When is a first strike not a first strike?
When it's Anticipatory Retaliation.

October 31, 2004

Brinkley/O'Neill on CSPAN


Well, it was billed as a show featuring Douglas Brinkley, the author of Tour of Duty, and John O'Neill, the author of Unfit for Command. I figured it'd be great to see the two of them get together and debate the facts so that I could make a more informed judgment from their presentations in a point/counterpoint format. But alas, it wasn't a point/counterpoint, but a 75 minute interview with Douglas Brinkley followed by a 15 minute speech by O'Neill given not in rebuttal, but taped some months earlier. I felt suckered.

For Brinkley's part, he responded to questions posed by the moderator entirely by slandering the Swiftvets, calling them "the right of the right" and "racists" as well as war criminals. At one point he said that to ignore the atrocities in Vietnam would be the moral equivalent of ignoring the Holocaust. But not once did he present a single fact or reference a single document to disprove or counter an allegation made in Unfit for Command. I can be objective and open minded. Why wasn't I, the viewer, given the benefit of the doubt?

Now, I still don't know what to think about the allegations that were made in Unfit for Command, but I have noticed this extremely consistent pattern among the Kerry supporters (of whom Brinkley is clearly one) that they respond to argumentation about facts with character assassination, of the most vile sort. For all I know, the accusations Brinkley levels at Admiral Hoffman and Jerome Corsi are true... but surely their motives aren't the only thing that's important? And what facts does Brinkley provide upon which to hang his accusations about their motives and character? Well none, actually. He just intimates darkly that such evidence exists in abundance. If the accusation is important enough to make, isn't it important enough to prove?

I want to be open-minded, and I'd like to think the best of John Kerry, but just how do I do that when his defenders are so... non-empirical and unconvincing? Ironically, at one point in the interview Brinkley states that in his work as an historian the rule he follows is to recount the acts of men, rather than attempt to glean their intent. Perhaps he does that in his books, but he certainly didn't do that in this interview.

At the very end of the interview he expressed dismay at the pattern of character assassination taking place over this controversy. I simply had to regard such a statement as ironic, under the circumstances.

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia, Anticipatory Retaliation and The Jawa Report)

Launched by Demosophist at 11:03 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)

Trick or Terror? (Or Just Tinfoil)

Bravo Romeo Delta

Just food for thought - when the Madrid bombings, and the subsequent defeat of Aznar occurred, I was telling friends and family that the decision of the Spanish made it a near certainty that more Americans would die before 11/2.

I then recalled that the Madrid bombings were three days before their election. Three days before 11/2 is 10/31. The odd coincidence is that, if you recall, after 9/11, there was a concern that Al Qaeda would attack the US that Halloween (which were later debunked).

I know this is fever swamp territory. Let me rephrase that... let's just say that I hope it really is tinfoil-hat grade reasoning.

(Simultaneously launched by Bravo Romeo Delta from Demosophia and The Report About Jawas)

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at 09:27 AM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)
» The Jawa Report Retaliates with: Trick or Terror? (Or Just Tinfoil)

Iraqi Endorsement Roundup

Bravo Romeo Delta

In all this hubub, one set of voices I think needs a bit more exposure - the selfsame Iraqis who have borne the brunt of America's foreign policy choices over the last 18 months or so. We've all heard approximately 9.4 million reasons to vote one way or the other, so another 2 or 3 won't stop the election in its tracks. But hearing these (quite often eloquent) voices, from a different culture, who have seen, up front and personal, the outcomes of the decisions being made, is an enlightening experience. Regardless of whether or not you agree with their arguments, hearing new and fundamentally different arguments is refreshing with less than 96 hours to the election of the President of the United States of America.

Perhaps two of the best ways to see what the situation on the inside is like is with this 2003 film, About Baghdad (which I highly recommend - I was going to link to the trailer, but the trailer is a biased travesty and doesn't give any insight into the true range of complex messages that can be drawn from the film itself) and this recent project, Voices of Iraq (trailer), which I haven't yet seen, but hope to quite soon.

But for those of you unable to view the films prior to the elections, nearly as good a glimpse can be garnered through a review of the Iraqi voices we now hear from the blogosphere. So without further ado...

Alaa, of the Mesopotamian writes a post and a post-script containing this gem:

My apology to the half of America who may disagree; and I address them with respect and fondness, but with pain in the heart. Do you really want to give satisfaction to the be-headers, kidnappers and child murderers; and the perpetrators of 9/11? Do you want to hear their savage shouts of victory? This is no reflection on the merit of your man. He may indeed be a paragon of virtue, but that does not change one little bit anything about the situation.

The Messopotamian's longer post is here:

Thus, regardless of all the arguments of both candidates the main problem is that President Bush now represents a symbol of defiance against the terrorists and it is a fact, that all the enemies of America, with the terrorists foremost, are hoping for him to be deposed in the upcoming elections. That is not to say that they like the democrats, but that they will take such an outcome as retreat by the American people, and will consequently be greatly encouraged to intensify their assault. The outcome here on the ground in Iraq seems to be almost obvious. In case President Bush loses the election there would be a massive upsurge of violence, in the belief, rightly or wrongly, by the enemy, that the new leadership is more likely to “cut and run” to use the phrase frequently used by some of my readers. And they would try to inflict as heavy casualties as possible on the American forces to bring about a retreat and withdrawal. It is crucial for them to remove this insurmountable obstacle which stands in their way.

We then move to Iraq the Model, a group blog by a bunch of medical professionals in Iraq. One of the bloggers, Omar, provides a translation from the BBC Arabic Forum on the upcoming American election. Interesting insights and a heck of a glimpse of the "Arab Street." Too many quotes to provide here, but here is a representative item:

“Bush is a better choice than Kerry. Regardless of the reasons behind the war in Iraq, I’m hearing news about Iraqis happy with the liberation and frankly speaking, some of the Arab media are very hypocritic when it comes to the situation in Iraq and they exaggerate things greatly. We-the Arabs-are getting to understand many new subjects”-- Mohammed Kerim Al Sabti - Oman.

Although not an Iraqi blogger, we do have the Egyptian over at the Big Pharoah blog, with this post:

If Bush lost then all what America had done over the past 3 and half years will be in vain. The liberating war of Iraq will look as if it was all a huge fiasco and all those who sacrificed their lives to plant a decent country within the Middle East sacrificed it for nothing. How do I know that? I knew that by listening to how John Kerry heinously played with Iraq just to reach the White House. Mr. Kerry had a lot to play with: taxes, health care, gay rights, stem cell research, and even the Bush administration post war planning. Yet he chose to raise doubts about going to Iraq after watching the perceived mess there and seeing how Howard Dean capitalized on that during the primaries.

The blog, Iraq and Iraqis has this post relating to the upcoming election:

For all that, either you thought this or that, you should think you are obligated to continue helping us. I say that to those American who are willing to vote for the person who are planning to give up the war against terrorism and stay home waiting for them to come after him and act at then.

A Kurdish blogger has this classic, which, regardless of one's politics, is just too funny to pass up (and we've all had conversations like this with our grandparents at one time or another Feel free to insert your own Clinton joke at the end:

ME: This is about the US elections.
Old Man: So, we will stay the same. No changes for us.
ME: Yeah true.. but still..it is fun to see who wins.
Old Man: I Know BOSH (Bush), who is his opponent ?
ME: KERRY (In Kurdish sounds KIRI (means "his d*ck")
Old Man: Akkkkk dawsheyt basha... KIRI ke ? (shame on you) who's KIR ?
ME: NO NO NO....Kerry u Bush (Kerry & Bush).
Old Man: Bosh's one ?
ME: NO NO that is a name KERRY.
Old Man: KIRI is a name ? It is the end of the world.
ME: Why ? He is American not Kurdish.
Old Man: Oh whatever. I will vote for BOSH.
ME: You can't vote. You are not American.
Old Man: Next time I see an American I tell him/her to vote for BOSH.
ME: Why?
OLD MAN: I don't want my face to go red every time I say the name of the US president.

The Iraqi Spirit blog is pretty ambivalent, and, interestingly, not directly at odds with the other Iraqi bloggers - the distinction seems to be one of what items deserve more emphasis, rather than the nature of the concerns themselves:

Both candidates seem to be adopting the same kind of politics when it comes to Iraq, the only difference is that Kerry has promised to pull back in 4 years time. I’m all for that, give back responsibility to the Iraqis to manage their own affairs. I would slightly lean towards Kerry because of that, but I’m not expecting much.

Next we have Loser's Blog, with his endorsement of Bush:

For me I Prefer Bush for many reasons, one of them that he was fighting in the past four years and took one of most boldness decisions, it's not fair that some one else inherit the success that might be achieved later, I know the situation here is foggy and hard, it's as if someone one want Iraq to remain as a battle for ever, but I have the feeling that's it's going to end in a moment or another…

Riverbend, who I gather has been unrelenting in her protest of the war and unstinting in her desire for the days of Saddam, has endorsed Kerry by way of Anybody But Bush:

So is Kerry going to be much better? I don’t know. I don’t know if he’s going to fix things or if he’s going to pull out the troops, or bring more in. I have my doubts about how he will handle the current catastrophe in Iraq. I do know this: nothing can be worse than Bush. No one can be worse than Bush. It will hardly be fair to any president after Bush in any case- it's like assigning a new captain to a drowning ship. All I know is that Bush made the hole and let the water in, I want him thrown overboard.

(Simultaneously launched by Bravo Romeo Delta from Demosophia and Le Report du Jawa)

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at 08:48 AM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (11)
» The Jawa Report Retaliates with: Iraqi Endorsement Roundup
» Grim's Hall Retaliates with: Bathroom Humor
» Andrew Olmsted dot com Retaliates with: Iraq Report, 1 Nov 2004
» The Jawa Report Retaliates with: Patting Self On Back
» The Opinionated Bastard Retaliates with: President Penis!
» Dean's World Retaliates with: Carnival of the Liberated

We're Still All Americans

Bravo Romeo Delta

I have to first apologize to anyone who reads this site for the absolute lack of posting. Blah, blah, blah, busy, busy, busy. I know you've all heard it before, but consider that I'm taking a break from my research to write a post at sometime after 1 am on a bloody Saturday. Yes - it's been that kind of busy.

So, at any rate, as some of my readers may know, I regard Fred Kaplan as being something between phenomenally clueless and a shameless partisan hack for most of his reporting at Slate. Here's one of his and my response to it, back when I cared enough to fisk him in detail. Here are a few other massively disingenuous and wholly clueless bits that are sorely in need of point by point demolition. Now, to be fair, once in a while, he hits a relatively sane note. But then again, so can Chomsky.

But, in the lead up to this bitterly contested election, I, much to my pleasant surprise, found this article by Mr. Kaplan, which is well worth reading.

Well, to be absolutely honest, I wasn't pleasantly surprised, so much as euphorically gobsmacked. Now, before we get to the substance itself, consider the incredible tone that has dominated political discourse in the days leading up to the election. With folks making noises of the sort we've heard over the last couple of weeks, civility is a breath of fresh air.

So, enter Mr. Kaplan's latest offering. As you may have heard, the British journal, the Lancet, has recently stained its pages with an unbelievable, incredible bit of garbage asserting that the Iraq War has resulted in 100,000 civilian deaths. Being so saturated with the business of debunking nonsense, I opted to let this one slide. So not only was I grateful that of all people, Mr. Kaplan put aside the chance to take opportunistic potshots at President Bush, but that he did so in a very solid, reasonable manner. This isn't to say that I agree with everything in his article, but this is a lot closer to liking everything about a dinner, except for the coffee that went with dessert. Key paragraph:

This isn't an estimate. It's a dart board. Imagine reading a poll reporting that George W. Bush will win somewhere between 4 percent and 96 percent of the votes in this Tuesday's election. You would say that this is a useless poll and that something must have gone terribly wrong with the sampling. The same is true of the Lancet article: It's a useless study; something went terribly wrong with the sampling.

Now, towards the end he does go off to cite the Iraq Body Count page, which you may or may not be familiar with. Essentially, these folks compile data based on press reports of civilian casualties. Being somebody who has measurable experience with open source intelligence gathering, I can tell you that their methodology is questionable at best. Oliver Kamm nicely dissects these folks in the bottom half of this post.

But all of this back and forth about the methodology of the Iraq Body Count site misses the essential point, which is this. No matter how much I may believe a Kerry Administration would not best serve the interests of this country, and no matter how many people feel the same about a second term for President Bush, people still do, on occasion, put the fact that we're all Americans ahead of their political leanings. Hearing this report, I expected Mr. Kaplan to use this as a departure point for explaining how the administration had blood on its hands for this - and yet Mr. Kaplan had the journalistic integrity to call a spade a spade.

Doesn't mean I like the guy, or anything, but hey - when credit is due (and here it most certainly is), point it out. So, in other words, things like this give me hope that we'll still realize that we're all on the same team, come November 3rd, or December 2nd, or any other time in the next four years.

(Simultaneously beamed to Demosophia)

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at 07:14 AM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)
» The Jawa Report Retaliates with: We're Still All Americans

Beware the Bunnies


Yah see? What'd I tell yah?

Big Jerk Jerk in Bunny Suit

It's Kerry with a fake beard.

Launched by Demosophist at 02:33 AM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (2)

October 30, 2004

Bin Laden is Pro-Bush


Not really, but he seems as dumb as a bag of rocks to try to play the Madrid game with Americans. There are LOTS of blue collar Democrats who will vote for Bush now simply to get the vicarious and perverse pleasure of confounding what appears to be Bin Laden's attempted manipulation. Well, not just blue collar types. Lots of Americans who don't feel strongly about supporting Kerry will have that impulse. So, you'd think UBL would know that right? Which would be an argument for that "reverse psychology" hall of mirrors referenced in the title.

Except for a couple of things:

1. Totalitarians really are that ignorant about the way free people think, and what motivates them... especially Americans, and

2. It probably doesn't make that much difference to him who wins, since he's confident he has the "method of Muhammed" and can't lose. Which means:

3. There is all up side and no down side, for UBL, to put out this tape. It's pure rational opportunism. In the unlikely event that Kerry does win Bin Laden can now claim to have influenced even the mighty Americans... which gives him enormous prestige where it counts: in the Arab world. True that scenario isn't very likely, but the payoff is huge and the risk is small (from his in-the-hand-of-Allah perspective).

Vote for Bush. It's the right thing to do. There's nothing wrong with the impulse of those blue collar voters. They're totally dialed in.

Update: Josh Marshall thinks otherwise (naturally), but proposes no rationale.

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia, Anticipatory Retaliation and The Jawa Report)

Launched by Demosophist at 03:05 AM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (1)
» The LLama Butchers Retaliates with: The return of Osama and Evil Bert

October 29, 2004

New Kerry Anti-Logic: The Timing Doesn't Matter


As though the public would regard as seamless a shift in rhetoric as monumental as the Great African Rift, the Kerry team now holds that the actual date at which the Qaqaa explosives went missing is of no importance whatever. Which, of course, is like saying that the US was responsible for Saddam's weapons (all of them, not just WMD) before it wasn't responsible for them.

What could dramatize the essential temporal and scale confusion of John Kerry, and the left in general, any more clearly than to now say that the case it has insisted upon for five days, against all logic and evidence, doesn't matter?

Kerry now claims that the essential failing isn't that the US lost the explosives after it had secured the country (because it now appears that they were in Syria by that time), but that the weapons facility was left unguarded at any time. So, reduced to its particulars, the Kerry argument is now that we ought to have used troops already thinned by Turkey's refusal to pass the 4th ID, to guard an empty chicken coop.

This is a campaign whose central feature is the absence of thought and the avoidance of coherence. Of course they don't have a plan. The Kerry Campaign is The Anti-Plan.

Meanwhile it illogically claims that it is not casting aspersion on the military itself, in a 2004 rerun of Winter Soldier. For unless you believe that it's the President's job to micromanage every wrench and screwdriver in the war, the notion that the Kerry campaign could isolate responsibility to the President alone, is like my five-year-old nephew claiming that his hand was in the cookie jar because he was checking the availability of cookies for the rest of the family.

The question is, is anyone actually buying this nonsense? A quick straw poll of Fox's Dayside program yesterday suggests the whole Kerry onslaught over Qaqaa smells like caca. Of course the audience could be biased, but the polls should start pulling the rug from beneath Kerry's feet by the end of the weekend, and after the Sunday Talks it'll be a completely different race. Stay tuned.

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia, Anticipatory Retaliation and The Jawa Report)

Launched by Demosophist at 03:48 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)
» The LLama Butchers Retaliates with: But you knew that already...

October 28, 2004

And Curt Schilling's Advice? (by Demosophist)

SCHILLING: "And make sure you tell everybody to vote, and vote Bush next week."

Well, there you have it. Appears that the Red Sox aren't Kerry fans. (Hat tip: Llama Butchers)

Launched by Demosophist at 07:05 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)

New Corroboration of Kerry "Caca" Claims


Ironically, reported by Right Wing News:


A new scientific study by the French Ministry of Sport and Jejune Ennui reported today that the 380 tons of high explosives missing from an Iraqi site "could have easily been looted by a team of specially trained burly Scandanavian strongmen with 'roid rage.'"

In a controlled experiment broadcast at 3AM on ESPN-6, researchers determined that a team of 12 Euro champions were able to move over 415 tons of explosives, packaged as granite boulders and Volvo semi trucks, in less than 20 minutes with commercial breaks.

The study casts new doubt on NBC News claims that deadly RDX explosives had already been moved by the time US soldiers arrived at a suspected site in Al-Qaqaa, and that removing the materials would have been difficult with a US military presence.

"Ya yiminy, Olaf move the heavy bombs," said Icelandic team member Olaf Magnussnnarddsson, who suffered a minor hernia and a burst temple vein in the experiment.

An independent study by physicists at FermiLab reached similar conclusions, noting that "extrapolating from the hit 1961 single 'Sixteen Tons,' the entire arms cache could have been lifted in only 23.8 Tennessee Ernie Ford-Days, with a minor increase in debt to the Company store."

"Ya yimminy?" That's Icelandic? Something's rotten in the state of Denmark. That definitely sounds Swedish/Yiddish to me.

Launched by Demosophist at 05:27 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)

October 27, 2004

Bottom Line on Al Qaqaa


Although neither the 3rd ID nor the 101st Airborne found evidence that the 308 tons of explosives were intact when they conducted their searches of al Qaqaa, it is also a fact that they weren't looking for it. It's not entirely clear, either, that all of the material was there when the IAEA made its final inspection before the war, because they didn't actually check the containers, and just assumed that the seals they had placed earlier were sufficient evidence that the material had not been tampered with. I don't know how "safe" this assumption was, but for the purpose of analyzing the credibility of the Kerry attack, that doesn't matter.

What we know is that since the items were found to be missing in May, by the Iraq Survey Group, the material must have been taken out prior to that date. And according to the defense department it would have been nearly impossible to remove the material once US forces arrived on the scene, because within a short span of time all of the available roads were choked with US transport traffic, and heavily monitored.

So it really doesn't matter whether the 3rd ID or the 101st can specifically verify that the explosives were no longer at the site, because they could not have been moved during the period between their inspections (however brief) and the Survey Group's findings in May. The volume is just too large not to have been noticed.

So, how to explain the Kerry campaign's continued harping on the issue, as well as Josh Marshall and others? (Kos' intransigence doesn't really require an explanation.) It has to be the case that they see defeat looming, and they have no alternative. It has come down to this.

The bottom line: This is the opportunity granted George Bush on a silver platter not to merely win, but to obtain a mandate. He can win BIG by riding this counter-attack all the way to Nov. 2. Basically, he can close Kerry down.

Update: Well, I don't know. I just listened to a Bush campaign advisor who was on Hardball (Richard Falkenrath, I think) specifically to respond to charges about al Qaqaa, and he nearly put me to sleep. In a monotone delivery he simply refused to respond to Reuben's outrageous charges that the looting after the fact had virtually been proved. (It now appears that the Russians, along with Iraqi Intelligence, may have moved the stuff. (hat tip: Ramblings Journal))

Instead of getting with it he simply kept saying, with nauseating repetitiveness, "we don't know what happened and it's irresponsible to say we do." Yeah Dick, it's real irresponsible... but you're not a moralist, your a political operative. So tell us why Rueben is full of crap. We all know, so why don't you?

So these geniuses have settled on a line, and they're not only not going to counter-attack effectively, but are apparently going to lay back and rest on their laurels.

Hell, they're so politically incompetent it almost convinces me to vote for Kerry... except that he's the one who opened himself in the first place. So we have two fighters, one who habitually drops his guard as he lashes out blindly and recklessly, while spending most of his time hiding in the corner, and the other who also likes the opposite corner, and who refuses to take the opening to counter-punch when he has the golden opportunity. How the hell did we end up with these sorry losers? I really don't know what's going to happen... and I'm close to not caring. I'm really not sure Bush has what it takes to be President. He talks tough, but he plays like Fauntleroy.

There's no reason this even needs to be close!

Man, I'm gonna need medication by Tuesday.

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia, Anticipatory Retaliation and The Jawa Report)

Launched by Demosophist at 11:51 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (1)

D'Souza's Advice to John Edwards: Vote for Bush


Great group interview with Dinesh D'Souza in the Washington Post. He gets the prize for most compassionate campaign advice:

Florida: What advice would you give the Bush-Cheney campaign in the waning days of the election?

Dinesh D'Souza: The Democrats think the terrorist threat is confined to Al Qaeda and "the guys who did 9/11." Reminder to John Edwards: the guys who did 9/11 are dead. If you understand that the battle is much broader, if you understand that the problem of terrorism is partly in the bad regimes (Syria, Iran, Saddam's Iraq) that dominate the Muslim world, if you understand that terrorism arises out of the dysfunctional societies of the Middle East, if you see the importance of establishing a democratic example in the Arab world--then vote for Bush.

OK, so he probably didn't hear the question, and I'm taking a few liberties interpreting the response. It's still a good answer. Read the whole thing.

(Simultaneously beamed by Demosophist to Demosophia, Anticipatory Retaliation and The Jawa Report)

Launched by Demosophist at 06:16 AM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)

October 26, 2004

Al Qaqaa in Perspective (Updated)


Josh Marshall presents a case that supposedly refutes NBC's story that the explosives thought to have disappeared from al Qaqaa were, in fact not there when the first US forces arrived. The trouble with Josh's case is that there's just not much to it. Besides the claim that the NBC team and others who support their version of things simply weren't sufficiently expert to have known what was or wasn't there, his primary argument is that the sheer volume of explosives could not have been moved without being noticed. The flaw in this argument is conceptual. It presumes 380 tons were moved against a placid background of inactivity, mirroring the conditions of our present fixation. It confuses time and circumstance in the classic self parody of the left's argumentative style. It unconsciously assumes that 40 trucks we retrospectively consider important would have been easily noticed, in the midst of 64,000 trucks frenetically transporting similar material of equal or greater importance all over the country of Iraq, during the fog of war.

First, it's important to note that Josh's case assumes two facts he doesn't bother to document. The first is that UN inspectors found the explosives in question on their last visit to al Qaqaa on March 8, 2003. If true that would have left a little less than a month for the 380 tons to have been removed, during a week prior to the invasion and three weeks after. Josh doesn't link or cite anything that supports this claim, but let's assume it for the sake of argument. The second is the claim that "skies were positively crawling with American aerial and satellite reconnaissance," especially during the week or so leading up to the invasion. I think we can assume that there was a good deal of recon going on, but the question is what were they looking for, and with how many eyes? "Positively crawling," isn't a quantitative term... and that's the central problem with Josh's scenario. It's not very sensitive to scale or magnitude.

Wretchard's War Plan Orange scenario presents a devastating obstacle to Josh's argument. Namely, it's that the sheer volume of the total tonnage moved in the period preceding, and shortly after, the invasion was about 1600 times as large as the small amount of high explosives that currently have us fixated. Josh is making the classic "Monday morning quarterback" mistake, that what is obvious now would have been obvious then. To quote Wretchard:

...the loss of 380 tons of RDX is similar to worrying about a toothache after being diagnosed with AIDS and Ebola. Some 600,000 tons of explosive are said to have been dispersed throughout Iraq prior to the conclusion of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In other words, the biggest problem with Josh's imagined scenario is that he presumes that the transport of the explosives would have taken place in high relief. But the fact is that it would have taken place in the midst of an environment so inundated with similar activity that it would simply have disappeared. To spot the transport of a mere 380 tons, in the midst of 600,000 tons of similar activity, would have literally been like finding a needle in a haystack.

One might say that this sort of cognative flaw pervades the arguments of the left. With impressive alacrity they mistake hindsight for foresight and confuse large with small. And we're supposed to have confidence that this provides evidence of competence during wartime. It's not unlike the notion that a professional dissenter is qualified to become Commander in Chief.

Update 1: Josh has posted a follow-up which relates an interview with NBC's embed to the effect that the "search" by the 101st Airborne was really just a 'pit stop" and that the US forces had previously verified the presence of the explosives in a prior visit, anyway. I would note that the latter claim is based not on any direct assessment of the contents of the site, but on the observation that certain cannisters of the right dimension had been obverved during the earlier "search" (which was also, undoubtedly no more than a pit stop). The upshot of all this is that giving Josh's latest argument the most liberal possible interpretation, we simply can't be sure whether the high explosives were there at the time, or not.

But one thing is certain: Compared to the total loss of material during the prolonged runup to the war, the loss of such a small amount of high explosive is just not momentous. And if Josh is wrong about the timeline and the benchmarks he has contrived, which isn't an unreasonable conjecture given the temporal confusion that pervades much of this rhetoric, the loss of this RDX "provides indirect confirmation of the preemptive dispersal of war materiel by the Saddam regime while the US was trying to negotiate UN permission to topple him for six months, compounded by Turkey's refusal to allow the 4ID to attack south into the Sunni Triangle" (Wretchard). This is hardly a case that Iraq was "the wrong war at the wrong time," except in the sense that it didn't take place soon enough.

Update 2: A Fox News reporter, Dana Lewis, was also embedded with the 101st Airborne, and backs up NBC's contention that the exlposives were gone by the time the US forces arrived. Lewis says that there was no sign of high explosives or of the IAEA tags that would have indicated their presence.

Update 3: Wretchard recounts further evidence that the missing explosives were already gone when US forces arrived. He goes further, however:

The accusation that America failed in its custodial duties has now been categorically denied, at least by some quarters. What plausibly remains to the critics is the charge that America "could have done more" to reach explosives magazines, which brings us right back to the missing 4ID and the bitter irony that the agency which did the most to prevent this powerful unit from reaching the scene, namely the UN, should now extend the finger of accusation for the absence which they caused.

(Simultaneously cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia, Anticipatory Retaliation and The Jawa Report)

Launched by Demosophist at 06:49 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)

Bingo Moment


In case you missed it, Beldar has a pretty good rationale for arguing that the story about Kerry's recent exaggerations concerning his imaginary consultations with the UN Security Council will have some impact on the election. The thing is, I've seen nothing about this on major media. Not even Fox. Had I not heard of it on the blogosphere, I'd never have known. Is there a will to put some mass on this story?

(Simultaneously cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia, Anticipatory Retaliation and The Jawa Report)

Launched by Demosophist at 04:35 AM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)

October 25, 2004

Why we must win the War in Iraq (Rusty Shackleford)


Ace has a great essay. Here is a teaser:

I cannot recognize the position of Andrew Sullivan, and John Kerry, as legimiate or honorable. Their shared position is unserious, highly partisan, and morally obscene. Those who would urge the nation into a war, or vote the nation into war, without contemplating the possible difficulties and pain of the struggle are cowards-- and worse than cowards. A man who would send another man to his death for a cause he does not think is important is a villain. [empahsis mine] What else can one call it?
That about sums up my feelings toward John Kerry. Assuming that John Kerry's nuanced position on the war in Iraq is coherent (which I doubt) then he is worse than a flip-flopper--he is morally bankrupt. He supported a war in which he knew Americans would die, and now argues that this war was a mistake. In his view, American soldiers who have died have done so in vain. The sacrifice of so many thus deprived of any greater meaning. There is something worse than losing a son or daughter in war--losing a son or daughter in a war that is not for a great and noble cause.

Can someone tell me why the war would have been moral had the UN agreed to back it? Either fighting in Iraq was good or bad. The morality of the action is independent of popularity. And please don't start with the legality argument. Legality and morality are not equivalent.

Can someone give me the material support cost-benefit formula Kerry would have used to determine this war's morality? Either fighting in Iraq was good or bad. The morality of the action does not depend on material support from allies. Kerry seems to think of war in mathematical terms. If the sum of X number of allies giving Y amount of material aid is greater than Z amount-- then W war is justified. [ W if X(Y) +X²(Y²) + X³(Y³)....>Z ]

I could go on and on, but Ace has reminded me once-again of the utter immorality of John Kerry's position.

Was Great Brittain's entry into WWII wrong simply because it had few allies? Was Great Brittain's entry into WWII wrong because the British Empire had not been attacked by Germany? Was Great Brittain's entry into WWII moral simply because it was defending a fellow member of the League of Nations? Had Poland not been a member, than perhaps the war would have been less moral? Would Great Brittain's entry into WWII been any less moral had they known that 326,000 British soldiers would die? Was WWII immoral because of the atrocities committed by Allied troops? Was WWII wrong because 3.8 million German civilians died?

All of the above questions seem like they have fairly self-evident answers, but I am amazed at how many frequent visitors here argue exactly the above--most of whom would not hesitate to defend WWII as 'the good war'.

They argue:

That the war is wrong because of few too allies--ignoring that the British valiantly fought the Nazis while the rest of the world looked the other way.

That the war is wrong because the US was not directly attacked by Iraq--ignoring that it was the Poles who were attacked by Germany and not the British.

That the war is wrong because Iraq had not attacked another country--ignoring the fact that Iraq had done just that (twice) and that an ongoing low-level war with Iraq had continued since their invasion of Kuwait. Hitler violated the Treaty of Versailles with impunity. Had Chamberlain invaded Germany for it's repeat violations of the earlier treaty would those actions have been immoral?

That the war is wrong because too many people are dying. In WWII 61 million people died. Let me repeat that for the hard of hearing: 61 MILLION PEOPLE DIED IN WWII.

That the war is wrong because of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, alleged civil rights abuses in the US, or the various murders committed by US soldiers in Iraq. As if somehow WWII would have more or less justified had the US not interned Americans of Japanese ancestry. As if somehow WWII would have been more or less justified had occupation forces not murdered suspected Wafen-SS members without giving them a trial. As if somehow WWII would have been more or less justified had Allied forces not summarily executed those caught behind our lines committing acts of sabatoge.

That the war is wrong because so many civillians have died. As if the firebombing of Dresden somehow nullified the morality of the entire Allied effort. Or that Hiroshima and Nagasaki are moral blemishes of such dire consequence that America would have been better off not fighting Imperial Japan.

All of the above are primae facie poor arguments. And the argument that the war would be moral if only things were done differently is simply idiotic. As if the way the war started really matters now. As if wars are only worth fighting if you can be assured every battle will be a victory. As if wars are only ok if the crystal ball can predict every potential setback so that no mistakes are made. As if wars are only ok if you can assure that no civillians will be hurt. I got news for you: these are not arguments against this war--they are arguments against war in general. Unless you are a pacifist you can go to hell and take John Kerry with you.

Last rant: The one argument that pisses me off more than any others is the one that goes something like, "Since we were mislead into war than the war is bad." A) We were not misled into war. There was not one single reason to go to war, there were multiple reasons. B) Who the hell cares?

Why did the US join WWII? We were attacked, right? Well, no, but for the sake of brevity I'll concede that. The US entered WWII because we were attacked.

But when you or I think of why every one agrees that WWII was so moral, why is that? Why is it that we can all argue about the morality of the Spanish-American War, or of WWI, or of the Mexican-American War but all of us agree that WWII was the good war? Was it because 'we were attacked'??

What makes WWII the war by which all other wars are compared?

WWII is the 'good war' not because of the way it started. Remember, the British were not attacked and the Germans did not attack us.

WWII is the 'good war' because of the way it ended. The more I read about WWII the more fuzzy the reasons appear for either Great Brittain or the US to have entered that war. Yet, the more I learn about WWII the more convinced I am that that war was indeed moral.

You see, the reason it was moral is that we were the good guys and we were fighting the bad guys. And the reason it was the 'good war' is because the good guys beat the bad guys.

Eisenhower called his military adventure the Crusade in Europe. But Crusade against what? From the evils of Nazism. In Shirer's classic The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich one theme is emphasized over and over again--that the fight with the Nazis was a Civilizational battle. To Shirer, the fight against the Third Reich was that of Western liberalism vs. the Nazi's pagan barbarism.

When we entered WWII we did not do it to stop the holocaust, but the holocaust has become the reason that fighting the Nazis was so moral. When we entered WWII we did not do it to stop the rape of Nanking, but it and the Bataan death march became the reason for destroying the barbarity of Japanese Imperialism.

Each day the reason for entering this war become more and more fuzzy to me--you might even say forgotten. But with each day I learn of another act of depravity done by our enemies. With each day I am reminded of their barbarity. And with each day I am awakened with a renewed sense that this is the right war, in the right place, at the right time--regardless of the reasons that it started.

This is a civilizational battle. This is a crusade of Western liberalism vs. a pagan barbarity that we in the West thought we crushed with Hitler and Tojo. And with the collapse of Soviet Communism the last vestiges of evil were thought to have all but disappeared in the end of history. We were wrong. The evil still lingers, and it is incarnate in Ba'athist nationalism and Islamist fascism.

This war is just because we are the good guys and they are the bad guys. When the good guys are fighting the bad guys, it is an immoral position to say that it's ok to fight--but only if we can be assured of victory. When the good guys are fighting the bad guys, it is an immoral position to say that it's ok to fight, but only if it is popular. When the good guys fight the bad guys you route for the good guys, not bicker over whether or not the good guys should be using a Winchester or a Colt.

We are the good guys and the forces of evil are pitted against us. We must win this fight.


(Cross-posted at My Little Teenie Weenie Pet Jawa)

Launched by Rusty at 11:23 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (2)

Seperated At Birth???

Bravo Romeo Delta

Separated at Birth?

peterson 1.jpgpiven.jpg

Scott Peterson and Jeremy Piven

We report... you decide.

(Cross Posted at Yonder Jawa Report & Demosophia)

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» The Jawa Report Retaliates with: Separated At Birth???

October 24, 2004

Bush/Kerry IQ Comparison


Steve Sailer has an exhaustive analysis of standardized tests taken by the two candidates, including SATs and officer candidate aptitude tests, to conclude that, if anything, George Bush is probably a little smarter than John Kerry. The article wanders a great deal, and never quite gets down to claiming a direct comparison, but if I read it right the conclusion is that both men have IQs of 120 or higher, and that Bush's is probably in the range 125-130. In other words both are above the 90th percentile in IQ, but Kerry's is probably in the low 90s and Bush's in the mid 90s. Sailer also draws some conclusions about the differences between how the men are likely to use their gifts: " The subtle difference between Bush and Kerry in two words: Bush is competitive and Kerry is ambitious." Read the whole thing.

(Cross-posted to Demosophia and The Jawa Report.)

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» The Jawa Report Retaliates with: Bush/Kerry IQ Comparison

October 23, 2004

O'Donnell vs. O'Neill


MSNBC's Scarborough Country was co-hosted tonight by Pat Buchanan and Larry O'Donnell, and their guest was Swiftvet John O'Neill. I just came in toward the latter part of the interview, but was treated to quite a show. Instead of allowing O'Neill to make a point O'Donnell deliberately yelled over him: "Don't let him talk! He's a liar. Everything in his book is a lie, and it's all been disproved! Liar, liar, liar, liar, etc., etc." It was quite awe-inspiring to see someone who supposedly has press legitimacy, and whose face most people identify as at least superficially objective simply doing his best to prevent a guest from making a point by drowning him out. During the exchange O'Neill calmly, and politely, asked if he was going to be allowed to finish his statement, and finally, after an intervention by Buchanan, made his point about evidence that Kerry was the author of his own (unsigned) "after action reports."

The effect of the exchange really went far beyond the claims and statements about Kerry themselves, however, because O'Donnell (as one might expect) did nothing to back up his accusations against O'Neill and the other Swiftvets, as though the volume of his voice alone were enough proof. It was, perhaps, one of the strangest and most extraordinary displays of incivility by a "news person" that I have ever seen. Right off the scale.

I'd suggest that the Swiftvets run part of the sequence in one of their ads to demonstrate the real quality of their opposition. Many of these men earned medals more impressive than Kerry's (including one Medal of Honor), and most served far longer in harm's way. This sort of treatment is simply disgraceful. There's no excuse for it.

Update: Daily Recycler has a video excerpt. (Hat tip: Cap'n Ed)

Launched by Demosophist at 04:52 AM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (6)

October 22, 2004

John Kerry Picks up Crucial Terrorist Endorsement


The Army of Ansar al-Sunnah has sent out a message congratulating Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's Tawhid and Jihad movement's addition to the US State Department's list of terrorist organizations, reports Evan F. Kohlman. In the message, they praise John Kerry for criticizing the President, imply that terrorism has struck fear into John Kerry's heart, and that his election would signal that terrorism is working.

Special congratulations from the Ansar al-Sunnah Army to the Tawhid wal-Jihad Movement, on the occasion of its addition to the list of terrorists.....

Our congratulations should not be a surprise to anyone who understands the true nature of our Islamic religion, which is based n verses from the noble Quran and the words of the noble prophet. We are optimistic that this recent declaration by the evil Bush government [adding Zarqawi's Tawhid and Jihad group to the list of terrorist organizations] will only bring us joy and happiness....

Praise be to Allah, it increased the joy in our hearts that John Kerry, the presidential candidate criticized the Bush governmentfor taking so long in making this declaration. The one who may be president of America [John Kerry] is already struck with terror by our brothers from the Tawheed wal-Jihad Movement [Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's group]. The repeated atacks that have targetted the evil Bush are now echoing on Kerry, even though he is not yet a president. This is what Allah means when he commands us to 'terrorize your enemy and the enemy of Allah."

The full document may be downloaded here. I do not believe that if the American people elect John Kerry it will be because we have caved to terrorism. However, it is clear to me that Kerry's election will be interpreted this way by the Islamist movement and their terrorist allies.

Cross-posted at Rusty's Pet Jawa

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» The Jawa Report Retaliates with: Army of Ansar al Sunnah Praises John Kerry for Criticizing Bush--claim proof terrorism works

October 20, 2004

As You May Have Noticed

Bravo Romeo Delta

We all got some new people here in the command bunker, hands hovering anxiously over the launch keys...

So a hearty welcome to Doc Rusty of My Pet Jawa Report and The Demosophist from Demosophia.

Yes my pretties, yours truly, Doc Rusty and Demosophia are all now cross-dressing posting at each others blogs. So this isn't really a guest posting sort of deal so much as it's an induction of these two fine folks into Team Nuclear Armaggedon and Other School Supplies.

Similarly, I am now part of Team Jawa and Team Ancient Greek Stuff, as well. So keep an eye out for these two excellent folks.

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Team America: World Police Blog Reviews (UPDATED)


I saw Team America: World Police last night with the only other Bush supporter on the floor and a Chomsky loving lesbo (the real kind, not the hot ones on TV)--what better way to spend a night out on the town with the guys? No small task for a guy with three kids, but Mrs. Shackleford was so impressed by my birthday gift that she yielded to my endless whining about the movie. As I've already noted so many times, I've been waiting for this movie for months.

What did I think of Team America: World Police? One of the funniest movies ever made. The funniest movie ever.

I laughed so often and so hard that today I have a laughing hangover. I'm being totally seriously here. My body is literally--physically-- sore this morning. I don't think I'll be able to smile for a week.

I'm not much of a list maker, but I've been axing myself how Team America: World Police compares to other movies? Here's my top five list of all time funniest movies:

1) Team America: World Police "F**k yeah!"
2) Blazing Saddles "The sherrif is a ni--"
3) Animal Crackers "How the elephant got in my pajamas I'll never know."
4) The Jerk "I was born a poor black child."
5) Pearl Harbor "I think World War II just started."

Here's what the right blogosphere is saying about Team America: World Police:

Sullie-"Parker and Stone are now indisputably the comic geniuses of their generation. The point of the movie is not nihilism - it's sanity. Sanity against the moronic ra-ra pro-Americanism of many in the Bush camp...."
-Demosophist-"It's like [Sullie] saw a different movie than I did."
-Roger L. Simon-"...loved the film."
-Russell Wardlow-"High art, it ain't, but I've never laughed so hard in a movie theater before."
-Charles Johnson-"I highly recommend Team America. It’s a technical tour-de-force, with deliberately retro-cheesy puppets and incredible sets, and a decidedly anti-idiotarian take on the major issues."
-John Hawkins-"I can tell you that this is a dream movie for South Park Republicans who support fighting the war on terrorism & love to watch liberals being mocked mercilessly"
-Fritz Schranck-I haven’t laughed that hard in a good while....Go see this movie--for America.
-Leopold Stotch-"Trey Parker and Matt Stone have done it again in what I say without hyperbole is one of the finest films ever made. I'm seriously."
-Flea-"You know you are in the right place when the first words to scroll across the screen are "Paris, France" and everybody starts laughing. "
-Jon of Aaargh!-"Now, if you haven't already, go see the movie.
-Pink Kitty-"The Empress gives it all paws up (but not in that French surrender kind of way.) Funniest movie of 2004. "
-Lord Floppington- "I thought it was great....Unlike Micheal Moore, you get the feeling Parker and Stone actually love this country, even when they take jabs at our foreign policy."
-Dean Esmay-"Team America: F*** Yeah! Can't. Stop. Laughing."
-Sean Hackbarth-"The Michael Moore antidote...hysterical..."
-Ian S.-"In terms of raw laughs per minute it’s easily the funniest movie I’ve ever seen."
-Citizen Smash-"Even funnier than Pearl Harbor!"
-Leftorium-"...unbelievably hilarious."
-BummerDietz-"It's funny. A Hollywood crowd guffawed throughout."
-Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files-"I made the mistake of bringing a large coke in there with me and couldn't drink a drop for fear of it coming out my nose, I was laughing so hard."
-Pennywit-"Go see Team America."
-Peter at SFSignal-"After watching this movie, it was some time before I stop saying my Ls as Rs..."
-Kate at Texas Gary-"The whole shebang was beyond awesome..."
-SondraK- "I recovered quickly from my shock and proceeded to laugh my ass off."
-Matt at Overtaken by Events-"Funny as hell."
-Rita at Res Ipsa Loquitur-"Oh. My. God. I laughed so much my face hurts."
-Laurence Simon-"Three word movie review: America, f*ck yeah!"
-Sissy Willis-"Four paws for 'Team America'"
-Bloodspite-"anything that makes Mikey Moore to be a hot dog cramming fat blob can't be all bad!"

PS-When I first started this roundup I didn't know Smash and Bloodspite over at Techography were also doing roundups. Thanks to both of them for providing some of the links.

(Cross-Posted at My Pet Jawa)

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» The Jawa Report Retaliates with: Team America: World Police Blog Reviews (UPDATED)

Pivot Point


Gerard's on a roll about John Stewart, Bill Maher and the rest of the self-absorbed media who've decided that their jobs are just a stepping stone to cultural immortality. If you're entertaining then it's easy to conclude that you're also powerful and wise. (Didn't Plato warn us about the silly hubris of entertainers?) When things come together like this, it's the silver lining to the otherwise dreary pall that sometimes seems to hang over us:

Here they've given their boys a 15 point edge and they're still lagging, and lagging seriously. It's like betting on a shaggy nag in a horse race because you can put the fix in and then standing there and seeing your "sure-thing" horse come out the far turn and into the home stretch with only one leg. That while the cowboy on the Pinto is way out in front and opening up the distance with every stride. Not only is that no way to run a fixed-horse race, but it also seems that there's going to be a price to pay for fixing the race to begin with.

I wouldn't have thought so... but I'll be darned if the public hasn't gone and sussed this out, with a little help from the pajama people. This will be the first time that the illusion of the media following events in a collaborative partnership with the public has been broken. In fact, it has been smashed. The public in the US (if not yet in the status-starved-first-world-elsewhere) just isn't cooperating, and the tricks the magician used to play are suddenly as visible as the strings that worked the puppets in Team America. Liberalism 3.x is here.

Launched by Demosophist at 07:11 AM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (3)

Approaching the Reality

"The theory that the United States could leave the Islamic world alone may be as wishful as the proposition that you can leave a bomb to tick in peace." -- (Wretchard of "The Belmont Club")

One might object to the anonymity of a writer who posts under the name of a cartoon cat, but the Founders once wrote under assumed names in The Federalist Papers, so the tradition has an honorable history. The darned cat continues:

"The neoconservative assumption that Middle Eastern societies were transformable has been described as the product of excessive hope when it is really the counsel of despair. It is the remainder which 'however improbable, is all that is left after all the impossibles have been eliminated'. The fact that America, without resorting to mass murder, has kept such a fractious country intact, that many Iraqis daily risk their lives in the effort to beat back this darkness, is testimony to a quality of work which deserves better than the scorn that has been heaped upon it."

There are no guarantees.

Launched by Demosophist at 01:45 AM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)

October 19, 2004

Learning to Speak Chinese

Bravo Romeo Delta

Ponder this statement:

"Arms are the instruments of evil which the sage does not use unless he must. The noble rulers and wise ministers of old did not dissipate the strength of the people by deeds of arms. This was a far-sighted policy.... Your minister hopes that your majesty... would not indulge in military pursuits nor glorify the sending of expeditions to distant countries. Abandon the barren lands abroad and give the people of [your nation] a respite so that they could devote themselves to husbandry and the schools. Thus there would be no wars and suffering on the frontier and no murmuring in the villages, the commanders would not seek fame and the soldiers would not sacrifice their lives abroad, the people from afar would voluntarily submit and distant lands would come into our fold, and our dynasty would last for 10,000 generations."

Care to guess the country in question and the year it was written?

This was written in 1426 as part of a memorial written in China by Fan Chi.

Prior to about 1500, China was, by far and away, the most dominant world power and pretty much had everything going for it. In 1436 Cheng Ho was sailing ships of 1,500 tons around the Indian Ocean conducting trade, while Vasco da Gama had to be content with 300 ton vessels. In 1403-05 Cheng Ho was conducting his first forays into the Indian Ocean about a century before the Portuguese were the first Europeans to visit the region.

In 1420, the Ming navy comprised no less than 3,800 ships, of which 1,350 were combat vessels, including 400 especially large floating fortresses, and 250 massive treasure ships.

This rate of naval expansion could have very well resulted in a Chinese Columbus finding the Americas at least 50 years before Columbus, certainly they Chinese had ships capable of making the voyage,

But in 1433 the Chinese government forbade any expeditions from entering the Indian Ocean. By 1436, a decree was issued forbidding the construction of any new oceangoing ships. It wasn't until 1567 that full ocean-going trade resumed.

Now consider that this lag continued to hold back Chinese development, until the point during the 1842 Treaty of Nanjing, China was forced to cede parts of its territory in perpetuity to Great Britain. Later, China fought the Opium Wars in which China was forced, by military action, to continue allowing foreign powers to keep their profitable opium trade in place. By 1911, the entire Confucian edifice crumbled, ending a governing philosophy that had guided China for millennia.

By way of comparison, consider that the last man to walk on the surface of another heavenly body was in 1972. Since then, China has become only the third country - and the only non-Superpower to put a man in orbit by themselves. Consider also, the American trade deficit with China.

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at 09:25 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)

American Cancer, Part II

Charlie Victor Echo

You know, this sort of back and forth dialogue is exactly why I came on board this blog...and I suppose its on me that I haven't had all that much to say of late.

BRD had some interesting things to say about the Dark Side of the Far Left, and he's right, in a way. The extremists on each side are to be feared and it is the duty of the moderate to keep both sides in check. On that we agree.

But I take issue with his apparent conclusion that due to the existence of extremism on both sides we can call it even on this debate, or that congressional oversight will protect the Supreme Court.

Let's talk about the Court first. My counterpart states:

"...one will also note that we don't changes justices with any great frequency."

But history argues that we're due for a change. We've had the same nine justices for ten years, which is the longest uninterrupted tenure since 1823!! That's right, the longest single Court in one hundred and eighty one years.

It therefore seems entirely probable that there will be at least one seat open in the next four years, and given the number of Justices who have been treated for cancer, or are over 80, or both, then we could easily see as many as three or four seats opening in the next few years.

I somehow doubt that BRD would accept the same argument if I applied it to the War on Terror. Wasn't that the same thinking on 9/10? "Well, Al-Quaeda hasn't done anything really terrible in my memory, they can't be a big threat..."

So let's talk congressional review. The thought that, "Well, the real extremists will be weeded out, right?" has an easy response:

William Rehnquist, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia.

All of whom were confirmed by a Democratic Senate, if I recall correctly.

Put just two more of thier ilk (or three more if Rehnquist is one of the retirees, as admitedly seems likely) on the Court and you'll see some roll-back, almost certainly starting with Roe v. Wade.

See here's my problem. A President, even one as corrupt as Nixon, can only bedevil us for eight years, tops. But put in a reactionary Supreme Court and we could be looking at decades of trouble. Sure, we hail Brown v. Board of Education for ending Segregation, but don't forget that it was Plessy v. Ferguson that allowed it in the first place.

The Supreme Court is the final arbiter in what we can and cannot do in American society and in many respects the most important thing a President can do towards influencing that society is to decide who will be on that Court.

So that brings us back to this election and the choice of the next President. I've already argued that George W. Bush is at the very least beholden to the very reactionary forces that we both decry and at worst is actually one of them.

The question, then, is John Kerry as likely to play to the far Left in nominating a Supreme Court Justice as George W. Bush is to play to the far Right?

I don't think so.

Here's why: John Kerry is willing to listen to other opinions. He changes his mind when the facts call for it!

His opponent does not. Indeed, George W. Bush is running on the idea that come hell or high water, he'll keep driving down the road he's picked. He doesn't care about world opinion, and save for how it affects our votes, doesn't much care what Americans think either.

So he won't hesitate to nominate extremist after extremist to the Supreme Court, and eventually some of them will stick.

And then the grinding noise you'll hear will be Progress going into reverse.

Launched by Charlie Victor Echo at 08:35 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (4)

October 18, 2004

Electoral Vote Predictions

Bravo Romeo Delta

So far, you've probably are already familiar with some of the more popular electoral vote predictors and election guesstimation sites. Two of the bigger ones are Election Projection (pro-Bush), and Electoral Vote (pro-Kerry). While both these sites seem to be making a solid effort to be, like, fair and stuff, they aren't bastions of statistical accuracy.

But there are some places to get much more accurate and thoroughly reasoned analysis of the elections with some links and current predictions, based on current polling data.

Prof. Andrea Moro, of the University of Minnesota gives Bush a 39.3% chance of winning the electoral vote, versus a 59.4% for Kerry.

Prof. Sam Wang of Princeton pegs the most likely outcome being Kerry with 257 EV, versus Bush with 281 EV.

The Federal Review, gives current chances of a Bush win at 81.7 % (expected to get 291 EV as of right now) versus Kerry at 17.2% (expected to get 247 EV as of right now).

Matthew Hubbard's binomial thingy at CSU Hayward gives us this breakdown: Kerry wins with 281 EV, versus Bush at 257 EV.

Then there's Larry Allen at Arrowhead Engineering, with this thing, chock 'full of graphs, which gives the odds of victory at Bush 77.7% (274 EV) to Kerry 22.3% (244 EV).

Finally, there's this bit of pro-level tea-leaf reading over at USS Clueless. Personally, I find this one to be pretty interesting, by virtue of the fact that the election is being analyzed as a system, rather than a pure stats exercise.

Long and short of it all, nobody's walking away with anything less than 240 electoral votes, and past that you can't predict the future. Except for one thing, given a lot of the crowing and expectations of victory I see on some websites, this is going to hit the press a lot like the Fall of Baghdad hit the Arab street - like a Mack Truck hitting a blind ferret.

(Cross-posted at the Jawa Report)

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at 11:30 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)
» The Jawa Report Retaliates with: Electoral Vote Predictions

Blog This!

Bravo Romeo Delta

In my never ceasing effort to make the blogosphere just that much more redundant and complicated, I am pleased to announce that Doc Rusty of the Jawa Report will be cross-posting selected entries from the command bunker here at Anticipatory Retaliation. Similarly, I will be trying my hand at selected Sith Mind Tricks over at the Jawa Report.

Why? Beats me. Sounded like a good idea.

At any rate, keep an eye peeled for similar surprises in future.

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at 10:59 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)

October 17, 2004

Chemotherapy In American Politics

Bravo Romeo Delta

My co-blogger, Charlie Victor Echo recently wrote a post about the Cancer in American Politics, in which a lot of solid points are made.

Having had some time to think about it, I would like to offer my thoughts on the matters suggested in his post.

First off, there is a cancer, so to speak. Much of the American intellectual tradition traces a line down from the liberalism and secular humanism which was a direct result of the Renaissance and Enlightenment. Much of what he speaks of is the reactionary response to that world view. And as he implicitly points out, the cancer is not an explicitly partisan one. For it found a home in the Democratic Party for years, before finding a new home in the extreme Republican Party. And on this note, I commend my counterpart for his steadfast desire to excise this tumor from the body politic.

That being said, if one looks at the historical record cited in that post, one will note that it's an unmitigated march of progress. In each and every one of the examples cited, a malignant status quo was replaced in a process of healthful change. Thus, I would suggest that we are moving forward, regardless of whose been in office - the only thing that changes is the pace of change itself. And given the design of the Constitution, I would tend to generally agree that slow steady progress is preferable to more rapid, and perhaps less well-thought out change. But, essentially, in no case has any significant roll-back occurred or been sustained for any length of time. In this respect, we have been treating this cancer with a long term program of chemotherapy, and the tumors are shrinking. We have the upper hand in the fight, regardless of the party in which the cancer resides, or the man in office. So I see the efforts of those determined to return to an earlier era of social values to be roughly as useful as those who would seek to forestall the march of years.

CVE also makes this compelling point in his post:

[The reactionaries] seek to enforce morality....their morality.

They habitually proclaim their values and declare that it is not enough that they themselves practice them, but that everyone should practice those values.

This is, on it's face, a valid concern. The thing that did strike me, however, is that the progressives, secular humanists, and classical liberals also seek to do that very same thing. Consider, for instance, that business some months ago about having a sculpture of the Ten Commandments. Relatively benign in my book, but one would have a hard time arguing that forcing the removal of that statuary is in some way not imposing one's own moral values on someone else.

I don't point this out in an effort to suggest that the sentiments are hypocritical, for on a fundamental level they aren't. Rather, it is intended to suggest a philosophical pitfall that we must learn to negotiate. The moral relativism espoused by some members of the left would tend to suggest that there is now way to determine which set of moral values should be enforced. Taking that a step further (and this is where it gets interesting) is that the War on Terror is being fought for exactly the same reasons that my counterpart makes his argument. For it is the Islamic Fascists who seek to impose their worldview on us all. This has resulted in a bit of cognitive dissonance that I think has fueled the partisanship in this election - the left, who fights against the imposition of moral values, is taking a pass on fighting against the imposition of radical Islam. While their right-wing counterparts are adamant about preventing the imposition of Islamic rule, but seem to seek an exception here at home. I don't have the answer to this, but it is an interesting point of departure.

As much of the cancer of which my colleague speaks represents the counter-enlightenment, there is another strain of the counter-enlightenment which bothers me. It's the one that is still found in the far left. That's the counter-enlightenment of totalitarianism of Marx and his ilk. Some of you will laugh at this notion, and accuse me of seeing commie bogeymen around every corner. But I look to the interplay of classical liberalism and the role of the state. I do not advocate the government getting involved in my moral life any more than my material life. In fact, it's quite easy for me to keep my own morals intact, because it is extraordinarily difficult to compel me to change what I think or how I feel. On the other hand, I am much more vulnerable in a material sense, and if you don't believe that, I am sure the IRS would be more than happy to explain penalties for tax evasion.

But getting back to the point at hand, the left is still a refuge for statists, those who would seek a government plan for healthcare, a government agency for this, a government commission for that, and a government department for the other. It's a reflexive worldview that, while not directly counter-enlightenment and anti-liberal, shares far too many of the same views and too much of the cultural heritage with those who do. In particular (as pointed out in the link about counter-enlightenment above) there is a ideological linkage between those we fight in the War on Terror, and the leftist elements of the counter-enlightenment. I fear that in focusing on the rightist counter-enlightenment folks, we often lose sight of the anti-liberal elements of the left. Again, I don't suggest that there's an easy answer to this, but rather that it is something to be studied.

Finally, I made mention of a few technical points in a response to the post, which do bear some restatement. In every election I can possibly remember, the specter of packing the Supreme Court has been raised as some sort of bogeyman to scare people into voting one way or the other. The only thing I have consistently noticed in practice is that the process of getting Congressional approval for a judge makes packing the court a much more difficult thing that it has been in years past. Secondly, one will also note that we don't changes justices with any great frequency. In fact, the argument that we would see three new Supreme Court justices in this upcoming term was one that I heard verbatim during the last election. And, as the astute observer will note, not a single judge has been replaced. On this point I do have a suggestion - limiting the power of the Courts to, in effect, create laws, and leave it in the province of open debate among directly elected representatives.

So, in all, it seems that my co-blogger and I, like many in American politics, advocate classical liberalism, to some extent or another, but are confounded by the fact that both parties house vocal and vibrant counter-enlightenment elements. As my co-blogger noted, he shares many views with Moderate Republicans. I would take that step further, and state, that at least philosophically, we are both moderates, trying to do our best, from our sides of the aisle, to keep the weels on this contraption we call our nation.

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at 07:24 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (2)
» Centerfield Retaliates with: Cancer Treatment

October 16, 2004

Good One

Bravo Romeo Delta

From the letters section of this edition of Time magazine.

PERHAPS RATHER CAN LEARN HOW EASY IT is for a good leader to act on bad information produced by a normally reliable staff. Rather and President Bush have more in common than the CBS anchor would probably like to admit. BOB BAIMA Dunwoody, Ga.

I think this one observation says more about this election, on a per word basis, than just about anything else I've heard.

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at 11:46 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (2)

October 15, 2004

Just Because... II

Bravo Romeo Delta


(Courtesy Perfesser Chaos)

I think this should be the new banner for Transatlantic Relations in the Global War on Terror. And perhaps the Republican Party campaign slogan as well.

When it gets down to cases, once again, we get to do a significant portion of the heavy lifting while others carp, and like I mentioned below, I can, more or less, live with it.

But it still gets my goat that we get slammed for not helping folks and then hindered when we do help.

Some days...

I tell ya, some days...

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at 12:10 AM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (2)

October 13, 2004

Just Because...

Bravo Romeo Delta

My co-blogger has gone off and rendered a thoughtful post, I must, of course, post some sort of deserving reply. Taking a page from some of the finest political discourse to grace this country in the campaign season, I give you this:

The top ten reasons why it won't be so bad if John Kerry wins the election:

10. The US can join the European Union thereby ending the downward slide of the dollar or any further silly disputes that occur between sovereign nations.
9. Our troops can return from Iraq and fight terrorism from the comfort of their own homes for a change.
8. College students can stop spending all their time protesting and return to their keg parties.
7. We can bring all the outsourced jobs back from overseas -- and send the imported jobs back.
6. With Halliburton out of business, we can let France handle the dirty business of rebuilding war-torn countries.
5. Hillary Clinton can fulfill her life-long dream to head up a task force to create a national healthcare system.
4. Kerry can take Kofi Annan windsurfing -- in deep waters
3. Annoying political posts like this will slow from the current torrent to a mere trickle.
2. Hillary Clinton won't be able to run for president for at least 6 more years.
1. Your journey to the dark side (and all the awesome electricity shooting out of your hands power that comes with it) will be complete*.

*Take your Jedi weapon! Use it. Strike me down with all of your hatred and your journey towards the dark side will be complete! --Emperor Palpatine

(Courtesy Almanac of the Mundane)

Ok, well maybe I'm just borrowing from the Ann Coulter/Michael Moore school of debate, but hey, at this stage in the race, I thought a quick chuckle wouldn't be so bad.

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at 11:54 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)

The Cancer of American Politics

Charlie Victor Echo

It occurred to me recently that if one were to examine my political beliefs, they actually fall closest to the definition of a Moderate Republican. I am, after all, fiscally conservative, in favor of a balanced budget and a strong military, even while espousing more progressive social values.

So why am I a Democratic election judge and the (very) occasional voice of the Left on this forum?

Because of the Cancer in American Politics.

They've always been there, you know, eating away at America.

In the beginning, in 1776, they were the ones who demanded Jefferson take out the condemnation of slavery from the Declaration of Independence.

By the 1850s, they'd progressed to arguing that slavery was good for the enslaved, and the institution should be protected, for the good of the slaves.

Having lost the Civil War, they returned home from the battlefront to form the KKK...and politically, they were responsible for the Jim Crow laws that disfranchised generations of African-Americans.

After owning their regional politics for almost a century, their dominance was handed a setback by Brown v Board of Education, then badly wounded by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Perhaps not surprisingly, it was in this era that they jumped ship, and left the Democratic Party (who, under Kennedy and Johnson had supported Civil Rights) and joined the Republicans.

Having lost the segregation battle, they've since turned championing the teaching of their religion in public schools, argue to supress equal rights for homosexuals, and seek to enforce morality....their morality.

They habitually proclaim their values and declare that it is not enough that they themselves practice them, but that everyone should practice those values.

And George W. Bush is their champion.

He's fine with the teaching of Christian scripture as scientific fact in the form of creationism.

He supports a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

He's a big supporter of enforcing morality, even in the bedroom.

I'll agree with my counterpart that John Kerry is something of a dodgy fellow, and that I'm not really thrilled by his candidacy, despite solid showings in the last couple of debates. And while I hope that he's smart enough to know that we can't bail out of Iraq, and indeed I'm fairly sure he is that smart, I'm not 100% on that, and know that it would be a tragic mistake to pull out too soon.

But I'm willing to take that risk and back Kerry, because I foresee the possibility of greater damage being done at home by George W. Bush.


Because there may be as many as three Supreme Court vacancies in the next four years.

Replace the conservative Rehnquist, moderate O'Conner, and liberal Stevens with three hard-core religious right Bush candidates and see how fast things change in this country. Roe v Wade? Forget it. Gay marriage? You've got to be kidding. Sodomy laws that allow them to arrest you for the kind of sex you practice? Absolutely.

Privacy? What is this privacy of which you speak? The Bush Court will have none of it.

Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of huge issues out there. Iraq, Al-Qaeda, Health Care, Taxes, Globalization, and so on. But most of them are such that the almost certainly evenly divided Congress will ensure that nothing especially radical goes on, no matter who wins.

Not so the social issues, for whom the Supreme Court is the final arbiter. This may be the most crucial election in decades towards determining what kind of country we live in...And that's why I have to support John Kerry.

Launched by Charlie Victor Echo at 10:43 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (12)
» Anticipatory Retaliation Retaliates with: Chemotherapy In American Politics
» Centerfield Retaliates with: Cancer Treatment


Bravo Romeo Delta

Apologies to my pretties,

I think Bill of INDC said it best when he noted that blogging can be a second full-time job.

And that's a lot of time.

Like everyone else, I'm full of excuses, but short on posts. This kind of kills me, because I have a ton of stuff that I want to comment on, and a thousand links that are really worth the reading. But all in all, I've just got my hands too damn full to wrestle with providing the quality you folks deserve (and I try to deliver).

So, long gripe short, the posting is going to continue to be a bit sparse for the near term, and I ask your forebearance.

Which brings me to my second point (and yes, since I'm an evil Republican, I can be self-interested, even when apologizing) - I note that there are a lot of folks who seem to regularly run into this same problem. Good blogs like Electronic Countermeasures, Slartibartfast, the Counter Revolutionary, the Grand Vizier, to name a few seem to fall into a similar category.


I've been wondering about a group blog of those who like to blog and put up high quality posts, but can't always get the time to keep up a steady enough pace of posts to keep a readership happy. So, I'm rolling out the invitation to a group blog, and if you're interesteed, let me know.

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at 06:43 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (4)

October 12, 2004

The Sad Story of "Never Again"

Bravo Romeo Delta

People seem to be entirely ready to hoist the flag of battle to prevent atrocities and step in with force of arms, if necessary, to prevent genocide.

And that’s it – they seem to be ready. In their heart of hearts, very few people, very few people indeed, really are genuinely willing to be a warmonger of the sort that Never Again truly requires.

Chamberlain’s claim of "peace in our time", following his Munich talks with Hitler, is held aloft as the final word of weakness and appeasement. But when it gets down to cases, is there any person who reasonably believes, particularly when the brutal efficiency of the Wehrmacht was demonstrated in Poland, in France and at Dunkirk, that any collection of countries would have waged war with a major industrial power over concentration camps?

Given the current pandemic of general genocide and appalling atrocities that seemingly define large swaths of the African continent, why does the world sit and wag it’s finger reproachfully? Or where is the will of the world community to step in and enforce peace in the West Bank or Chechnya?

Hitler is to have said, regarding political repercussions of the Final Solution, something to the effect that nobody really gave a damn about the Turkish genocide of Armenians a few decades back. Tragically, I think he was right on some level in his assessment. Before anyone goes too far with that statement, the images of the Holocaust are indelibly imprinted in our memory – the ancient horror of mass murder fused with brutally relentless efficiency created images that are seared into the collective consciousness. But the will to prevent a repetition is not similarly ingrained in our minds.

For example, consider that North Korea operates one of the most ghastly prison systems to have ever marred the gruesome face of history. Is there anyone at all who has even gone so far as to wage an anemic and ineffectual political campaign at the United Nations, let alone even discuss the prospect of actual military action? Some people who have opposed the Iraq War will note that they can’t understand why we worried about the liberation of Iraq, when horrors such as those in North Korea continue unabated. To those people, I would reply by asking if we can’t get international support to free a nation of some 25 million people, whose dictator may have killed a million of his own countrymen, what makes one think that we would have a shred of support for something that didn’t have 16 resolutions, constant cease-fire violations, and a whole pile of various causus belli above and beyond the prima facie evidence of atrocities? If the South Korean people think that the best they can do to put a halt to the unending litany of the murder of their brethren across the DMZ is to engage them with a cheerful “sunshine policy,” what makes people believe that the American people are going to support putting paid to Pyongyang with precision guided munitions?

Fine, North Korea is much more difficult, given the proximity of Seoul, and the complicated political environment, and alleged failures of diplomacy. Fine, whatever. I’ll let you run around rationalizing inaction and ongoing genocide. But what about Iraq? Was Iraq not sufficiently bloody to rate as worthwhile in the world’s moral calculus? Is the death of a 1,000 young Americans too much for 300,000 in mass graves? If the 1:300 ratio weren’t sufficient to justify action, would it have been justifiable if only 500 Americans had been killed and half a million Iraqis been found dead? Is 1:1,000 the magical ratio at which letting women, children, fathers, brothers, infants, daughters, and mothers be put to death now unacceptable? Given the massive protests leading up to the war, and the unrelenting hostility that the US still is encountering over Iraq, I would argue that the answer is that Never Again really is but a pipe dream.

For if the deployment of armor and gunships in Somalia was deemed too “provocative” and a butcher’s bill of 19 men was deemed too steep a price to pay, what makes one imagine that we would have fought World War II to stop the Holocaust itself?

There are many who decry the United States, because the US asserts its support for such noble ideals, but fails to deliver. Fair enough. But given the horrors that befell South Vietnam when it fell, and the ferocious opposition to the United States in that war, can you reasonably assert that we live in a world where we can even get support to let our own soldiers die to prevent another Holocaust?

If you believe we can get that support, could you please explain why we’ve gotten such lukewarm support in Afghanistan, and such outright hostility in Iraq? Could you also please explain why the whole world was adamant that the US not go to Baghdad in 1991, after the liberation of Kuwait?

Oh that’s right – I had forgotten about the importance of alliances and coalition building. That’s right. That self-same international community that has responded to Darfur by issuing a resolution suggesting the threat of sanctions. Or that decides that when a private military contractor brings peace at a minimum of cost in a place like Angola or Sierra Leone (or even helps in a place like Iraq) is met with responses ranging from contempt to outright hostility or is dismissed with a callous “screw ‘em.”

Even the efforts to impose peace, when we get around to it in our incredibly half-assed way, have been anywhere from absolutely feckless to outright detrimental. Witness the ongoing disasters that have marked British efforts in Sierra Leone, or French efforts in Cote d’Ivoire. Or the slow-motion nightmare that is Haiti. Even in those cases when we had an absolute ability to put paid to the cycle of violence, we respond timidly. Bombing Kosovo, but lord knows we wouldn’t send in ground troops. Let alone actually change the regime in Belgrade.

I could be persuaded to only focus on post-World War II genocides, since the notion of Never Again was implanted most strongly by the events of World War II. Since then, we might also be willing to note that there are some cases of genocide such that an effort to wage war to stop the murder could have very well resulted in a nuclear Armageddon. Even after these exceptions, we still note that not only does the world at large fail to do anything more than wring its hands at Darfur. Or for that matter, no discussion of Zimbabwe or Congo is had at all. South Korea reacts to the charnel house to their north by suggesting that they need to be nicer to the butchers. Or that an effort to stop the Ba’athist murder in Iraq has been met by overwhelming hostility from around the world.

For that matter, there are a large number of people who feel that war and halting mass murder are not mutually exclusive tasks. I suggest the counterfactual notion that diplomacy could have prevented the Second World War - and that the 6 million that were killed in concentration camps would have been replaced by far, far larger numbers of dead, left to die in isolation under the heel of the Nazis.

No, as much as it pains me to say it, America doesn’t always intervene when it should. But it pains me even more that the folks who complain about such hypocrisy themselves indulge in a much more cynical exercise in self-delusion. For not only do they decry America’s failure to protect people around the world, they actively hinder the US when it does try.

No, it seems that Never Again really means Never Again Until Next Time We Say Never Again. Ask the Rwandan peacekeepers in Sudan about that.

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at 11:45 AM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (5)

October 11, 2004

Retooling the Bunker

Bravo Romeo Delta

So, I've been retooling the command bunker - most of the changes aren't visible, but I will note that I've set up a new reciprocal linking system. The retaliatory strikes are the ones listed in italics on my blogroll.

As far as I know right now, the reciprocal list is complete - but what I think I know and what the actual situation is, as per usual, may have little in common. So, that being said, if I'm not linking you but you're linking me, lemme know one way or another. If you've linked to me in the past and don't link to me now, I would sure like it if you would let me know.

On other notes, I fully expect to be absolutely hammered between now and early to mid-November. So, my posting will probably be a bit less event-oriented, as many other fine blogs cover that well. What I will post remains yet to be seen.

Finally, given the confluence of events, as well as other goings-on, I invite any and all readers to post here. Just drop me a line.

I've got some other ideas that I'm chewing on right now, but I don't know how soon I can get to them. I'll keep y'all posted if anything interesting happens.

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at 10:40 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)

October 07, 2004


Bravo Romeo Delta

Of course, as usual, I've got all manner of brilliant interesting things to say, and can't get the time to post anything coherent (or at least edited).

But I have noticed a surge in referrals from my blogspot site.

So for all y'all coming from the aniticipatoryretaliation.blogspot.com, I would love to know how all y'all meandered here.

Other than that, I really do wonder about this mystical undecided voter. Hopefully more on that later before somebody says it far better than I could ever manage.

And for those folks who haven't gotten a reciprocal link, I hope to be doing blog maintenance this weekend, so to make life easy, post a link that you have been suffering from neglect and have not recieved 200 kT of loving kindness as yet.

Oh yeah, go read Whittle too.

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at 05:29 AM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (3)

October 06, 2004

Last Post For Like, Whatever

Bravo Romeo Delta

Really, I mean it. I won't post again until next time. But this bit tickled me too much to pass by.

This guy at Burnt Orange Report (who, incidentally, appeared, at least to this cursory glance, to do a fairly even-handed - or at least rationally debatable - liveblog of the debate). Had a later post-debate post here in which we see the two following entries (with a bit of annotation).

First bit:

9:56: Ok folks. This dkos diary has all the polls we should vote in. You know the drill. Vote for John-John

The post to Kos gives some 56 media instant polling links (before we get to the state-by-state breakdown). Later the empire of Markos "Screw 'Em" Zuniga, then posts other reaction related linkagry here. Don't get exercised about this bit, though - nobody takes internet polling seriously, and it's an election year. What amused me was the latter comment at Burnt Orange here:

10:47: Anyone have any snap poll numbers?

CBS gives Edwards the edge:

A CBS News poll of 169 uncommitted voters found that 41 percent said Edwards won the debate, versus 29 percent who said Cheney won. Thirty percent said it was a tie.

Of course, the wingnuts will dismiss it as liberal BS. I mean, obviously, Dan Rather's behind it...

I'm not sayin'... I'm just sayin'...

Seriously though, it has to be at least worth a grin.

If nothing else, the Burnt Orange Report personally seemed to call the debate itself a tie, with a marginal possibility of a narrow Edwards win.

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at 06:58 AM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (1)


Bravo Romeo Delta

More about the debate in a second

I did want to note that the annual board meeting of CBS affiliates is October 5th. Put an ear to the ground and see if there are any rumbles.

Final political observations about the debate for tonight are below. Enjoy, or cruise on by.

Anywho, a couple openings for Bush in the next debate if Kerry's stupid and picks up up Edward's talking points. Edwards noted that a long resume doesn't equate to good experience. Two ways for Bush to play that card - one, by noting that he agrees, especially as it comes to Kerry's abysmal voting record. Add to that a zinger about, based on his performance in representing the people of Massachusetts to represent them, evidently a long resume can can me no judgment at all - like the 84 thousand votes Kerry's missed. He can round it off with a comment, that unlike being Senator, you can't skip out on xx% of your job - but then again, that's an experience that most working Americans are probably more familiar with than you.

The other way it can be played - again depending on spin choices, is the notion that it doesn't automatically bestow upon you good judgment, but it does indicate some experience, and you Sen. Kerry, seem to think that 4.5 months 30 years ago somehow gives you more relevant Commander-in-Chief experience than 4 actual years as Commander in Chief. Unless you want to also talk about his experience in protesting a defense buildup during the Cold War.

Other talking points that could have been made by Cheney, but were probably foregone so he didn't appear to mean, was the notion of a Kerry Presidency in which we would be made safer by scrapping defensive systems like BMD, offensive weaponry like bunker-buster nukes, and by fighting proliferation by giving nuclear fuel to Iran.

I also am waiting with baited breath for the day that somebody takes somebody to the woodshed about all this mystical hype about allies by noting that in Afghanistan, where we had the 'world's sympathy' that these mysterious allies still haven't done neither jack nor sh!t.

Final debate thoughts, not that many left-blogs I've found have been liveblogging the debate versus their right-side counterparts. I wonder if that's because they didn't expect a good Edwards showing, or that they, as a base, are just not nearly as energized. Among the left blogs I cruised, the sentiment seemed to be overwhelming that Cheney lost because he was such a great big fat evil liar. This was followed by the occasional assertion that he was also angry and mumbly. I only ran across a few that seemed to be of the call-em-like-you-see-em variety, who tended towards calling it a tie.

By comparison, I did note a number of right-leaning blogs covering it (but hey kids, this ain't a scientific survey at all) which seemed to be anywhere from a minor Cheney win to Cheney ripping the still-beating heart out of the Democratic-body-politic. Of course, you're invited to ascribe that to a higher percentage of rabid idiots on the other side of the aisle, whilst your own are all super civil and whatnot. But what I think that this supports, and has been pretty consistent, is that Bush has a stronger, more motivated base. The Kerry core base is beset by relatively shrill, hysterical folk, who really don't have any use for Kerry, other than to make Bush call a moving company.

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at 06:49 AM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (1)

Live Spinblogging

Bravo Romeo Delta

Well, I've confabbed with one of my best (even though they're one a dem eevil librul sorts) friends about the debate. Their take on it was that it was a smashing Edwards success, although to be fair, she did note that she was more impressed with Edwards than the notion that Cheney screwed up.

For my part, I did note that if Kerry were half the politician Edwards was, Bush would be screwed. Edwards has the potential (potential) to be as skillful a politician as Bush in the congeniality gig.

A lot of the right-leaning bloggers have proclaimed this a massive Cheney victory. I don't think it was by a huge amount, at least in any way that will count with voters. All said and done, both folks did a good job. Oddly, however, Cheney did a excellent job of being what Kerry wishes he were, while Edwards did a spectacular job of being who Bush wishes he could be (in terms of style, folks - relax).

CNN seems to have called it for Edwards, but then again, they called for Bush in the last debate, so take it with a grain of salt.

More updates to follow on spin coverage...

Check out this side-by-side comparison by Pennywit of Captian Ed and Talk Left on debate live blogging. Brilliant idea!

I should also point out that VodkaPundit has left open a post in which folks who were liveblogging the debate could leave links to that effect in the comments. Sort of a liveblogging collection post. Hell, far as that goes, this guy has already linked to the link with the links, so I guess he gets a very special link all his own.

Well, a lot of the instapolling seems to swing pro-Edwards, but then again that kind of thing is always a bit off (and can be vehemently unscientific).

The more considered, at least half-an-hour later or so polling seems to give it to Cheney by, call it, 10 points, but with 20 perecent or so calling it a tie. It will be interesting to see how the spin kicks out on this one. Much like the Presidential debate, people attuned themselves to their own candidates strengths, while dismissing their negatives as being less important. On this one, since the debaters were much better, it'll take longer to sort itself out. But I think, over all, spin will swing to Cheney, simply because he landed a couple of hard blows, but generally didn't to seem to be on the attack to the same extent as Edwards who was less successful at hitting the balls out of the park.

Well, I guess, like expected, this was a debate for political junkies, and basically, only really enjoyed by political jukies.

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at 04:31 AM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (3)

Veep Debate Blogging

Bravo Romeo Delta

I'm not liveblogging, because, for the second night in a row, I'll be at work until way past midnight (unless, of course, I mentally tell my boss to go straight to hell). But heck, a little bit o' the blog never hurt anyone [Ed. - famous last words, eh Moxie?] .

The Senator Gone point was a good one (especially the pleased to met you Senator bit), but I really, really doubt that Sen. Edwards wants to keep hammering home on the 'a long resume does not necessarily mean a good track record' or whatever he's said twice. Unless, of course, he wants to start defending Sen. Kerry's 20 year record.

Vice President Cheney has done well on defusing a couple of points, like the gracious response to the comments about his family. Similarly, by noting that they probably have a lot more in common then some may think, is another good end run.

But one thing I really do like is the moderator. She's pitching a fair amount of hardball.

But all in all, the fact that the race is this close does depress me endlessly is the fact that it means that a vast number of people in this country. Just. Don't. Get. It.

Like just about every other Vice Presidential debate I've seen - I'm much more impressed by one (usually both) Vice Presidential candidates then the principles on the tickets. This debate is no exception. Cheney/Edwards (or Edwards/Cheney, if you prefer) would mop the floor with any possible permutation of Bush and Kerry. Cheney is what Kerry could be, if he weren't working so darned hard to be someone else. Edwards is (or may someday be)what Bush could be if he learned to speak English, rather than merely chewing on it, and spitting it out.

I was hoping for a big gaffe in this season's debates, I suppose for much the same reason that the wrecks are what get replayed at car races. I didn't expect either of tonight's debaters to fumble, and neither has. One of the dark sinister lord tricks I see Cheney using that does amuse me, is when if forfeits a response. Some will see that as being unable to respond, but my guess is that it's a very oblique way of noting that the Kerry campaign platform isn't radically altogether ABB.

To be quite fair, Sen. Edwards has handled some hardballs quite well, such as the trial lawyer question.

I think Cheney is coming across (on radio at least) as much more gracious, but either one of them could run circles around either of the Presidential candidates. But I think that Edwards is savvy enough to know that he has to attack a bit to keep his base energized. Cheney doesn't necessarily have to, because Bush's is a base for someone, whereas Kerry's base is an against movement.

Kind of wonder why Sen. Edwards went off the rail with the last bit of business about health care.

If Cheney is willing to go off script he could eviscerate Edward's closing speech. By noting that the kind of America of opportunity that his father and he were able to take advantage of is the kind of America the Republicans are trying to preserve against an onslaught of big government, excessive taxation, and the nanny state. But I guess that's not really the point of the closing remarks.

Cheney did a fairly smart move (particularly as regards independents) about hitting on foreign policy in the closing remarks, and Edwards missed the chance with his chat about his dad.

Some summary thoughts below.

Sen. Edwards did a good job of tagging some major points, as did VPres Cheney, but neither exploited the holes open. For instance, how do you ask for allies, when some of the first allies we recruited post-9/11 you've denigrated for their service in Afghanistan?

Hmm... what else? Cheney didn't mention the continuing desire to ban the bunker buster and his hope to send nuclear fuel to Iran - I think those would have been two sure hits.

Moreover, is there any particular reason that you hold up the contributions of virulently non-democratic allies such as Syria and Egypt in Gulf '91?

I was also (and still am) rather surprised that the Bush campaign hasn't hit Kerry harder with both his voting and absenteeism records.

All in all, I feel it was a close debate - polling will give a 5-10% edge to Cheney on the who one, and we might see a pro-Bush bounce, but it won't exceed more than one or two percentage points.

Still, it was great fun for all the dumb-ass political wonks (like me and you, for instance) who dig on this sort of thing.

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October 04, 2004


Bravo Romeo Delta

A couple of really, really good links on Nukular Bunker Busters.

First, this primer at Q&O is really quite good.

Secondly, this one over at American Digest is pretty good, and actually does the business of answering the questions that Hugh actually posed in his blogging symposium.

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Bunker-Busters and Defense

Bravo Romeo Delta

In response to a call by Hugh Hewitt for posts about bunker-busters I've gone and cooked up something. Couldn't really tell you if it's anything good or not. But hey, since we bloggers evidently have any checks like editors or any sort of journalistic responsibility, I don't feel compelled to actually, you know, edit anything I write, so here goes...

Ok, first off, the role that nuclear weapons play today has precious little to do with the preconceptions that people carry with them from Hiroshima and Nagasaki – for later reference, these explosions were in the 15-20 kilton (kT) range. So, based on this, we have to cover a little tiny bit of background.

The important thing to consider is that in their original incarnation, strategic nuclear weapons were solely about causing what we would now call collateral damage. Since that era, planners got pretty hip to the notion of using nukes against strictly military targets, but a couple of wrinkles emerged. First and foremost, using nukes on the battlefield was a reasonably straightforward logistical problem, the business of moving usable nukes deep into enemy territory was a bit more troublesome.

Back in the day, this was all done via bombers, but while very accurate (at least in nuke terms), were terribly slow and could be intercepted and shot down. To get past this particular problem, that wondrous German invention, the military ballistic missile, was harnessed to lob nukes across the world. The missiles could reach virtually anywhere on earth within about half an hour, they couldn’t be shot down, but they were horrifically inaccurate. Since they couldn’t be relied upon to get particularly close to their targets, the solution was to lob bigger warheads. So this drove the development of increasingly large warheads.

Meanwhile, as weaponeers were making larger warheads, other engineers were working on making ballistic missiles more accurate, so they could be used effectively against point targets, like other missile silos, without having to use enormous warheads. This had a couple of interesting implications in weapons design, one of which was the development of dial-a-yield warheads. Dial-a-yield allows planners to use one bomb if they want a great big explosion all the way down to a little tiny explosion (in the case of the B83 linked above, the bomb can produce a yield anywhere from about 20 kT up to 1200 kT) with very little complication. Why this is significant is that it is a pretty dramatic indication that planners decided that there was really such a thing as too big an explosion, even in a full-scale global thermonuclear war.

This is because things like fallout, nuclear winter, and sort of a general increasing interest in limiting unnecessary collateral damage (some studies indicated that even a “limited” nuclear war would result in as many as 20 million casualties on each side). This shift is also mirrored in thinking about tactical nuclear weapons. By the mid-sixties, things like the Special Atomic Demolition Munition, with a yield of 0.01, or 0.02-1 kilotons deployed. Along with this was a shift from deploying tactical nuclear weapons ubiquitously. All these things mark shifts in thinking associated with the usability of nuclear weapons.

While strategic nuclear weapons are explicitly intended not to be used, but only to provide a viable threat of use, tactical nuclear weapons are an entirely different beast (at least in the minds of American planners). The problems that folks discovered during the Vietnam era was that for tactical nuclear weapons to make sense they have to be imminently usable. What’s the point of building a huge nuclear arsenal if you can’t bring this force to bear against a bunch of pajama-clad insurgents running around in the bush? So planners spent a lot of time thinking about this kind of thing, which resulted in developments like the neutron bomb – a more “usable” tactical nuclear weapon.

Along came the end of the Cold War, which threw a bit of a wrench in planning activities. While many of the changes that occurred with the end of the Cold War were unquestionably good things, they had some odd consequences. For instance, the US dismantled it’s chemical weapons stockpiles – which is a good thing. But unfortunately, it also means that we lack an ability to retaliate in kind for the use of chemical weapons. Likewise, we used to have a program in place to destroy enemy satellites, but this has been cancelled. In both cases of chemical weapons and anti-satellite systems, we have sort of gotten around the loss of the ability to retaliate in kind by stating that we will respond to attacks of this sort as if they were nuclear attacks against the US.

But this brings about some of the same problems that planners ran into ages ago – tactical nuclear weapons are politically very difficult to use. As we’ve seen since the end of the Cold War, the US is facing an era in which not only will we be fighting against relatively small nations who can play the “bully” card to increase the political cost of using nukes, but these would-be adversaries that are most definitely seeking to exploit asymmetries to counter the massive conventional superiority of forces. So this makes it much more likely that these folks are going to do things that really require the use of nukes to counteract, but we’ll be in a significant bind because we don ‘t really have a terribly usable nuclear arsenal.

Among other things, despite the fact that we already very small nuclear weapons, they aren’t terribly usable, since they still will kick up a whole lot of fallout and whatnot. The second problem is that one of the strategies being aggressively pursued by China, Iran, North Korea and others, in response to the impressive airpower performance of the 1991 Gulf War, was the increasing tendency to place critical facilities underground (hardened, deeply buried targets – HDBT).

Which brings us to the buster bunkers. The deal is that while there are small nukes, they don’t have enough bang to do something like destroy a HDBT, and if a nuke large enough is used, it will kick up a lot of debris and release a lot of ionizing radition, and will hence generate a large political backlash.

So we end up with a gap in our deterrence. We could use a small nuke against something like a supply depot or a large formation in response to a chemical attack or whatever else we’ve said would be treated as a nuclear attack, but we don’t have something that can really be used “surgically”. Thus, if we want to be able to respond to something like a chemical attack, we have the option of doing something like nuking a whole bunch of soldiers in the field – which will generate some pretty unfavorable press and some really graphic images (think Highway of Death), but not the ability to actually tag anything particularly valuable, like a buried uranium enrichment plant.
Now the notion that it’s hypocritical for us to call for the US to call for counterproliferation while developing its own nukes is, in essence, completely and absolutely valid. And people who think that we should cancel the program because of this hypocrisy are absolutely missing the point.

If we have bunker-busting nukes, then we can open up our range of options for retaliation, and thus can extend deterrence to actually deter would be proliferators from acquiring or using WMD. If we don’t have them, then we simply don’t have a very good range of military options for responding to either the acquisition or use of WMD, short of regime change.

Now if we lived in the ideal world of a Kant, then it would make no sense whatsoever to pursue bunker-busters. That is also the world of strong international cooperation, and effective multilateralism. That’s also a worldview that took a mighty strong hit on a bright September morning some years ago. The relevance of 9/11 is that it’s a pretty strong indicator that we live in a fairly Hobbsean world, in which we can’t simply expect people to do what we want just because we set a good example.

So sad as it may seem, we live in a world such that if really could get away with not developing bunker-busters, we would live in a world in which we wouldn’t actually need the infernal things.

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October 01, 2004

Maximum Leader

Bravo Romeo Delta

Well, I happen to be (fairly) adjudged as an honest observer of the mighty, mighty debates. So sez the Maximum Leader.

One of the many things that does suprise me about this debate (and all things being said and done, I have [and have found] very low expectations) is...

I do find it endlessly interesting that both candidates agree that proliferation is a great big threat. Secondly, both folks also feel that Iraq is a cannot-lose situation.

On the soundbite level, I'll give a slight nod to Bush. It comes at a price, since I think Bush was largely inarticulate.

Still, Bush has failed on message. He could have done a much better job of contrasting Libya and Iraq.

To hell with this noise. I'm going to bed. There is no way on God's green earth that I can drink enough to make either of these folks sound intelligent. There's not anyway on earth that these folks have, or will, make a convincing point.

Good night.

Tell ya all what... We'll do a write-in.

Pick a Kerry statement on Grand Strategy, and I'll eviscerate it. Just put it in comments, and I'll get to the exposition of grand stupidity in due time.

Taking even DeGuall during the Cuban Missile Crisis - take a look at the response of Britatin during the crisis.

Just sayin...

At any rate - throw me the challenge, and I'll answer.

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Now Hereby Emboldened

Bravo Romeo Delta

I have, in a fit of oddity, opted to do all my drunk blogging after the debate.

Sadly, that hasn't worked out too well, in the great scheme of things, but I will be satitsfied by making one final prediction:

Members of the base will be vastly satisified. That being said, the bounce will amount to no more than 3%. Right now, I will give 70/30 odds of the bounce being in Kerry's favor.

In upcoming elections, both candidates will be told to be more aggressive, and that is, roughly, when we can start expecting gaffes.

A wee bit more (and I'm not just talking drinks here, kids...)

Both candidates are going to be under pressure to attack more. Although right now, I am astonished that CNN is cutting for Bush, on average. All things being said and done, how these (and yours truly) these beltway assholes view the debate doesn't really matter. It'll take a few days for middle America to respond fully.

Kerry is not bad on Shinseki, but he's weak on the Clarke Mexico-Pearl Harbor angle. It leaves him open to the accusation of lacking nuance (see also Morocco as a response to Pearl Harbor).

Oh, and by the way, the denial of contracts to Europeans, that stems from the fact that following Bosnia, etc. the European Union denied contracts to Americans on rebuilding. I have this on the word of Jim Baker.

I am still left with this conclusion -- several drinks down the gullet -- Bush could have stomped all over Kerry (and he really did leave himself open) but failed do really hoist that guy by his own petard.

For starters, the only ally that really matters in Iraq is Iraq. Lean on that. Note the fact that France and Germany won't give squat, but Iraq is poised to give 140,000 troops. Those are the allies that really count - despite what Joe Lockhart says about the people who live and die right by the side of American soldiers.

One thing that I am ferociously irate about is the notion that the rest of the world can deliver all this military support. Kerry (deservedly) points out the notion that in Tora Bora, the US didn't spearhead the effort to capture all those Al Qaeda guys. The problem being is thtat we have all the goddamn guns. Full stop. Threre are no other worthwhile peacekeeping forces.

Bush/and/or/Kerry could have made the other son-of-a-bitch hang with his words tonight. One thing Bush hasn't hit home with is the fact that Kerry was on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

I do seriously wonder about the notion that Bush is pressing consistency. You and I know both that failure on this count really is painfull. Once Kerry can match Bush on this point, I do worry.

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Post-Debate Observation

Bravo Romeo Delta

I was going to do some post-debate roundup, but did anyone notice the number of times bloggers were mentioned by the punditry? That, in combination with the fact that Fox polled for Kerry, while CNN called it in favor of Bush.

This may point to two things: media outlets, sensitive to bias allegations are (unconciously) hedging on the safe side by acting counter to their alleged biases. Secondly, a few pats on the heads of the bloggers, might also be in oblique reference to the Rathergate business.

Interesting. I do agree with some of the punditocracy that the polls will tighten - simply not enough was done to merit a widening of the gap. I think.

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Additional Debate Stuff

Bravo Romeo Delta

Sort-of-live blogging...

The long of the short of it is that nobody really dropped the ball. Of course Kerry was more articulate than Bush. Kerry left some holes open that Bush failed to exploit effectively. Bush got a bit flustered during the middle, and it'll cost him a bit, but then again, who expected Bush to be articulate?

Minor tidbit, the agreement was that the entire talk was to be on national security issues. That explains Bush's grimace on the reference to stem-cell issue.

One pundit makes a good point - CIA thinks ObL in Pakistan - doesn't matter if you send troops to Afghanistan but they can't go into Pakistan. A CNN pundit made some really good points about Kerry and factual problems.

Bush needs to cut down on the grimacing.

Kerry is handing Bush a couple of good points if he's willing to use them - among other things noting that France and Germany have indicated that they wouldn't send troops, even if Kerry is elected.

Additionally, at :41, Kerry has noted that we need to go after their staging areas, etc. Bush should get on him.

One of the things that Bush needs to hit on is the 9/10 angle - particularly that invading North Africa made sense after Pearl Harbor - provided that you have a nuanced, comprehensive view of the War on Terror. His opponent thinks that the only response to Pearl Harbor would have been to hunt down Yamamoto.

In response to the "was it worth it, in terms of lives?" questions. The response is that each life is of immense value. But at what price freedom? It is a unique characteristic of a free society is that we understand the price of freedom and sometimes that price is paid in blood. My opponent wants to denigrate the losses of our troops and allies, by minimizing their sacrifices. He attempts to shoehorn our policies abroad into destructive campaign politics at home. Etc...

I would also like to see how Kerry squares crapping on Bush for using Afghan troops in Tora Bora with the notion of working with allies.

Somebody fact check Kerry on the "out in six-months, provided we have done all the wonderous steps I've outlined" quote at :49

Drive home more effectively on the Lockhart 'puppet' quote. Ask how he intends to build alliances when his own staff denigrates foreign heads of state.

All in all Kerry is coming off better out of this, over all. Bush is hesitating a bit much and seems to be a bit flustered. Kerry is opening up some holes, but Bush has not been super-effective in making them work.

Kerry's opened up that "crummy Afghan" line again - work the allies angle again. Bush needs to open up the WWII angle in re Iraq v Osama.

Interesting that Kerry has backed up the President on the pre-emptive strike business. Bush should make him square this with his comment on responding when attacked.

Global test angle, good line. Pound on that, asking for editorials in Le Monde. ICC is a good red-state line. But American policy based on American interests. Could also make Kerry hang with the global test angle in re not asking for a permission slip (see Kerry nomination speech).

Bush needs to hit up on the Libya angle a lot more aggressively. Especially noting that it was the US and UK, not the UN that brokered the agreement.

On the NK response, work the allies angle - Kerry stands there talking about working with allies, and in North Korea, he now shuns a multi-lateral coalition.

Did Lehrer just hand Bush a big ole' point, by noting that Kerry pooh-poohded the multinational talks in NK? Then Bush gets the 'more sanctions?' angle on Iran.

Kerry on Darfur now. Open up Kerry on this and Haiti on working outside of the UN. Just said we should do X, but we can't do X. Nail him on this. Two points in one answer. Kerry now is hitting on his force increases points - Bush should mention that this is a responsibility left to Congress. Bush is doing OK with Darfur, more or less.

Bush's laugh line fell a bit flat. But he's taking a good solid line with Kerry on the make-nice question. Good points with daughters, Yale, senate service, etc. Not a bad line, "there must be certainty within the councils of the US government."

Oops Kerry made a boo-boo in making his complements about Bush sound weak. Also, point to Bush for interrupting to thank Kerry. Makes Kerry look like a much more dour, unsociable (ungrateful?) fellow. On the Bush rebuttal, he needs to show 9/10-9/11 change in a shift of tactics, but not change in core values.

Kerry has a strong line on proliferation. Hell of a lot stronger than Gore's gibberish and book. Very good line on securing fissile materials.

Actually, the bunker-buster nukes make all manner of sense, but that's a post for another day. Christ, Kerry just lost a handle on me with this aggressive dovish angle on linking nuke research and proliferation. Bush is responding well on the proliferation, although I don't know that he needed to hit on the Missile Defense program.

Fact-check in Aisle 3: Did counter-proliferation funding increase or decrease during the Bush administration.

Lehrer just made a solid point with proliferation threats to security. Now Bush needs to hit on Libya (w/o the UN), Iraq (w/o the UN), Kerry wants to destroy multilateral coalition dealing with North Korea. Additionally, these bribed and coerced allies helped us unravel the Kahn network.

W/r/t to NK talks, Bush needs to highlight the success of the '94 framework agreement and the cheating on Uranium, which these same bilateral talks allowed.

This is the first time Kerry's actually made some sort of vague useful sense of the Vietnam angle. But still... Damn, he still left that freedom/fear line badly - read Lileks ferchrissakes. "We cannot let Fear rule our future - our future must be governed by freedom!"

Good for Bush hitting that anti-draft line. Good hit on the not-at-home, and no-permission-slip line. Damn, when did Bush get good? His closing bit is nice, nice. Very, very presidential. Wow.

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