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December 2003 Archives

December 31, 2003

Yes, You're Pissy

By Armed Liberal at 22:07
Arthur Silber has a monumentally chestbeating post up on 'the Coalition of the Pissy' and warbloggers. Since I'm for the war and a blogger, I guess he'd include me in that category. And since I have a deep set of disagreements with him - not just about the war but about some of the broader issues he raises in the post, I'll take them on here.
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  • Charlie: ... and I still think that Arthur mostly needs a read more
  • Charlie: Re Heinlein quibbles: Patrick, you're right that it was "Federal read more
  • Moe Lane: "But I think Verhoven had some sort of axe to read more

Instapundit on Palestine

By Armed Liberal at 19:42
Instapundit takes a strong stand on the Palestinian issue, based in no small part on the post below detailing Palestinian hatred and anti-Americanism. I came out against the immediate creation of a Palestinian state over a year ago because I don't think the social and political materials for a state are there yet, and because I don't think we should reward people who talk about peace in English and war in Arabic. ...but...
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  • Louis Wheeler: Lazarus, Where do you think the borders of the United read more
  • Joseph: "What principle allows Country A to invade or to continue read more
  • Andrew J. Lazarus: Maintaining access to 60-70 percent of their freshwater supply is read more


By Armed Liberal at 07:52
While I haven't been writing much, I've definitely been reading. Books are one of the standard presents I give, and one bug - or maybe feature - is that in going to the real or virtual bookstore, I get to pick up one or two things for myself. In this case, I saw a copy of Halberstram's book on the Balkan Wars, War In A Time Of Peace; it was remaindered, and cheap, and I snapped it up in no small part because I thought it would help me scratch around and come to a conclusion on Wes Clark. Because of all the work and holiday madness, I've only read about the first third, but I can say one thing: This. Book. Rocks. That means I really liked it, and am finding it damn useful for looking at the complex web of forces that go into making our foreign policy. I also saw a copy of Carville's latest, Had Enough, and while it definitely spoke to me...I think his analysis of the impact of Bush's economic policy is pretty spot on (kind of an Engine Charlie view of the role of government - and yes, I know that's not fair to the real Charles Wilson), and similarly his criticism of the Democrats - summed up in his story of the "transgender amendment" - stands up pretty well. But I just glanced at it in the store, and reluctantly put it aside (sadly, no big discounts yet) until next month.
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  • leen: two great books i just recently read, which i recommend read more
  • inkgrrl: Great, you've just added to my reading list. Thank you!! read more
  • Julie Cleeveley: I have 'War in a time of peace' by David read more

December 29, 2003

The "Palestinians," In Their Own Words

By Joe Katzman at 02:05
Dave from Israellycool writes: bq. The translators at MEMRI have published a report on Palestinian sermons over the last three years. It is very important that your readers (especially those sitting on the fence vis-a-vis the war on terror and the Israel-palestinian conflict) read this." It is. As MEMRI notes: bq. "Each Khatib (preacher) is a paid employee of the Palestinian Authority (PA). The sermons are broadcast live every Friday at noon from mosques under control of the PA and are shown on PA television." As you read the whole thing (thanks, Randall Stevens!), don't miss the calls for the destruction of the USA. Someone remind me again why creating another Talibanesque terror-state in the Middle East is a good idea?
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  • randall stevens: The link to the MEMRI document is wrong. Here's the read more
  • Trevor Stanley: Interesting point, Andrew J Lazarus; there are more options than read more
  • Andrew J. Lazarus: There's plenty of religious freedom in Israel (not as much read more

Military Mobilization: Ralph Peters is Wrong

By Trent Telenko at 01:30
Trent Telenko emails to note: While this passage in a recent Ralph Peters column sounds reasonable: bq. "Poland did have one request - a humble one, in the great scheme of things. Warsaw asked for $47 million to modernize six used, American-built C-130 transport aircraft and to purchase American-built HMMWV all-terrain vehicles so elite Polish units could better integrate operations with American forces. Much of the money would go right back to U.S. factories and workers." It shows that Ralph Peters is both wrong and that he never made it to the US Military's Industrial War College. We are running into Churchill's classic military industrial mobilization paradigm: "The first year you get nothing, the second year you get a trickle, the third year you get all you want." Afghanistan turned on the precision guided munitions part of the defense industrial base. It did not turn on the US Army and Marine Corps' wheeled and armored vehicle industrial base. Both Afghanistan and Iraq were short wars in terms of offensive operations, and our industrial support systems are built around short wars. It is too expensive to keep a large unused industrial capacity for both without a threat like the Soviet Union, so Congress didn't. Now we are paying the price.
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  • Cannoneer No. 4: There are alternatives to the M1114 read more
  • Cannoneer No. 4: Why is M1114 production so slow? Why has the gov't read more
  • Trent Telenko: The Free Republic has a very interesting thread with many read more

Technical issue

By Joe Katzman at 01:18
For some reason, the posts are not bounded properly when I view the home page - they now run off the right edge. Is anyone else suddenly having difficulty seeing the site properly in their IE browser?
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  • Plunge: Same as above. read more
  • Jim Elve: I'm using IE 6.0. It depends on the window size. read more
  • Pouncer: WoC, under IE5.0 in NT4, looks like crap and up/down read more

Vacation Thoughts: Dec. 28/03

By Joe Katzman at 01:12
When a graduate of the Coast Guard Academy says he's impressed by your underwater navigation, you've had a pretty good day. Somewhat disappointed by the low number of shark encounters thus far, but then Florida isn't a really hot spot for that sort of thing.
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December 28, 2003

Arrogance or Honesty? You Decide...

By Armed Liberal at 00:26
Just back from a wonderful motorcycle ride with Tenacious G and a friend who's moved to New York but is back visiting (we stopped for a long time and enjoyed the incredible, rain-washed views from the intersection of Stunt and Saddle Peak), came home and picked up our L.A. Times. I usually read the funnies first, but media critic Tim Rutten's column (intrusive registration required, use 'laexaminer'/'laexaminer') caught my eye. It is entitled 'Fact or opinion? Yes, it really does matter,' and it's a peach. Here's the money quote:
There is a certain kind of bright but brittle mind that loves this sort of either/or thinking. What such minds cannot accept is the common-sensical notion that real life ó including that of the press ó is lived mostly in the pragmatic middle. There, experience has demonstrated that intellectual rigor and emotional self-discipline enable journalists to gather and report facts with an impartiality that ó though sometimes imperfect ó is good enough to serve the public's interest in the generality of cases.
I have to go do chores, but will comment pretty extensively later in the day; meanwhile I'll toss this out for your review, edification, and amusement. Don't forget to go back and look at this old post of mine when you're thinking about it. [Update: OK, here're my comments on this: Rutten seems to have missed that whole Reformation thing; the notion that truth might not have to be derived from a priesthood - and make no mistake, when he starts talking about 'intellectual rigor and emotional self-discipline ,' he's talking about a priesthood - is something that went by the wayside became central in Western society a number of years ago. Frighteningly, it appears to be coming back.
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  • AST: This is just another instance of the new age religion, read more
  • Cato the Youngest: Steve, the 5-4 vote was to shut down all further read more
  • Armed Liberal: Steve - Thanks for the clarifications! I'm similarly in favor read more

December 27, 2003

A Brief Shabbat Shalom

By Joe Katzman at 23:59

As many of you know, Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath. In that spirit, our Saturday posts to this blog will always be "good news". We will share Sufi wisdom, highlight the acts of good and decent people, laugh at humourous events, and point to amazing discoveries that could benefit humanity. It's a great break from the week, and something I think the blogosphere could use more of.

I began doing this on Saturdays, and my Muslim, Christian, and non-religious colleagues have all graciously agreed to respect and work within this Winds of Change.NET tradition. So, welcome to Winds of Change.NET... and Shabbat Shalom.

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  • Armed Liberal: Hey, MB - What wonderful news!! Personally, I'll never do read more
  • Marijuana Blog: Good Shabbos all. Good happy Shabbos news is that I've read more
  • Storm: On Friday, I interviewed for a position with a firm. read more

Sufi Wisdom: Learners & Teachers

By Joe Katzman at 04:05
I've been doing a lot of reading over the holidays about Sufiism and the process of Sufi experience. It's a humbling experience, because they're fiercely selective and use razor-sharp tests to separate those who seek Truth from those who have... other motivations. Guess which category is in the majority - and in truth, reading their accounts one realizes that very few of us would pass muster by their standards. Hence this aphorism, from idries Shah's "A Perfumed Scorpion": bq. "The learner approaches the Teaching with the hope that it will always remain the same. The Teacher approaches the learner with the hope that this time will be different." If you have a thought to add or a related story to share, use the Comments section.
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  • Marcel Perez: Mr. Tai: Your observation is correct in that my comments read more
  • Samuel Tai: I don't believe Joe meant this in the context of read more
  • Marcel Perez: The student hopes that the quality and content of the read more

Iraniangirl Says Goodbye

By Joe Katzman at 04:03
Iraniangirl's farewell blog post (at least for now). If you've read and appreciated her material on blogspot or here on Winds of Change.NET, please send her an email thanking her for her efforts.
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  • Dan Darling: She's a real diamond in the rough, her comments read more

December 26, 2003

Target: Musharraf

By Trent Telenko at 05:38
Trent Telenko emails to say: "Musharraf has been targeted by assassins twice in less than two weeks. The second time required people in his personal staff to be part of the plot to kill him. I think this passage from Ahmed Rashid's Daily Telegraph article "Appeasement is Musharraf's Worst Enemy" may be the Pakistani President's obituary: bq. "The result is that he is seriously isolated, trusted by none of the political forces in the country - secular or religious - and increasingly disliked by a public frustrated by his fluctuating policies and the lack of economic development and investment." If Musharraf truly is isolated and can trust no one, he is living on borrowed time - and so are we if Al-Qaeda gets a hold of Pakistan's nukes."
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  • Patrick Brown: >It would be difficult to find all the nukes or read more
  • Trent Telenko: >I dunno about just how bad our intel guys were, read more
  • Dan Darling: Trent: I dunno about just how bad our intel guys read more

"This Is Not The True France"

By Trent Telenko at 05:30
Or is it? Trent Telenko emails me a link to this article about anti-Semitism in France. It's a good article, a bit long but good at conveying the ground truth reality of anti-Semitism's return to France while maintaining a sense of context and proportion.
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  • Trent Telenko: Joe, Watch the French Rabbis. If they decide to leave, read more
  • Jon Cohen: The current *spat* between France and the US is what read more

December 24, 2003

Xmas Spirit Carnival of the Vanities

By Joe Katzman at 23:05
Here on Christmas Eve, we've decided to make the Christmas spirit the focus of this, our second time hosting Silflay Hraka's magnificent Carnival of the Vanities. Because you don't have to believe in Christmas to believe in the Christmas spirit. Let me tell you a story:
A number of years ago, we lived next door to a diplomat at the Pakistani Consulate. You might think this would be a recipe for friction, but he was nice enough. 9/11 was several years away and if anyone had a legitimate beef, it was our (formerly Pakistani) Isma'ili Muslim neighbours on the other side. But I digress. Anyway, Christmas comes around, and some bright acquaintance decides to give this Muslim diplomat a bottle of whiskey for the holidays. Since this is sort of like sending the Israeli Consulate a smoked ham, our neighbour came over with an embarassed expression. Would we like a bottle of fine whiskey? To this day, I still think of it as the perfect North American holiday story: a Muslim giving his Jewish neighbours a bottle of whiskeyÖ for Christmas.
Carnival entries are listed by blogname in reverse alphabetical order, and are arranged into several categories: * Holiday Spirit * Religion * Humour * You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch * The Human Condition * Space: It's Not Just for Santa any More * International Politics * Domestic Politics G-d bless us all, every one.
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  • Andrew Ian Dodge: Joe, you have done a wonderful job. Its not surprising read more
  • Joe Katzman: Revsparker, I did post all submissions. Which means if yours read more
  • Revsparker: Did you take everything you got? Because mine is missing read more

Guest Blog: Gratitude from Operation Gratitude

By Joe Katzman at 04:25
Carolyn Blashek offers us an update on her progress. I thought this would make an excellent Christmas spirit post...
"Thank you so much for including Operation Gratitude in your Support the Troops section. I want to give you an update! While I did start this as a one-person operation, we have now linked forces with the California Army National Guard, 746th QM BN out of Van Nuys--where we do our warehousing and staging. During our major Support the Troops Rally in November, we had over 200 volunteers help assemble almost 4000 packages in one weekend. Since then, we have ~25 volunteers on a weekly basis helping at the Armory, thousands of supporters around the country contributing items, letters and funds, and we have now sent over 7000 packages! We will continue sending up to 500 packages per week throughout the year and plan another mass event in the spring! To all the teachers out there whose students provided holiday letters and cards for the troops: MANY THANKS!! And keep those cards and letters coming--especially for events such as Valentine's Day! And Girl Scout troops: we would love to include your cookies in our weekly packages! Many thanks to all of you everywhere who have helped bring a smile to thousands of troops' faces this holiday season through Operation Gratitude care packages! Fondly, Carolyn Blashek Founder, Operation Gratitude

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December 23, 2003

Special Analysis: Holiday Terror Alert

By Dan Darling at 21:03
The United States has recently moved to "High" or "Orange" Alert as a result of what the intelligence community has deemed to be credible threats against US interests both here and abroad on par with or even surpassing the scale of 9/11. This analysis will endeavor to explain why the alert level was raised as well as answer whether or not al-Qaeda still has the operational capacity to conduct such an attack, plus a few clues about who to be on the look-out for as we all prepare to enjoy the holiday season. Just the facts, ma'am ... Al-Qaeda desiring to "top" the September 11 attacks is nothing new, as this article from September 5, 2003 regarding al-Qaeda plans to possibly hijack cargo aircraft for use in multiple attacks inside the US should hopefully indicate (the article also mentions a number of names that I'll come back to a later on). According to CNN, one of the sources for the intelligence for hijacking cargo airlines with Ali Abd al-Rahman al-Farqasi al-Ghamdi, whose tribe seems to keep turning up in conjunction with a number of al-Qaeda plots, including 9/11. According to US intelligence, al-Qaeda is planning a simultaneous series of attacks against both major cities and remote targets, possibly using domestic or foreign airliners whose hijackers are already licensed pilots as well as chemical or biological weapons and perhaps a radiological dispersal device, better known as "dirty bomb." We know from MI6 that al-Qaeda set up a crude nuclear facility in Herat for the purposes of creating such a weapon and that the anonymous weapons expert from Herat referenced in the BBC story as being still at large is very likely none other than Abu Musab Zarqawi.
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  • syed tamjeed hyder: salam, nice progect see you will be shocked by hearing read more
  • Omar: The reason there is no need to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir read more
  • Trent Telenko: >The problem is that if the Saudis are springing >300 read more

Guest Blog: Halliburton & Defense Contracting, Part 3/3

By Robin Burk at 05:56
Third and last in this popular series about an arcane subject, from a guest blogger with experience on both sides of the military contracting table. I'd like to thank Robin for taking the time to offer us her expertise on this important subject at a timely moment. Halliburton, Part 3/3 by Robin Burk Welcome to the 3rd and last installment of our special report on Halliburton and defense contracting. Complaints about Halliburton's role in the reconstruction of Iraq took on new focus recently with claims they overcharged for fuel. This installment looks at that controversy, and tries to make sense of it in light of the "Military Contracting 101" crash course you've received from the previous 2 installments [Part I | Part II].
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  • Scott: I Have worked for Halliburton/KBR for twenty two months,in read more
  • Dr. LeRoy A. Stone: I realize that the above current subject theme does not read more
  • Jadegold: Dugger: Again, you're playing the Acquisition 101 card by pretending read more

Carnival of the Capitalists: Dec. 22/03

By Joe Katzman at 05:42
The weekly "Carnival of the Capitalists" was featured yesterday at Bejus Pundit. This is a very good roundup if you're interested in posts about business, economics, and the inner workings of organizations.
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  • Benny: Are You sure? read more
  • P Spamhater Blogroll: It appears that conducting the above-referenced search for M. Stella read more
  • A Alexander Stella: After pulling up the Google search engine, I used "anti-Bush" read more

Idiotarianism & The Law of the Good

By Joe Katzman at 05:21
P. sends along an interesting feature related to my recent articles about the growing conjunction between the neo-marxist left, neo-fascists, and Islamists. My thesis was that it's driven by the desire to shoot the same messenger. A Foreign Affairs Magazine article gives some sobering examples of this conjunction, and also adds the role of globalization as a catalyst. Now Frederick Turner's "Tiananmen in London" suggests that there may be a common theme here that both relates to and transcends the common hatreds thesis: bq. "At this time in the world's history a great turning point is imminent. And here we begin to see why there is this strange and unholy alliance between idealistic liberalism, the vestiges of the old socialist left, traditional third world authoritarians, and the unrelenting forces of Islamic totalitarianism, theocracy, and terror. However various their ideas of what is the good, all are united in their desire for an enforced law of the good.
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  • richard: Turner's article also reminded me of Virginia Postrel's dynamism vs. read more
  • M. Simon: The bottom line here is that the left, the NGOs read more
  • Jon Cohen: The Turner piece is a deeper explanation of why A.L.'s read more

Yalda: Persian Festival of Light

By Joe Katzman at 04:54
The Yalda or Shab e Cheleh festival marks the winter solstice, and serves as an Iranian social occasion with roots in Persia's Zoroastrian history. Like many festivals held at this time, Yalda recognizes the symbolic victory of light over darkness. You can learn more about it in this Blog Iran thread.
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  • Sound of Reason: Organizers really need to invite the Persian group, the SOUND read more

Tomorrow: Xmas Spirit Carnival

By Joe Katzman at 04:04
Just a quick reminder that Winds of Change.NET will be hosting our CHRISTMAS SPIRIT CARNIVAL OF THE VANITIES on Dec. 24th - this Wednesday. As you can see, there's a definite theme. Holiday spirit posts will be listed first in their own section, followed by a section for religious posts, followed by other stuff. Whatever your religion, please bring your holiday spirit blog posts (and others, if you must), and submit them to joekatzman at yahoo dot com in this format: bq. * Blogname, Post title Permalink URL A short, 1-2 sentence description Submission deadline is 23:59, Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2003.
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December 22, 2003

Winds of War: 2003-12-22

By Joe Katzman at 05:38
Our regular feature is on hiatus right now, and will resume on its usual Mondays & Thursdays in the New Year. This post isn't a full report, just a quick round-up from vacationland of some interesting things people are sending me. The weather here sucks... might as well blog. IRAQ * The Art of Peace writes: Could Lt. Col. Alan King help turn Iraq around and make Iraq a pillar of freedom for the middle east despite everything? I've noted the importance of tribes in Iraqi society before. King is an Army civil affairs commander who has made it his personal mission to understand Iraq's labyrinthine tribal system, and has some solid results to show for it. Great piece, and great work! * Phil Carter used to be part of 4th Infantry Division, 1st ("Raider") Brigade. He talks about some of the military analysts he worked with, and their role in tracking down Saddam Hussein. * UPDATE: P. has a mini-roundup of his own, including a very good Ralph Peters article tracing the successes to date as a result of Saddam's capture, and explaining why it is a big deal. I also enjoyed P's link to the report of Iraq's new U.N. representative upbraiding that fraud Kofi Annan and his ilk. Give 'em hell, Ambassador! * Trent Telenko notes that TIME Magazine has made the American G.I. its man of the year. See also "Portrait of a Platoon" about a dozen soldiers in one of Baghdad's nastiest districts. * Trent also points to a story that the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq is planning to transmit news footage from Iraq directly via satellite, for use by local media outlets in Western countries. Not a bad idea - but personally, I wish they'd do a better job of setting up media options inside Iraq. * David Kaspar notes that the Iraqi national soccer team is whining about not having a field to practice on. Given the importance of soccer in the Middle East, finding them a field and some facilities might be a good idea for the CPA - or an outstanding sponsorship opportunity for a sharp corporation. * Amygdala has more background on the coup that brought Saddam Hussein to power. Turns out the USA wasn't heavily involved. * Which "cards" have we captured so far? * The Winds of Change.NET consolidated directory of ways you can support the troops. American, Australian, British, Canadian, Polish. [updated Dec. 1, 2003] * Don't forget to support Chief Wiggles' Iraqi toy drive, too! IRAN * Blog Iran! notes a Sunday Hedrald article that says the end of Libya's WMD efforts also means the end of secret development programs with Iran and North Korea. * Doesn't do much about the Pakistani connection, though. HOMELAND SECURITY * Armed Liberal discusses a different approach to Homeland Security, using the principle of "a pack, not a herd." * Former MP Captain and Law Student Phil Carter looks at the recent U.S. appeal court decisions re: enemy combatants, and what they mean to the War of Terror. * Dean Esmay discusses those annoying Homeland Security Alert level bulletins. Consider the alternative, he says. Good discussion in the comments section, too. THE WIDER WAR * There's a new commander in Afghanistan, with a new approach to take the conflict into its next phases. Welcome to Fort Apache, Afghanistan. Along the way, Trent delivers some sharp kicks to international NGOs. * Donald Sensing talks about a growing pressure for democratization in Arab countries, from Iraq to Saudi Arabia. * Armed Liberal also emails me this excerpt from Kuwait's Al-Siyassah, whose editorial urged Gulf leaders to embrace political reform: "The winds of change are sweeping the area at this time, and demands for political, cultural, democratic and economic change are bearing down on us strongly..." Hey, we get results! * I try to end on a lighter note. Presenting, the Saddam Hussein satirical photo gallery.
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  • TM Lutas: I blogged on the LTC King story here. Summary: This read more

Fort Apache, Afghanistan

By Joe Katzman at 04:03
JK: Interesting developments, conveyed via email from Trent Telenko. See also Winds of Change.NET's previous coverage of the U.S. Marines' experiences with Small Wars, and especially their Combined Action Platoon program in Vietnam. This program is reminiscent of both. It's also another step toward the Cuban paramilitary aid model I've been advocating. On the flip side, U.S. casualties will rise in Afghanistan. Expect the hysteria to begin soon afterward. Ft. Apache, Afghanistan by Trent Telenko A number of Afghans have called for the expansion of US Army Provincial Reconstruction Teams into Pashtun dominated Southern Afghanistan. They're about to get their wish, as part of Lt. Gen. David Barno's next phase strategy for that war. A series of (isolated and soon to be overworked) PRTs are to be set up in the South along the Afghan-Pakistani border. These mini-Ft. Apaches are going to be staked goats to draw in the Taliban. Whether they are going to bleeding ulcers (for both sides?) or anvils for the Jihadies to break their collective heads against will soon be found out. BTW, the American military does not think much of the NGO bug out that is underway in Afghanistan that caused this PRT move:
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  • saif: Dear sir i want Aid for Afghanistan read more
  • Trent Telenko: Kyle, This is another article that shaped my extremely low read more
  • Trent Telenko: Kyle, Religiously motivate NGOs are by definition not the International read more

December 21, 2003

Emergent Security

By Armed Liberal at 05:36
The last point I made in my proposals for Democratic policy was:
Sixth, we're going to develop security mechanisms based on the theory that fine-grained systems that bring information and communications to the existing public safety community, as well as the public at large are better than huge, centralized bureaucratic solutions;
I'm going to skip ahead in my dialog with Calpundit, because this topic is actually the one I'm the most interested in. It deals with two issues that are closest to me right now: 1) national security; and 2) reimagining government policy in the terms of 'emergence'. There's a lot of woo-woo today around 'emergent' systems; it is a little-understood concept but one with applications from biology to urban studies to e-commerce and computer games. I have been nagging at the idea that somehow I could marry my liberal goals with emergent means, and divorce modern liberalism from centralized command-and-control mechanisms. It's a fuzzy, not-yet-thought-out set of ideas for me, but one that it working it's way closer to the surface of my brain.
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  • Johanna Bartley: [Deleted for spam link. Do it again, you'll be banned read more
  • Rob Lyman: No idea if anyone is still reading this... Praktike-- I'm read more
  • ktpr: This is a small piece I wrote. I was surprised read more

Seminoles: Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki

By Joe Katzman at 02:15
Took a trip into central Florida the other day, to the Big Cypress Seminole reservation and the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki (trans: "to learn/ to remember") museum. Ah, the Seminoles. Never signed a treaty with the USA, just fought a war and then retreated into the Everglades when it didn't go their way. Elbowed out of the American dream later on, so they began building their own industries. Like multi-million dollar cattle ranching and citrus growing industries, followed by Bingo, the recent casino, etc. The Big Cypress reservation now has excellent public services, and looks like any middle class suburb. Did I mention the cattle ranching? As the reservation publicly notes, only somewhat tongue-in-cheek: "cowboys are Indians." So, let's see - fight and don't quit when their freedoms are infringed. Don't quit when facing economic adversity, but build up a thriving economy through smart investment and hard work. See "cowboy culture" as a compliment. "Seminole Pride" indeed. I've no idea why y'all hassled these people, they sound like ideal Americans to me....
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December 20, 2003

Sufi Wisdom: Running Man

By Joe Katzman at 14:01
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 and their 'crazy wisdom'. This week's installment comes from Kathy Kinsley of On the Third Hand, via last week's comments section. It is taken from "The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin" by Idries Shah. She really ought to run a few of these on her blog, so I can link them on future Saturdays:
"When I was in the desert," said Nasrudin one day, "I caused an entire tribe of horrible and bloodthirsty Bedouins to run." --"However did you do it?" "Easy, I just ran, and they ran after me."
Sufi stories usually teach on several levels. What lessons can we find in this one?
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  • Bebson Y. TAKATA: Kuranta viro, Decembro 20, 2003 Sri Idisti: Wo das Auge read more
  • Charlie: That Nasrudin -- such a kidder. read more
  • Jon Cohen: In this story, the horrible and bloodthirsty Bedouins refers to read more

December 19, 2003

Capturing China: 2003-12-19

By Joe Katzman at 16:52
Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on China, courtesy of Adam Morris of Brainysmurf and PRC News. You may want to use the "print friendly" icon in the upper left corner for this one. Top Stories: * Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visits Washington and wins some very pro-China language from Bush. Taiwan's President, Chen Shuibian, wants to have a referendum on Chinese missiles pointed at the mainland but Bush said that it would be a change from the status quo. Last we heard from Chen he was daring the mainland to lob some missiles his way. * The Internet itself is becoming one of China's hottest topics, not only because of the PRC's attempt to smother cyberdissidents and related folk, but because an internet sex writer by the name of Mu Zimei got so many visitors it brought servers down. Furthermore, a gallery of naked, painted bodies available on the official news agency of the PRC net that just a decade ago would have been unheard of. * Nicholas D. Kristof of the NYT is currently in Beijing, and has a flurry of interesting dispatches, all of them tests of the government. One tests how anti-government you can be on Chinese BBSs and another tests how far he can go in getting honest answers from the government. * Richard of Peking Duck, interviews a Shanghai-based protester during the 1989 Democracy movement ... and finds that he's totally flip-flopped on his political views. A snippet: "Looking back, I firmly believe the government did the right thing ... let's live with Communism for now and change things one thing at a time." Further topics include: Various takes on the PRC and Taiwan give-and-take ... Native Chinese interaction with expat bloggers ... The Information Revolution is coming to town ... Economic indicators ... Asian Weblog Awards ... And your one-stop shopping for China-based blog commentary.
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  • Adam Morris: Thanks for that. I didn't follow the argument closely enough, read more
  • TM Lutas: While I vigorously disagreed with Steven Den Beste's critique of read more

Revealing Contrasts: Bush, Dean & the International Order

By Joe Katzman at 06:49
Mader Blog is on a roll. This post where he quotes Steyn is absolutely worth your attention: bq. "The one consistent feature of the post-9/11 era is the comprehensive failure of the international order. The French use their Security Council veto to protect Saddam. The EU subsidises Palestinian terrorism. The International Atomic Energy Agency provides cover for Iran's nuclear ambitions. The UN summit on racism is an orgy of racism." Word. I also liked Mader's analysis and deconstruction of Howard Dean's big foreign policy speech. Read that, then read his transcript and analysis of Bush's recent press conference. It will tell you more about the coming election that all the talking heads on CNN. Mader leans rightward, but I strongly suspect that a lot of other folks outside of Dean's base are going to have similar reactions.
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  • Tim: SDB, Just read Deanís response to the WaPo's editorial: it's read more
  • Kim du Toit: I have no problems with a return to the League read more
  • Andrew J. Lazarus: I'm certainly not intrinsically opposed to a League of Democracies, read more

The Last Samurai

By Joe Katzman at 06:41
Since it's about 65 degrees in Florida, I'm not doing a lot of scuba diving. Then again, I don't have to watch 55 year old men on the beach in Speedos, either, as they demonstrate the Law of Conservation of Hair ("hair is neither created nor destroyed on men as they age - it just changes its location"). What I did do on Wednesday is go see The Last Samurai. I was going to write a post on how it's better than many of the reviews, but Eric S. Raymond has said everything I wanted to say and offers a fine history lesson to boot. FYI, if you want to learn more about the real Samurai leader Saigo Takamori and his rebellion against the Meiji Emperor, use the web. The city of Kagoshima's page and Ridgeback Press' Meiji Restoration personalities site are both helpful. Appropriately, however, one of the most informative write ups comes from U.S. Marine Corps veteran Sensei D. E. Tarver.
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  • Porphyrogenitus: I liked it too, mostly, but posted some thoughts on read more
  • Charles: Conservation of Hair, so that's what it's called. I've had read more

WMD, or the Risk of WMD?

By Armed Liberal at 05:36
Calpundit revisits the case for war, and finds it wanting. (Before you suggest that he's the only liberal that I read, I'll note that in times of limited blog-time, I tend to read only four blogs: Calpundit, Crooked Timber, Instapundit, and the Volokh Conspiracy. There are a lot of other good ones that I read [go check out my slightly-stale blogroll at Armed Liberal to get a sense of who], but time's kinda short right now.) Kevin lists the three legs of Bush's arguments in favor of invasion, and proceeds to challenge each one, focusing on the WMD - which to my more dovish friends are the sole legitimate causus belli. He concludes with Bush's quote about Saddam's intent to acquire WMD, and then asks:
The possibility that he could acquire weapons. Remember that. For better or worse, that's what's left of the public rationale for going to war. Was it a good enough reason? Your call. But I wonder how strong the support for war would have been if Bush had said that back in January
Sorry, Kevin. Gotta disagree. I'll toss a quick question to Kevin and Kos and some of the others who share those views: If we'd found WMD or real proto-WMD by now, would your position be different? Would the invasion have been wholly legitimate? Answer honestly now...
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  • Nelson: Robin: ...we could not wait until there was an imminent read more
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  • Andrew J. Lazarus: My dictionary suggests that any threat you have to stop read more

December 18, 2003

Wes Clark

By Armed Liberal at 18:09
One last post before I fall off the planet for the day - Mark Kleiman leads me to Andrew Sabl, who joins Calpundit in supporting Wes Clark. I haven't dug into choosing a Democratic candidate I'll support yet, because I'm still wrestling with the broader issues of where the party's going.
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  • jeanne a e devoto: A.L... the man says he wants to ally with Saudi read more
  • Jon Cohen: A.L. - Are you supporting Sabl for President or Clark? read more
  • M.: "because I'm still wrestling with the broader issues of where read more


By Armed Liberal at 17:13
Tom Holsinger emails a Reuters story that the 2nd Dist. Court of Appeals has ordered terror suspect Padilla freed. While I'm not a lawyer, it seemed odd that a U.S. citizen would be held as an enemy combatant, rather than as a suspect charged with sedition.
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  • Andrew J. Lazarus: I am not misrepresenting your position in the least. You read more
  • Robin Roberts: Dfmbeater, Andrew's only purpose appears to be to call President read more
  • Armed Liberal: Personally, I'd divide my response into three categories: 1) US read more

Mach One

By Armed Liberal at 07:45
How cool is this??
A privately funded rocket plane called SpaceShipOne yesterday broke the sound barrier over California's Mojave Desert, achieving what its developer called the first supersonic flight achieved by a nongovernmental effort.
A homebuilt supersonic rocket. (Admittedly, it's hard to call anything built by genius Burt Rutan 'homebuilt,' but still - I wonder how the level of effort compared with that in building the X-1?) [Update2: Commenter Mike Daley catches me in a DOOOH! moment and reminds us all that Rand Simberg and Jay Manifold are a) all over this; and b) actually know something about it... Update: Commenter Frank Martin provides a link to some pictures and first-hand commentary! Thanks, Frank...] WINDS' COVERAGE: * April 19/03: Private Manned Spaceplane Unveiled as the craft makes its first test flight. * Dec 18/03: SpaceShipOne breaks Mach One in a test flight. * Juune 8/04: The system prepares for its first space flight. Go, SpaceShipOne, Go! * June 21/04: First full flight successful! * Sept 29/04: SpaceShipOne makes its first official X-Prize flight, and succeeds. That flight had some scary moments, though. * Oct 5/04: Mission Accomplished! SpaceshipOne wins the X-Prize, and breaks the X-15's manned altitude record for an aircraft.
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  • Jay Manifold: I'll put up with being linked. ;) But Rand's the read more
  • Armed Liberal: I know, like, and have a ton of respect for read more
  • Mike Daley: A.L. and others; If this is a subject of interest read more

Ever Have One of Those Months?

By Armed Liberal at 06:37
These are the days I feel kind of like Prince Humperdinck in conversation with Count Rugin:
Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work. But I've got my country's 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder, and Guilder to frame for it. I'm swamped!
My two paying clients are v. busy right now, my two charity clients are even busier, and Biggest Guy just showed up from Virginia, so I have a houseful of kids as we get ready for the holidays. But wait! There's more!
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  • inkgrrl: Oy, you're gonna need about a dozen hot toddies to read more
  • Jeff Medcalf: Try to get some rest. If you haven't got your read more

Dan's Iraq Briefing: 2003-12-18

By Dan Darling at 03:26
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from Iraq that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Our Winds of War coverage of the global War on Terror is a separate briefing today, and both are brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis. TOP TOPICS * There are a number of unconfirmed reports that Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri - the former Vice President of the Revolutionary Command Council and the man who is reputed to be the architect of much of the Iraqi insurgency as well as connected with Ansar al-Islam - has surrendered to US authorities inside of Iraq. * A suicide bombing in the al-Bayaa district of Baghdad has killed 10 and injured 20. This is the second suicide bombing in Baghdad since the capture of Saddam Hussein, the first targeted a police station in the al-Husainiyah district of Baghdad, killing 8 and wounding 10. * The Iraqi insurgency is being funded by a combination of al-Qaeda and Iraqi sources, some of which seems to be coming from profiteering from the UN Oil for Food program. Other Topics Today Include: The people who sold Saddam Hussein out; raids in Ramadi; 3 guerrillas killed near Mosul; a major raid in Samarra; Rantburg's guerrilla corpse count; guerrilla leader arrested with 78 others near Baghdad; Saddam Hussein's connections to the insurgency; 11 guerrillas killed in Samarra; Saddam Fedayeen leader captured with 72 others near Balad; getting Saddam to crack; Sunni Triangle Baathists in denial; Tariq Aziz's renames his son; Saddam's family says he won't get a fair trial; Bush and Blair support the death penalty; South Korea to send 3,000 troops to Iraq; Zebari blasts the UN; and Blair says David Kay's found labs and long-range missile plans.
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  • Mitch H.: The 8th Infantry Division isn't activated. That reference to "the read more
  • Tom Grey: Great summary. A trend I'm certain to get worse -- read more

Dan's Winds of War: 2003-12-18

By Dan Darling at 02:32
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. In addition, we also have our in-depth Iraq Report. Today's briefings are brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis. TOP TOPICS * Saudi authorities are scheduled to release 300 terrorist suspects out of the 900 detained to date (not sure if this counts the hundreds who were killed when the al-Hair prison burnt down), apparently at the behest of Sheikh Mohsin al-Awaji, who appears to be in charge of negotiation between the royal family and al-Qaeda. While it is possible that those detained were simply innocent bystanders picked up at random by Saudi authorities, I somehow wouldn't bet on it ... * US authorities are claiming reports of credible threats to locations in Italy and Saudi Arabia. In most cases, these types of threats aren't commented on much, but the last two reports of threats against Saudi installations have panned out. * The GIA, which has been responsible for many of the 150,000 killed during the Algerian civil war, recently killed 2 policemen in Medea. Normally, this wouldn't be very significant, except for one point - the infamous GIA is down to just 30 members following the capture of their leader Rashid Abu Tourab last month. Other Topics Today Include: Iran Reports; USA Homeland Security Briefing; bin Laden's flight to Peshawar after Tora Bora; a run-down of the assassination attempt on Musharraf and the likely suspects; more violence in Kashmir; al-Qaeda activity in Japan and South Korea; Chechen attacks on Dagestan; new Taliban videotape; and Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf denies Saddam Hussein's capture.
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Special Report: Overlooked Events

By Dan Darling at 01:12
Much of blogosphere, like much of the media, has (and rightfully so) been focused on events in Iraq both before and after the capture of Saddam Hussein. However, as a result of Iraq being in the spotlight, a number of key events that are now occurring in around the world have been missed by many readers around the world. As a result, before Winds of War signs off for the holidays, I thought it best to get everyone up to speed as much as possible, covering numerous areas and aspects of the War on Terror.
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  • Omar: Like I have already stated previously, the "evidence" is a read more
  • Nathan: I definitely agree with you on HT being a recruiting read more
  • Dan Darling: I agree about not taking the word of Central read more

December 17, 2003

Nathan's Central Asia "-Stans Summary": 2003-12-17

By Nathan at 05:12
Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on Central Asia's "-stans" courtesy of Nathan Hamm, whose creds include a stint in Uzbekistan as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer. Nathan's regular blog is The Argus. TOP TOPICS * In an inspiring display of people power not seen since 1989, Georgians overthrew Eduard Shevardnadze. Three weeks of protest came to a head as protesters stormed parliament armed only with roses. No one died during the transfer of power. * The Bush administration has put Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan on notice: their stability hinges on fair elections coming up in each country. In so many words, the State Department has warned the leaders of these governments that they could share Eduard Shevardnadze's fate if their people rise up in response to fixed elections. * The United States has given Russia notice that it should expect the US to move east and that these troop placements should not be interpreted as aggresion. Donald Rumsfeld recently visited Azerbaijan and Georgia, where he called on Russia to withdraw its troops (as is required by the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty). Both the Azeri and Georgian governments have hinted that NATO would be welcome to open bases on their territories. Other Topics Today Include: Much More on Georgia; Afghanistan In-Depth; The Great Game Report; Islam Karimov Rails Against Human Rights Organizations; Tajiks and Kazaks Protest Uzbek Policies; Kazakhstan Policies Lead to Growth; Kyrgyz Traders Losing Much More Than Their Shirts; Turkmen regional enigma; and, Much More.
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  • Nathan: Alan, (formerly Soviet) Central Asia is probably the safest place read more
  • Alan Little: Interesting stuff about a region we donńt hear much about. read more
  • Nathan: Thanks, but... Aren't you supposed to be on vacation? And, read more

D.E.F. and Dumb: The Scandal of Soviet WMD

By Joe Katzman at 05:09
The collapse of the Soviet Union has left the world with a critical problem: finding, accounting for, and securing the nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons that its vast array of open and secret programs had produced. Many of those sites and programs were simply abandoned. WMD facilities protected only by padlocks, and top-tier weapons scientists kept in Russia only by starvation wages, have been common stories for those paying attention. The U.S. solution to this problem was a bipartisan bill called Nunn-Lugar, passed during the Clinton years to fund the necessary measures. We've begun to hear more about this from the Democrats as a key national security issue, which it certainly is. Unfortunately, there have been major failures Ė vast sums of money has been wasted, with very little to show. Worse, the government appears to have knowingly reported inflated success figures, and refuses to amend them even after it has been caught. In short, U.S. government agencies appear to be lying in the true sense of the term. Which makes ALL reported Nunn-Lugar results suspect, and demolishes the idea that more money thrown at these problems would improve the situation. A situation that is critical to U.S. (and even global) national security. We first covered this problem in our March 7, 2003 Winds of War, and followed up on it in "Controlling Nuclear Materials: We Have a Problem." Sen. Nunn's own has a short synopsis as well. So far, however, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have really addressed these issue in a serious way. That has to change. This scandal has persisted through 2 successive Administrations now, and the stakes are way too high. Recently, I had an email exchange with the key whistleblower, as acknowledged in's own documents. Until his criticisms are dealt with, keeping Russia's WMD capabilities out of hostile hands will remain a huge problem Ė no matter how much money and time is spent. At the very least, his charges deserve serious investigation and follow-up Ė from journalists, from Congress, and from concerned citizens unwilling to settle for anything less than the truth. Here's How Bush "Cares" About WMDsÖ by Matthew Maly Defense Enterprise Fund (DEF) is a US-financed program to convert former Russian producers of weapons of mass destruction to other uses. DEF was financed with $67M of Nunn-Lugar funds. It is a venture capital fund that was supposed to bring profit to the US Treasury. Yet, DEF has lost all its money, and its conversion mission has not been accomplished. Worse, as I detailed in this article, the US Government knowingly and blatantly misrepresents DEF's operational results.
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  • Alan Sullivan: The bureaucratic vendetta reported by Matthew Maly is an important read more
  • Joe Katzman: It's not just the stockpile of active, weaponized agents, which read more
  • Joel: If Saddam's (alleged) WMD were "big," the USSR stockpile (actual) read more

December 16, 2003

Democracy, Liberty, Ethnic Cleansing?!?

By Joe Katzman at 22:51

Can promoting free-market deregulation and democracy at the same time be a recipe for ethnic persecution - or even genocide?

Whether you're a liberal or a conservative, Amy Chua's "Vengeful Majorities" will make you think. Hard. I'd put it right up there beside Lewis' "The Roots of Muslim Rage," Kaplan's "The Coming Anarchy" and Harris' "Our World Historical Gamble" as articles you need to read in order to understand the shape of the modern world:

"Market-dominant minorities are the Achilles heel of free market democracy. In societies with such a minority, markets and democracy favour not just different people or different classes but different ethnic groups. Markets concentrate wealth, often spectacular wealth, in the hands of the market-dominant minority, while democracy increases the political power of the impoverished majority. In these circumstances, the pursuit of free market democracy becomes an engine of potentially catastrophic ethnonationalism, pitting a frustrated indigenous majority, easily aroused by opportunistic politicians, against a resented, wealthy ethnic minority. This conflict is playing out in country after country today, from Bolivia to Sierra Leone, from Indonesia to Zimbabwe, from Russia to the middle east."

Like I said, this is an article that will make you think. The core dynamic certainly makes intuitive sense, and there's a lot more to the article. It may even be relevant to Sunday's "Anti-Globalization, anti-Semitic, anti-American post, which covered the growing fascist/marxist/islamist convergence within global idiotarianism. Read her entire article, and you'll see what I mean.

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  • powder woman: Well I think that you guys really have absolutely no read more
  • someone: Joe, sorry for the sharpness of my original comment -- read more
  • praktike: Tom, I did read the link, and I'm sorry I read more

December 15, 2003

Signing Off...

By Joe Katzman at 17:37
Just about to head out for a couple weeks in Florida. Blogging from me will be light aside from some prepared posts, but the rest of the gang will keep rolling. Winds of War will take a holiday break at the end this week, however, and Regional Briefings will cease after Nathan's outstanding "-stans Summary" this Wednesday. One exception: our CHRISTMAS SPIRIT CARNIVAL OF THE VANITIES on Dec. 24th. Whatever your religion, please bring your holiday spirit blog posts (and others, if you must), and submit them to joekatzman (at yahoo dot com). I need: POST TITLE, by NAME POST URL SHORT 1-2 SENTENCE DESCRIPTION
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  • Glenn: Enjoy your vacation! Happy Holidays! read more
  • Robert Tagorda: Enjoy your well-deserved break! read more

Saddam's Capture: The Time Came

By Joe Katzman at 05:58
Peggy Noonan says: now is a time to just be happy. Amen. Banagor is happy too, putting these events in perspective and saying: bq. "There indeed are harder times ahead. Perhaps the memory of this day will help see us through the other harder ones to come." All true, and joy comes to each of us in its own way. Some readers had Motorhead's song "Ace of Spades" running through their head yesterday. I heard a Rob Rice poem instead, a stirring piece of verse deservedly featured in the Wall St. Journal's Day of Poetry for the War and run here on March 13th: bq. "The time has come for thunderbolts Of steel from the sky. It is now right that murderers Instead of children, die. They have forged chains and thumbscrews while We have made pleas and threats. The portraits of the killer smile But he must pay his debts...
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Lessons for the Sandbox - And Beyond

By Joe Katzman at 05:28
(Originally posted Dec. 15, 2003; last updated June 22, 2005) We may have captured Saddam Hussein, but this isn't over. Sparkey over at Sgt. Stryker's Daily Briefing has a friend who is deploying to Iraq. He asks: bq. "...he and his shipmates would appreciate any other "lessons learned" from those who've gone before or are already there." Ask, and ye shall receive. Winds of Change.NET has run or linked to a whole bunch of useful materials over the last few months. I searched through our archives, and came up with the following items from Iraq and beyond that may be of help: * Phil Carter links to an excellent report on 1st Armored's very successful program where "Everyone is an intelligence officer . . . everyone you come in contact with [has] intelligence value" (WoW - Nov. 10, 2003) * IEDs are the #1 killer in Iraq. You'll never guess what #2 is. Read this officer's discussion of those threats, and you won't have to guess. Oh, and you might stop by the local Radio Shack before you head out... (June 22, 2005) * Winds of War host Maj. Olmsted gets a message from a recently-promoted friend in Iraq, looking at some infantry operations and including some good assessments of what they're seeing in Iraq and what that means for the occupation and reconstruction (WoW - Nov. 10, 2003)
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Robin's Winds of War: 2003-12-15

By Robin Burk at 05:14
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. In addition, we also have our in-depth Iraq Report. Today's briefings are brought to you by guest blogger Robin Burk. Note that these entries are a private effort, and do not represent the official position of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. TOP TOPICS * Are we at the tipping point in the War on Terror? Victor Davis Hanson thinks we may be at that point in Iraq, at least. And he wrote that before they captured Saddam! * The military success that VDH cites is due in large part to the strong professionalism of the US armed forces, who have stayed the course to patiently dismantle militant networks, extract intelligence and fight back when attacked. That applies to our reservists and National Guard as well, as this first-hand account of October's Battle of the Boneyard outside Kabul last October shows. Other Topics Today Include: Why Gitmo is so important; the UN prepares to leave Afghanistan; Assasination attempt on Musharraf; Iran's nuclear program; IAEA ineffective; Another Canadian al-Qaeda; Chaplain Yee; JI in Indonesia; Venezuela; expanding the U.S. military; Saddam - riches to rags.
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  • Nell Lancaster: On the other hand, the Chaplain James Yee case, noted read more
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  • praktike: Why did Haass leave? read more

Robin's Iraq Report: 2003-12-15

By Robin Burk at 04:20
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from Iraq that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Our "Winds of War" coverage of the global War on Terror is a separate briefing today, and both are brought to you by guest blogger Robin Burk. Note that these entries are a private effort, and do not represent the official position of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. TOP TOPICS * Now that Saddam is taken alive without resistance, more details may begin to leak out about the run up to the war and about secret alliances. For instance, the Iraqi Governing Council has produced a document which claims the Saddam regime had ties to the 9/11 plotters. Donald Sensing has more on this story, and Dan Darling has been saying this for a while now. Powerline is dubious. We'll see. * CPO Sparkey has a friend heading over to the Iraq, and he's asking for lessons learned. We've got a whole bunch of lessons learned, from his military comrades-in-arms around the globe. * In addition, the 2nd article in Robin's Special Report on Haliburton & DoD contracting is out. Part two of three. Other Topics Today Include: Task Force 121; Jordanian help; Israeli help; New army on strike; Chinese support for Saddam; Trying Saddam; Drying up the funding for insurgents; Prime contracts for Iraq reconstruction; Iraqi debt forgiveness; A journalist war hero; The Marines return; The disloyal opposition; WMD warheads for RPG launchers.
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  • Jean Bear: buck smith, One of the reasons why the Bush administration read more
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  • buck smith: Hey Jean, I looked at the AI reports on Iraq read more

Guest Blog: Halliburton & Defense Contracting (2/3)

By Robin Burk at 00:46
When Robin Burk first proposed this guest blog idea, she wondered if it would be of interest. I did, too, but she had personal experience on both sides of this negotiating table and I thought the topic was important. So we ran Part I - and 39 comments and 3 Trackbacks later, we had our answer. Wow! This topic has only heated up with the recent news reports re: Haliburton contracts in Iraq. Robin will be getting to that in Part III, but first she needs to complete our readers' "Defense Contracting 101" primer by discussing the concept of "costs" and "profit" as they apply to contracts like this. If you guessed that the rules were a bit different, you'd be right. Special Report: Halliburton and Defense Contracting (2/3) by Robin Burk Well, the topic of defense contracting has been heating up lately, so perhaps this series is timely. On Tuesday Asst. Secretary Paul Wolfowitz announced that only Coalition partners who are 'helping and sacrificing' to rebuild Iraq would be eligible to bid as prime contractors for reconstruction contracts funded by the U. S., although it now appears the bid order solicitations will be held up for review. But what is a 'bid order' anyway? Meanwhile, a Pentagon investigation has determined that Halliburton overcharged for fuel deliveries in Iraq. Earlier the company defended its prices and claimed it makes only a small profit; the NY Times reports that the overcharge was due to a high price charged by a subcontractor for the fuel rather than to overly high profits for Halliburton itself. In Part 1 of this series, we identified the rules that govern defense contracting in the US, the process by which competitive contracts are awarded and the key people who are involved in a contract. This installment looks at the way pricing is established for defense contracts, and the types of contracts that can be awarded.
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  • Dan: The question still remains, and this is the core, was read more
  • rabidfox: A good clear description. Well done. I too am looking read more
  • Pauly: Nice, I'm waiting with bated breath for the last installment! read more

December 14, 2003

"Ladies and Gentlemen, We Got Him"

By Joe Katzman at 12:58
Got the motherfucker. The combined 4th Infantry Division/ Special Forces Operation Red Dawn, launched as a result of information from Ba'athists captured during Operation Iron Hammer, literally pulled Saddam Hussein out of his hole in Ad Dwar (10 miles south of Tikrit). "Laboratory [DNA] tests have proven his identity beyond any doubt," said an official. Here's the CENTCOM news release. Captured with a loaded pistol, but he never fired a single shot. What a pussy. As usual, "death before surrender" applies only to his Saddam fedayeen minions, not to him. If you want to understand the process that led to Saddam's capture, read our July 23, 2003 article "The Genius of Starting Small." Special Forces et. al. have of course played a significant role throughout, not just during the raid. This article explains their role developing intelligence within Iraq, and "Special Forces Growing Role" is a complete roundup of who they are and what they do. The bottom line? Saddam Hussein ain't comin' back. Iraqis can finally begin a process of closure over stories like these about his sons Uday & Qusay and other atrocities of his regime, from the mass graves and ecological genocides to the human rights abuses whose barbarity set them apart even in the semi-civilized Middle East. Good news, by any standards. I'm sure Instapundit and the good folks at The Command Post: Iraq will keep us all updated on breaking news... yup, great job from both blogs, as always. I wonder if the left side of the blogosphere will be able to muster any more happiness this time, as opposed to the gloom that greeted the fall of his regime? Because, you know, this will probably help George Bush. Or something. UPDATES: * Oh, man. You guys interrupted Saddam's blogging! * As Jeff Jarvis notes, the the Iraqi bloggers are happy, at least. Sic Semper Tyrannis. More links here, and Vodkapundit has a heart-wrenching story from an Iraqi journalist. * Bet we'll see some joyous rallies in Dearborn, Michigan too. Probably not half as big as the ones in Kuwait, though. * Lefties Da Goddess and of course Norm Geras have their heads screwed on right, but the usual suspects are running true to form. Jeff Jarvis fisks Atrios and Metafilter, and Prof. Cole as well. Dean Esmay points us to idiocy in the comments section at Howard Dean's blog, the Democratic Party nominee-in-waiting. Tim Blair offers other damning excerpts from that source, then serves up a rant from 'Traitor George' Galloway. * Not to mention the comments Banagor is hearing in San Francisco. * In fairness, Kos seems pretty measured. Hesiod still frets too much about the wrong things. * Still, Joe Lieberman is right. If it had been up to Howard Dean, Saddam would still be in power. * The Palestinians are gloomy too. Of course. Mass murder isn't an obstacle to heroism for them, it's a required qualification. Saddam was very qualified. * N.Z. Bear has a great question that absolutely deserves an answer. * Prime Minister Tony Blair is pleased. Interesting that he mentioned trial in Iraqi courts, rather than an international tribunal. I think that's the right decision. * Dean Esmay put President Bush's speech online, including a video link. * There have been a number of similar operations recently in Iraq. This Defenselink URL gives some details. * Best headline to date? Gotta be Eye on the Left's: "Ace in the Hole." * Oh Lord, Meryl is right - "Operation Red Dawn" really is derived from the over-the top 1980s movie. Just saw enlarged CENTCOM photos of the target objectives. Code name for the assault sites? "Wolverine 1 " and "Wolverine 2." Isn't association with that movie against the Geneva Convention or something?
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  • Donnah: "Enemy at the Gates" was just so craptastic. Even Ed read more
  • Joe Katzman: And don't even get me started on "Pearl Harbor"... but read more
  • Trent Telenko: >Gawd. That scene in the P.O.W. camp was sooooo >bad. read more

Anti-Globalization, anti-Semitic, anti-American

By Joe Katzman at 09:05

A little while ago, I wrote a series of articles covering the growing confluence of neo-Marxists, neo-Fascists, and Islamists, whose seemingly disparate ideologies appear to be uniting around a common set of hates ["Idiotarianism: Exhibit #27,349" | "Why Idiotarianism? Why Now?"].

I'm not the only one who noticed. Charles Johnson at LGF has been the most reliable and consistent tracker of this phenomenon, and The Counterrevolutionary's excellent short series [The Dynamics of Mass Hate | Why Do They Hate?] is worth your time. The issue is also starting to receive serious attention beyond the blogosphere - as well it should. We recently covered French intellectual Alain Finkielkraut's "The New Antisemisitism," for instance, and now Mark Strauss writes in "Antiglobalism's Jewish Problem" (Foreign Policy Magazine, Nov/Dec 2003):

"The browns and greens are not simply plagiarizing one another's ideas. TheyÔŅĹre frequently reading from the same page. In Canada, a lecture by anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist David Icke was advertised in lefty magazines such as Shared Vision and Common Ground.... Far-right nationalists, such as former skinhead Jaroslaw Tomasiewicz, have infiltrated the Polish branch of the international antiglobalization organization ATTAC. The British Fascist Party includes among its list of recommended readings the works of left-wing antiglobalists George Monbiot and Noam Chomsky. A Web site warning of the dangers of "Jewish Plutocracy, Jewish Power" includes links to antiglobalization NGOs such as Corpwatch and Reclaim Democracy.... "By pointing to this so-called globalisation as our main problem, the anti-MAI activists prepare our thinking for the corresponding logical consequenceÔŅĹthe struggle for 'our own' local economy, and as a consequence also for 'our own' state and culture," the director of De Fabel van de illegaal warned. "Left-wing groups are spreading an ideology that offers the New Right, rather than the left, bright opportunities for future growth."

Read the whole article, and/or an abridged Spectator article from the same author enttled "Who Hates the Jews Now?" We should pay attention...

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  • redjade: ''America did not choose its enemies. They chose us. Those read more
  • Andrew Ian Dodge: Its fairly logical this, after all a lot of the read more
  • Trent Telenko: Joe, America did not choose its enemies. They chose us. read more

Note to Conservatives: Don't Do This

By Joe Katzman at 08:04
Sheila O'Malley has a kick-ass piece on a certain style of conservatism: The Obsession With the Lack of Moral Compasses. Though the real issue here is obsession with a fictionalized past, a tendency that may be conservatism's greatest psychological weakness. I happen to like Bill Bennett and respect what he's trying to do, but I also think there's a lot of truth to her assessment. Or, as Eminem would say: "Word!" Read it. UPDATE: Nelson Ascher adds another take on these ideas, based on his experience growing up in Brazil. Says he might be prepared to call himself right-wing if they were more accepting of the gay people he has known. I suspect he isn't the only one who feels this way.
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  • Jon Cohen: Ken, Different countries have different problems. Russia, for example, has read more
  • Ken: "I would be open to changes to the drug laws read more
  • Jon Cohen: M., No need to worry about my kids. With all read more

December 13, 2003

Snoop Dog's Shabbat Shalom

By Joe Katzman at 23:59
Courtesy of the Snoop Dog Shizzolator and the Rap Dictionary (props to b-boy Bill Whittle, yo!): As many of yo' ass know, Saturday is da Jewish Sabbath. In that spirit, izzle Saturday posts this blog will always be "gravy news", know what I'm sayin'? We be comin' correct and sharing Sufi wisdom, highlighting da gravy 'n decent muthas, laughin' at humourous events, 'n clockin' straight up boo-yaa shit that could rock da world, know what I'm sayin'? It's a bomb diggity break from da week, 'n something I think da blogosphere could use mo' of n' shit. I began doing this on Saturdays, 'n my Muslim, Christian, 'n non-religious colleagues izzall graciously respectin' this Winds of Change.NET cipher. So, welcome to Winds of Change.NET... 'n Shabbat Shalom. Represent!
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  • Concerned: Dear Snoop, I am not sure if you will ever read more
  • aa: give me a word and i'll sing you the name read more
  • Marcel Perez: It's much fun to Shizzolate a serious statement from say, read more

BTDT - got the T-shirt

By Armed Liberal at 23:00
Met some friends at the motorcycle show in Long Beach this morning (what I'm doing instead of blogging). Lots of cool stuff, but the coolest thing was the t-shirt worn by the son of some of our friends, a young man just back from Iraq with the "XXX"th Ordnance Company - Explosive Ordnance Disposal (he actually has a business card with all this on it):
I am a trained bomb disposal expert. If I am running, try to keep up.
He had some interesting comments on life over there, which will follow over the next few days. But having him home whole and hale is certainly good news to his parents and to us.
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  • Kathy K: Thanks blaster! read more
  • Armed Liberal: blaster - well, since that's more what I do, the read more
  • blaster: Kathy - Chances are that the young EOD soldier got read more

Sufi Wisdom: The Way It Is

By Joe Katzman at 05:48
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 and their 'crazy wisdom'. This week's installment comes from Maine resident Farishtah Saaqib: a poem caled First Awakening. bq. It is becoming continuous, These thoughts of God. A sip of water. "Thank you." A wag of my dogs' tails. "You have a good sense of humor." A breath. "You are in me as I am in You." A thought of my teacher. "He is so beautiful." Cold air as I breathe my practices. "Thank you for waking me up." As I read my Murshid's words. "I am blessed that You have given me eyes to see and learn more of You." It requires less discipline, these thoughts. Just as the sun rises and then sets, It is becoming simply the way it is.
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  • T.L. James: I'll second what she said. I missed it last week, read more
  • Joanne Jacobs: Thank you for posting the poem and for your Sufi read more
  • Joe Katzman: ...But with training, we can begin to sense what really read more

Robert Bartley, R.I.P.

By Joe Katzman at 05:21
Robert Bartley guided his newsroom to excellence by gently and consistently elevating the performance of those around him. That's exactly what I hope to accomplish here at Winds of Change.NET, even if I fall a good deal short of Mr. Bartley's example. "What the Silence Said" is the story of a truly civilized and generous man.
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The Power of One

By Joe Katzman at 05:01
Jeff Jarvis writes:
"Now, finally, here's my point: All it took was one person. Thanks to the Internet and weblogs -- and a little help from the community there -- it is possible for one man in a country just coming out from under dictatorship and war to speak to the world, to exercise free speech, to help spread that free speech, to report news, to make news, to build relationships, to create understanding. That is the moral of the story of the blogosphere: All that is now possible. Anyone can do this. Any of us can support it. All it takes is one person. Thank you, Zeyad. Thank you, Hoder. Thank you, Salam."
And a big thank-you from us, too. To them, and to all who have blogged alongside them and helped them along the way. May our journey together continue... and may it continue to grow.
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  • M. Simon: In 1977 my future first mate and I printed T-shirts read more

Israeli Idol

By Joe Katzman at 04:48
Hippercritical has a good news story about the latest winner of Israel's "American Idol" type TV show. Israelis voted for... Israeli Arab contestant Firas Khoury. Hippercritical sees Khoury as someone who might be able to break down some barriers to acceptance and understanding, much as Sammy Davis Jr. did in the USA. I don't know about that, but I do know that this is a nice story and that Khoury seems to have his head and heart screwed on straight. Which makes his story worth reading all by itself.
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  • Yehudit: I find it significant that he is an Arab Christian, read more

December 12, 2003

The Battle of Thunder Run

By Joe Katzman at 00:11
We wrote at the time about "The Battle of Curly, Larry, and Moe." Now Trent Telenko directs our attention to an L.A. Times Magazine piece that reconstructs the pivotal battle of Operation Iraqi Freedom - one the Americans almost didn't win (login: laexaminer / laexaminer). The biggest factor in their success? Surprisingly, it may have been Iraq's infamous Information Minister:
"Nine hundred and seventy-five men invading a city of 5 million sounded audacious, or worse, to the U.S. troops assigned the mission outside Baghdad last April 6. Ten years earlier, in Mogadishu, outnumbered American soldiers had been trapped and killed by Somali street fighters. Now some U.S. commanders, convinced the odds were far better in Iraq, scrapped the original plan for taking Baghdad with a steady siege and instead ordered a single bold thrust into the city. The battle that followed became the climax of the war and rewrote American military doctrine on urban warfare. Back home, Americans learned of the victory in sketchy reports that focused on the outcomeóa column of armored vehicles had raced into the city and seized Saddam Hussein's palaces and ministries. What the public didn't know was how close the U.S. forces came to experiencing another Mogadishu. Military units were surrounded, waging desperate fights at three critical interchanges. If any of those fell, the Americans would have been cut off from critical supplies and ammunition....
"Líaudace, líaudace, toujours líaudace." This time, it was the right call. Read David Zucchino's "The Thunder Run" in full, and you'll find a true story that few fictional thrillers could match. UPDATE: See also Gizmag's May 3, 2005 article "Heavy Metal - A Tank Company's Battle to Baghdad"
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  • Marcel: The Abramses and Bradleys performed excellent. The problem was being read more
  • Tom K: praktike: I still don't understand--larger questions aside--why we didn't just read more
  • rt: "... the last one in Iraq for a long time." read more

December 11, 2003

Iraq Coverage: Click Here Now

By Armed Liberal at 15:23
Instapundit and Roger Simon are all over the unbelievable, disgraceful, infuriating lack of coverage of the antiterrorist march in Iraq. Unlike the Western antiwar demonstrators, who talk of 'repression' while getting free legal assistance, the demonstrators in Iraq are, literally, risking their lives. And while I certainly won't claim to have enough knowledge or perspective to come to a conclusion as to what these demonstrations really mean, I can absolutely say that by not covering them, the media are denying me - and everyone else - the ability to formulate that perspective. I'm disgusted. But not, sadly, surprised. If you share that response, you might want to send an email to the New York Times Public Editor, or his Los Angeles Times equivalent. It'll just take a second, and like me, you'll feel better once you do.
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  • Lynxx Pherrett: Reuters had the story, they put three minutes of video read more
  • UncleBob: Is it supposed to be surprising that Iraqis (or anyone read more
  • Hank: You're missing the point. The majority of the media cover read more

Dan's Iraq Briefing 2003-12-11

By Dan Darling at 06:58
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from Iraq that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Our Winds of War coverage of the global War on Terror is a separate briefing today, and both are brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis. TOP TOPICS * A crowd of ~10,000 Iraqis (per Zeyad) held demonstrations against terrorism today in Firdus Square. Healing Iraq has pictures and more. * The US is reportedly pulling together fighters from all of the major Iraqi militias to form an elite unit to fight the Baathists. * URGENT REQUEST from Chief Wiggles in Iraq. Can you help these girls? Other Topics Today Include: Raids near Mosul; roadside bombing in Duluiyah; raids near the Syrian border; car bombing in Tal Afar; 41 arrests in Spanish intelligence officers' murder case; Iraqi Civil Defense Corps formed; AFN to broadcast in Baghdad; the al-Dujaile Massacre; Iraqi war crimes tribunal; Basra revenge killings; MEK expelled; Iraqi Air Force scrapped; source of the 45 minute claim.
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  • Joe Katzman: Thanks, Dan. One more illustration of why the quality of read more

Guest Blog: "Girlquake" & Government in Iran

By Joe Katzman at 06:55
Recently, I sent an article to an Iranian friend of mine, one "Ased Hamze," about the role of women in Iranian society: bq. "Of the nine members of Islamshah's city council, two are women. One, a lawyer, heads the legal committee. The law is the major battle for women everywhere in Iran, however thick or thin their chador. Women's rights, the domain where Mahboobeh, the Islamic feminist, sees the revolution of tomorrow, a revolution that will inject new victorious energy into the anemic reform movement. Sixty-two percent of the young people who pass the dreaded university admissions exam, so hyper-selective that it's nicknamed the Monster, are women. Bright futures that will no longer allow themselves to be eroded by the darkness of ignorance. The paradoxical triumph of a revolution issuing its own death sentence!" He replied...
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  • someone: So Iran wants to be the next China? Perhaps not read more

Dan's Winds of War: 2003-12-11

By Dan Darling at 06:33
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. In addition, we also have our in-depth Iraq Report. Today's briefings are brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis. TOP TOPICS * US News and World Report has an excellent article on how Saudi money finances al-Qaeda's war against the West. You can read my analysis of the situation here. As the article notes, the Saudis have paid off numerous individuals from both sides of the political fence in order to further their objectives, one of whom appears to be Republican Grover Norquist, whose connection with what I have affectionately termed the "Wahhabi lobby" you can read about here. * Alphabet City and yours truly (along with several other bloggers) have taken a look at the wiretap transcripts made by Italian authorities in Milan on Ansar al-Islam. It's quite chilling and provides a good look at how al-Qaeda operates in Europe as well as fitting yet another piece of the puzzle together, namely that Hizb-ut-Tahrir is an al-Qaeda front organization. * Newsweek is reporting that bin Laden is increasingly diverting resources to support the Iraqi insurgency, resulting in him cutting $1.5 million from the Taliban's monthly budget and pulling over 300 operatives from northern Pakistan to send them to the Gulf. * The Center for Defense Information has a nice profile up of the Turkish Hezbollah, the al-Qaeda affiliate that orchestrated the Istanbul bombings along with the Great Islamic Eastern Raiders' Front. Other Topics Today Include: Iran Reports; USA Homeland Security Briefing; Operation Avalanche; Taliban arrests in Spin Boldak; Zadran arrested in Pakistan; Chechen suicide bombing in Moscow; Sufaat may be freed; internal debate in JI; Islamists and commies fighting side-by-side; the Robot is caught; and elephant hijackers!
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  • Omar: It is ridiculous to claim Hizb ut-Tahrir is a militant read more


By Armed Liberal at 03:13
Blogger and fellow L.A. motorcyclist XLRQ took a spill today on the 405. Sounds like his bell was well-rung, but he's hopefully OK, except for the huge diamond he appears to have promised Mrs. XLRQ. We need to meet them... This may be a good time to point out the study that showed a far lower rate of concussions for riders wearing Arai and Shoei - brand helmets. TG wears an Arai, and I wear a Shoei. [UPDATE: looks like he was...] Click over and send him some good karma. (Hat tip to Instapundit)
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  • Robin Roberts: Good lord, the 405 on a motorbike? That's suicide. Just read more
  • Armed Liberal: If you commute, as I do, can I suggest that read more
  • Xrlq: Thanks for the link. I had no idea that Shoei read more

December 10, 2003

When "Soft Power" Isn't

By Joe Katzman at 18:35
Amir Taheri writes about the limitations of "soft power," using some historical examples.
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  • Sam Barnes: Hum. Amir Taheri doesn't use the definition of "soft power" read more
  • praktike: Good point, Joe. It took various forms of hard and read more
  • Joe Katzman: I should note that soft power isn't valueless... we did read more

Iranian Town Hall

By Joe Katzman at 15:46
This one is worth a look (Hat Tip to Blog Iran!):
"A coherent U.S. strategy toward Iran is increasingly necessary as dissent among the Iranian populace grows and evidence of both an aggressive nuclear weapons program and terrorist ties mounts. With international support, the Iranian opposition could bring about the end of the theocracy, but much of what we know about these opposition groups comes filtered through the media or intelligence analysts. Can the tyranny of the mullahs be ended, can the internal Iranian opposition take on the task, and should the United States assist opponents of the regime in any way? On December 3, AEI(The American Enterprise Institute) hosted an unprecedented Iranian-American town hall meeting with leaders of the opposition inside Iran. A panel of experts and activists at AEI joined a panel of opposition leaders in Iran to discuss the future of Iranian leadership, possible paths of reform, and the potential American role in this process."

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  • chaizzilla: what if the end of theocracy comes in the form read more
  • Nema: Yes, I understand and in fact sympathize with some of read more
  • Lola: She is more than welcome to speak her mind. However, read more


By Armed Liberal at 07:52
Went to the new Disney Hall for a concert by the Los Angeles Master Chorale tonight; a friend of ours had one of the solos, so we wouldn't have missed it. And I'd wanted to get into the hall and hear some music since it opened a month or so ago. Damn. Double Damn.
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  • David Sucher: The issue is hardly whether the building is financed by read more
  • Armed Liberal: I think there was some serious redevelopment money in the read more
  • Kevin Drum: My mother went to Disney Hall a couple of weeks read more

New Blog Homes: Boomshock, Norm Geras

By Joe Katzman at 06:44
Robert Tagorda is the blogger behind Priorities & Frivolities, though personally I've always liked the name in his Blogspot URL best: Boomshock. Now that's a blog name. Robert's blog has a well-earned reputation for quality on many subjects, including some very fine baseball posts to go with his usual commentary. His analysis the recent California recall election was the best I found - not just in the blogosphere, but anywhere. He recently gave up on Blogspot, and moved into a much spiffier MT-based home for his writings. Esteemed UK Blogger Norman Geras has also had it with Blogspot, and moved to Typepad. Which is good, because his material also deserves to be more accessible. Check these guys out.
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  • Crony Capitalist: If he's a Marxist and a defender of human rights, read more
  • Gabriel Gonzalez: What did he do, write The Sound of Music? No, read more
  • Two Ton Jerry: This Norm is a popular guy with you Instapundit folks. read more

December 9, 2003

Grover Norquist: Islamists in the (White) House

By Joe Katzman at 17:06
Instapundit points to a story about Republican fundraiser Grover Norquist [who?], whose close connections with radical Islamists take the term "slimy political bagman" to dizzying new depths. Quoth Instapundit: bq. "If all of this is true, it's more than just 'troubling'." Yes, it's true - and of course, we've compiled the research.
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  • praktike: Actually, I believe it was liberal bloggers who started the read more
  • M. Simon: What we see here is that the Right is self read more
  • M. Simon: The Rs went after Trent Lott over a convolutedly racist read more

Eyes on Korea: 2003-12-09

By The Marmot's Hole at 08:24
Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. Today's Regional Briefing focuses on Korea, courtesy of Robert Koehler of The Marmot's Hole. Top Topics
  • In case you haven't read through them yet, Andy of Flying Yangban has a brilliant four part series analyzing Korean reunification models and the reunification policies of the last two South Korean administrations - they really are must reads. Part 1: Intro and overview Part 2: German and Vietnamese models and Korea Part 3: China and Hong Kong, Yemeni models and Korea Part 4: Lessons to be learned, Bibliography
  • The Korean-language Internet news provider OhMyNews ran a very interesting piece (translated by me) on the removal of the American "tripwire" from the inter-Korean DMZ and the regional implications of the planned transformations of American forces in South Korea.
ALSO ON TAP TODAY: South Koreans killed in Iraq; Redeploying USFK; China & Korea fight over ancient history; Josh Marshall on Korean diplomacy; Riots; Bruce Cumings attacks; Hunger strikes; North Korea & racial purity; anti-Americanism on South Korean campuses; the LG credit card crisis and much, MUCH MORE.
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  • Drayton Flowers: Was listening to the BBC's "East Asia Today" program several read more
  • garrett: Waitup! Don't get your knickers in a twist over accolades read more


By Armed Liberal at 05:03
My motorcycling community has been following the trial of Rep. Bill Janklow (R-S.D.) with obvious interest. For those who haven't been following it, Janklow is the sole Congressmember from South Dakota, as well as a two-time Governor and former state Attorney-General. Quite the big fish in that pond. He was quite the leadfooted big fish, it appears, and unsurprisingly, his power shielded him from the consequences of the minor accidents, speeding stops, and other infractions he committed while doing the people's business. Until this year.
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  • Jay Manifold: Pouncer's question and Joe's answer relates to something I was read more
  • BitHead: I have two words to say about Janklow and his read more
  • Geoff Matthews: When I first heard about the case, I was hoping read more

Calpundit-A.L. Dialogue: End Round 2

By Joe Katzman at 05:01
Calpundit discusses A.L.'s latest energy policy post, and what it means vis-a-vis the War on Terror.
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  • praktike: Personal anecdote- I work with some guys who are negotiating read more
  • M. Simon: FH, The Federal energy policy will have aproximately zero effect read more
  • FH: I wonder what role the State Department has in all read more

December 8, 2003

Andrew's Winds of War: 2003-12-08

By Andrew Olmsted at 06:06
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 (with plenty of help from Joe) of Andrew Olmsted dot com. TOP TOPICS * The issue of Saudi support for terrorism has been an open secret since September 11. Now US News has blown into the issue and uncovered just how deep the problem is (Hat tip: Instapundit). * The commander of American forces in Iraq expects attacks to increase as Iraq comes closer to national elections next summer. The logic is impeccable, but it suggests that November may be a harbinger of things to come rather than an aberration. * JK: Photos from Iraq's mass graves. If you were for the war, you need to see this. If you were against it, you really need to see this. Other Topics Today Include: more on Samarra; Was the '45 minutes' WMD claim accurate; Domestic WMD plot thwarted; Canada - terrorism conduit?; Sniper update; AQ finance chief nabbed; Afghanistan; The Wall and Geneva; Winning the War of Ideas; Chechnya; Will NATO survive the war on terror?
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  • Sam Barnes: praktike, Our new friends? Sure, we have diplomatic contact with read more
  • praktike: No deals with low-lifes...hmmm... Jon, you are deluded. I'm not read more
  • Jon Cohen: Realism is a relic of the cold war. Back when read more


By Armed Liberal at 04:38
The third point of my proposed Democratic foreign policy platform was this:
Third, we're going to stop Israel from building new settlements and push them to dismantle existing illegal ones;
I'd talked pretty extensively about it before:
But while we figure out how to deal with the charmingly erratic nature of the Palestinian polity, we need to do so from a position that is sustainable - militarily, economically, politically, and morally. And I've gotta question whether the current policies - of quietly burying a huge budget to subsidize people to move into the settlements, while talking about handing them back to the Palestinians - are sustainable on any of those grounds.

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  • raj: Yawn. Neither side over there wants peace. Neither side wants read more
  • Andrew J. Lazarus: Sam, Jerusalem is exceptional because (1) we're talking about buying read more
  • anderson: Check out what's happening in Kosovo "Ethnic cleansing, smuggling rampant read more

Tales of a Mother's Love (and Her Political Biases)

By Armed Liberal at 03:37
Two news stories today. Each tells a roughly parallel tale - of a mother travelling to Iraq to visit a daughter in the U.S. military. But the spin each story generates is itself a story. From the L.A. Times (registration, use 'laexaminer'/'laexaminer'):
"The Americans promised so much: democracy, freedom, security - now we have none of these things," said Capt. Mazen Ayash Youssif. "We were better off before. We all prefer the time of Saddam." The depth of their anti-U.S. conviction underscores the difficulties the military faces in winning over ordinary Iraqis, especially in the Sunni zone of central and western Iraq favored by the former regime. "If this is the way the people think here," concluded Valencia, "then we're in a lot of trouble."
The sponsors of the trip?
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  • KevinG: Arghh, The first line of the previous post should read: read more
  • KevinG: Certainly there are journalist who find what they are looking read more
  • RussSchultz: To be fair, the second mother is a journalist, so read more

Palestine and Orange County

By Armed Liberal at 00:36
I'm stupidly busy, but will get some posts up over the next day or so, and just had to get these stories posted for comment and some thought. I've said in the past that I'm not ready to support a Palestinian state, not out of a belief that Arab Palestinians aren't worthy of having a state, but because one of the preconditions of statehood, I believe, is at least the approximation of a monopoly on the use of force. I quoted Max Weber:
...the right to use physical force is ascribed to other institutions or to individuals only to the extent to which the state permits it. The state is considered the sole source of the "right" to use violence.
Today's Jerusalem Post has an enlightening story:
Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, said the Palestinian Authority should stop talking on behalf of all Palestinians. "A certain group should stop playing with the fate of the Palestinian people," he said. "There should be partnership in making fateful decisions, and this partnership should be based on the centers of power in the Palestinian street. We must respect the opinion of the Palestinian street."

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  • Tim Oren: In this case, the monopoly on force, particularly external use read more
  • M. Simon: A.L., Your problem is the Chamberlin problem. You want to read more
  • Armed Liberal: Brett, Weber's definition is far richer than my snippet suggests. read more

December 6, 2003

Congratulations, Team!

By Joe Katzman at 20:35
Congratulations to the team for placing second (tied with Volokh Conspiracy) in John Hawkins' blogosphere poll for "Best Group Blog." Apparently, we're also nominated in WizBang's latest online poll for Best Group Blog (my only quibble: Team Agonist & Team Stryker both deserved inclusion). That "click-to-vote" poll will run until Dec. 14th.
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  • Sparkey: Joe, Thank you for the plug and kind words. Though read more
  • Court: Rooting (and voting) for you :) read more

Space: An Open Letter to Pres. Bush

By Joe Katzman at 20:01
Space is a semi-regular topic here at Winds of Change.NET, largely because I see it as humanity's inevitable future if we wish to survive as a species. The question is, how to get from here to there? From White Knight & SpaceShipOne to "Ad Astra, Without NASA" and its follow-up "2 Missing Pieces," regular readers have a pretty good idea what some of the key issues are and where I stand. Now C. Blake Powers has an open letter to President Bush re: the anticipated changes in U.S. space policy to be announced at Kittyhawk. It's a good one, an intelligent approach that will let the USA capitalize on its strengths and keep the potentially crippling spending under control:
"The government does indeed have a crucial role to play in this endeavor. It must provide the structure and regulation that will encourage private launch companies and private space ventures. It must safeguard the rights of individuals and corporations to go forth and explore and exploit the opportunities that await in space and on non-terrestrial bodies. It can assist those private companies in the same way that the government enabled commercial aviation, by purchasing those services rather than competing with them or attempting to stifle them. The government can provide knowledge, laboratories, and other resources to help overcome scientific and technological problems that are more than a single company can handle. It can do this through existing structures and partnerships, and by this bring those things new life and new purpose. Mr. President, let us not send NASA back to the Moon, or on to Mars. Instead, let us send the best and brightest that are America to these places and beyond...."
Read the whole thing. Bill "Trinity" Whittle would approve, I think.
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  • Joe Katzman: Interesting ideas, Tom. Beyond their other benefits, they would also read more
  • Tom Grey: Space is as inevitable as commercial supersonic transport. Er, um, read more
  • Robert: Space is "humanity's inevitable future if we wish to survive read more

Nanotech Discoveries & Debates

By Joe Katzman at 19:39
Instapundit has an excellent roundup of recent nanotechnology controversies and debates. There's something for everyone here, from coverage of the "molecular self-assemblers" that are key to a lot of the science-fiction type nanotech applications, to the recent nanotech bill passed by the U.S. Congress and other political controversies. If you're wondering what the heck "nanotechnology" is, Winds of Change.NET has that one covered for you too.
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Zen Wisdom: Teacups

By Joe Katzman at 19:25
A student asked Suzuki Roshi why the Japanese make their teacups so thin and delicate that they break easily...[read the rest]
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  • rich: you have made my favorites list, I know your over read more

December 5, 2003

Bonds. Arnold's Bonds.

By Armed Liberal at 20:42
Atrios and Yglesias are piling on Gov. Ahnold's fiscal plan. From TAPPED:
The only sentence from this article you really need to read is, "Well, not solved it, exactly" -- because when you "solve" a fiscal mess by taking on additional debt, you've solved exactly nothing. Obviously, one way to resolve a mismatch between revenues and expenditures is to borrow the money to make up the gap, but next year the gap just comes back with an additional bill for the interest. Repeat this process long enough, however, and people aren't going to lend you any more money, and then you're still faced with the choice between raising taxes and cutting spending.
From Eschaton:
So, the Gropenfuhrer [AL note: I'd really like to use this opportunity to publicly bitch-slap Steve "$300K" Lopez for this contemptuous construct, as well as his overall mediocre coverage of pretty much everything in local and CA politics. Dear Jon Carroll; I can think of three bloggers who could do a better job for a whole lot less money. Email me at the address above if you'd like some suggestions.] is claiming that borrowing by issuing a 15 billion dollar bond is somehow different than other kinds of borrowing. I'm sure the media will do its job and explain this to the moron-Americans of California (hah).

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  • Tom Grey: I'm with praktike (gone) -- cut, cut, cut spending. The read more
  • praktike: I was born in Pomona Valley Hospital, but boy am read more
  • Andrew J. Lazarus: If he presents a complete balanced budget without going through read more

I Have Just Got To Stop Reading the Guardian.

By Armed Liberal at 06:56
Today, Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen steps off the cliff into Idiotarianland.
The spiraling human rights crisis in suspended member Zimbabwe will grab most of the attention of Commonwealth leaders at the heads of government meeting in Nigeria this weekend. This is to be expected when there were more than a thousand reports of torture at the hands of the police and security services last year. President Mugabe must be sent a clear message that arbitrary detention, torture and systematic repression are at odds with the Commonwealth's vision of democracy, the rule of law and good governance. However, leaders must also look at how other members have trampled on basic freedoms in their rush to join the so-called "war on terror", have attacked the right to seek asylum, and still permit cruel punishments and executions. Is it any wonder that Mugabe has got the message that human rights violations will not be challenged?

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  • MommaBear: A simple way to state all of the above: Not read more
  • Abu Frank: In the above, after "decent right-wingers", add "and liberal hawks". read more
  • Abu Frank: GG: (1) . . . [AI] suggests that the UK read more

Gridlock, Explained

By Armed Liberal at 05:03
Matthew Yglesias raises the interesting notion of political deadlock and wonders about the roots and consequences.
It would appear that all the pandering in the world is not capable of convincing anti-Bush Americans that Bush cares about them, while all Democratic efforts to sell the good-government message utterly fail to convince pro-Bush Americans (even those quite disappointed with his unscrupulous actions) that the Dems would actually perform any better in practice. It's basically a politics of pure ressentiment with both sides more motivated by the perceived evils of the alternative than convinced of the merits of their team.
He's puzzled by it. I'm less puzzled by it, because I have a theory. (...a theory which is mine, for you Monty Python fans out there).
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  • Anonymous Coward #8: M. Simon, regarding the cost-benefit ratio of city-nuking, bio- chemical- read more
  • M. Simon: Private insurance has not failed. What has happened is that read more
  • Andrew J. Lazarus: Except, Mr. Moore, Medicare wasn't a trade-off for votes to read more

December 4, 2003

Dan's Iraq Report: 2003-12-04

By Dan Darling at 15:25
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from Iraq that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Our "Winds of War" coverage of the global War on Terror is a separate briefing today, and both are brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis. TOP TOPICS * As most everyone is probably aware of by now, US forces reported killed 46 Iraqi insurgents near the Iraqi town of Samarra. The Belmont Club has some useful analysis behind the significance of the event and Agonist has an account of the fighting from the perspective of a combat leader. General Kimmit has his own comments on the sequence of events that can be read here. According to CNN, the convoys that were attacked were carrying new Iraqi currency, which may indicate that the millions of stashed dinars with Saddam's mug on it that the Baathists are using to finance their attacks are pretty much Monopoly money these days ... Other Topics Today Include: 82ed in al-Anbar; 3 al-Qaeda operatives captured; the Cage for foreign fighters; Saudi border patrol; Tikrit on a tight rein; al-Douri aide jugged; the media war in Iraq; Ays thanks Jeff Jarvis; Saddam's busts taken down; Governing Council sides with US over Sistani; more reconstruction work in Baghdad; a Japanese diplomat's diary; Spanish killings linked to traitors; Pentagon to pay GIs' travel expenses; and Saddam's deals with North Korea.
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  • FH: That Agonist piece made me suspicious. US troops have complained read more

A Competition!

By Armed Liberal at 00:06
I've blogged in the past about the Hope Street Group - a potentially damn interesting set of 'emergent liberals' based here in Los Angeles. They're hosting a competition:
* Papers are due Friday, January 30, 2004.

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  • Slartibartfast: Again, the criticism is that the analysis cannot be reproduced read more
  • praktike: Actually, Mann's results have been duplicated about a dozen times. read more
  • Slartibartfast: Hmmm...Mann may have inadvertently given them the wrong data, but read more

December 3, 2003

AfricaPundit's Regional Briefing: 2003-12-03

By AfricaPundit at 06:02
Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on Africa, courtesy of AfricaPundit. TOP TOPICS
  • AfricaBlog takes time to remember World AIDS Day. Of course, AIDS has been a tragedy wherever it has struck, but the scope of the problem in much of Africa has been--and continues to be--more on the scale of a disaster.
  • The controversy over homosexuality in the Anglican church deepens with the decisions of the Nigerian and Ugandan churches to sever ties with the American church.
  • Abiola blogs up a storm on AGOA and free trade in Africa.
  • The Guardian (of all places) reports American success in capturing and killing terrorists in the Horn of Africa.
Other Topics Today Include: Qaddafi; Zimbabwe updates; Taylor: Still unpunished; War in Uganda; Congo update; Africa blogging.
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  • karibu: You might want to check my Blog. There is an read more

Guest Blog: Halliburton And Defense Contracting (1/3)

By Robin Burk at 03:23
Robin wondered if this would be of interest. I said this issue seemed to be a common concern, and that people should at least be given the opportunity to learn about it. As you do, remember that this is just one set of procedures (obstacles?) the U.S. military and CPA has to deal with every day while trying to reconstruct Iraq. Special Report: Halliburton And Defense Contracting, Part 1/3 by Robin Burk Many questions have been raised about Halliburton's massive contract for services in Iraq. Is it a prime example of cronyism, or even corruption? How could we tell? The Defense Contract Audit agency recently reported that it has found no errors in bills submitted by Halliburton so far. Does that mean all is well? At a time when US taxpayers have been asked to dedicate $87 billion to efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, questions like these have a high profile. And yet, for most people the U.S. defense contracting process is a mystery. The purpose of this special report is to give our readers a brief guided tour of the complex but important world of defense contracting. We'll look at the players and the process, the types of contracts that can be awarded, how the finances work and finally, what this all might mean for companies like Halliburton and Bechtel - and for you and me. As with everything I post here at Winds of Change, including my comments to the regular team's entries, what follows is my personal opinion only and does not reflect the opinion of the Army, the Defense Department or the U.S. Military Academy.
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  • JadeGold: In several posts, JadeGold repeatedly describes Halliburton as strictly an read more
  • Dick Eagleson: In several posts, JadeGold repeatedly describes Halliburton as strictly an read more
  • JadeGold: Praktike: There was good reason my apology contained a lack read more

December 2, 2003

Why "Idiotarianism"? Why Now?

By Joe Katzman at 21:12

My "Idiotarianism: Exhibit #24,349" article earlier today generated some interesting commentary, and a worthy question.

Ross of finds the term overused, and I'm seeing more discomfort with it these days from the left. To which I reply in French: tant pis (too bad). The term is very useful, precisely because it calls attention to the growing neo-fascist/neo-marxist/Islamist nexus of sympathy, mutual justification, and joint action so vividly demonstrated in that neo-nazi spam's URL collection.

Don't believe me? Then you need to read Belmont Club's "Decline and Fall" (of the European Left) right now - and not just for the T.S. Eliot poetry. Read it for his account of The European Left taking the first steps toward being hollowed out by Islamists, and for predictions of a takeover trend that has historical parallels and makes both political and demographic sense.

Which brings us to Robin Roberts' question: Why? Why all of them? Why now? What's the attraction in these supposedly incompatible visions? I think it's simple...

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  • Anticipatory Retaliation: And the term "idotarian" is inelegant and, to my mind, read more
  • Anticipatory Retaliation: Just as a fairly unrelated side note, I don't think read more
  • Robin Roberts: OK, you are a dreamer. You are also more polite read more

Idiotarianism: Exhibit #27,349

By Joe Katzman at 05:13
Every once in a while, Winds of Change.NET gets hit by some kind of barely-coherent, rambling comment spam from neo-nazis, with multiple links to various hate sites et. al. Ever since I installed MT-Blacklist, of course, this has gone from a frequent hassle to once in a blue moon (ditto for those Viagara spammers). Thank you, Jay Allen! One did get through this weekend... and that's when MT-Blacklist showed me something really interesting. It found another, similar comment spam with the profile I was using as an identifier, and gave me a list of URLs it had gathered from that post. Did I want to add any of them? So I looked at the list - and found as good a demonstration as any of how the world's haters and fools are coalescing into a single ideology of idiotarianism. Here's the unedited list. From Indymedia and International ANSWER to Islamists, Palestinian sites and neo-nazis online, all of the usual suspects seem so very happy together. Res ipsa loquitur....
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  • Joe Katzman: Raffi, the list is what was harvested from the neo-nazi read more
  • Communicatio in Sacris: Does anyone know the FARC's Policy toward the Latin Tridentine read more
  • Raffi Kojian: I would love to know how this list was compiled. read more

Le Bourbier Francais: Cote d'Ivorie

By Joe Katzman at 00:13
Well, well, well....
"Hundreds of protesters, some with machetes and knives, besieged the French military base in Ivory Coast's main city of Abidjan on Monday, a day after soldiers called on the French to quit the war-riven country's front line. French troops fired teargas and stun grenades to disperse the demonstration but protesters kept coming back, attacking in waves, and by the evening the crowd had swelled to about 1,000..."
In case you hadn't figured it out, "bourbier" (n. masc.) is how you say "quagmire" in French. Obviously, the French government needs to accelerate their timetables for withdrawal and call in the U.N. No doubt Kofi & co. can do the same stellar job they've done in Rwanda, The Congo, and other African countries. On a personal note (esp. if you're a woman, or live with one, or just a chocoholic like me), Ivory Coast is the world's largest cocoa producer. You might be wise to stock up on chocolate. Preferably the 70%+ variety.
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  • celebrim: Al Maviva: When 'full throated dissent' begins in this country, read more
  • Al Maviva: "Hundreds of protestors, some armed with machetes and knives..." Now read more
  • Sam Barnes: A.C.#8, Right, but totalitarianism is a stable equilibrium. I agree read more

December 1, 2003

Energy and Security

By Armed Liberal at 11:00
Continuing my dialog with Kevin, my second point was:
Second, we're too dependent on ME oil. We're going to do something about it, both by pushing conservation, expanding alternative energy, and expanding exploration. We're going to build the damn windmills off of Cape Cod;
I've been reading up a bit on this (note that it's a pretty information-rich subject, and unlike areas of political theory or strategy, where I feel free to just sit down and let it rip, I do think that some knowledge of fact is pretty important here - a knowledge which I'll freely confess to lacking, and welcoming input from other, more-knowledgeable parties, to get), and really realize that energy security has to be dealt with in three overlapping arenas.
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  • praktike: Mary, actually, the energy bill did contain a hybrid subsidy, read more
  • Mary: A.L. this was a very thoughtful post. I've definitely liked read more
  • M. Simon: As long as we are revisiting the subject might I read more

Hippercritical's Winds of War: 2003-12-01

By Hippercritical at 04:58
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. In addition, we also have our in-depth Iraq Report. Today's briefings are brought to you by Glenn Halpern of HipperCritical. Glenn has a date with a hospital in his near future, so please everyone drop by his blog and wish him well! TOP TOPICS * New warnings have surfaced that Al Qaeda is looking to go for the big score against a US target, and WMDs may be in the plans. The lively dilaogue between Belmont Club and USS Clueless on America's likely response to a deadly WMD strike is eye-opening. * JK: Guest Bloggers (Hungarian Ambassador to the USA) Andras Simonyi, and Jeff "Skunk" Baxter of The Doobie Brothers & Steely Dan, talk about the role of Rock n' Roll in spreading freedom: ['Skunk' Baxter | Ambassador Simonyi | Q&A Session] * This War on Terror is quite the rollercoaster ride, and it stretches around the globe. In the past week, high-profile arrests of suspected Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists were made in Italy, Germany, London, Turkey, Syria, Yemen and Iraq. That the Coalition is tracking down terrorists all over the world is both heartening and worrying, no? Other Topics Today Include: Iranian Mullahs rejoice over IAEA resolution; Iran-Israel geopolitical games; Iran elections discussion; Vote for Blogger Hoder!; al-Qaeda's strategy; WoT is 2 civil wars; US missile defense system to be deployed in 2004; More controversy over Guantanamo Bay; The 'Israelization' of Turkey; 5 regimes must go; Afghanistan reports, Terrorism futures; How to Support the Troops - updated!
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  • praktike: Well, considering that a tinfoil hat fired into the air read more
  • Glenn: Japan plans to deploy its own missile defense system. This read more

Hippercritical's Iraq Report: 2003-12-01

By Hippercritical at 04:51
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. Our "Winds of War" coverage of the global War on Terror is a separate briefing today, and both are brought to you by Glenn Halpern of HipperCritical. TOP TOPICS Other Topics Today Include: Iraqi blogger's Eid greeting; Advance in trauma care; Japanese diplomats assassinated; Iraqis demonstrate against terror; Jordan-Chechnya terror connection; Where are the Husseins?; Ba'ath Poker; Blix berates the US; Support the Troops (Updated!); Iraqi Toy Drive.
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Those Damn Vendors

By Armed Liberal at 04:45
From today's NYT:
The trail that investigators have uncovered, partly from reading computer hard drives found in Baghdad and partly from interviews with captured members of Mr. Hussein's inner circle, shows that a month before the American invasion, Iraqi officials traveled to Syria to demand that North Korea refund $1.9 million because it had failed to meet deadlines for delivering its first shipment of goods.
From WoC in May:
So you get 'Potemkin weapons'; reports, promises, trailers filled with impressive-looking technical equipment, UAV's that are really just oversized model airplanes. Occasionally, some competent or especially frightened technician might actually produce something - but almost certainly not on the scale that the dictator believes. So Saddam believes he has them, and from that, we infer that he does, and what is really going on is a bunch of nervous paper-shuffling.
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  • FH: Well, it looks like Saddam got screwed. As the French read more
  • David Moisan: I'm reminded of a hilarious Norman Spinrad story "World War read more
  • Joe Katzman: ...And now, we can be very sure he never will read more


By Armed Liberal at 04:02
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving at my brother's; his wife cooked a yummy Southern holiday meal (all great, except for her insistence on boiling the stringbeans until they were limp and gray - a characteristic of Southern cooking I'll never understand). As usual, the Beaujolais Nouveau went incredibly well with the turkey. They live in a lovely duplex in South Pasadena; they are talking about moving, though because the living room isn't big enough to contain their television set. It's one of the ones that's about 5' wide and 3' tall, and they have it hooked to a satellite dish that numbers it's channels in the 100's. They're both sports fanatics (unlike me) and we spent quite a bit of the pre-meal warmup drinking martinis and watching the Dolphins-Cowboys game. I know the basic rules of football, but the appeal is lost on me. Same with baseball - although an August evening game at Dodger Stadium has its pleasures. I'll fess up to asking friends to tape Tour de France coverage or coverage of Motorcycle Grand Prix racing, so I'm not a total sports teetotaler.
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  • Joe Katzman: Jean Bart said it was going to be a great read more
  • Andrew J. Lazarus: My wine guy sold out 40 cases of Beaujolais Nouveau read more
  • praktike: AL- Well, our presence in Iraq clearly makes us more read more

Guest Blog: Rocking for the Free World (3/3)

By Joe Katzman at 02:41
This is a very special series for Winds of Change.NET. Thanks to the cooperation of AndrŠs Bacsi and the Hungarian Embassy in Washington, Hungarian Ambassador Andras Simonyi and Jeff "Skunk" Baxter of Steely Dan & The Doobie Brothers being featured here on Winds of Change.NET as a Guest Bloggers. This final installment recaps the end of Friday's post, then bridges into a fascinating Q&A session that draws some interesting parallels with present day events.

"Rocking for the Free World: How Rock Music Helped to Bring Down the Iron Curtain"

(Speech at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland on November 8, 2003)
Winds Prologue: The Axis of Elvis | Part 1: Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter | Part 2: Ambassador Andras Simonyi | Part 3: Baxter & Simonyi Q&A Session
...Andras Simonyi: Try, if you havenít tried it, the excitement of strumming a Stratocaster. I think thatís the closest you can get to heaven before you really get there. Rock is about freedom, rock is believing in our freedom and the freedom of others. I reject the attacks that I hear on rock and roll music. I really think this culture, this museum that Terry Stewart and friends have given us, that the musicians have given us, will remain a lasting pillar in our relationship. I want to make sure that I use this opportunity to thank on behalf of many many millions of Hungarians, Russians and Czechs and Poles, East Germans for what you have given us in hard times, when you were the light for us, when you were the vehicle to the free world for us. Thank you Jimmy, thank you Eric, thank you Johnny, John, Paul, George and Ringo, thanks to Jeff, thanks to Steve Winwood and all the others. You have formed our minds, you have formed the mind of a generation. We are now in the West ourselves. Thanks God you did not let us down. Rock is not a commercial success Ė rock is a cultural success. You have kept millions going. You have kept millions and millions hoping. You have warmed up the hearts of many millions of people behind the Iron Curtain. The message went through the airwaves and through the Iron Curtain, it went through the Berlin Wall. It was a bridge. Now before I conclude, let me play a little piece and I want you to do a little guessing. I want you to guess who these guys are that were playing. (Music) Thank you, that was the message of freedom and you tell me later who that last guy was. Can you guess it? Who was it? Well, that was me [playing "Crossroads"]. Thank you so much. (Applause) Thank you. Skunk and I will be happy to answer questions related to this topic. Q1: Your message in terms of the impact that rock and roll had in Hungaryís culture and politically was very strong. Today, weíre faced with the difficulty of Middle Eastern cultures. Are there any similarities to this situation?
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  • Robin Roberts: "don't care", anarchism is a discredited ideology. read more
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