Bob's Links and Rants -- Fair and Balanced

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Be sure to check out my Post 9/11 website for links to lots of stuff I care about. I have put all of my 2002 rants into a single file.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Saddam's Human Rights Abuses
This article finally calls into question some of the claims made about the mass graves in Iraq and their implications of the brutality of Saddam Hussein. Tony Blair, especially, seems to be grasping at straws to make the certainly brutal Saddam into a monster orders of magnitude greater than the factual evidence would indicate.

Friday, August 08, 2003

Bush Aviator Doll
Now available at K-B Toys.

Atrios asks why does it look just like Wesley Clark?

Bush DollWesley Clark

Willful pattern of deception
AWol and his defenders have tried to play down the sixteen words about uranium from Africa, implying that it just slipped through the cracks that one time. But according to Walter Pincus of the Washington Post:

Yet in the days before and after the president's State of the Union address, the allegation was repeated by national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz and in at least two documents sent out by the White House.

Sixteen words, and what do ya get
Another Gulf War and deeper in debt
Coupla hundred dead soldiers and they ain't done yet
This war was sold by Republican whores.

[update] I was just e-mailed an article which says that the Bushies are telling Niger's government to say nothing about the uranium claims. Apparently some government officials have been telling the press that the whole story is a complete lie, and the Bushies sent somebody to Niger to tell them to shut up. "Yes I'm proud to be an American..."

Big Brother Is Watching You

From his blimp:
Long associated with providing television shots at football games and selling tires, blimps could play a key role in homeland security, say military researchers, who envision dirigibles hovering over Washington, protecting the region.
This week, during a demonstration of blimps armed with cutting-edge sensor technology, a 260-foot airship drifted over the woods near Manassas, where a set of blue tarps was strung across the ground to represent a terrorist encampment.

The color-sensitive sensors aboard the blimp easily detected the tarps despite a thick canopy of trees. The location was outlined in red on a monitor. Inside a gray turret attached to the gondola's outer frame, a high-resolution camera turned its lens toward the terrain in question, verifying the find.

We all remember, of course, the blue tarps used by the 9/11 hijackers, and the bright red ones used by Timothy McVeigh. If only we had had super-creepy blimps flying all over the country back then!

It sounds to me like the blimps will do a good job of finding boats in storage and baseball fields in the rain. From a creepy standpoint, this matches the quickly-discredited terror futures market as far as I'm concerned.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Let's hope this is official policy
Recalling the killing of his sons in a display of U.S. firepower, [Major General Ray Odierno, commander of the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division] said that if Saddam were finally cornered he would take no chances, but would rather take him alive.

"We will take whatever force is necessary in order to safeguard our soldiers. So if there is intense fire, if we went and there were several bodyguards then there might be a pretty good firefight," he said.

"Hopefully he'll turn himself in. Do I think he'll turn himself in? Probably not. Would we like to take him alive if we catch him? Absolutely. I think that would be very helpful to do that, let the people see that we have captured him."
-- CNN

If there's any hope of establishing the rule of law in Iraq, Saddam needs to be brought to trial--alive.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Yeah, right...
THE PRESIDENT: First, it's been my real privilege and honor to welcome the Secretary of State back to Crawford. He and Dick Armitage came, and we spent yesterday evening and this morning talking about our country's desire to promote peace and freedom, our obligations as a prosperous and strong nation to help the less fortunate. -- from the White House web site.

Of course, not one of the press corps had the courage to say "Great! When are you going to start?"

Unocal to stand trial
The Independent reports that Unocal will have to answer charges of human rights violations in connection with its pipeline project in Burma. Unocal has been a long-time friend of tyrants around the world, including the current Burmese thugocracy, the Taliban, and the Bush administration.

The word from our Congressman:
Mitch of the Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace reports on a conversation he had with our Congressman John Dingell, who has been in Congress since early in the Eisenhower administration:

Congressman John Dingell paid an impromptu two-hour visit to the tabling section of the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market on Saturday. We hand-delivered over 600 signatures to him, calling for an independent, bipartisan investigation into the Bush Administration's allegations of weapons of mass destruction leading up to the war on Iraq. He thanked us for them, said that he strongly supports us, but said that our efforts would not lead to an investigation. What follows is a rough transcript of the conversation, as best as memory serves.

Q: Why won't we get an investigation?

Dingell: The Republicans would never let an investigative committee be established. They are bad people, and they strongly protect the president. We couldn't get near him.

Q: With President Bush assuming responsibility in his recent press conference and Condoleezza Rice saying that it was basically her fault, aren't we making headway?

Dingell: In every situation like this, they set up a fall-guy. Condoleezza Rice may be that person here. At the most, what this will do is cause someone to take the fall and be fired.

Q: Mr. Levin seems to be making headway in the Senate with calls for an investigation. Why can't we get the House members to start clamoring for an investigation as well? You never know where it will lead.

Dingell: You're looking at the Number One investigator in the House. I've had hundreds of investigations, all of them successful except for one. Even if an investigation could be established, the Republicans won't let it get anywhere. It won't find anything.

Q: Well then what do you suggest we do?

Dingell: Get out and vote, replace them in 2004.

Q: Can we get a fair election with touch-screen voting? Do you support the move toward computerized voting?

Dingell: No. I am strongly opposed to computerized voting. It makes it much easier for tampering to be done. But look, stealing elections is nothing new. Let me tell you a story. Back when I was a prosecutor in Wayne County, the inspector general came running in one election day saying, "They're stuffing the ballot boxes! They're stuffing the ballot boxes!" My boss came over and said, "Calm down. Don't worry about a thing. THOSE aren't the boxes we'll be counting."

I also had a chance to ask Dingell a few questions. I asked him what he thought about Kucinich's proposal to scrap NAFTA and the WTO. Dingell said he voted against NAFTA back in '93, but that he supports the WTO. I asked why, and he said the WTO doesn't give anything away--it's just a framework. I said, well, that framework is awfully secretive. How can it be a good thing when we don't even know what they're up to? Dingell replied that the Europeans are always secretive.

Dingell is a little intimidating to me, but overall I think he's an excellent congressman, especially considering what most of the rest of the country has. He voted against the Patriot Act and against war in Iraq, and NAFTA too! For all I know, he may have voted against the KOREAN war. Last spring I asked him about civil liberties. He said he nearly lost his seat in Congress back in 1964 because he supported LBJ's civil rights legislation. Can your representative in the House claim that?

The mayor of Hiroshima has criticized the U.S. for pursuing new nuclear weapons technology, as he marked the 58th anniversary of the world's first atomic bomb attack.

Tadatoshi Akiba said Washington's apparent worship of "nuclear weapons as God" was threatening world peace.

"The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the central international agreement guiding the elimination of nuclear weapons, is on the verge of collapse," Akiba said during the annual ceremony held Wednesday at the Peace Memorial Park.

"As the U.S.-British-led war on Iraq made clear, the assertion that war is peace is being trumpeted as truth."
-- From CNN.

Napalm by any other name
While it was going on, the military denied using napalm in the invasion of Iraq. Turns out those were Mark 77 incendiary bombs--new and improved napalm.

Yesterday military spokesmen described what they see as the distinction between the two types of incendiary bombs. They said mixture used in modern firebombs is a less harmful mixture than Vietnam War-era napalm.

"This additive has significantly less of an impact on the environment," wrote Marine spokesman Col. Michael Daily, in an e-mailed information sheet provided by the Pentagon.

He added, "many folks (out of habit) refer to the Mark 77 as 'napalm' because its effect upon the target is remarkably similar."

I'll do Senator Hutchison's quote for her: "Well, you see, we had to incinerate hundreds of Iraqi soldiers alive, since we know that someday they might have developed nasty weapons and attacked us with them."

Kucinich gets a good review from MSNBC
The leaders of organized labor played host Tuesday night to a nine-candidate free-for-all among the Democratic presidential contenders. Long-shot contender Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio stood out from the crowd, delivering a rousing performance, challenging former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean on why he wasnt willing to cut the defense budget and demanding that Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri tell the audience whether hed revoke the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and pull the United States out of the World Trade Organization.

After the debate Kucinich insisted that it wasnt impractical to cancel NAFTA and pull out of the WTO. No one here answered that question.... None of them would say it not even Dick Gephardt who is trying to rely on support from labor to become the next president.

I watched much of the debate. I couldn't really hear the response from the audience on C-Span; from the MSNBC article it sounds like Kucinich got good reactions from the crowd. Unfortunately, that didn't come across on TV, making his "rousing performance" seem a bit shrill. Dean also was a bit harsh, and his smile was positively scary. Gephardt looks very close to a heart attack every time he tries to be forceful. No one has any idea how Kerry looks when he tries to be forceful, since he never seems to try. His line about "trickle-down economics" seemed to get a great response from the crowd. It was something like "It's time to stop George Bush from trickling down on us." I still have no idea why Lieberman keeps getting invited to Democratic events.

My response to last night's debate is similar to the first one I saw a few months ago. While I support Kucinich wholeheartedly, and no other candidate is close to him on the issues or the record, he does not come across well in TV debates. I'm pretty sure that Kucinich is sincere in wanting to be president, but his several challenges to the other candidates last night almost made it seem as though his main purpose was to get them to adopt parts of his platform rather than to beat them with it. If I had no prejudices going in and watched either debate cold, I would say that John Edwards and Al Sharpton are the most reasonable, likeable candidates. If Edwards were to renounce his vote for the Iraq war, blaming Bush for deceiving Congress and vociferously calling for an investigation leading to impeachment, he would quickly climb to be my second choice after Kucinich.

Quote du Jour:

"Im a tool."
-- Dick Gephardt

Okay, it was taken somewhat out of context. Out of a reluctant sense of fairness, here's the entire quote:

Gephardt wants to negotiate new international trade accords that will force other nations to allow their workers to unionize and to run environmentally clean factories.

He said the cause of fighting for American jobs is bigger than his candidacy. Im unimportant, he said. Im a tool. Im just one person who believes in his heart that what were fighting for is the most important thing in the world.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Jimmy Carter to be Tried for Peace Crimes
"Carter is one of the worst enemies the forces of destruction have known since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his non-violent rampages of the '50s and '60s," Simmons said. "Even today, in his capacity as an ex-president, [Carter] continues his pursuit of non-aggression. He must be stopped now, before another terrible war is avoided and more lives are saved."

(from the Onion, of course)

Anniston Alabama 2254, Iraq 0
That's the score, in known tons of chemical weapons on hand. I blogged about Anniston a few times last year (go to my 2002 archive page and do a search for "Anniston"). It's a small city in northeastern Alabama in the Appalachian foothills. Very pretty setting, actually. But in addition to having this huge stockpile of chemical weapons, they also had a Monsanto plant there for decades which polluted all of the streams with PCB's and other toxins.

Well, the Army is finally going to incinerate those chemical weapons (don't worry, the US will still have a stockpile of close to 30,000 tons). They're distributing gas masks to area residents, "just in case."

If the Bush administration had really been serious about protecting the American public from a chemical weapons attack, they would have made destroying the 31,000 tons of chemical weapons in this country their number one priority. If they really were interested in learning a lesson from 9/11 (instead of furthering an agenda), I think the lesson would be that everything needed to cause thousands of casualties in America is already here. While one would hope that our own WMD's, and the airspace above them, are well guarded from attack, there are thousands of other vulnerabilities that terrorists could exploit. A couple of years ago there was a train fire in a tunnel under Baltimore which shut down parts of the city for several days. Many toxic chemicals which would be extremely dangerous if they caught on fire, or even were simply released, travel by train and truck all over this country every day.

Frankly, I don't think that chemical weapons produced abroad, in Iraq or anywhere else, pose any significant threat to the United States. Any terrorist group would find it much simpler to use what's already available here. Probably the same for biological weapons--simple, low-tech methods like poisoning water supplies with botulinum or salmonella would probably cause more fatalities than the fancy stuff like anthrax. (The anthrax attacks of 2001 had total casualties in dead and sick approximately equal to a single hour of auto accidents on our highways.)

There's probably some low "background" level of terror attacks that is unavoidable. Occasionally somebody goes nuts and blows something up, even in Finland or Sweden. But to progress to the level where realistic fear of terror attacks is constant, like in Israel, you have to invade and occupy somebody else's land and repress them for a while, or support someone who does.

Look what passes for a US Senator these days!
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) was on Larry King last night:

KING: What do you make of the search for weapons of mass destruction? (King actually asked the question of Sen. Bob Graham first, then to Hutchison.)

HUTCHISON: Well, I do think that we will find weapons of mass destruction. We know he has chemical weapons, because he's used them, and I think it's important that we see the evidence of that. I think you have to go back and look at what the president was looking at when he decided to target Saddam Hussein. He had just been through a 9/11, where we were not prepared, where we didn't put all the information we had together to protect our people, and he sees evidence that Saddam Hussein will not let the weapon inspectors do their jobs, and we know he's used these weapons before, and he knows that there is a connection with terrorists.

So the president is saying, am I going to have another 9/11 with the weapon of mass destruction funded by Saddam Hussein, and the answer for the president was no. And I think that has to be looked at in the context of what he knew at the time and what he had seen after 9/11.

And how does Larry King respond to this Republican stream of unconsciousness?

KING: We'll take a break and come back with more. We'll also include some of your phone calls. Don't go away.

"We know he has chemical weapons, because he's used them." Senator, we don't even know for sure that Saddam is alive. If he's on the run like the Pentagon claims, I sincerely doubt if he's carrying a few barrels of VX around with him. And using something in the past does not imply possession in the present; otherwise we could probably convict aWol on cocaine charges right now.

"Am I going to have another 9/11 with the weapon of mass destruction funded by Saddam Hussein, and the answer for the president was no." Senator, the WMD's in the first 9/11 were airplanes made by Boeing and funded by the airlines, flown by Saudis and Egyptians who were funded by the Saudis. Did invading Iraq do anything to prevent something like that from happening again? The answer for this blogger is "No." And your buddy Ashcroft was on all the talk shows Sunday saying that a repeat of 9/11 was very possible.

Hutchison has out-Bushed Bush on this one. What a complete moron. Read her quote again. This is a US senator. Are lobotomies required in order to join the Republican party in Texas?

Senator Hollings won't run for re-election next year
But he's still got plenty to say:

I'm truly worried about the country's direction.
I said no I can tell you this categorically, we've got the weakest president and weakest governor in the history of my 50 years of public service. I say weak president in that the poor boy campaigns all the time and pays no attention to what's going on in the Congress. Karl Rove tells him to do this or do that or whatever it is, but he's out campaigning.
Otherwise, riding up here, I saw this state could care less. I just saw Carolina license plates, Tiger paw license plates, they just can't wait for the kick-offs here at the end of the month. They just don't worry about the 60,100 textile jobs alone we have lost since NAFTA. We always brag on BMW in Spartanburg County. Ten years ago we were down to 3.2 percent unemployment there, and now we're at 8.5 percent unemployment. And in the country this is endemic. In the country itself, we don't make anything any more.

Had to make a talk on trade last week, and I looked it up and found out that at the end of World War II we had 40 percent of our workforce in manufacturing. And now we're down to 10 percent. We've got 10 percent of the country working and producing, and we've got the other 90 percent talking and eating. That's all they're doing. [Actually, I'm blogging and eating at the moment--Bob]

"And we're eliminating jobs hard manufacture, service, high-tech all except the press and the politicians. They don't import us. If they'd imported us, they'd get rid of us, too. I can tell you that right now, because we're not making anything any more.

Kristof defends atomic bombing of Japan -- from today's NY Times
Nicholas Kristof examines the evidence regarding the "necessity" of using A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It has long been claimed that many more would have died in an invasion of Japan, on both sides, than died in the bombings. I'll confess to having some sympathy, if you can call it that, for that argument, in part because my father probably would have been part of the invasion force. It's also true that the scale of killing at Hiroshima wasn't really much different from that caused by the fire-bombings of Coventry, Hamburg, Dresden and Tokyo, or in several battles on the German-Russian front earlier in the war. So, even as a dedicated peacenik, I'm not completely convinced that the bombing of Hiroshima was entirely unjustified. One more horrible escalation in a war filled with them. Maybe it did save lives, including my father's (thereby making my existence possible).

About the bombing of Nagasaki just three days after Hiroshima, however, I don't see how there can be any debate. Gratuitous violence, pure and simple. I remember reading that much of Japan had little idea what had happened at Hiroshima for days after it happened. The bomb destroyed all transportation and communications out of the city. Most eyewitnesses to the bomb were either dead or so sick that they couldn't tell what had happened. Given another week or two to fully understand what had happened, it seems very likely that Hiroshima alone would have been sufficient to trigger a Japanese surrender. Kristoff mentions the idea that the US might have held off on the second bomb, but basically rejects it without presenting any reasons.

One other question that I haven't seen asked--was an invasion necessary if Japan didn't surrender? They had been cut off from most of their resources and their military was largely destroyed, at least in terms of offensive capability. Why risk huge numbers of casualties in an invasion? Of course, Japan and Germany are about the only two countries the US has occupied in history that actually seem to have come out better off for it, although the benefit in Japan wasn't shared with the 200,000 or so killed by the A-bombs, nor would it have gone to those killed in an invasion. Like I said, while not necessarily agreeing with it, I can understand the argument for the Hiroshima bomb. I'm not familiar with any good argument for the Nagasaki bomb, nor can I imagine one.

Monday, August 04, 2003

In America, a 'conspiracy nut' is defined as a journalist who reports the news two years before the New York Times. -- Greg Palast.

Palast gives some good insight into why the Bushies are so protective of the Saudis:

And here's the ugly little punchline to the story you WON'T read in the Times. Why has the Bush Administration covered up for WAMY and the Saudi's other blood-soaked 'charity' operations?

For the answer, let me take you back to Midland, Texas, 1986. A young old man, George W. Bush, seems to have trouble finding oil. But he strikes it rich when his flailing drilling partnership is bought out by Harken Oil. Despite the addition of the business acumen of Bush Jr., Harken faces collapse; but is pulled from the brink by a cash infusion from a Saudi, Sheik Bakhsh. The money from Arabia has nothing to do, we must assume, with Dubya's daddy at the time holding the post of Vice-President of the Free World.

The Bakhsh booty continued a pattern of the young Bush being saved from his dire business decisions by a line of Sheik angels. His first oil company, Arbusto, going bust-o, was aided by the American financial representative of the bin Ladin family.

And on BBC TV last month, I reported this: following the bombing of our embassies, the Clinton Administration sent two delegations to Saudi Arabia to tell their royal highnesses to stop giving money to the guys who are killing us. But Mr. Bush, once in office, put the kibosh on unfriendly words to the Saudis.

Furthermore, in the summer of 2001, Mr. Bush disbanded the US intelligence unit tracking funding of Al Qaeda. What is it our G-men were uncovering? According to two separate sources speaking to BBC, the funders of Al Qaeda fronts include those who have previously funded Bush family business and political ventures.

A couple of things I'm mentioning now that maybe you'll see in the NY Times in two years. The story of John O'Neill is one. He'd been the FBI's main al Qaeda tracker for years before resigning in frustration in August 2001. He took a new job as head of security at the World Trade Center, where he died on September 11. The story of FBI chief Robert Mueller is the other. He became FBI director on September 4, 2001, one week before 9/11. He replaced acting head Thomas Pickard, who had taken over for Louis Freeh on June 25. Certainly this could all be coincidence, but it seems very curious that a new guy takes over just before the bureau might come under intense scrutiny. I've haven't seen any quotes where Mueller has used his one-week tenure as an excuse for the FBI's failure to connect the dots; it just seems suspicious when juxtaposed with O'Neill's resignation and the items that Palast quotes above.

FBI and CIA start really investigating 9/11--Finally
From the Boston Globe via MouseMusings:

"They are revisiting everybody. The bureau did not do a very good job of unraveling the conspiracy behind the hijackers," said one government terrorism consultant who asked not to be named. "It may be too late." (My emphasis)

Shoot first, ask questions later. Two wars, thousands dead, respect for America in the septic tank--all before figuring out who was really to blame for 9/11.

"No one could possibly have known that there was a NORTH Korea!" -- Hypothetical Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, September 12, 2005, after a North Korean nuke destroys Crawford, Texas.

The Washington Post reports that Colin Powell and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage will not stick around for a second W administration (I'm with them on that). The Post says that Rice and Paul Wolfowitz would be the leading candidates to replace Powell. Of all the thousands of ridiculous things that have been said by members of this administration, I think Rice's statement from spring 2002 is the best evidence of incredible incompetence and/or deceit:

I don't think anybody could have predicted ... that they would try to use an airplane as missile. Had this president known of something more specific or known that a plane was going to be used as a missile, he would have acted on it.

Similar plots had been uncovered after the first WTC bombing in 1993 and had been written about in newspapers and books. A disgruntled FedEx pilot tried to crash a DC-10 into FedEx headquarters in 1994. Tom Clancy wrote a novel which ended with a 747 being intentionally crashed into the US Capitol. All of this was known publicly, much of it by me, well before 9/11. The Clinton national security team had passed this information on to Rice and other Bushies. Somebody who would utter the quote above has absolutely no business being National Security Advisor--or Secretary of State.

This doesn't matter in the least, really. If there's a second GWB administration, the United States, and quite possibly the entire world, is a goner.

Wall Street to blame for Argentine collapse
From the Washington Post:
In those days, Wall Street firms touted Argentina as one of the world's hottest economies as they raked in fat fees for marketing the country's stocks and bonds.

Thus were sown the seeds of one of the most spectacular economic collapses in modern history, a debacle in which Wall Street played a major role.

The fantasyland that Argentina represented for foreign financiers came to a catastrophic end early last year, when the government defaulted on most of its $141 billion debt and devalued the nation's currency. A wrenching recession left well over a fifth of the labor force jobless and threw millions into poverty.

An extensive review of the conduct of financial market players in Argentina reveals Wall Street's complicity in those events. Investment bankers, analysts and bond traders served their own interests when they pumped up euphoria about the country's prospects, with disastrous results.

Bob Herbert on the jailing of immigrants

Mr. Nikpreljevic and his relatives are exactly the kinds of productive individuals who help a society to thrive. They have been a boon to their local community and are assets to the U.S. as a whole. But the law, especially in times of great fear, does not always leave room for wise decisions. And where immigrants are concerned, the system becomes more of a crapshoot than ever.

One crazy idea among many
I wondered last week why, of all of the hundreds of warped and crazy ideas coming out of the Bushies, the terror futures market was so quickly axed. Sure it was nuts; sure there was no justification for it; sure it could have been manipulated by capitalists and other terrorists for profit. Same for the war on Iraq. Why was THIS crazy idea shot down so quickly, while all the others continue to fly? Apparently Ted Rall agrees with me:

The SCLM: So-Called Liberal Media
Hidden well down in the body of this NY Times article is this sentence:
Mr. Bush won the support of 35 percent of Hispanic voters in 2000; in this poll, 21 percent of Hispanics who say they are registered to vote said they would vote for his re-election.

So what does the headline say?

Hispanics Back Big Government and Bush, Too.

As Atrios says, "The poll results are basically completely 180 degrees from the slant of the story."

The story also says:

And one-third of Hispanics said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate for public office who spoke Spanish. Mr. Bush does, if perhaps not fluently.

Perhaps? He doesn't speak ENGLISH fluently! Has he ever done an interview in Spanish on Univision or other Spanish-language TV station?

Here comes peace!

From the Washington Post. I have no idea what should be done in Liberia, but it seems ironic that this Nigerian soldier is a "peacekeeper."

Sunday, August 03, 2003

Kucinich Gets Green Support
From the San Francisco Examiner:
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Global Exchange and Code Pink Women for Peace and U.S. Senate candidate for the Greens in 2000, told The Examiner that Kucinich is "as green as you can get."

"He's so genuine, you wonder how this guy ever got to Congress," Benjamin said.

Hopefully people will be wondering the same thing in two years--about how he ever got to the White House!

The Times Goes to War for Bush--Again
This time it's Thomas Friedman, who tries to present Tony Blair as a sympathetic figure making the case that international law is meaningless.

"What amazes me," [Mr. Blair says,] "is how many people are happy for Saddam to stay. They ask why we don't get rid of [the Zimbabwean leader Robert] Mugabe, why not the Burmese lot. Yes, let's get rid of them all. I don't because I can't, but when you can you should."

Alas, Mr. Blair never really made this case to his public. Why not? Because the British public never would have gone to war for the good reasons alone. Why not? Because the British public had not gone through 9/11 and did not really feel threatened, because it demanded a U.N. legal cover for any war and because it didn't like or trust George Bush.

Good reasons? The United Nations was set up at the end of World War II to prevent countries from deciding on their own to invade other countries. The US and Great Britain were instrumental in setting up that process. Now Tony Blair thinks he and the Moron with the Waron should decide these things by themselves. And Thomas Idiot Friedman thinks that's a good case.

What to tell the children?
Q: Do we always rename foods whenever another country doesn't do what we want them to do?
A: No, we just do that to our friends. Our enemies, we invade.
-- From a masterful fictional dialogue between a father and daughter on Veralynne's achangintimes blog. I can't figure out her permalinks, so just scroll down to the post dated "7/31/2003 02:42:59 AM." You'll recognize the contortions the father goes through to explain why Afghanistan, Iraq and Cuba are our enemies while Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and China are our friends.