they can cut back on conventional arms. According to the KCNA: "The DPRK's intention to build up a nuclear deterrent force is not aimed to threaten and blackmail others but reduce conventional weapons under a long-term plan..." IMAO responds: "I would like to remind North Korea that we also have a plan for reducing the size of their military that involves nukes. Next question."

  • A potentially interesting revelation: Iran, a fellow charter member of the Axis of Evil, may be cooperating with North Korea in developing nukes. As noted in the recent Winds of Change.NET Iran briefing, Japan's Sankei Shinbum quotes unidentified Korean sources as saying that Iranian nuclear experts visited North Korea three times between March and May. If that wasn't interesting enough, sources at the South Korean Ministry of Defense told the Korea Times that Iranian cargo planes have been dispatched to the North's Sunan Airport six times since April, up from previous reports of one or two visits a year.

    The source in the Sankei report believes that the Iranians discussed with the North how to handle international inspectors, while according to the Times Iranian cargo planes might have been transporting North Korean missiles to that Middle Eastern nation. If true, this might complicate efforts to block North Korean drug, missile, and nuclear sales. It does, however, suggest that President Bush's much criticized "Axis of Evil" speech might not have been so off the mark.

  • South Korean officials are complaining that they are being left out in the cold over the North Korean nuke issue. Of course, given the Noh Mu-hyeon administration's rather pronounced indecision, this may be understandable.

    During his recent trip to Japan, Blue House spokepeople indicated that "Noh would reject measures other than dialogue in the course of solving the North Korean nuclear issue" (in contradiction to the joint statement he released with President Bush following their May 15 summit), only to retract that statement the next day, claiming that the President was misunderstood because he talks too fast. On June 12, a senior Blue House official ruled out any possibility of the South Korean navy joining the US and Japan in interdicting North Korean shipping. On June 15, during talks with American and Japanese officials in Hawaii, the South agreed to join its two allies in cracking down on illicit North Korean exports. If all this seems confusing, don't feel too bad - very few people here on the ground know what the government's position on anything is, either.

  • The United States Forces Korea (USFK) is looking at a massive restructuring. Most alarming, from the South Korean government's point of view, is the announced plan to pull the 8th Army's 2nd Infantry Division back from its current bases along the DMZ to positions south of Seoul. For 50 years, the 2ID guarded one of the two major invasion routes to Seoul, and provided a valuable (for Seoul) "tripwire" ensuring immediate American involvement in the event of a conflict with the North. Korean politicians have expressed concern about the redeployments; Prime Minister Goh Kun has repeatedly called for the 2ID to stay where it is, and even visited the headquarters of the division in May to make his request to USFK authorities in person.

  • Sgt. Mom of Team Stryker offers her thoughts in "Farewell to Yongsan".

  • While the number of American troops stationed in Korea is expected to decrease, the Department of Defense has announced plans to upgrade USFK capabilities on the peninsula, plans which include the deployment of the Strike Brigade Combat Team. The South Korean Ministry of Defense, for its part, has requested a 28% boost in its defense budget; if approved, ROK defense spending will rise to 3.2% of GNP, up from its current level at 2.7% of GNP.

  • It wouldn't be crab season here in Korea without Northern shenanigans in the Yellow Sea - North Korean fishing vessels spent the end of last month and the beginning of this month repeatedly violating the Northern Limit Line that delineates the territorial waters of the two Koreas. South Korean naval vessels fired warning shots on at least one occasion. Lest you need to be reminded how testy these things can get, a similar situation last year led to a bloody naval clash during the middle of the World Cup that left 4 South Korean sailors and an unknown number of North Korean sailors dead.

  • The Koreas reconnected two railway lines that run through the ironically named DMZ on June 13. Due to the ongoing nuclear crisis, the ceremonies accompanying the relinking were low-key. Also on the "positive" front, Noh Mu-hyeon has indicated his desire to promote continued North-South exchanges despite the crisis - during a Blue House meeting on June 15, the President said "It is better to remind ourselves of the historical and political meaning of the inter-Korean summit talks."

  • I hate to report on things like this, but unfortunately, they do influence events in the region - massive candlelight demonstrations were held throughout South Korea on June 13 to remember the deaths of two middle school girls accidently run over by a USFK armored vehicle (a bridge layer, to be specific) last year. By South Korean standards, the 25,000-30,000 demonstrators who showed up in Seoul were relatively well-behaved, although this may have had something to do with the 10,000 Korean riot police who were deployed around the US Embassy. Protestors called for revisions to the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), as well as the withdrawal of "murderous US troops" and an end to the threat of war on the peninsula.

  • According to the Korea Times, Moon Hee-sang, chief secretary to Roh, said Roh's remark contained his willingness to press ahead with the peace and prosperity policy toward North Korea, and implement the agreements reached during the June 15 summit meeting. On a related note, former President Kim Dae-jung, who won a Nobel Prize for that summit meeting, said during a Sunday television program that Bill Clinton had invited North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to the United States late in Clinton's term of office. The North Korean leader rejected the offer, according to DJ. The Nobel Prize winner's reputation has been tarnished of late for his administration's role in an illegal $500 million dollar pay-off to North Korea that supposedly paved the way for the June 15, 2000 inter-Korean summit.Gweilo's China Briefing runs tomorrow, and Hushoor's Korea Briefing will return July 13th - or sooner, if the situation becomes even more serious. In the interim, go visit Robert for regular updates from Kwangju, Korea.

    « ok, I'm done now

  • My Ft. Bragg MBA

    By Armed Liberal at 00:33

    I had an interesting personal experience that gave me some insight into the capabilities of our Special Forces, and the power of the kind of 4th Generation management which they represent.

    As a part of maintaining my own "Armed Liberal" skills, I had arranged to be part of a class taught by a former Special Forces instructor now instructing law enforcement and private classes while also contracting back to the military. At the time, I was also contracting for a large software development company, sorting out one of their troubled engagements....

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    Blogspot Exodus Progress Report

    By Joe Katzman at 00:03

    A number of blogs have moved lately, sparked by Blogger's ongoing woes, Dean's Blogspot Jihad, and random acts of change. Here's a brief list:

  • Dean Esmay publishes the impressive list of territories liberated in his Blogspot Jihad. 45 blogs, with 5 more to go! Slogan idea: "Bloggers out of Blogspot! MT from the river to the sea!"
  • WizBang has more members of the blogspot exodus - he's almost at 100.
  • Blaster's Blog is now, thanks to Dean. An equally cool name, and a good post on U.S. Army transformation.
  • Canadian blogger Jay Currie's "One Damn Thing After Another".
  • Greg Hlatky's "A Dog's Life" is now, and still comments on global matters as well as his beloved dogs.
  • Blogs of War - there can be only one! The esteemed Dr. Frank now has his own MT-based home at
  • Jay Solo, you need to join them. Fatimah, Oxblog, you too.
  • XRLQ is suggesting that this should become a Swarm Effort!I'm watching in real time as a major piece of software gets its brains and future blown out, and it's fascinating. Anyone else out there we've missed? Use the Comments section to let me know.

    Meanwhile, Venomous Kate notes that a system has been devised that will let non-MT blogs use MT Trackback (another WizBang creation). This is a major bonus to platforms other than Movable Type. Trackback is a great little perk of MT, and using it will increase your awareness, visibility and readership.

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    • Joe Katzman: Xavier, you need to join's Blogspot Jihad. USD $20 read more
    • xavier: Hi all: I'm thinking about moving off Blogspot but it's read more
    • Xrlq: Well said. The only thing I have to add is read more
  • June 16, 2003

    Andrew's Winds of War: 2003-06-16

    By Joe Katzman at 17:17

    JUNE 16/03: Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused. Today's "Winds of War" is brought to you by Andrew Olmsted of Andrew


  • Still trying to settle things down, Special Forces, 101st Airborne & 4th Infantry troops launched Operation Desert Scorpion in an attempt to round up or wipe out pockets of resistance N & NW of Baghdad. 8 suspected resistance leaders were taken into custody, but the raid also raised tensions among Iraqis.

  • Speaking of Special Forces, here's the full Winds of Change.NET SOF briefing with lots of links, plus an analysis of their growing influence in the Pentagon.

    Other Topics Today Include: pacification in Iraq, the return(?) of the body count, Venomous Kate's update, Iran's slide towards chaos, Ireland heating up, and the threat of American troops engaging Palestinian terrorists...

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  • And the question of reconstruction remains, as the United States struggles to develop a plan for limited self-rule that will pass muster with the Iraqi people while still being capable of accomplishing the mission.

  • Iraqi civilians are reporting that U.S. troops killed 5 civilians during a search of the village of Balad. This report will undoubtedly get big play with the foreign press, but perhaps of even more interest are the conflicting reports on Iraqi casualties; while Centcom reports 27 Iraqi insurgents killed, officers at the scene reported only five to seven. Does this mark a return to body counts, a la Vietnam?

  • On the negative side of body counts, the BBC is reporting a U.S. convoy was ambushed north of Baghdad. No reports on casualties as yet. (Hat tip: The Command Post).

  • Japan and India debate sending troops to Iraq to support the reconstruction. Were Japan to send Self-Defense Forces overseas, it would mark the first deployment of Japanese troops outside the country since World War II. Interesting that there's been little discussion about whether or not this is a good thing.

  • Iraq's role in the War on Terror? We're still not certain, but the search for al Qaeda members in Iraq continues.

  • Is he still alive? Saddam Hussein's daughter says yes, she believes her father is still out there somewhere, although she has no evidence to prove it.

  • Which "cards" have we captured so far? The CENTCOM list, the visual version of "Ba'ath Poker," and our best poker hands to date.

  • Sgt. Stryker: "I'm compiling statements made by Administration officials prior to the war to remind everyone what the Bush Administration itself said were its reasons for prosecuting a war against Iraq." In the process, he says he's discovering some interesrting things. We begin with October 2002 statements. Reader clue also has a good set of links to Billmon's work, a similar effort from a liberal perspective.

  • The troops are still there. So is the Winds of Change.NET consolidated directory of ways you can support the troops. American, British and Australian. Anyone out there with more information, incl. the Poles and Czechs? [updated April 1, 2003]


  • Winds of War host Venomous Kate has a fine roundup of her own today. She'll be hosting Winds of War again on Monday, June 23rd.

  • A good roundup of links about the tensions between Islam and democracy over at Oxblog, including the issue of Islam and democracy in America.

  • Will Iran be the next Islamic domino? The protests are heating up, and the mullahs appear to be getting nervous... (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • LGF has a good selection of letters from Iranians to the BBC that's worth your time.

  • Meanwhile, experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were denied access to some of Iran's nuclear facilities the other day. Those inspectors have now left the country entirely.

  • Ireland may be heating up again, with the discovery of a massive bomb in Londonderry Sunday morning. (Hat tip: The Command Post.)

  • Some U.S. Marines heading are stopping by Liberia in strife-riven west Africa on their way home from Iraq. The USS Kearsarge, carrying a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) 1,800 marines, 1,200 sailors and attack helicopters, was diverted on its homeward voyage to prepare for the possible evacuation of civilians from Liberia where rebel fighters have reached the edge of the capital, Monrovia. (Hat Tip: WoC comments, The Agonists)

  • America troops hunting Hamas? It could happen, according to Senator Dick Lugar. (Hat tip: The Command Post.)

  • Meanwhile, Sylv at the Agonist links a report about former counter-terrorism adviser Rand Beers that's worth your time. How unhappy was he? Not only did he quit, he joined John Kerry's campaign staff.

  • Saudi Arabia may be moving into the front lines of the War on Terror, as five suspected al Qaeda militants were killed by Saudi police before a possible attack on Mecca.

  • Gary Farber calls for a concerted effort to address the slaughter in the Congo, before 'Never Again' once again falls by the wayside.

  • We try to close on a lighter note if possible. Congratulations to the San Antonio Spurs, who clinched their second NBA title with an 88-77 victory over the New Jersey Nets.If you found something here you want to blog about yourself (and we hope you do), all we ask is that you do as we do and offer a Hat Tip hyperlink to today's "Winds of War". Thanks for reading!

    « ok, I'm done now

  • NATO Changes its Command Structure

    By Joe Katzman at 16:53

    On June 12, NATO defense ministers approved the most extensive command structure revision in the history of the alliance. Many of these changes mirror shifts in the USA's own thinking and operations over the last few years.

    Is HQ still in Belgium? It's worth reading this USFJCOM release to see the details.

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    Special Forces' Growing Role

    By Joe Katzman at 14:30

    Winds of Change.NET has covered Special Forces before: The official U.S. SOC web site. A briefing on what they really do, with stories from Afghanistan. Phil Carter's own briefing materials. Reports from Waziristan. Iraq, from advance reports, to Diwaniyah to the aftermath of war, where they continue to play a vital role. Australia's SAS on their Iraq experiences, and Poland's GROM ( | Weekly Standard), who performed so brilliantly at Um-Qasr and elsewhere. Even Special Forces and the laws of war.

    Now Mike Duffy and others at TIME have published "Secret Armies of the Night." Its descriptions of operations in Iraq are valuable in and of themselves (though they neglected GROM's role), but the real news is the increasing influence of SOF within Rumsfeld's Pentagon...

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    June 15, 2003

    Max Weber and the Palestinian State

    By Armed Liberal at 21:30

    Expat Scott M, over at Pedantry blog makes an interesting point in his post on the Israel-Palestine impasse (note that he's wrong, but nonetheless gives us an interesting way to look at things).

    He says:

    There is a very simple notion in political science, one that goes back to Max Weber: A state possesses, by definition, a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence, and it protects that monopoly. When a state is unable to protect that monopoly, it isn't a state. There is no Palestinian state, and a non-existent state can not have a monopoly on violence. There is no possibility of anti-Israeli terrorism ending until there is a genuine Palestinian state with a monopoly on legitimate violence to protect. Any decision not to negotiate or make concessions until the violence abates is nothing but a cheap rationalisation for maintaining the status quo indefinitely.
    [Update: Just found Donald Sensing's post on the same subject...]


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    • Ikram Saeed: The 'typical' path to nationhood you describe is not typical read more
    • Donald Sensing: The PA was founded to be a semi-autonomous government for read more
    • Yehudit: I have a lot of links on this topic here. read more

    June 14, 2003

    Reclaiming Their Marshes, Rebuilding Their World

    By Joe Katzman at 16:27

    A huge marsh ecosystem almost the size of Florida's Everglades was deliberately destroyed by Saddam after Desert Storm. Now the "Marsh Arabs" of Iraq's south are beginning to restore those wetlands.

    "Marsh Arab villages still cling to some of those roads. They look like Arab villages anywhere, including the middle of the Sahara. The only clues to their aquatic origins lie in stately council houses, with cathedral-like spires, constructed entirely of bleached, rotting reeds.

    "We broke the dams when the Iraqi army left," said Qasim Shalgan Lafta, 58, a former fisherman whose village sits marooned, along with a few cracked canoes, in a landscape that looks like the Utah Badlands. "We want to teach our children how to fish, how to move on the water again." . . ."

    Reassembling a complex ecosystem may be more challenging than they expected, but at least they've made a start. I wish them luck, and some help from a scientist or two who understands complexity.

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    • Richard A. Heddleson: Joe, Visit Mt. St. Helens. Mother nature will have her read more

    Sufi Wisdom: The "Truth-Seeker"

    By Joe Katzman at 10:42

    As militant Islam does its level best to discredit the religion, it's important to remember that there are other voices within the faith. One such is the Sufis, a branch of Islamic mystics who live islam (submission), iman (faith) and ishan (awareness of G-d, "to act beautifully"). Every Saturday, therefore, we spend some time with the Sufis' "crazy wisdom."

    Idries Shah was certainly someone who lived the Sufi way. He recounted this tale in "The Wisdom of Sufic Jokes." It may be more relevant now than it was in 1976, when it was originally published:

    "Rationalizations, association of ideas, and lack of humor often go together and can usually be disentangled.

    I was once standing at a corner of the huge market street called the Bhindi Bazaar in Bombay, when a bus stopped and a troop of determined Western seekers-after-truth descended and clustered around an old man who was squatting on the side of the road. They photographed him and chattered excitedly. One of the visitors tried to start a conversation with him, but he only stared back, so she remarked to the guide, "What a sweet old man; he must be a real live saint. Is he a saint?"

    The Indian, who had a sense of humor as well as an interest in not wanting to tell a lie and a need to please his clients, said, "Madam, saint he may be, but to us he is the neighborhood rapist."

    She immediately replied, "Oh, yes, I've heard of that; it involves their religion. I guess he must be a Tantrist!"

    A parable for our own times, too. Idries Shah concludes:
    " Sufi study and understanding, ignorance is crippling, paranoia is ridiculous, right alignment and respect (for materials, for students and teachers) are essential; servility and vanity are harmful. The proper focus is almost everything. A comprehensive understanding is essential. Offering premature "enlightenment" is irresponsible. Paradoxically but inalienably, the fact is that only by wanting to serve each other can the two elements -- the teaching and the learning -- be harmoniously, and therefore correctly, brought together."

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    • billhedrick: I've always appreciated Sufi thought, more and more as I read more
    • Biased Observer: My wife has been complaining about my "premature enlightenment" for read more

    Colossal Squid: Calamari for Everyone!

    By Joe Katzman at 09:19

    Assuming it doesn't eat your group first, of course.

    Scientists had long considered the Giant Squid, architeuthis dux, the most massive invertebrate in the sea. Very little is known about them, as none have ever been seen alive in the deep ocean; all we have are corpses and scars on on the Sperm Whales who eat them. Based on the sucker diameters of some of those scars, there have been estimates of squid out there up to 100 feet long at full stretch.

    We now know that these Colossal Squid do indeed exist, that they're another creature entirely, that mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni is not only larger but better equipped to defend itself, and that they venture to the surface on occasion because that's where this specimen was when caught near Antarctica. I've seen live squid; they're ridiculously quick (see video) and agile. Hamiltoni is absolutely a creature you do NOT want to meet up close and personal. This incident may not be the first time one has been seen on the surface, either. If that older account is correct, even the size reported by the BBC understates the case.

    Our world is not yet fully explored, and science still brings us wonders to behold.


    UPDATE: In our post-modern age of non-privileged viewpoints, please remember that one man's biological wonder is another superbeing's eldritch minion. The Ctulhoid "Tentacles of God" website refers to this incident as: "Human scientists desecrate the body of another shallow water explorer." Winds of Change.NET recommends you show a little sensitivity, and perhaps ask yourself "why do they sacrifice us?" Could incidents like the one described above be perpetuating the cycle of violence?

    (Squid graphics courtesy of

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    June 13, 2003

    Iran Regional Briefing: 2003-06-13

    By Joe Katzman at 21:55

    June 13/03: Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings normally run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays. Fridays will also be briefing days, and I'll start by using it for special briefings like this one.


    Today's other topics include: recent demonstrations and reports, North Korean and Russian ties to Iran's nuclear program, Iran and 19th century Ireland, hatred and Iranian culture, an Iranian blogger's beefs with Michael Ledeen, and Michael Ledeen himself...

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    • Eye Opener: And please remember that July 9th (Commemorating the Martyrdom in read more

    Targeting Hamas

    By Joe Katzman at 15:07

    To follow up on the excellent Comments discussion in yesterday's "Roadap to Nowhere" post, it looks like Israel may be getting ready for a serious war against Hamas. Not to mention any of its allies who care to put themselves in the line of fire. My Israpundit article also covers Arafat's long-standing ties to Islamic fundamentalism, the strategic effectiveness of assassinating terrorist leaders, and victor Davis Hanson wrapping it all up with the big picture. Read "Target: Hamas"

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    Terrorism: It's Not The Economy, Stupid

    By Joe Katzman at 13:44

    This Friday 13th, "9/11 liberal" Jeff Jarvis takes a very large axe to the notion that terrorism is caused by economic deprivation and lack of education. Of course, he has a bit of inside help from a study done by professors Alan B. Krueger and Jitka Malecková. Summary: not only is this notion foolish and immoral, it's factually wrong. I'll leave him with the final word, but you'll want to read his whole post.

    "So all this blather about the poor, downtrodden terrorists, all the crap-think asking "why do they hate us?" is irrelevant. It's worse than irrelevant: It's offensive; it's enabling; it's making excuses for evil deeds and the devils who do them."

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    • Phil Winsor: Michael: One point to add- the oil selling nations may read more
    • Michael Turner: This is a silly, splenetic comment (starting with the title: read more
    • Armed Liberal: Joe - I've actually had to work hard this week, read more

    The Myth of Chinese Air Power

    By Trent Telenko at 13:32

    I meant to post this article on Chinese air power when I first saw it, but Parapundit among others beat me to it first.

    Yet in a sense I have commented on many aspects of the institutional problems of Chinese air power years ago over on Jerry Pournelle's site here.

    The real issues of Chinese airpower are not strictly speaking cultural, as the Policy Review author Jacqueline A. Newmyer states. They are issues of pure power politics. That is why Chinese air power will always remain more of a myth than a reality. I have an advantage here over Jacqueline A. Newmyer and Parapundit that I am going to share with you...

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    • Umbriel: Just to further the Rommel digression... As Terry notes, Rommel read more
    • Terry: Rommel was appoited by Hitler in early 44, to inspect read more
    • BigFire: Well now, PLA has no Air Force worth a damm. read more

    June 12, 2003

    Roadmap to Nowhere?

    By Joe Katzman at 17:04

    I must confess, every time I hear about the Israeli-Palestinian Roadmap to Peace, the Talking Heads' "Road to Nowhere" song starts playing in my hand. Even the lyrics are perfect. The Roadmap's futility is now being discussed in scathing terms by people like Michael Totten, while Dr. James Zogby comes in for some sharp criticism from his blogging relative.

    For all of the members of the "it can't hurt to talk" brigade, I recommend reading these 2 pieces. This is not a "peace process," any more than negotiations in the Balkans between Milosevic's proxies and the Bosnian muslims were a "peace process." Like Bosnia, the process itself constitutes reward for, tolerance of, and thus incitement to, murder. Can't hurt? Au contraire - this process kills.

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    • Phil Winsor: One more thing-What happens to the balance of poweer in read more
    • Phil Winsor: Randall: You are right. You would still have to build read more

    Iran protest, & the month of fighting

    By Iraniangirl at 11:51

    Unfortunately, the students demonstrations didn't continue; just about 80 ones were arrested, & basij & other groups could manage it before it get more serious. But in any cases, it was a great beginning for the coming month & other demonstrations.

    Although I'm agreed with the ones who believe that It's not a suitable time for these kinds of movements & they have to be planned, but I also believe a street demonstration (even if as some other says is planed by government to weak the plans of July 9) is always an important step to the final victory of people. VOA reports...

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    • Mark Bahner: "so I believe that they didn't choose a right way read more
    • lombezzi: I'm an italian journalist working for Italia Uno (national channel) read more
    • Joe Katzman: Thanks, Ali, that was funny. The Iranian government are definitely read more

    Dan's Winds of War: 2003-06-12

    By Joe Katzman at 11:27

    June 12/03: Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused. Today's "Winds of War" is brought to you by team member Dan Darling, whose other blog is Regnum Crucis.


  • JK: That could only be Dan Darling's Special Analysis Briefing on al-Qaeda's Algerian connection. You can see why he's a valued host of Winds of War!Today's Topics Include: a key arrest in the Phillipines, Ba'ath Poker hands, the museum looting hoax, who's behind Iraq's mujahideen, multiple warnings over al-Qaeda and WMDs, the 9/11 money trail, French arrests, where's Zarqawi, strangeness in Mauritania, and the Liberian connection...

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  • Two more of the Iraqi most wanted were captured by US forces. Here's the CENTCOM list, Doc Weevil's visual version of "Ba'ath Poker," and Boomshock on our best poker hands to date.

  • Dean Esmay points us to a piece about the State Department's resistance to the De-Ba'athification process that you really should read.

  • Yet another US soldier has been killed in Baghdad today in an organized attack. This may well be the work of the Kiada al-Makauma ve al-Tahrir al-Iraqiyyah that I blogged about in my last Winds of War. While the attacks on US forces in Fallujah and Tikrit are more likely to be those of former Baathists and/or Saddam Fedayeen, the more organized attacks on checkpoints et. al. are using the same M.O. al-Qaeda has demonstrated over the years in Chechnya and Indian Kashmir.

  • The apparent leader of the "Iraqi mujahideen" is himself an alumni of Georgia's Pankisi Gorge. In addition the fatality, 4 US soldiers were wounded. In an attempt to nip the Iraqi guerrillas in the bud, 384 Iraqis were detained in a series of raids.

  • JK: Bill Hobbs reminds us that the U.S. government managed to hide a massive secret bunker in a West Virgina town for 35 years, then segues into a plausible scenario explaining where Iraq's WMDs could be. Just one more example of why I'm serious about giving inspections more time to work; this will take a significant intelligence operation before we can draw solid conclusions (log-in: laexaminer/laexaminer).

  • In a twist of irony, The Guardian's David Aaronovitch is savaging the media over the bogus stories about looting at Iraq's National museum. Turns out many if the items were removed by the curators (we called that one), most of the collection is intact, and missing pieces generally vanished before the war.

  • In a further twist of irony, anonymous sources within the Iranian hierarchy are supporting US claims about Iraq's arsenal.

  • The troops are still there. So is the Winds of Change.NET consolidated directory of ways you can support the troops. American, British and Australian. Anyone out there with more information, incl. the Poles and Czechs? [updated April 1, 2003]

  • A news article covers yesterday's protests in Iran (Hat Tip:, and an op-ed from Pooya Dayanim helps put it into perspective. I'm also putting together a special Iran Regional Briefing for tomorrow... and see Iraniangirl's report.

  • Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps may be harboring Abu Musab Zarqawi, a high-ranking member of al-Qaeda of whom the State Department's 2002 Report on Global Terrorism states: "In the past year, al-Qaida operatives in northern Iraq concocted suspect chemicals under the direction of senior al-Qaida associate Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi and tried to smuggle them into Russia, Western Europe, and the United States for terrorist operations." The Washington Post has also named him as the architect of the recent attacks in Casablanca.

  • The arrest of Saifullah Yunos, a senior leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front who was allegedly trained by al-Qaeda in the use of anthrax, was a major blow to the Islamist organization. Now Yunos is talking and detailing the links between MILF and Jemaah Islamiyyah, the Southeast Asian arm of al-Qaeda. Given the recent reports of al-Qaeda training facilities reopening in Mindanao, this may well prove to be an intelligence coup for the Filippino authorities.

  • A United Nations report released in April cites a "high probability" of al-Qaeda launching a WMD attack, which would seem to jive with Bill Gertz's recent claims in the Washington Times. Bin Laden's first claim to possess WMDs was in an interview with the Pakistani newspaper Dawn, and has been echoed by other al-Qaeda leaders in recent weeks. This includes the self-described head of the organization's training program, Abu Mohammed al-Ablaj. Ablaj has also implied collusion between the terrorist network and the former Iraqi government.

  • Meanwhile, 9/11 lawyers on the money trail. Go boy - sic 'em!

  • The German Defense Minister is saying that there are indications that al-Qaeda was behind Sunday's suicide bombing that killed four German peacekeepers in Kabul.

  • The French have arrested two senior members of al-Qaeda in Europe, Karim Mehdi, who was planning an attack at tourist locations on Reunion Island, and Christian Ganczarski, a top recruiter for the organization in Germany who helped to plan the suicide truck bombing of the Djerba synagogue.

  • The coup attempt in Mauritania is over and thousands of Nouakchott residents are celebrating, but what actually took place there several days ago appears to be anyone's guess. This whole mess started on June 4 when 36 Islamic extremists who sought to use Mauritania as a base were arrested. Then on June 8, an armored division and elements of the air force led by former colonel Salah Ould Hnana attempted a coup, during which they freed the 36 militants in question during the obligatory storming of the local equivalent of the Bastille.

  • Charles Taylor's tyranny rule in Liberia is rapidly coming to an end. Even ignoring the destruction that Taylor has wreaked across West Africa over the last decade, he has also chosen to harbor al-Qaeda even after September 11, including high-level members of the terrorist organization. The US has recently accused Liberia of harboring al-Qaeda operatives. In interview with LURD General Joe Wylie, the official Liberian reaction to 9/11 is described in detail. The Palestinians in Gaza weren't the only ones cheering that day, simply the most reported.

  • We try to close on a lighter note if possible. Moxie's cover page for "Martha Stewart Prison Living" makes us wonder how many more terrorists might crack if we shipped her to Guantanamo instead.If you find something here you want to blog about yourself (and we hope you do), all we ask is that you do as we do and offer a Hat Tip hyperlink to today's "Winds of War". Thanks for reading!

    « ok, I'm done now

  • Special Analysis: al-Qaeda's Algerian Conection

    By Joe Katzman at 11:16

    Dan's research into the personalities and organizations behind al-Qaeda and its allied Islamist organizations is impressive. You can see why he's a regular and valued host of our "Winds of War" feature.

    Special Analysis: The GSPC, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, and the War on Terror
    by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis

    Those who followed al-Qaeda's efforts to release chemical weapons in London, Paris (the ringleader of which has a brother at Guantanamo Bay) & Catalonia, and the ricin lab in north London may have noticed that the group's European network contains within it a disporportionate number of Algerian expatriates. For some strange reason, they are often referred to in BBC or wire service reports as "North Africans". Part of the reasoning behind al-Qaeda's liberal use of Algerians is simple demographics: Algerians have a large immigrant presence in many European countries, and thus the organization can build and maintain an infrastructure there without attracting undue attention.

    The other, far more sinister reason has to do with...

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    Neoconservatives, Trotskyites & Stalinists

    By Joe Katzman at 07:23

    Lots of articles out there talking about neoconservatism, most without a real grasp of the subject. Straussians, Trotskyites, right-wing conservatives, etc., etc. How does it all fit together?

    Folks, you can't tell the players without a program - and you can look very silly trying to talk about them without one. Stephen Schwartz explains the Trotskyite angle. Personally, I was more amused to see Stalinist & Trotskyite partisans locked in mortal combat again... in the pages of National Review. So, welcome to Fight Night. Peanuts! Popcorn! Get'cher souveneir programs here!

    UPDATE: Hary Hatchett, a British leftist who knows a thing or two about Trots and Stalinists, is similarly amused. Got some interesting links, too.

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    NY Yankees' No-Hit Sixpack

    By Joe Katzman at 04:33

  • NY Yankees' 2003 payroll: $152 million
  • Houston Astros' 2003 payroll: $65 million
  • Imagining volatile Yankees owner George Steinbrenner's expression as 6 Houston pitchers combine to no-hit his sliding team in Yankee Stadium, striking out 10 in a row toward the end and dropping his team to 2nd place in their division: Priceless.
    Houston's ace pitcher left with an injury after just 1 inning, but it didn't matter tonight. It's the second no-hitter in Major League Baseball this season, the first no-hitter thrown against the Yankees in Yankee Stadium since 1952, and the first time in baseball history that 6 pitchers have teamed up for a no-hitter (previous MLB record: 4).

    Which is nice and all, I guess, but not nearly as much fun as imagining George Steinbrenner's apoplectic reaction. Mwahahahahaha!

    UPDATES: Michele isn't happy, and wants to know: "who gets the game ball?" Bronx Banter says the one who went ballistic is manager Joe Torre, and has lots of good reactions (permalink is wonky). Finally, David Pinto has a theory - are the Yanks are headed for bigger trouble?

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    • Mark Kieper: I'm Sick of the Yankees.I Wish there was salary cap read more
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  • June 11, 2003

    The New Army Chief of Staff

    By Armed Liberal at 19:04

    Hat tip to Oxblog, who has a whole post up on the new Secretary of the Army Army Chief of Staff (thanks, Mark...). What caught my eye was an this old CNN story:

    According to a once-secret Army memo, Gen. Peter Jan Schoomaker, who was in charge of a special forces unit at the time, declined to provide an assessment of the FBI plan for the siege of the [Waco] compound.
    Believe it or not, this is good news...

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    • Ryan: Folks, I have seen where people are bashing General Schoomaker, read more
    • Armed Liberal: TJ, note that he was asked to review the plan read more
    • Unlearned Hand: TJ, I think the relevant point is that Schoomaker's unwillingness read more

    Follow the Money - And Take It Away

    By Armed Liberal at 15:46

    In today's L.A. Times (intrusive registration required - use 'laexaminer'/'laexaminer', and you are guaranteed at least two popunder ads every time you visit the darn site), an editorial supporting freezing the assets of the Burmese junta:

    The U.S. Congress is considering tougher measures to freeze the assets of the Myanmar government held in the United States and to bar the country's leaders from traveling here.

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    • Eli Lily: So how do you write and enforce laws to distinguish read more
    • Armed Liberal: That's a tough one; I was thinking about it on read more
    • Richard A. Heddleson: There outta be a law... "While I'm not a fan read more

    Moral Imperialism & the Empire for Liberty

    By Joe Katzman at 11:13

    Noted historian Paul Johnson's essay "From the Evil Empire to the Empire for Liberty" is worth a read (thanks, Pejman). His definition of 'Empire' is historically correct, highly relevant to America and its future, and not at all what you think. Along the way, he also answers Michael Totten's need for a word to replace "colonialism" with respect to intervention in places like the Congo. How about "moral imperialsm?" Take this revealing anecdote from our past:

    "One area where moral imperialism was active was the Persian Gulf. In Arabia, slavery and slaving were endemic, run by the fierce Wahhabi religious sect, whose leaders were the forebears of the Saudi ruling family. The Wahhabis also sponsored piracy in the Indian Ocean, threatening Britain’s trade with India. From the first decade of the nineteenth century, Britain made allies of the Gulf States, such as Bahrain, Qatar, and Muscat, which resisted Wahhabi encroachment, and these allies provided footholds for a local form of moral imperialism which lasted into the oil age."
    Of course, that was a couple hundred years ago, and couldn't possibly be relevant to events today. Johnson's essay is a fascinating journey through our history, from the Greek city states to Britain's empire, America's founding as a child and inheritor of imperialsm, the growth of the Anglosphere, and our challenges post-Sept. 11th.

    UPDATE: Michael Totten responds. Still not satisifed, but emails to say I'm one of the best in the blogosphere for bouncing ideas off of. Thanks! Caerdroia also has some good thoughts, and Abiola has a term of his own to suggest.

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    • Joe Katzman: Andrew, if you had actually followed the link and read read more
    • Andrew Mayo: Moral imperialism? By jingo, what a genius. Imperialism to fight read more

    Jerkin' the Wahhabi Chain

    By Joe Katzman at 06:43

    Speaking of those charming Wahhabis, Kesher Talk's Judith Weiss pointed me to a real blogosphere classic. Apparently, the Saudi religious police have a web site where you can report violations and "un-Islamic" activities. In response, Silflay Hraka has an idea so fiendish and inspired that I forsee medals and honours coming from the Evil Right-Wing Blogosphere Gods.

    Go in the name of the Holy One, Blessed Be He, and help the Wahhabi Islamofascists get their money's worth! Get creative. Flood the zone!

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    • Joe Katzman: I just figured we'd deluge them with crank emails in read more
    • markm: Regrettably, besides not reading or writing arabic, most of us read more
    • Nikita: speaking of our enemies the Saudis, this is good: *The read more

    AfricaPundit's Regional Briefing: 2003-06-11

    By Joe Katzman at 04:18

    June 11/03: This monthly Regional Briefing is brought to you by AfricaPundit, whose site is worth reading on its own. Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays.

    Today's Topics Include: War on Terror developments in the Horn of Africa, Zimbabwe update, good news from Rwanda, the most important thing the West can do for Africa, and beaucoup Congo-related links.

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    • Dan Darling: I believe Fazul Abdullah Mohammed (who is a native read more

    Guest Blog: Lands of Confusion

    By Joe Katzman at 04:00

    Stephen has "issues" with his site (why not join Dean's Blogspot Jihad?), so he asked us to post his excellent comment as a Guest Blog here at Winds of Change.NET. Grappling with the implications of our recent Africa posts linked via Armed Liberal's "Conflict Diamonds" piece, Stephen muses:

    "I find myself, through acculturation and inclination, despising the colonial idea of The White Man's Burden, but that's what this sounds like to me when I say these thoughts out loud. Every fiber in my being screams "racial stereotype" and I don't like it. This is not the time of Kipling. I'm Hawai'ian (among other things), and the whole idea is anathema to the way I was brought up. But something still needs to be done. But what?"
    The whole piece is a fine complement to both AfricaPundit's Regional Briefing today and "After Empire," Theodore Dalrymple's must-read personal account of the dynamics of African underdevelopment...

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    • James: I was sent this article on Western institutions in Africa read more
    • Francis W. Porretto: Please see also this. read more
    • infamouse: Let Africa Sink. I don't agree totally with this essay read more

    Michael Moore: Turnabout Is Fair Play

    By Joe Katzman at 02:11

    Hmm. Seems some folks are out to make a revealing, "Roger & Me" style documentary about... Michael Moore! According to Rachel, the people in charge of "Michael Moore Hates America" are off to a great start.

    Looks like an incipient cult hit to me. I see you shiver with antici........ pation.

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    • g stomberg: m moore must love america because he's put so much read more
    • g stomberg: moore is the best film maker ever and bush is read more
    • 'Michael Moore Hates America' movie fan: Check out a great 411 page for this movie: Michael read more

    June 10, 2003

    42nd Fastest Gun In The West

    By Joe Katzman at 21:19

    Somehow, I'm reminded of The Ballad of Irving. Still, thanks to John Hawkins who ranks Winds of Change.NET as #42 in the Blogosphere Power Rankings. That's short of World Domination or even Matt Yglesias, but having Moxie, Rachel Lucas, Jane Galt, Virginia Postrel, Rantburg and Tacitus as our nearest neighbours is rather nice (keep the power... we'll take the hot neighbours!). Thanks to all our readers and linkers, for helping to make our neighbourhood special.

    UPDATE: Good point. Winds of Change.NET - the answers to Life, the Universe, and Everything.

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    The Ultimate Roadmap: Ethniklashistan

    By Joe Katzman at 13:52

    Palestine, Northern Ireland, Kashmir, cease-fires, peace processes, road maps...Diplomats, politicians and pundits the world over have been and will be arguing those for years. Safe in their new Movable Type-driven home, Sylvain of ChicagoBoyz points us to the hilarious answer to all our problems: Ethniklashistan.

    UPDATE: ...and these people can be charged with mediating disputes. No point arming them, though - guns are evil and encourage violence.

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    Conflict Diamonds: Throwing It All Away

    By Armed Liberal at 05:24

    Joe talks about the Congo and Burma, and generally asks what we will do if we are going to be faced with the Robert Kaplanesque question of what to do with the failing states in The Coming Anarchy? (If you haven't read his bleak book, you should.)

    It seems that we're left with recolonialization on one hand, and a nation-scale version of what a Richard Price character called the 'self-cleaning oven' (in which drugs, disease and violence depopulate the slums of New Jersey) on the other. Joe has pointed out how limited our resources are; the possible options are few and hardly bring confidence. UN troops? Somehow Srebrenica is the image I always have; that and the helpless 'smurfs' of the film 'No Man's Land'.

    But it seems that there is one point of leverage that we in the West have. Cash. I'm not talking about giving it, either; I'm talking about taking it....

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    • Lamar Cole: Just like a rare jewel, some sweethearts are one of read more
    • stever: There are many things that can be done depending on read more
    • Stephen: No criticism meant, A.L. My apologies if it came across read more

    Randinho's Latin America Briefing: 2003-06-10

    By Joe Katzman at 05:08

    June 10/03: Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays. This Regional Briefing focuses on Latin America, courtesy of Randy Paul. You'll notice Randy leans leftward; we think diversity of opinion makes for better briefings.

    Today's Topics include: Castro's bad week, Hugo Chávez's continuing demagoguery in Venezuela, the Chilean economic model, implications of the recent free tade pact for FTAA, and the concerns for Guatemala if Efraín Rios Montt were to become President again...

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    Back in the USSR? The New E.U.

    By Joe Katzman at 04:20

    Long-time Winds of Change.NET readers will recall Steven den Beste and Trent Telenko's previous coverage of the E.U.'s animating spirit and goals. As a follow-up, a fascinating article in the Telegraph entitled "Back in the USSR for the EU's latest members" noted grave issues and alarming developments with respect to the E.U. and political freedoms (Hat Tip: WATCH/). Including this one:

    "This is exactly what our communists did," said a Polish MP as he read the text. "They did not ban elections: we had elections all the time. They did not even ban opposition movements, at least not by the late Seventies. All they did was to ban the dissidents from contesting the elections."
    This matters. A lot. Here's why...

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    • Maxim: i looked up a few things, to clearify the question read more
    • Maxim: i like to see that you at least accept and read more
    • jeanne a e devoto: Maxim, shouting "NO, NO, NO!!!" does not change what the read more

    June 9, 2003

    More Academic Self-Destruction

    By Trent Telenko at 13:55

    I picked this up from the Weekly Standard. We've covered Sami Al-Arian before (see my "money trail" piece, also news, video, revealing wiretaps, Jen's research, Parapundit's roundup) These 'learned men' seem to have a hold on reality that rivals Lyndon Larouche. The key text:

    "To wit: The American Association of University Professors appears inclined to blacklist the University of South Florida (USF) -- by a formal, annual-convention vote of indefinite "censure" this coming Saturday -- as punishment for the steps that school has taken to terminate the employment of Prof. Sami Al-Arian. Whom we have met before, many times, in these pages. And whose decades-long "active extramural interest in Palestinian and Islamic developments," as AAUP investigators have blandly glossed the matter, has lately earned him solitary confinement at the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Sumter County, Florida, pending trial on a detailed, massive, multi-count terrorism-conspiracy indictment."

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    • cj: As a non-faculty employee of an american university for the read more
    • Ray: I am the child of two professors, and I have read more

    The Death of France?

    By Trent Telenko at 12:46 magazine had a symposium titled "The Death of France?" I found it a very interesting and provocative read on the decline of civil order in France. The money passage from the text:...

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    • someone: Trent, you make one mistake. School funding decisions are being read more
    • Armed Liberal: Trent, it's frustrating for me because you manage to leap read more

    Venomous Kate's Winds of War: 2003-06-09

    By Joe Katzman at 11:16

    JUNE 09/03: Welcome! Our goal is to give you one fast, power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the War on Terror every Monday & Thursday that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused. Today's "Winds of War" is brought to you by Venomous Kate of Electric Venom.

    Topics include: gun amnesty in Iraq amid ongoing resistance; radioactive contamination; U.S. Homeland Security's cybersecurity division; renewed attacks attempting to derail the Middle Eastern peace process; and foiled terror attacks in Russia.


  • Colin Powell has taken the media to task for harping that WMDs have not been discovered yet in Iraq. Condoleeza Rice lambasts the press as revisionists who are willfully ignoring numerous reports concerning Saddam's chemical warfare programs, while Powell notes that if the mobile labs he'd discussed in his February 5 briefing at the U.N. were not chemical weapons labs, Iraq would have produced them for U.N. inspectors the very next day to prove their innocence. Meanwhile, former U.N. weapons inspector David Kay says that, although the evidence concerning the use of the labs for chemical weapon production is not "strong," such production was their most likely and most probable use.

  • JK: See also Instapundit's WMD summary from multiple sources, as well as Howard Owens even-handed treatment of "10 Questions About Iraq's WMD"

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  • CENTCOM has declared a 2-week amnesty period for gun owners, but few Iraqis are turning in their weapons.

  • U.S. Army patrols are still trying to clear out pockets of resistance throughout Iraq, but are coming under increasing fire from citizens whose resentment of the continued U.S. presence appears to be increasing.

  • JK: Armed Liberal has his own theory about Saddam's WMD, one that may explain some of the puzzles we face. Was Saddam ripped off as he tried to rebuild his arsenal?

  • Leaders of seven former Iraqi resistance groups have been told that they will not be assuming control over the new Iraqi government because they are too disorganized and fail to adequately represent the Iraqi populace.

  • Desperate for fresh water following Baghdad's power-outages during the war, many Iraqis pressed looted metal barrels into service to transport drinking and bathing water only to learn, weeks later, that those barrels had been used to store radioactive material which is now causing them numerous contamination- related health problems in addition to the cholera and other diseases that Baghdad residents are struggling with as a result of the city's damaged infrastructure.

  • Iran is providing food and health assistance to Iraqis by establishing clinics in an apparent effort to influence their support for an Iranian-backed regime in Iraq.

  • The IAEA has undertaken inspections of Iraq's nuclear sites to discover the extent of the looting.

  • Also in Baghdad, where Saddam's regime provided them with paid housing, thousands of Palestinians are being evicted for failure to pay rent.

  • JK: Bet lots of Iraqis aren't paying much rent these days. The Palestinians were, however, vocal supporters of Saddam. Payback time... at least they weren't ethnically cleansed out of the country, vid. Kuwait 1991.

  • Delays in returning Iraq's oil output to previous levels may lead OPEC to maintain current levels of output elsewhere.

  • Which "cards" have we captured so far? The CENTCOM list. And the visual version of "Ba'ath Poker."

  • The troops are still there. So is the Winds of Change.NET consolidated directory of ways you can support the troops. American, British and Australian. Anyone out there with more information, incl. the Poles and Czechs? [updated April 1, 2003]

  • The Homeland Security Department has launched a controversial new cybersecurity division.

  • A coalition of the nations' mayors has requested additional federal funding for Homeland Security so they can bypass state funding systems.

  • Meanwhile, HSD is coming under increasing fire for failing to adequately protect the nations' ports.

  • JK: LGF has more on Iran and its nuclear weapons program.

  • Israeli Prime Minister Sharon proclaimed that Israel must make concessions to the Palestinians to achieve peace, but vowed they would never be allowed a "right of return" into Israel proper.

  • Several Palestinian groups have meanwhile pledged to continue their attacks on Israelis, apparently annoyed that their "resistance" has been labelled as terrorism. Mere hours after this proclamation, members of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade launched an attack on an Israeli army post and killed four Israeli soldiers, while further violence erupted in Hebron.

  • JK: Meanwhile, the PA "Prime Minister" categorically refuses to use force against Hamas or Hizbollah under any circumstances.

  • A previously unknown group, al-Saiqa (the thunderbolt), has claimed responsibility for the bombings in Casablanca, but denies targeting civilians whose deaths it blames on a "government spy."

  • France has arrested a German national, who converted to Islam, in connection with 9/11 bombings as well as a bombing at a Tunisian synagogue.

  • Russian authorities claim to have foiled a terrorist plan to detonate truck bombs in St. Petersburg last week at a meeting attended by several world leaders, including President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

  • Thailand's Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is publicly aligning his country with the U.S. led war on terrorism, marking a dramatic change in that country's participation. He will begin by holding meetings with President Bush this week.

  • We try to close on a lighter note if possible. So, here's a possible solution to terrorism: provide them with ShotCaller2000 phones and blast away. If you found something here you want to blog about yourself (and we hope you do), all we ask is that you do as we do and offer a Hat Tip hyperlink to today's "Winds of War". Thanks for reading!

    « ok, I'm done now

  • It's No Fun Being An Illegal Alien

    By Joe Katzman at 08:58

    Victor Davis Hanson is also a California farmer, so when he writes about Mexican illegals he does so from long acquaintance. "The Universe of the Illegal Alien" is Hanson at his best, combining the narrative skill and logos that make him a prize-winning historian and columnist with a keen eye for inner states and telling details. That eye is turned on both the immigrants themselves and the land they come to, blending optimism and celebration with remorseless realism to produce a balanced and human portrait of illegal Mexican aliens in the USA.

    This article doesn't fit any ideological template I know. Which is just one of the reasons why you should read it.

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    Ashcroft: Amicus for Slave Labour?!?

    By Joe Katzman at 04:49

    Oxblog wants us to "flood the zone" on Myanmar. Fine - have we got a doozy for you. On Friday, Armed Liberal ran a story about business lobby groups opposing sanctions against this regime and others. Meanwhile, Randy of Beautiful Horizons broke a story that needs more attention on the Right side of the aisle.

    John Ashcroft has filed an amicus brief seeking to get Unocal off the hook for using forced labor in the construction of an oil pipeline in Myanmar, one of the world's most despotic regimes. More commentary can be found here. As for my take...

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    June 8, 2003

    10 Questions about Iraq's WMD

    By Joe Katzman at 19:01

    Howard Owens asks 10 key questions about Saddam's WMD program and the failure to find evidence thus far. What makes his post so unusual is that he then gives the Yes, No and sometimes even the Maybe answers for each question. A cool, rational outline of the current debate, motivated by interest in the issue not partisanship. Very well done.

    UPDATE: Instapundit has a more partisan roundup of posts on this issue. Partisan, but excellent and compelling.

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    • clue: And, sigh, that was supposed to be "idiotic". read more
    • clue: That's funny, I was just about to suggest that as read more
    • Dean Esmay: The best thing about Glenn's roundup? His use of the read more

    Congo: The Roots - and The Trap

    By Joe Katzman at 09:31

    On Friday, I analyzed the situation in the Congo, where a couple million people may well be dead from the ravages of ethnic warfare, unrelenting banditry, and the secondary effects of that situation. The U.N. has had peacekeepers there since 1998, of course, to predictably little effect. Could the USA help (nope, no capacity left)? What was the history of recent stabilization attempts in Africa, and what do they teach us (mixed, be serious or begone)? What would success require (20,000-50,000 internatrional troops, with serious fire support and a no-guff attitude)? Would the "international community" step up to serious responsibility (that's the big question).

    Coincidentally, Michael Totten chimed in with a pretty good piece of his own: "The Globalization of Chaos". To really understand what's going on, however, you also need to delve into the history of the area. Flit doesn't think much of Andrew Sullivan's cited analysis. In its place, however, he does an outstanding job tracing the present situation from its roots 40 years ago, to its entanglement in the Rwandan genocide and the U.N.'s role in facilitating same, to the present and its shifting set of players, and finally the economic connections to Tantalum, a metal used in the production of electronics. If you're serious about the Congo, this set of blog posts are must-reads.

    "Not Joining the Congo Line," also argues that active U.N. intervention in the Congo would undermine every one of the principles it claims to stand for, and Flit may have a good case here. Intervention would have seismic consequences, starting with the U.N. but not ending there by any means...

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    • Phil Winsor: Gary: One small difference between Israel today and the Congo read more
    • Warren Eckels: If it took minutes or hours, it would be done read more
    • Joe Katzman: Gsry, if you're making the beginnings of a moral argument, read more

    June 7, 2003

    Get Fit!

    By Joe Katzman at 22:22

    If you're thinking about it now that warmer weather is here, LaughingWolf has some tips.

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    Humanity In The Desert

    By Joe Katzman at 19:49

    "Chief Wiggles" from Fort Carson works with Iraqi prisoners. You wouldn't think that would make for a lot of good-news stories, but read his blog and you might change your mind. I'm not going to even try blogger permalinks - just head over and keep reading.

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    Sufi Wisdom: Different Strokes For...

    By Joe Katzman at 04:51

    As militant Islam does its level best to discredit the religion, it's important to remember that there are other voices within the faith. One such is the Sufis, a branch of Islamic mystics who live islam (submission), iman (faith) and ishan (awareness of G-d, "to act beautifully"). Every Saturday, therefore, we spend some time with the Sufis' "crazy wisdom."

    Idries Shah was certainly someone who lived the Sufi way. He recounted this tale in 1977, while being interviewed for the article "Grand Sheikh of the Sufis":

    "An old traditional Sufi used to dress his disciples in patchwork cloaks and have them carry a beggar’s bowl and repeat certain formulae in order to concentrate their minds. He recommended that they eat mulberries off a certain tree.

    One day somebody said to him, "Suppose you went to a country where they didn't have patchwork, and you couldn't dress your disciples in cloaks. Suppose the seed coconut from which beggars' bowls are traditionally made was not available. Suppose mulberries were considered unlucky and suppose these repetitions which you require were considered socially undesirable. What would you do under those circumstances?"

    And he said, "Ah, well, if I were under those circumstances, I would have to get myself a totally different kind of disciple!"

    Sufi tales all contain multiple lessons, and they can be unpacked on multiple levels. What is this tale trying to say to us?

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    • Joe Katzman: I've got to find a way to bring you 2 read more
    • Phil Winsor: I agree with most of Graham's comments, but would add: read more
    • Graham Lester: Since I appreciate the ecumenical spirit behind your Saturday tradition, read more

    Good News!! ...No, Great News!!

    By Armed Liberal at 03:43

    In keeping with Joe's desire for good news on a Sabbath Friday, I got an wonderful email today from Dave Trowbridge, author of the Redwood Dragon blog (and a few novels!). he and his partner Deborah (also a novelist of some renown) were among the first people in the blog community that I had a chance to meet.

    About the good news...go take a look for yourself.

    Congratulations to Dave and the lovely and talented Deborah!!

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    June 6, 2003


    By Armed Liberal at 23:55

    I didn't put anything up today to commemorate D-Day, because I assumed one of the others would; I'm sure the entire team did the same thing. So I'll jump in.

    Today, the Allied nations took a risk that changed the world. They faced a frightening world that promised struggle, loss, and death to all of Europe and Asia. They took that bleak promise, conquered it, and created the most free and prosperous era in human history.

    One of the discoveries we've made in the last year or so is that our world is no less challenging; now we need to show that we, too, can rise to the occasion.

    Supporting Veterans is one way; sadly the current Administration seems to see it differently.

    Someone ought to do something about that.

    JK UPDATES: Correct diagnosis of what was going on. Glad A.L. stepped in. In addition:

  • CPO Sparkey has a post of his own about D-Day, including Eisenhower's pre-battle address to the troops.

  • LaughingWolf has his own post, also worth a read.

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    • Alexander: Something I've learned from the Navy: "If it ain't in read more
    • clue: I'm a little reluctant to bravely hoist the "What Liberal read more
  • Engine Charlie Wilson Is Alive...

    By Armed Liberal at 23:29

    In today, a business group comes out against sanctions to support Aung San Suu Kyi:

    New sanctions against Myanmar, where pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been detained for a week, would do nothing to force the government to relinquish power, a U.S. business coalition said Friday.


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    • M. Simon: If the War On Some Drugs is a not valid read more
    • Joe Katzman: Interesting tidbit - Charlie Wilson's actual quote isn't the same read more
    • wretchard: Sanctions will have little or no effect on the Burmese read more

    Rooking Saddam

    By Armed Liberal at 20:33

    Stephen Den Beste has an essay up (I can't bring myself to call them posts...) on Saddam's WMD efforts that reinforces my point about WMD and bad management.

    SDB: "I just stumbled on a report that offers an interesting point which might help explain just what happened with the apparently-missing Iraqi WMDs: the ones they did have were actually mostly destroyed, and in their frantic attempts to acquire the materials necessary to produce new ones, they ended up tossing money around like a drunken sailor, and got ripped off."
    Check out the rest. It goes a long way to answering my two questions on the subject:
    SDB: "I think that it isn't that they voluntarily disarmed; it's that they tried to acquire the stuff they needed to rebuild their stockpiles and got rooked, again and again."
    That pretty neatly answers:
    AL: "...two things (both of which get trumped if they actually find the Secret Underground WMD Factories) - why Saddam would risk war to hide weapons he knew he didn't have, and why Bush would risk lying about something so crucial, when it would be impossible for the lie not to get caught."

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    • Phil Winsor: This is a real possibility, but just to take the read more
    • rc5: I've never known a buerocrat to admit that the sand read more
    • Tom Roberts: Like in the "emperor has no clothes", the emperor can't read more

    Fortuna, Be A Lady Tonight...

    By Armed Liberal at 15:26

    I'm not sure if I'm proud or ashamed... I'm one of the winners of Oxblog's 'Political Theory Pickup Lines' contest.

    In light of the recent scandals, however, and in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I cribbed part of it. I was once at a small restaurant in Santa Cruz with a date, also a political theory student, when we heard the smarmy chap at the next table croon to his date:

    "I just want to go home with you, sit in front of the fire. sip some chardonnay, and discuss Wittgenstein's warm humanism."...

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    • Armed Liberal: lightning - I bow in shame. I can't believe I read more
    • lightning: (Insert witty remark about Wittgenstein's poker.) read more
    • Joe Katzman: I would think anything that went beyond surfer slang might read more

    U.S. Military: No Blood for Congo

    By Joe Katzman at 08:50

    Actually, this post isn't about willingness at all. It's about the saying above as literal truth: no new blood left. When we look at the U.S. military and its commitments in Iraq, current peacekeeping missions, and Korean contingency forces - they're more than fully booked right now (Hat Tip: One Hand Clapping, who also has a great quote).

    So, what are the implications for the Congo? We'll start by defining "fully booked"...

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    • Candace: One of the problems that the UN faces in dealing read more
    • angua: wretchard, I can't speak for Japan or New Zealand, but read more
    • Phil Winsor: The UN's inability to act: What it boils down to read more

    48 Ways to Wisdom - Way #21: Laughter

    By Joe Katzman at 07:29

    An Orthodox Jewish Rabbi wrote this series in such a way that they retain their value no matter what creed you follow. Think of it as a gentle way of sharing a community's long history of accumulated wisdom.

    This installment is all about laughter - understanding its dynamics, and using its cutting edge to gain perspective and defuse tension. On a deeper level, he says, laughter teaches us how G-d interacts with the world.

    UPDATE: Here's a relevant example from Israel. "Only In Israel" indeed.

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    New Feature: Regional Briefings

    By Joe Katzman at 07:01

    "Winds of War" is popular as a quick update on the "stuff that matters" in the War on Terror. But what about the wider world? Winds of Change.NET is going to begin featuring monthly Regional Briefings on Tuesdays & Wednesdays to provide a fast, convenient summary of significant and interesting events shaping these areas. It's a good cross-promotion opportunity for specialist blogs with real background in a specific area - though we also accept talented non-bloggers. The June roster is:

  • June 4 (Yesterday): Robi Sen's South Asia briefing covers the Indian subcontinent and the ASEAN nations like Indonesia, Malaysia, et. al.
  • June 10: Randinho's Latin America Briefing. Yes, I know he leans leftward. I'm interested in a diversity of viewpoints for our briefings.
  • June 11: AfricaPundit's Africa Briefing.
  • June 17: Gweilo's China Briefing.
  • June 18: Hushoor's Korea Briefing.
  • June 25: Zogby's Roadmap Roundup deals with Israel and its neighbours.As you can see from the selections, this is about merit and quality above all. So, if you think you can do a great job with any of these briefings, now's the time to write in to Joe and tell us why.

    I'm also wondering what interest would be like in Regional Briefings for Europe (incl. Russia); and Central Asia (the "-stans" and Afghanistan). Do you want these? Is this something Winds of Change.NET should be doing? Let us know via the Comments section.

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    • Brad: Coverage and analysis of Chechnya. read more
    • Michael J. Totten: I never get to read about the Stans. Yes, by read more
  • June 5, 2003

    Dan's Winds of War: 2003-06-05

    By Joe Katzman at 13:52

    June 5/03: Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused.

    Today's "Winds of War" is brought to you with the help of Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis. Topics include military action, demonstrations, found money, recommendations on next steps from a former human shield, and WMD in Iraq; plus Korean troop deployments, Iranian fragmentation, a Saudi "Qaeda Nostra" family, the Roadmap, Kashmir's dirty little secret, and efforts by al-Qaeda abroad to reconstruct itself - esp. in the Phillipines.


  • Ken Joseph, the Assyrian Minister & human shield who changed his mind, is back in Iraq. What he's hearing is very different - and very interesting. His recommendations from Iraqis are sensible and urgent.

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  • Victor Davis Hanson comments on "Lessons of the War" - or at least an early view.

  • There was another attack on US forces in Baghdad today that injured 2 US soldiers outside of the Abu Hanifa Mosque. This latest attack may in fact have been commented on by Salam Pax.

  • The Americans are beginning serious shows of force in Ba'athist strongholds like Fallujah and Habaniyah.

  • On which topic, it seems rumours have their uses. Frank Zappa once gave the same advice to Ozzy Osbourne.

  • Ever wonder what's being done with all those found stashes of money? Armed Liberal has your report - from, of all places, a motorcycle magazine.

  • Which "cards" have we captured so far? The CENTCOM list. And the visual version of "Ba'ath Poker."

  • Donald Sensing on the controversy about troop levels, pre-war and post-war.

    And Beyond...

  • As A.L. notes, Tom Friedman's latest column about the 4 reasons for the war on Iraq (the real reason, the right reason, the moral reason and the stated reason) is brilliant.

  • Re: the moral reason - a mass grave for children. Many of them still clutching their dolls when they died.

  • It appears at least some of the Iraqi WMD program was carried out through the application of dual-use facilities according to a former scientist.

  • CPO Sparkey has a whole series of links on the search for WMDs in Iraq, along with a reminder that the Clinton Administration strongly believed this too. Heretical Ideas explains why it all matters. Me, I say inspections should be given more time to work...

  • The former employees of the Iraqi Information Ministry aren't the only ones angry and unemployed. Thousands of former Iraqi soldiers and disgruntled tribesmen are protesting the US presence, now that the Iraqi Army has been disbanded.

  • The troops are still there. So is the Winds of Change.NET consolidated directory of ways you can support the troops. American, British and Australian. Anyone out there with more information, incl. the Poles and Czechs? [updated April 1, 2003]

  • Certain names keep popping up in the most unlikely of places when it comes to al-Qaeda operatives. Like a bad penny, the Saudi al-Ghamdi name just keeps turning up - and Dan Darling brings you the goods on them.

  • Intel Dump has an very good analysis of the proposed military redeployments in South Korea. Spoken from someone who served there.

  • Interesting moves by NATO re: Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Excellent RAND analysis of the fragmented decision-making in Iran. Makes for a complicated situation.

  • Rev. Sensing on the Israeli-Palestinian Roadmap: the 3 words from Bush that make all the difference.

  • The dilemma: do we believe Bassem Eid, or this Pew poll? (Hat tip: WATCH/) The success of the Roadmap depends entirely on which is true, and this Yahoo story about Palestinian children is not reassuring.

  • The trial of Jemaah Islamiyyah leader Imam Samudra is apparently quite a spectacle in Indonesia.

  • Intel Dump notes that more than just spectacle is going on the the Philippines. Dan Darling has more.

  • Kashmir's dirty little sectret: local warfare for fun and profit.

  • It appears that al-Qaeda is once again trying to reconstruct itself in an effort to attack the US, possibly using new training facilities to replenish its cannon fodder.

  • Meanwhile, American university student Oubai Mohammad Shahbandar has an open letter that's worth your time.

  • We try to close on a lighter note if possible. Vodkapundit's "Osama Bin Laden Swing Set" qualifies.If you find something here you want to blog about yourself (and we hope you do), all we ask is that you do as we do and offer a Hat Tip hyperlink to today's "Winds of War".

    « ok, I'm done now

  • A CIA Veteran Discusses Foreign Analysis

    By Joe Katzman at 09:47

    Ray at Pseudorandom Thoughts is one of the few other blogs out there that I would expect to find citing "Studies in Intelligence" magazine. If you're a blogger or a writer, and you're serious about doing good analysis of foreign events and cultures, veteran CIA analyst Martin Petersen has some excellent and detailed advice. His audience is tougher, which means his tips for success are well honed....

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    On Property

    By Armed Liberal at 06:43

    Here's a great quote, which will probably make steam come out the ears of the Samizdata types:

    The crucial point to understand is that property is not a physical thing that can be photographed or mapped. Property is not a primary quality of assets but the legal expression of an economically meaningful consensus about assets. Law is the instrument that fixes and realized capital. In the West, the law is less concerned with representing the physical realities of buildings or real estate than with providing a process or rules that will allow society to extract potential surplus value from those assets. Property is not the assets themselves, but the consensus between people as to how these assets should be held, used, or exchanged. The challenge today in most non-Western countries is not to put all the nation's land and buildings on the same map (which has probably already been done) but to integrate the formal legal conventions inside the bell jar with the extralegal ones outside it.
    Just finished reading De Soto's The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else. For the four people who read blogs and haven't heard of this book, Hernando De Soto is a Peruvian economist who is very concerned with issues of development in the Third World, and who points out that there is substantial wealth in the underground economies, and that if there was a way to bring those econonomies into the mainstream, very good things would happen.

    Read this book!

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    Imprimis: The American Media in Wartime

    By Joe Katzman at 06:31

    Hillsdale College consistently gets the most amazing speakers, then puts their speeches on the web under the "Imprimis" banner. Trent Telenko alerted the team to "The American Media in Wartime" (starting in July 2003, use this link instead). A quick excerpt...

    "This level of imperviousness to reality is remarkable. It is consistent and it continues over time. I think about this phenomenon a lot. I worry and wonder about the fact that so many people can get things so wrong, so badly, so often, so consistently and so repeatedly. And I think that there are ideas lurking under the surface that help to explain why this happens."
    Brit Hume has twice been voted "best in the business" by the American Journalism Review. I have to say, he makes some very good points.

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    Truth, Lies & Cork Filler

    By Joe Katzman at 05:58

    Forget Iraqi WMDs and al-Qaeda... how about important issues, like Sammy Sosa and his corked bat? I must admit, when I first heard his claim about accidentally using a batting practice bat, I thought: "b----t!" All 76 of his bats were confiscated at the time, however, and X-Rays show all 76 are legit. So was the bat used to hit Home Run #498.

    What this means is that Sosa might actually be telling the truth here. He'll still get a 10-game suspension, of course. As he should.

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    Letter from an American Arab Student

    By Joe Katzman at 05:54

    Oubai Mohammad Shahbandar, an American university student born in Syria, has an open letter that's worth your time (Hat Tip: Diana Moon):

    "They have never known the humiliation of living under the iron rule of an Islamic despotism. I have. They have never tasted the cruel bitterness of forced silence in the shadows of a dictatorship. I have. They have never seen the face of evil. I have. For I was born and raised in Syria, the country enslaved by Hafez El-Assad. I was one of the fortunate victims of this tyranny because my family was able to emigrate to American a land of freedom. Yet in the free universities of this country legitimacy is bestowed on the very forces that oppress my former countrymen and I am instructed to be compassionate towards my own oppressors and to be hostile to the country that has liberated me..."
    You'll never hear this from CAIR or the MSA. Hopefully, post-Iraq Oubai's attitude will be contagious. Says Diana: "where there's one, there's more."

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    The Most Surprising Places...

    By Armed Liberal at 00:18

    Roadracing World (motorcycle racing magazine) has an e-mail from a soldier in Iraq on their website.

    I did have a very rewarding experience, though. Each unit has $25K captured currency from the regime that we must use to do projects that will improve the community. The theory is a series of small victories will help us win over the people. So we provided supplies, AC's, and other necessities to a school and two orphanages.
    Sure sounds like someone is paying attention to 'hearts and minds'.

    Motorcycle road racing and world political much better can it get?

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    June 4, 2003

    Friedman Today

    By Armed Liberal at 23:31

    Remember how I said that Thomas Freidman vacillates between genius and incoherence? Go over to the NYTimes right now, and read some of the former:

    ...Because there were actually four reasons for this war: the real reason, the right reason, the moral reason and the stated reason.
    (fixed the link; thanks, Dan!)

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    • Armed Liberal: Yes, many blogs - including mine - made the same read more
    • Katherine: This is not exactly news. That this was the main read more
    • Joe Katzman: Tom Friedman, the Kelvim Escobar of the New York Times. read more


    By Armed Liberal at 18:38

    A great comment by Francis W. Porretto (of the Palace of Reason blog):

    Military analysts use the word "threat" to describe a possible adversary's capabilities, without reference to his intentions. If our intentions were as bad as many of the world's horror regimes, we'd use our fantastic power to make ourselves slaveowners over the whole world. Hell, if our intentions were even as bad as those of the Chirac Administration, the world would be in for a very rough ride.

    Since there's absolutely no chance that America will ever deliberately diminish herself militarily just to make other regimes comfortable, all we can do is promote our intentions. This will be a matter of both words and deeds, and the congruence between them.


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    • Anticipatory Retaliation: I've met precious few who actually did. I only managed read more
    • Stephen: Thanks, AR. I stand corrected. My understanding of rationality in read more
    • Anticipatory Retaliation: You misunderstand, perhaps, the meaning of "rationality" in classical economics. read more

    Special Analysis: The Al-Ghamdi Family

    By Joe Katzman at 13:07

    by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis

    Some warbloggers like myself tend to notice certain names that keep popping up in the most unlikely of places when it comes to al-Qaeda operatives. The webmasters over at Rantburg and Alphabet City certainly do. Like a bad penny, the al-Ghamdi name just keeps turning up...

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    • Al Ghamdi: [Drive-by. Conspiracy cr*p deleted. Thread closed. And God bless you! read more
    • Khalid: Are all the al ghamidis related to each other some read more
    • Ali Alghamdi: Actually Alghamdi tribe is not a small family that read more

    Real Men Wear Pantyhose!

    By Trent Telenko at 12:48

    This was too much fun not to share. It looks like Klinger of M.A.S.H. fame was only 50 years early...

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    • Several: [Sorry -- as JK said, this thread is closed. Any read more
    • GiPH: [Sorry, GiPH, we're not that kind of site. You're banned. read more
    • Joe Katzman: You know, there's a part of me that wants to read more

    Robi's South Asia Briefing: 2003-06-04

    By Joe Katzman at 08:36

    June 4/03: The War on Terrorism is a World War. While most of the world focuses on the Middle East, Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups retreat to South America, Africa and especially Asia where several counter insurgency conflicts continue.

    This monthly Regional Briefing will focus on South Asia, courtesy of Robi Sen. Today we cover Israeli technology to India, shifting alliances on the sub-continent, Islamic terrorism throughout SE Asia, and a superb historical book that offers insights into the current War on Terror...

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    • Arthur: Robi ... you know, every time I read one of read more

    North Korea's Soylent Green

    By Trent Telenko at 04:17

    I ran across this article on the Free Republic Web site. It is a series of interviews with escapees from North Korea reporting the outbreak of widespread human cannibalism. I don't know the credibility of the english language Japanese source, but it looks good and makes for chilling reading.

    This passage hit me square between the eyes....

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    • Tricia: Trent, I linked over from "Gweilo Diaries" The disregard read more
    • Phil Winsor: Francis: I don't think NK possession of nukes made much read more
    • Francis W. Porretto: I renew my prediction that, barring a sudden failure of read more

    A-10 Revisited: Warthogs & Hogwash

    By Joe Katzman at 04:02

    Last week, Winds of Change.NET featured 2 posts critical of the USAF's decision to phase out the A-10 "Warthog" ground attack aircraft (Air Force Myopia: A-10's End? | Sic Transit Warthog). Gen. Hal Hornburg responds to the NY Times article that started it all with a letter to the Editor. He concludes with:

    "The capability the A-10 brings to the joint force is one of our top priorities, so much so that we are building a concept of operations that will ensure that every one of our Air Force weapons-delivering aircraft will possess the capability to conduct close air support in the most demanding threat environments."
    With respect, sir, this is hogwash...

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    • Mark Buehner: Armor without infantry support is easy prey for light infantry read more
    • Kaseman: The A10 is a much better option than even choppers read more
    • David Perron: Unless I'm way behind the times, LockMart is working on read more


    By Armed Liberal at 00:24

    I typically commute around the traffic-choked Los Angeles basin by motorcycle; today, I was following a Subaru with "No Blood for Oil" and "War is not the Answer" bumper stickers. I had just finished the uncharitable thought that putting "No Blood for Oil" bumper stickers on cars seems kind of like an oxymoron, when we came to a red light and I pulled next to the car.

    The driver, a woman my age (middle), rolled down her window and gestured at me.


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    • gerald garvey: I used to commute by bicycle about an hour each read more
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    • J S Allison: Sounds like the idea that one should be able to read more

    June 3, 2003

    Tom Friedman Wants You to Tell Him...

    By Armed Liberal at 15:36

    Thomas Friedman, who frustratingly cycles between brilliance and incoherence (hey, who am I to talk...I manage the incoherence part pretty well) has an interesting 'theory of everything' column up (hat tip to Atrios):

    During the 1990's, America became exponentially more powerful ... economically, militarily and technologically ... than any other country in the world, if not in history. Broadly speaking, this was because the collapse of the Soviet empire, and the alternative to free-market capitalism, coincided with the Internet-technology revolution in America. The net effect was that U.S. power, culture and economic ideas about how society should be organized became so dominant (a dominance magnified through globalization) that America began to touch people's lives around the planet ... "more than their own governments," as a Pakistani diplomat once said to me. Yes, we began to touch people's lives ... directly or indirectly ... more than their own governments.


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    • roulette: 2268 read more
    • Tom Roberts: You can also get the gory US defense stats, to read more
    • Anticipatory Retaliation: My numbers are from the US State Department, Bureau of read more

    Performance Art With A Point

    By Joe Katzman at 10:39

    A very sharp one, in the case of Damali Ayo's "Rent-A-Negro" web site. Very funny, and conveys a tough message both clearly and well. As The Washington Post notes:

    bq. "Ayo says she got the idea for the piece after years of being in all-white settings, fielding questions from people wanting to touch her hair, and playing the role of cultural ambassador."

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    U.S. Military: What's Next

    By Joe Katzman at 10:14

    Weekend Pundit reminds us about several weapon systems in the Pentagon's pipeline. Each offers a piece of the technological puzzle represented by the term "transformation." Each has strengths and limitations, too, which will be hotly debated. Still, it's a good introduction. As WP puts it: "prepare to be amazed."

    Still, each weapon will also have to find its way into practice and changed doctrine before it can make a real difference. In that critical respect, it's no different than the new technology you sometimes see at work. What matters is how it's used, how it matches needs on the ground, and how it fits into new and more effective ways of doing things. Otherwise, it can easily become a waste.

    What does that mean for a military, exactly? For a very detailed (and sometimes quite technical) look, you'll want to read this set of after-action reviews by the U.S. Marines in the wake of Gulf War II. How their gear performed, what they need, what worked, what didn't.

    UPDATE: Maj. Donald Sensing (ret.) looks into the Marines' AAR and focuses in on infantry rifle combat in Gulf War II. How has it changed over the last 50 years?

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    • Anticipatory Retaliation: IF you want a genuinely WOW weapons system, the *small read more
    • KevinM: The orginal PDF can be found at: *HERE* it's the read more

    File Sharing & The Limits of Control

    By Joe Katzman at 07:15

    Every technology can be used in good and bad ways. Cigar-sized USB storage devices are handy and convenient. As this article notes, they're handy and convenient for other things like kiddie porn and criminal files as well.

    This is an interesting harbinger in a couple of ways. On the one hand, it's just one more development that law enforcement needs to consider. Thus it has ever been, of course, and there are many ways to work around or even with this development. I'm sure they'll figure it out.

    It's also one more piece of evidence that the effort to stop file-sharing is essentially useless, unless technology is built with so many lockdowns and surveillance modes in it that it becomes a threat to freedom generally. As SparcVark put it:

    "I think what's happening here is that RIAA is coming up against the philosophical issue of limits of control. Like it or not, they're competing against file piracy. Barring a totalitarian state, file sharing will continue. It's too difficult to lock down entirely without the collusion of OS programmers and the like."
    Which does indeed describe the Orwellian vision of the RIAA et. al., and makes recent moves like the recent Microsoft/AOL settlement worthy of our attention as potential stepping-stones along that path. As Armed Liberal correctly notes, Self-policing has its limits.

    What RIAA seeks is not only a threat to our well-being and liberties in and of itself; it is also an ideal enabler of far greater threats once implemented. Industry self-policing won't protect us, and the political system hasn't shown much interest either. Citizens will need to change that, or forfeit an important part of our future.

    In an age where technology developments and the logic of "Cyberocracy" are breaking down the traditional barriers between public and private, governments are not the only source of serious regulatory-type threats to our freedoms. That's a difficult argument for some conservatives to swallow, but it's where the logic of events and devlopments is pushing us. This dawning recognition will be one more tectonic slip in the political realignments that are rearranging left and right.

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    • Joe Katzman: This can be accomplished in many ways, legislation being just read more
    • Annoying Old Guy: Absent new laws, what exactly can the RIAA do to read more

    Pinning Down the Differences

    By Armed Liberal at 01:32

    In the comments section on Good/Bad Liberals, commenter Jonathan brought up a point which I characterized as 'dumb leftism', but something I do want to go into a bit more, because I think it helps define the faultline between the Left and Right pretty neatly.

    Basically it comes down to this. Adam Smith and Marx both talk about the hypothetical 'pin factory', in which workers make pins. Hypothesize for a minute a pin entrepreneur, who invests a machine - or a process - whereby the productivity of the five workers goes from 100 pins/hour to 200 pins/hour.

    Who gets the additional 100 pins?

    In college, I asked a doctrinaire Marxist economics professor (a fairly notable writer in the area...)exactly this question. His reply?

    "Well, imagine that I'm a really good machine thief, and I can steal the machine that the factory uses to make 200 pins/hour, and reduce the productivity to 100 pins/hour. What portion of those 100 pins do I get to keep?"

    I still remember my initial response: "You're kidding, right?"

    He wasn't.

    I believed then, and believe now, that it's actually a somewhat complicated question...but that there's no question that there's no comparison between a pin machine inventor and a pin machine thief.

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    • Donovan Janus: Why is the question complicated? Assuming that the workers do read more
    • Robert Crawford: Ideally, the machine thief "keeps" only the portion of taxes read more

    June 2, 2003

    Dan's Winds of War: 2003-06-02

    By Joe Katzman at 18:00

    JUNE 2/03: Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror every Monday & Thursday. We aim to stimulate, inform, and occasionally amuse. If you find something here you want to blog about yourself (and we hope you do), all we ask is that you offer a Hat Tip hyperlink to today's "Winds of War". Welcome!

    Today's Captain of our "Winds of War" feature is Dan Darling. Dan's regular blog is Regnum Crucis.

    TO IRAQ...

  • The recent round of guerrilla attacks against US forces may well be more organized than has previously been considered. ICT's report "The Iraqi Mujahideen: A foothold for al-Qaeda" explains the formal alliance between former Baathists and al-Qaeda in the formation of Kiada al-Makauma ve al-Tahrir al-Iraqiyyah, the Iraqi Resistance and Liberation Front.

  • The recent round attacks on US forces in Iraq have killed another US soldier today. The reactions of Iraqis in this article to gun control proposals are interesting.

  • Why are Missing WMD like Bad Software? Armed Liberal explains his theory.

  • Dean Esmay finds himself shocked to be linking a Rush Limbaugh interview, but consoles himself that it's with Victor Davis Hanson.

  • Salam Pax finds himself shocked to be dining with a representative of Britain's Guardian, but consoles himself with the thought of his own column.

  • There was a notable pro-US demonstration today in Baghdad to thank American troops for freeing their country.

  • Saddam's ties to terrorism. And Al-Jazeera's.

  • It appears that yet another rumor of Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf's survival is currently traveling through the UK press. Meanwhile, the "Information Minister's" former employees are none too happy with the US for abolishing Saddam Hussein's former propaganda ministry.

  • Which "cards" have we captured so far? The CENTCOM list. And the visual version of "Ba'ath Poker." Meanwhile, Boomshock has a tally of our best poker hands.

  • The troops are still there. So is the Winds of Change.NET consolidated directory of ways you can support the troops. American, British and Australian. Anyone out there with more information, incl. the Poles and Czechs? [updated April 1, 2003]

  • Al-Qaeda is training in Southeast Asia again, once again employing the services of their affiliate Moro Islamic Liberation Front to counter the loss of their Afghan camps.

  • The traditional image of the Iranian reformists as portrayed in the media is one of people who would seek to reshape the Islamic Republic if only given the opportunity to do so. But is this truly the case? Mahan Abedin doesn't think so and argues to that effect in "The Origins of Iran's Reformist Elite" in which he traces back the history of Khatami and his colleagues.

  • You could also listen to team member Iraniangirl's thoughts from Tehran.

  • Al-Qaeda's new head of training Abu Mohammed al-Ablaj recently sent an E-Mail to the Saudi magazine al-Majallah, which drew wide attention after some media outlets reported that the organization planned to use sarin gas to poison the US water supply. Most experts dismissed as impossible. After reading a more detailed summary of the interview provided to me by Robert from Alphabet City, it becomes clear that he plans to use sarin gas and poison our water supply, not use sarin gas to poison our water supply. Also, while the media reports surrounding al-Ablaj's remarks all noted his reference to sarin, almost none noted his rationale for al-Qaeda assistance to Saddam Hussein's regime.

  • The USA is looking at reshuffling its troops in Asia. In particular, moving the US Army from Seoul to bases farther south by October 2003.

  • We try to close on a lighter note if possible. Lt. Smash's post on the Bin Laden Bake Sale certainly qualifies.

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    • clue: Interesting reading: PW: I mean, without that perception of threat, read more
    • Robi: Here is something worth reading! *Wolfowitz Highlights Saddam Hussein's Terrorist read more
    • Robi: I actually have been keeping a list of titles about read more
  • Africa AIDS Bill Passes

    By Joe Katzman at 06:58

    Good news time... Tom Walsh explains how individuals on the Left and Right contributed to shaping this bill, which substantially intensifies U.S. efforts to fight AIDS in Africa. It also adopts a number of provisions aimed at AIDS' cultural, as well as its medical context. Bob Geldof isn't the only one who thinks this is revolutionary.

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    Guest Blog: Who's Hanging Out In Iran?

    By Joe Katzman at 05:32

    Dan Darling, whose regular blog is Regnum Crucis, also Captains today's "Winds of War" feature.

    Special Analysis: So Who's hanging out in Iran?
    by Dan Darling

    As readers are no doubt already aware of, in recent weeks the Bush administration has taken Iran to task for its support for al-Qaeda as well as its budding nuclear weapons program. The Iranians have issued pious denials, but the evidence in this case pretty much speaks for itself.

    So what is the current extent of Iranian support for al-Qaeda? We honestly don't know, but the Sydney Morning herald has reported that a number of the group's leadership are living it up on a military base run by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. Among those leaders said to be in Iran are Saif al-Adel and Mahfouz Ould Walid, the organization's top military commander and theologian, Abu Mohammed al-Masri, the mastermind of the 1998 bombings of US Embassies in Africa, global operations chief Abu Musab Zarqawi, the remnants of Ansar al-Islam, and Osama bin Laden's family, including his heir apparent, Saad. There is also at least one al-Qaeda training camp that has been spotted in Iran.

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    Good Liberals/Bad Liberals?

    By Armed Liberal at 00:12

    I've been following the "good liberal/bad liberal" thread with some interest (and not a little amusement) for a while, not only on this blog, but in the broader world of political commentary.

    First, let me suggest that it had definitely been a tactic of the Right to suggest that "love it or leave it" is the best policy, and that "love it" means "my country, right or wrong", so sit back, shut up, and hang on. I'm sure that Joe, and even Trent, in more reflective moments will acknowledge that this is true.

    And to suggest that any criticism of U.S. policy is "objectively pro-(Soviet, Saddamite, or whatever)" isn't the strongest basis for a healthy dialog. The fact that the Soviet Union was smart enough to support Martin Luther King through CPUSA operatives doesn't in any way invalidate the Civil Rights movement.

    But...there is a definite lack of perspective on the part of much of the Left that I read and ly know. I think that that's a bad thing, both because I think it leads to bad conclusions, and because it self-isolates the Left from the mainstream of American thought. When my friends - who freaking live in Manhattan - explained to me after 9/11 that "we had it coming", or when my friends suggest that the sole reason for the disaster that is most Latin American politics is American foreign policy - or when they suggest that the sole cause of the crisis in the inner city is the continuing legacy of oppression and debt of slavery - with no acknowledgement of other historic inputs into the problems, or of the responsibility of the people affected themselves to do more - they aren't making a lot of sense.

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    • DrStein: The Classical Adlerian Psychology web site address has been changed read more
    • Aysegul: There is actually more than two styles of parenting. The read more
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    June 1, 2003

    Why Redistribution? Some Responses

    By Armed Liberal at 17:53

    When I wrote, below, that some measure of enforced equality is necessary to the functioning of a democratic republic like ours, some commenters and other bloggers responded that the problem was that the elites captured the levers of power of the state, and used their control of the state to maintain their power. For example, over at Thought Mesh:

    If we look at history and ask how elites have maintained their dominance what we see is that they used the power of the state to do so. It is through law and regulation that persistent aristocracies are created and maintained, not economics and business.
    and in the comments:
    The best way to ensure a turnover of power is to argue for free markets to remain in place, with little bureaucracy to ensure its stability. Walmart may be powerful now, but in a free market the only thing we can count on is continual productive change.
    However, it is a mistake to assume that an unequal distribution of private wealth is, per se, evidence of a social problem.
    Actually, yes it is a probem, and what these folks are demonstrating is first, a lack of historical awareness - remember why Teddy Roosevelt was famed for being the first major 'trust buster'?? This was the first large regulatory intervention, and why do you think it was necessary and popular? Or do you think it was unnecessary?

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    • Undertoad: It's true. A free marketplace never guarantees perfect operation; in read more
    • Annoying Old Guy: JH; I'm not sure if it would create a better read more
    • KCat: JH: "If I invest money in something, be it stocks read more

    Gays & Christians: A Dialogue

    By Joe Katzman at 08:57

    Dean Esmay invited a very interesting dialogue between participants who are committed and practicing Christians, gay, or both. He got a serious, enlightening exchange, with high quality posts on all sides. Worth your time this Sunday.

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    "...And A Fan Makes A Great Catch!"

    By Joe Katzman at 02:01

    May 31, 2003: Blue Jays 10, Red Sox 7.

  • Ticket behind home plate: $35
  • Aiwa Walkman w. Radio: $90
  • Mizuno baseball glove: $110
  • Hearing play-by-play announcer yell "...and a fan makes a great catch!" as you come down with the ball in your glove: Priceless.

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    • Joe Katzman: Jays fan, actually, though Fenway does have the distinction of read more
    • SageOne aka True Red Sox Fan: I am a Bostonian. Are you as well? Needless to read more
    • Jim Linnane: Congratulations on a great catch! Too bad about the final read more
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