March 2003 Archives

Main | April 2003 »
March 31, 2003
Quote of the Day
"Logan's Run" - sci-fi never works when the entire cast looks like the Starland Vocal Band.

Gotta love Lileks.

Posted by Russ at 10:43 AM
March 29, 2003

That's right: Dang.

After a week primarily characterized by major episodes of insomnia (oh, yeah... I hear there's a war going on, too) only thwarted by pre-emptive application of The Miracles Of Modern Pharmacology to the situation, I feel mentally prepared to apply a verbal cudgel to some deserving skull.

(More later, perhaps, on the effects of sleeplessness on mental acuity.)

Sadly, the quality of the shrill, shrieking, nattering nitwits leaves much to be desired today. Sure, sure, I could dig up something from the past (and after all, there is a huge record of idiocy through which to search) but Historian though I may be, timeliness seems to be much more of a consideration.

I mean, Great Caesar's tap-dancing Ghost, is there nothing written today by the unwashed Idiotarian masses that isn't self-refuting?


Posted by Russ at 01:08 PM
March 26, 2003
Jamming Iraqi TV

Some of you may have figured out that once upon a time I was an electronic warfare specialist. Indeed so. I thus know a thing or two about shutting down enemy communications. Iraq TV certainly falls into this category, just as much as Radio Berlin did when Dr.Goebbels, Axis Sally, and Lord HawHaw were spewing their filth across the airwaves of Europe.

It is thus with a certain amount of glee that I hear of the takedown of the aforementioned Iraqi television station.

But I have also heard people suggest that we could get by merely by jamming the enemy transmissions. That's not gonna work....

Traditional jamming of a broadcast transmission can only occur effectively at the receiving end of a broadcast. A jammer works by putting out more electromagnetic (EM) signal than the jammed receiver is getting from the station he wants to listen to, thus drowning out the original transmission.

To jam a transmission at the source, you have to have an emitter at the same spot, putting out more radiated EM power than the broadcaster you're trying to jam - I think the Iraqis wouldn't cooperate with this approach, since we'd need to build a TV broadcasting station in downtown Baghdad.

To jam Iraq-TV regionally, you'd have to have jammers everywhere, pumping out megawatts of radiated power. Not gonna happen, especially if cable-TV is involved. It is much better to terminate the source of the broadcast.

In short, it's much easier to overwhelm the listeners "ears" than to drown out the transmitter's "voice" - unless you want to eliminate the transmitter entirely.

Think of it this way: if you want to keep a crowd from hearing a speech,

  1. you can have someone shouting into the ear of everyone in the crowd to keep them from hearing the speech [traditional jamming]

  2. you can take a bullhorn up to the podium and drown out the speaker ["jamming at the source"]

  3. you can cut the speaker's microphone [e-bomb]

  4. you can shoot the speaker [JDAM]

With regard to Iraq-TV, we seem to have chosen option 3. That suits me just fine... though I think I prefer option 4.

With the station out of business, it should then be possible for our forces to begin using that same channel to reach the Iraqi people. Commando Solo has TV and radio capability, though frankly, an airborne transmitter isn't likely to be as powerful as a permanent ground installation would be. The airspace around Baghdad isn't likely to be too friendly yet, either.

[I wrote a slightly briefer version of this in the comments to a post at SGT Stryker. Great site, highly recommended.]

Posted by Russ at 12:12 AM
March 25, 2003
Spare me, please

OK, so I'm insomniac and damn grouchy right now. So I figure I'll watch some news....

And yet another uniformed Iraqi gov't official (do they have any civilians in government over there?) is spewing his lies all over the airwaves. Live. On American TV. Again.

Consider me seriously cheesed off. These are our enemies, dammit. Do the networks expect truth from these a-holes? These are American networks airing this... whose side are they on?

Damn right I'm pissed.

It could be the insomnia talking.

But I doubt it.

Posted by Russ at 05:07 AM
March 24, 2003
Something Good For April 15

Buy A Gun To Spite Michael Moore Day

Since I probably can't get one of these, (dang!) I'll probably have to settle for this:

UPDATE: Got it!

Posted by Russ at 09:16 PM
Patton, Weather, and Iraq

It was with much interest that I read the Baghdad weather forecast this morning:

Tonight: Considerable cloudiness. Low 61F. Winds SSE at 10 to 15 mph. Tomorrow: Mostly cloudy skies. High around 75F. Winds SE at 10 to 20 mph. Tomorrow night: Scattered thunderstorms in the evening, then variable clouds overnight with more showers at times. Low 53F. Winds SW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 60%. Wednesday: Cloudy with occasional showers. High 61F. Winds WSW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 50%. Thursday: Plenty of sun. Highs in the upper 60s and lows in the mid 40s. Friday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the low 70s and lows in the mid 40s.

(Forecast from Yahoo Weather, hat tip to the Command Post)

After much concern for the rapidly-increasing temperatures in the Iraq theater of action and the effect high temperatures would have on our troops, it now looks as though temperatures will be moderate this week.

I am put much in mind of the story, made famous in the film Patton, of the "weather prayer" the General asked his chaplain to compose:

Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.

For "rains", substitute "temperatures" or "sandstorms" and I think you might see the parallel.

Read the story of the prayer, as told by the Army chaplain himself, here: Patton's Prayer.

Posted by Russ at 12:21 PM
March 22, 2003
Iraq: Blah blah blah

Yet again an Iraqi uniformed bozo gives a press conference:

Americans are gangsters... blah blah blah... their armies have been pushed back at every turn... blah blah blah... millions of innocent dead... blah blah blah... we will defeat them and dance on their graves... blah blah blah....


And this:


is spontaneous combustion, no doubt.

Posted by Russ at 01:51 AM
March 21, 2003
Non Blogos Mentis

I've not been blogging today due to an advanced case of insomnia and the consequent mental fuzziness.

I may not blog tomorrow, either - I'll be out enjoying some of my God-given freedoms.

Posted by Russ at 06:59 PM
March 20, 2003
Thomas Friedman, Idiot

UPDATE: see this post for a partial retraction. But go ahead and read this one. It is substantially valid.

Thomas Friedman drools all over the pages of the International Herald Tribune today. His article is too long to duplicate here, but let me summarize his main points:

  1. Bush is a cowboy without a posse

  2. Iraq cannot be liberated and turned into a democracy without the UN

  3. Bush's limited diplomatic efforts were a failure

  4. so we go to war alone

  5. The Bush administration needs an "attitude lobotomy" [his words] and should immediately prostrate itself before the world

  6. [Spurious comparison with Israel's Six Day War]

  7. America must repeat the success of the Marshall Plan

Point by point,

1) Bush is a cowboy without a posse.
Tommy boy, let me introduce you to the posse.
2) Iraq cannot be liberated and turned into a democracy without the UN.
The examples of history (Germany and Japan, to name the most prominent two) would seem to pretty thoroughly refute this proposition.
3) Bush's limited diplomatic efforts were a failure...
Failure? Bush walked away from the diplomatic process with his principles uncompromised and no one able to stop him doing exactly what he wanted to do. I'd call that a diplomatic victory. A diplomatic trumph (getting the UN to come along on the mission) would have been nice, but it really isn't going to be necessary.
4) so we go to war alone.
See point 1) above. How many effing times does it have to be said? I know, I know, the Left really really really wants the "unilateralism" meme to spread... but it's utterly false, and must be combatted at every turn.
5) The Bush administration needs an "attitude lobotomy" [his words] and should immediately prostrate itself before the world.
A lobotomy might be necessary, but it's not the Bush administration that needs it. Yes Tom, I'm looking at you.
6) [Comparison with aftermath of Israel's Six Day War]
I'm not sure what point he is trying to make here. The US is not in quite the same situation Israel was in back in 1967. Israel was not trying to remake any of its enemies into democracies, it was trying to make its enemies into corpses - that's what hapens when your back is up against the metaphorical wall.
7) America must repeat the success of the Marshall Plan
Good lord... Tommy gets something right! Of course, he is merely belaboring the obvious... but he makes it sound as though without his advise the US might instead topple the Hussein regime and immediately walk away from Iraq. Golly, Tommy, thanks for the help!
Posted by Russ at 06:20 PM | Comments (2)
Did we get him?

CNBC reporting the possible wounding of Saddam.

Now, I'm not going to pretend to be a news source (and someone PLEASE tell me if I'm coming across that way!) All I can do is insert snide comments along the way.

But not right now... Rumsfeld is on....

Posted by Russ at 11:06 AM
Will the real Saddam please stand up

Was Saddam's speech live or Memorex?

Was it really Saddam?

No one knows with certainty; lots of speculation.

We'll be faced with speculation by the truckload and few real facts for quite a while to come. This is a Good Thing, as far as I'm concerned - the less we know right now, the less the Iraqis are likely to know, too.

Like most adults, I am a master of the concept of Delayed Gratification.

Posted by Russ at 01:37 AM | Comments (1)
Dead man talkin'?

Speculation on FoxNews as to whether that was really Saddam.

Merest rank speculation, for what whatever it's worth.

Posted by Russ at 12:48 AM
Saddam Speaks

CNN and FoxNews are carrying Saddam live now. The audio is terrible, but I guess that's what happens when you're in a bunker 200 feet underground.

His speech in short:

Damn Bush. Damn the Jews. Long live me.

Dead man talkin'.

Posted by Russ at 12:41 AM
Vodkapundit is on the job

Stephen Green, he of VodkaPundit fame and (one hopes) fortune, is on the job tonight.

I'm inspired - I think I'll pour myself a glass of Knockando.

And thanks, Stephen, for the linkage.

Posted by Russ at 12:24 AM
Speaking of surprise...

... a 1000-man strike by elements of the 82nd Airborne has been launched in Afghanistan southeast of Kandahar in an apparent attempt to catch bin Laden.

This, I think, falls into the realm of operational if not strategic surprise.

Posted by Russ at 12:06 AM
March 19, 2003

Hmph. Something else occurred to me.

Going back to my days in the Army.... When our unit was deployed in the field on a mission - whether a training mission or a "live" mission, we followed the old custom of holding "stand to".

The term "stand to" is verbal shorthand for "stand to your posts." Every day, for a half-hour before and after sunrise and sunset (well, BMNT and EENT really - see this glossary), every man takes up his weapon and assumes his defensive position - be it a foxhole, or merely behind some stacked sandbags.

These hours are critical. Tradition says - and history tends to bear out - that attacks come during these hours of low visibility.

Apply this to what happened in Baghdad this morning. Consider that the deadline given to Saddam was 0400 hrs Baghdad time. Almost assuredly, Iraqi forces went on alert somewhat before that, and probably stood down as the sun came up and they realized that no waves of bombers were going to be striking.

Imagine their surprise.

Of course, surprise is the whole point. Obviously, there can be no strategic surprise - anyone who doesn't by now know that the Yanks are coming is either deaf, blind, irretrievably ignorant, or any combination thereof.

There really isn't any "operational" surprise either - or not much, anyway. The objectives the US and allied commanders want to achieve in the field are pretty well known already - there are a limited number of possible objectives, and frankly, the only surprise is likely to be which ones will be sought and on what schedule.

That leaves tactical surprise. All I can say is, so far so good. Give 'em hell, boys.

Posted by Russ at 11:56 PM

I have to wonder which (or how many) of the bad guys got smoked in the raid this morning.

Fox News is reporting that the initial strkes near Baghdad were aimed at Iraqi leadership. If successful, killing any one of the five people targeted (Saddam, his evil progeny, and a couple of bootlickers) would be an extraordinary takedown.

It's being reported that F-117s coordinated their bomb strikes with a dozen or more cruise missile strikes - such that all the impacts came in an impressivly short 10-15 second window.

Devastating. Does Saddam really think he can win?

Posted by Russ at 11:22 PM | Comments (1)
It's begun

The war has begun, and what surprises me most is my sense of relief.

Thank you, God, the waiting is over.

I don't think that speaks particularly ill of me. I have been and remain a strong supporter of President Bush, and an equally strong proponent of the elimination of Saddam and his weapons, and the liberation of the people of Iraq.

Mainly, I know that with American and allied success in this war, the United States will be just that much safer, and that the odds of a chemical, biological or nuclear 9/11 will be that much smaller. And that's good enough for me.

I will sleep with a clear conscience tonight... if I can manage to drag myself away from the news broadcasts.

FDR said it best:

With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.

Posted by Russ at 10:07 PM
A good start

Pete Stark (D-Baghdad) says:

"I think unleashing 3,000 smart bombs against the city of Baghdad in the first several days of the war . . . to me, if those were unleashed against the San Francisco Bay Area, I would call that an act of extreme terrorism."

I, on the other hand, would call it a good start, given this.

(Links courtesy of Drudge and Dixie Flatline.)

Posted by Russ at 09:39 PM
Hey, Saddam!

Time's up!

Posted by Russ at 08:00 PM

In today's National Review Online, Mackubin Thomas Owens discusses the chem/bio threat. It is a pretty good article, but I have a minor quibble.

... Iraq will not use biological weapons.... Releasing a biological agent could affect the launching side as adversely as the targeted side. In the case of Iraq, it could have a devastating effect on the unprotected Iraqi population, as a biological strain wreaks havoc on both soldiers and civilians and then mutates, rendering any antidote ineffective. It seems to me that, even if Saddam wants to go out in a Gotterdammerung, the risks of using biological weapons far outweigh the benefits.

It seems to me that if Saddam is playing out a Gotterdammerung scenario, then the only risk of using bio-weapons is the risk of their being ineffective. A "devastating effect on the unprotected Iraqi population" is by definition part of such a self-destructive endgame, is it not?

Posted by Russ at 03:45 PM
LT Smash... Connection refused

Well, it looks like our Gulf-based blogger LT Smash is either getting a HUGE traffic load today - unsurprising, really - or his server is down. I expect, in any case, that he'll be too busy to blog for the next few days....

If you get something other than a "Connection refused" message, consider yourself lucky.

If you do get through, read everything there.

Posted by Russ at 12:10 PM

Note to correspondents:

Due to technical issues (i.e., a procmail blunder on my part), all mail sent to me on 18March2003 has been lost. Please re-send anything of importance.

Thank you,
The Management

Posted by Russ at 10:21 AM
War and Feminism

I'm no expert on feminism - mainly because the shrieking harpies usually identified with the modern American feminist movement are so philosophically unpalatable that I cannot stand to listen to them. I'd rather puncture my own eardrums than listen to Gloria Steinem, Eleanor Smeal or Kate Michelman.

Wendy McElroy, on the other hand, sounds to me like a reasoned and reasonable voice. Today she writes Iraq War May Kill Feminism as We Know It.

No wonder the Left hates her.

Posted by Russ at 09:55 AM
March 18, 2003
Same old slander

According to the byline at the end of the original article, "Magie Dominic is author of The Queen of Peace Room, a personal exploration of violence in the second half of the twentieth century." This may explain why I've never heard of her before today.

But I've heard it all before.

(Link courtesy of WorldNetDaily)

What Century Are We In? by Magie Dominic

If war could bring peace, the definitive battle would have been fought millennia ago, on a wide-open field,

If evil tyrants would stop popping up like some sort of geo-politico-historical Whack-a-Mole, maybe we could stop fighting wars. But the bad guys never seem to learn the right lessons from the past. Instead, every aggressive tyrant comes to believe that he can win by avoiding the mistakes his predecessors have made. God help us if one of them is ever correct.

with sticks and stones and possibly spit.

Sounds like the chosen tactic of neolithic barbarians, as well as ANSWER's "black bloc". Fortunately, the cops have better weapons. For that matter, so do I.

Instead, today’s armies fight on with hard drives and software, with white noise and satellites, with specks on monitors erupting in flames. And smart weapons create the same images of disfigured women holding expressionless children — head too small for the hospital pillow, body too short for the bed.

Saddam, on the other hand, avoids this problem altogether. No child has ever come to harm under his regime.

Oh, right... except for the ones tortured in front of their parents. Or the ones starved so that SH can add another billion-dollar presidential palace to his real estate portfolio. Or the ones denied decent medical care because Iraq's assets are poured into WMD programs.

War has never fit children.

It's never been a particularly good fit for adults, either.

I’ve been reading old newspapers lately,

So she can read, big deal. Can she comprehend? No. Read on....

clippings with torn edges, dates marked in ink at the top. In the 1991 Gulf War, more than 59,000 tons of bombs were dropped monthly on Iraq. In Vietnam, 34,000 tons were dropped monthly. Vietnam doesn’t need a date to define it.

But she clearly cannot write. Or, more specifically, she cannot write clearly. I could spend the rest of my life searching for a point here, if I cared to waste the rest of my life.

Vietnam was the sixties. Iraq was the nineties. Everything else fell in between.

Including, apparently, the author's capacity for rational thought. Everything else of what, exactly?

Modern weapons create the same heartrending images of heartbroken men digging through rubble, searching for home, for family. If Iraq really does have nuclear facilities, why is the U.S. planning to bomb them? The UN has a ban against attacks on nuclear sites. Cruise missiles, once en-route, cannot be recalled. (In 1991, the U.S. bombed Iraqi reactors, exposing the civilian population to radioactive iodine.)

Well, if the choice is to temporarily expose people to radioactive iodine, from which all they have to do is flee, or to expose an American city to high intensity gamma-rays, overpressures, and temperatures greater than the surface of the sun, which do you think I might choose? Go on, guess.

During the six-week assault on Iraq, 84,000 tons of bombs were dropped, the equivalent of five Hiroshimas. I need to repeat that: 84,000 tons of bombs rained down, the equivalent of five Hiroshimas — and children were the largest group of casualties. Many died of hunger and cold. At the Cukurca refugee camp, eighty-six died in three days.

Five Hiroshimas? Let's see... so then we killed upwards of half a million people during the war? Wait, no.... according to the History Guy, civilian casualties during the Gulf war add up to about 2,300.

In Iraq, U.S. forces introduced ammunition made with depleted uranium, a radioactive waste. At least 940,000 of those toxic, armour-piercing rounds were fired. Dr. Eric Hoskins, a medical doctor with fifteen years of experience working in war zones, surveyed Iraq two years after the war as part of a Harvard Study Team. He estimates that 50,000 children died in the first eight months of 1991, many from the effects of spent rounds littering the ground. UN aid workers saw Iraqi children playing with empty radioactive shells. In Basra, a child was seen using them as hand puppets.

This could be a textbook example of how to lie with statistics. In fact, depleted uranium is less radioactive than natural uranium (hence the "depleted" - Duh.) Indeed, even natural uranium has few, if any, health risks even after long-term exposure. (See this Washington Post article [link requires registration].) Handling of expended DU munitions has as much chance of causing you to sprout wings as it does of causing cancer. Dr. Eric Hoskins, associated with Ramsey Clark's International Action Center, is in fact lying to push an Idiotarian agenda. Stuff him.

Today, the U.S. possesses almost three-quarters of a million metric tons of depleted uranium — even though a 1996 UN subcommittee defined arms containing it as weapons of mass destruction.

Wow... a UN subcommittee? I'll be sure to write my sub-congressman immediately.

The mass destruction of Iraq’s water purification facilities hastened the spread of cholera and typhoid, and hastened the deaths of thousands of children. Protocol I of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 54 prohibits the destruction of objects indispensable to the survival of a civilian population, including food and drinking water. Near Baghdad, 12-million gallons of raw sewage spewed into the Tigris River hourly. Without access to television, radio or newspapers, families continued to rely on the Tigris for their drinking water.

What Article 54 (click link and scroll down) really says is "The Occupying Power may not alter the status of public officials or judges in the occupied territories, or in any way apply sanctions to or take any measures of coercion or discrimination against them, should they abstain from fulfilling their functions for reasons of conscience."

Magie is either 1) using a different version, or 2) lying to us, or 3) is too dumb to properly cite. Whichever way it is, I'm not going to do her work for her.

As many as a quarter of a million Iraqi civilians died as a result of the Gulf War.

No, 2,300 died as a result of the Gulf War. The remainder died as a result of the depredations of the Hussein regime. Moron.

Dr. Hoskins

The apparent Idiotarian

recently returned to Canada after another assessment mission to Iraq. His team found that 500,000 Iraqi children are malnourished and the country has only three months of medicine left. Now, with war looming once again, the children are more vulnerable than ever:

OK, help is on the way, courtesy of Uncle Sam. Or did Magie dearest think we were planning on rolling in and murdering these children before Saddam can?

“While it is impossible to predict both the nature of any war and the number of expected deaths and injuries, casualties among children will be in the thousands, probably in the tens of thousands and possibly in the hundreds of thousands ... Iraq’s 13-million children are at grave risk of starvation, disease, death and psychological trauma.”

In other words, it's impossible to predict, and here's the doctor's prediction. Wish I'd thought of making rhetorical points that way. But this ignores the underlying problem - that the children of Iraq are in danger because of Hussein, not because of efforts to remove him.

In 1991, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney — then Secretary of Defence — directed one of the largest and deadliest military campaigns in history. The Washington victory parade alone cost more than $12-million. The attack began late on a clear moonless night, while children were sleeping. Laser bombs work best when it’s clear; they become confused in the clouds.

Well, I'm sure Mr. Cheney really wanted to wait until daylight, when the children were all in their schoolrooms, so as to eliminate them more efficiently.

If any soldier can hear me, if any soldier can read this, in the name of God, realize why you have been called there. You have been called there to kill the children.

Ah, yes... "babykillers." It was only a matter of time before that slander reared its ugly head. Y'know, just once I hope to be within arm's reach of a dirty stinking hippie when that word spews forth. I'd do my time for battery with a smile on my lips and a song in my heart - if a jury could be found to convict me.

What century are we living in? What have we become?

Well, it's pretty clear that Magie is living in 1960's Berkeley, and clearer what she has become - a liar and a drooling idiot. Unless, of course, she started out that way. American, British, and other allied soldiers know exactly why they're there, and it isn't to hunt down and kill the children of Iraq.

Magie has not learned the lesson of Afghanistan. Indeed, she seems to go out of her way to ignore it. A year hence, will the children of Iraq be happier than they are now? Better educated? Will they be receiving more food, better medical attention? You bet your ass they will be - no thanks to deliberate fools like Magie Dominic.

Posted by Russ at 02:29 PM
March 17, 2003
A Fisking

I'd appreciate any feedback. This is my first real shot (in public, anyway) at a real fisking. But, well, "see the hill - take the hill."


The Forgotten Power of the General Assembly
Perhaps because it is eminently forgettable?
by Robert Fisk
Who else?
For 30 years, America's veto policy in the United Nations has been central to its foreign policy.
Well, no. Enlightened self interest has been central to American foreign policy. The UNSC veto is merely a hammer in our national toolbox.
More than 70 times the United States has shamelessly used its veto in the UN, most recently to crush a Security Council resolution condemning the Israeli killing of the British UN worker Iain Hook in Jenin last December.
Shamelessly? I'm rather proud of the fact that my country uses its power to stand up for the only real democracy in the region. (Yes, yes, I know what you're thinking - "What about Turkey?" Well, France and Germany notwithstanding, it's really more a part of Europe these days.)
Most of America's vetoes have been in support of its ally Israel. It has vetoed a resolution calling for the Israeli withdrawal from the Syrian Golan Heights (January, 1982), a resolution condemning the killing of 11 Muslims by Israeli soldiers near the al-Aqsa mosque (April, 1982), and a resolution condemning Israelis slaughter of 106 Lebanese refugees at the UN camp at Qana (April, 1986).
I'd take these resolutions a bit more seriously if there were similar resolutions condemning Palestinian terrorism, Hamas rocketing of Israeli towns, and all the various times that Israel's neighbors have engaged in aggressive wars the sole purpose of which have been to eliminate Israel and the Israelis.
The full list would fill more than a page of this newspaper.
Of course it would. On the Left, volume always trumps rationality.
And now we are told by George Bush Junior that the Security Council will become irrelevant if France, Germany and Russia use their veto?
That's about the size of it, yep. You see, there's a difference here: Iraq with WMD is a danger to the region and the world. The only danger Israel presents the region, the world, and morons like Fisk is the danger of dying in an apoplectic fit, foaming at the mouth.
I often wonder how much further the sanctimoniousness of the Bush administration can go.
I think the word he was looking for was "sanctimony"....
Much further, I fear.
As far as it has to go. But not as far as I wish you would go.
So here's a little idea that might just make the American administration even angrier and even more aware of its obligations to the rest of the world.
Obligations to the rest of the world? Our sole obligation to the rest of the world is to not make parking lots and strip malls out of it - just so long as no one threatens us or our friends. Live and let live implies reciprocity; so does a threat to our national well-being.
It's a forgotten UN General Assembly resolution that could stop an invasion of Iraq, a relic of the Cold War. It was, ironically, pushed through by the US to prevent a Soviet veto at the time of the Korean conflict, and actually used at the time of Suez.
This kind of implies that we could use it ourselves to circumvent a French veto, does it not? I'm sure that's not what Monsieur Fisque means, but let's find out....
For UN resolution 377 allows the General Assembly to recommend collective action "if the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security".
This sounds better and better....
This arcane but intriguing piece of UN legislation - passed in 1950 and originally known as the "Uniting for Peace" resolution - might just be used to prevent Messrs Bush and Blair going to war if their plans are vetoed in the Security Council by France or Russia. Fundamentally, it makes clear that the UN General Assembly can step in - as it has 10 times in the past - if the Security Council is not unanimous.
It is better - it means we can render the Security Council and the General Assembly irrelevant both at the same time. I'm all for it.
Of course, the General Assembly of 1950 was a different creature from what it is today.
You don't say.
The post-war world was divided and the West saw America as its protector rather than a potential imperial power. The UN's first purpose was - and is still supposed to be - to "maintain international peace and security".
A purpose in which it has failed most egregiously.
Duncan Currie, a lawyer working for Greenpeace,
Now there's a resumé I want to see crossing my desk... on its way to the garbage can. Though seeing as he's with Greenpeace, maybe I'd just crumple it up and toss it in a river.
has set out a legal opinion, which points out that the phrase in 377 providing that in "any case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression", the General Assembly "shall consider the matter immediately" means that - since "threat" and "breach" are mentioned separately - the Assembly can be called into session before hostilities start.
Gentlemen (and I use the term merely out of my own parentally-inspired courtesy, not because I believe the UNGA is actually comprised of gentlemen), you have about 12 minutes to get to your collective act together.

Based on past performance, I don't think the UNGA could agree to a meeting time before combat begins, much less agree to a resolution in that time.

These "breaches", of course, could already be alleged, starting with the American air attack on Iraqi anti-ship gun batteries near Basra on 13 January this year.

Well, let's go just a bit further back than that, shall we? How about the hundreds of times Iraq has fired on US and UK aircraft in the no-fly zones over the past 12 years? Any one of those was sufficient breach of the 1991 armistice to justify resumption of hostilities. It is due only to the forebearance of the US and its allies (and possibly the fecklessness of the Clinton administration) that until now no serious action has been contemplated.

Do not call Clinton's impeachment-avoidance cruise-missile expenditure exercise "serious action". That was perhaps the most pointless use of military assets since Prince Oswald the Incurably Stupid led his soldiers into combat against the scourge of athlete's foot - and lost.

The White House - and readers of The Independent, and perhaps a few UN officials - can look up the 377 resolution at

"Don't believe me" - OK - "look it up for your selves." No, I'll give it a miss. The UN is defunct as a serious organization, and they can go back to their real duties of hosting cocktail parties and tearing up parking tickets. I just wish they would do so in Paris or Brussels instead of New York.

If Mr Bush takes a look, he probably wouldn't know whether to laugh or cry. But today the General Assembly - dead dog as we have all come to regard it - might just be the place for the world to cry: Stop. Enough.

I think Robert Fisk is the one crying. Just can't stand to see the Good Guys win one, I guess. Well, he can stop his whining soon and shortly move on to fabricating US-inflicted-atrocity stories - which I expect by the end of the week.

Update: linkage from Trevalyan and the Emperor - I'm flattered!

Posted by Russ at 07:02 AM | Comments (8)
March 16, 2003
Plagiarism is bad

Plagiarizing Stephen Den Beste is worse.

Posted by Russ at 02:23 PM
March 15, 2003
New design

Spent today working on the site, trying to get the three-column layout to work to my satisfaction.

Woo-hoo! Many thanks to the fine folks at and for sharing their knowledge.

Futher tweaking of the stylesheet will no doubt continue indefinitely, but the major hacking is complete.

Posted by Russ at 09:18 PM
Works for me....

[Picture of a cougar goes here.]
What Is Your Animal Personality?

brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by Russ at 01:59 AM
March 14, 2003
Mmm mmm good!

I am reminded by a recent visit to Little Tiny Lies that tomorrow is Eat an Animal for PETA Day.

This is important. After PETA's sick, twisted (dare I call it "evil"? Ya, maybe I can) "Holocaust on your plate" ad campaign, the least anyone with any sense of outrage can do is to consume as many animals as possible.

Endangered species are preferred.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a decent source for panda or Siberian tiger, so I'll have to go for quantity, not quality.

Breakfast will abuse at least one pig, one cow, and one chicken - sausage and cheese omelette

Lunch will abuse at least two cows - roastbeef and cheese sandwich.

Dinner will be the masterpiece. Chili. I figure cows, chickens, pigs, and perhaps deer are in peril.

And maybe a puppy for dessert.

Posted by Russ at 11:34 PM
March 13, 2003
Win one for, uh, me

Republican - You believe that the free market will
take care of most things, but that the
government should be there with moderate
taxation to provide for national defense and
enforcing morality. Your historical role model
is Ronald Reagan.

Which political sterotype are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

My hero! I got to shake his hand once....

But "enforcing morality"? Oh, puh-leeze. I prefer to think of it as "deterring behavior harmful to society," if anything.

Like all "Poll-bots", the results should be taken with a significantly huge grain of salt. I'd have thought it would take more than 6 questions to figure out who my historical role model is.....

Posted by Russ at 08:41 PM
March 12, 2003
Heck, even I could do better

One of my many multiple personalities is that of an avid hobbyist. I've spent many many MANY hours in hobby shops, and even worked at one, once upon a time.

Imagine Kim du Toit working in a gun shop and you'll get the idea. I have several radio control airplanes in various stages of flightworthiness stored in the garage, and a queue of six more kits I'll get around to building some day before I die.

So I see this little tidbit and the very first thing that crossed my mind was "Hey, I could do better than that." Really I could.

Naturally, the Iraqis are expecting the world to believe that this piece of crap is the "drone" Blix famously omitted from his verbal report to the UNSC.

"He's making a big mistake," [Iraqi] Brig. Latif said of Mr. Powell. "He knows very well that this aircraft is not used for what he said."

Well, he got that partially right. This put-up job looks like it was slapped together in a matter of just a couple of days. No one with the slightest clue will fail to recognize this piece of excrement for what it is - a hastily thrown-together propaganda showpiece designed to play on the soft, condescending, ever-so-subtle "aye-rabs can't do anything right" racism of the press, the French and the other assorted Idiotarians.

"Mais, monsieur, if they cannot build a drone, they obviously lack the technical sophistication to make bio-weapons, n'est-ce pas?"

Posted by Russ at 11:48 PM
March 11, 2003
Tightening the focus

According to this article in the Washington Post,

Saddam Hussein has opened a training camp for Arab volunteers willing to carry out suicide bombings against U.S. forces in case they invade Iraq, Arab media and Iraqi dissidents said Tuesday.

The dissidents, speaking by telephone from Jordan, said scores of Arab volunteers have gone to a special camp run by the Iraqi intelligence service near the town of al-Khalis, 40 miles northeast of Baghdad.

Now, I know some have suggested that war on Iraq will spawn a new bout of terrorist activity, but isn't it a Good Thing to have the terrys all together at a known location?

I hope they do gather there... it should make the Air Force's target selection just that much easier.

Posted by Russ at 03:30 PM
Nice, in a vicious sort of way

I have been added to Emperor Misha I's Department of Hegemony by Force.


I'll endeavor to live up to the high standards thereof.

Posted by Russ at 01:25 AM
March 10, 2003
Oh Happy Day


I love Peggy Noonan. Every chance I get, I like to point out that she is absolutely the best professional writer in the English speaking world... and she proves it again today.

Posted by Russ at 12:17 AM | Comments (1)
March 09, 2003
21st Century Bund

[Author's Note: this was originally posted on 2/13/2003 at Halcyon Media. I've made minor formatting, grammatical and vocabulary changes, but the gist remains the same - Russ]


History really does repeat itself. No matter how evil or twisted America's enemies are, they'll have their supporters right here in our own metaphorical backyard. I refer, of course, to the virulently anti-American, peace-at-any-price-even-our-own-destruction idiots from Hollywood and organizations such as ANSWER and NION.

- The Bund before WW2
During the years preceding the Second World War, an organization with thousands of members was formed which dedicated itself to the Nazification of America. The German-American Bund supported - and pledged allegiance to - Germany and its Fuehrer, with whom we would be at war a few short years later. These people, many of them German immigrants spreading the gospel of National Socialism, were truly the "enemy within".

Plagued by financial irregularities, however, the Bund had effectively disbanded by the time Germany declared war on the US in 1941[1].

- ANSWER in 2003
Fast forward to 2003.

Now, for "Bund" substitute "ANSWER" ("Act Now to Stop War and End Racism") and their support of America's enemy Saddam Hussein. Whether by design or by thoughtlessness, the members and supporters of this group (and other anti-Americans of their ilk, such as "Not In Our Name" (NION), the volunteer "human shields", Susan Sarandon and Ed Asner, and so on) are playing a role we've seen acted before. The difference is that these 21st-century Bundists ought to know better. The ones who do know better and persist in their perfidy should be held to account for it[2].

I am sure that, in their own minds, many of these sheep in people-clothes who show up at demonstrations are acting out of the purest of motives. Who can be against peace, right? What right-thinking[3] person could be for racism? (But would someone please explain to me the connection between war and racism?) These people fall very neatly into the category widely known as "useful idiots".

I do concede that many of these hangers-on may be opposing American action against Iraq out of genuine pacifist beliefs. They're entitled to do so, just so long as they are prepared to be responsible for the consequences - though I earnestly hope that the determined defenders of our nation will not allow those horrible consequences to happen.[4].

At the core of the present antiwar movement, though, is an assembly of people with far more sinister (and well-documented) motives. ANSWER (et al.), like the Bund before them, oppose America taking steps to defend itself and its allies from their mortal enemies, and actively support those who would destroy all that we value - life, liberty, the pursuit of a new SUV[5].

- The Bundists, by 1945
By 1945 the Allied armies in Europe had crushed the armed might of the "Thousand-Year" Reich, and liberated thousands of Jews, Gypsies, Christians and others from the camps in which their extermination had been routinely carried out for half a dozen years.

While there had been for several years rumors of the atrocities being carried out in camps, it was not until these places fell into Allied hands that the full extent of the horror was really known. Indeed, many people of that era could not comprehend the enormity of the crimes carried out in these places with names - Auschwitz, Treblinka, Dachau and others - now synonymous with "Hell."

At the conclusion of the war, the immensity of the evil of that enemy was made known to all. Hitler's supporters here in America, had they not already left the country (unlike ANSWER, they had the courage of their convictions) or been discredited by scandal[6], would have been utterly disgraced.

- ANSWER in 2004
Fast forward again, to 2004.

We already know - have known for years - the fate that befalls those in Iraq who oppose Saddam Hussein. He has used chemical weapons on his own people and on his neighbors. He has launched a war of aggression on a comparatively defenseless neighbor. He has created environmental disasters. He has brutally suppressed all dissent within Iraq, not hesitating to use the most cruel methods of torture on his own subjects.

"The dictator who is assembling the world's most dangerous weapons has already used them on whole villages - leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind, or disfigured. Iraqi refugees tell us how forced confessions are obtained - by torturing children while their parents are made to watch. International human rights groups have catalogued other methods used in the torture chambers of Iraq: electric shock, burning with hot irons, dripping acid on the skin, mutilation with electric drills, cutting out tongues, and rape." - President George W. Bush, State of the Union, January 28, 2003

So where will ANSWER be a year hence, after the liberation of Iraq? What will they do and how will they react when confronted with the evidence of the barbarity of the present regime?

Will the surgical precision of our attacks cause them to recant their accusations that we are making war on the people of Iraq?

Will Saddam's collection of homemade "snuff" movies finally show them the true nature of the maniac they support?

Will the capture of a nuclear/biological/chemical weapons production facility suggest to them that maybe they were wrong about Saddam's intentions?

Not. Bloody. Likely.

Behind ANSWER (et al.) is a collection of unrepentant communists[7], which should give us a hint of what their response will be to being shown - again - to be on the wrong side of history.

Most of the hangers-on, I hope and believe, will have their eyes opened and be repelled by what they learn. They will be truly ashamed of their having supported Saddam's fellow-travelers, and many (possibly even some of the weaker members of the Streisand-Sarandon-Clooney-Baldwin axis) will denounce ANSWER and their cronies.

But there will remain a core of True Believers who will continue their anti-American rhetoric and activities. These people see America as the enemy of all they wish to accomplish, of which Trotskyite Socialism is just a piece. We would be foolish not to recognize them for what they are - the enemy within, a 21st Century Bund.[8]

[Note 1] Yes, you read that correctly. We declared war on Japan on 8Dec1941 following the attack on Pearl Harbor, but not on Germany or Italy. One wonders what might have transpired had Germany not declared war on the US on 11Dec1941.

[Note 2] Treason is what comes to mind as a criminal charge. First time one of these loons sets off a pipe bomb or shoots a cop, I'm all for the Charlie Daniels solution - "take a big tall tree and a short piece of rope".

[Note 3] I'm not implying here, of course, that these people are actually thinking.

[Note 4] Amazing, isn't it, how infrequently those who espouse pacifism have to actually live with the results thereof?

[Note 5] If buying a new SUV isn't your idea of happiness, insert whatever you like - it's still a free country.

[Note 6] See for a very brief history of the Bund. Fascinating stuff.

[Note 7] Since when is it wrong to call a spade a spade? Since when is it "McCarthyism" to call a commie a commie?

[Note 8] I twice took an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic. I do not recall anyone releasing me from my vow when I left the Service. Got a problem with that? Too bad.

Posted by Russ at 02:37 PM
New geek on the block

I've been considering doing a blog for a while. I guess this means I made a decision, eh?

So... why "TacJammer"?

Well.... From 1986 to 1992, I was your humble servant in the USArmy, wherein I worked in the general realm of electronic warfare. Among the systems I worked with was the AN/MLQ-34 TACJAM, the biggest baddest radio jammer in the Army. It was a big ugly SOB, but when you wanted to reach out and jam someone, it was the best.

There's a double meaning in the name "TacJammer" as well; I am gainfully employed in a department called "T.A.C." You can figure out the rest, I'm sure.

And if you can't, too bad, I won't be explaining any further.

Posted by Russ at 12:39 PM | Comments (1)