Saturday, September 06, 2003
“If it looks like war, then it does not look like the United Nations,” said Kenneth Allard, a retired Army officer and professor of military history at Georgetown University.
Allard was dismayed that the administration had reached a point where it had no recourse but the United Nations. “I look on this as a very clumsy piece of American statecraft,” he said.
It was the United Nations that was kicked around by insurgents in Somalia a decade ago, with a U.N. combat force pinned down at the Mogadishu airport until American Marines arrived. And it was a U.N. peacekeeping force in Bosnia that in 1995 was overrun by rampaging Serb troops who took some peacekeepers hostage, then stormed down the road into Srebrenica — which was under official U.N. protection — and massacred some 8,000 Muslims.
U.N. forces often come from desperately poor nations like Bangladesh and Guatemala, which earn hard currency for “renting out” their soldiers. And often the troops show up with no gear — not even underwear, in the case of some Guatemalans assigned to peacekeeping duties in Haiti in 1994.
There are women's bodies scattered in Bunia's main market place; a baby's body on its main road; two priests' bodies inside one church. Last week, a burning corpse was tossed on to the main UN compound's lawn, to show 700 Uruguayan peacekeepers what they were missing while they cowered under fire behind its razor-wire perimeter, unauthorized to intervene in the latest massacre of Congolese civilians.
The 191 member nations of the U.N. find it difficult to make any decisions, let alone difficult ones. It probably took months of debate to agree on the imposing baby blue color for their helmets. (Is it supposed to be camouflage that renders you invisible against a cloudless sky?) The organization somehow agreed to send troops to Congo but could not consent to authorizing military action. It is difficult to believe that troops would be sent but given orders to do absolutely nothing. There is no need to point out what a waste of U.N. funds (25% of which is provided by the United States) this "action" was.
If U.N. troops do come to Iraq, their command and control must come from the U.S. and the U.K. These liberating countries know what the current situation is and what needs to be done. They have a mission and the authorization to carry it out. Hope has started to emerge in the people of Iraq, but that will disappear quickly if it depends upon peacekeepers with a vague mission determined by a 191 member council. The U.S. must always remember that several U.N. member states are nations which manufacture and export terror. If those countries "assist" by determining policy and by sending troops, then all the work that has been done to date will probably have been in vain.
Friday, September 05, 2003
Whitmire, D-Houston, broke ranks with fellow Democratic senators earlier this week by announcing he was quitting a Senate boycott. He said he would return to Austin from Albuquerque, N.M., in an effort to negotiate a deal to end a stalemate in the congressional redistricting battle with Republicans.
Whitmire's staff announced the news conference without booking the Lieutenant Governor's Press Conference Room.
But Senate spokesman Mark Miner said that unless he pays his fines, Whitmire will be told he cannot use the room when he shows up.
'The press conference room is not available,' Miner said.
Senate Republicans passed a resolution last month issuing fines and sanctions against 11 Democrats who fled the state July 28 to break the Senate quorum and kill a Republican congressional redistricting plan.
The resolution specifically banned the missing Democrats from booking news conference rooms until after they had paid their fines for deadlocking the second special session.
'No reservations for conference rooms, press conference rooms or meeting rooms will be allowed,' according to a letter Senate Secretary Patsy Spaw sent to the boycotting senators Aug. 15 after the Senate vote.
'We do not deal with the opposition in a militaristic manner but through dialogue,' Abbas told a key meeting of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
An Israeli soldier was also killed and four wounded in the operation in the city of Nablus, which ended when soldiers blew up an apartment building where Mohammad al-Hanbali had been holed up, making 28 families homeless.
UPDATE: Check out this picture from a palestinian demonstration (courtesy of Yahoo News). Re-enacting bus and pizza bombings where cililians were both targeted and killed tells everything about their methods and purposes.
Winning Council Entry:
California's Air by Alpha Patriot
Winning Non-Council Entry:
That Vision Thing by One Hand Clapping
Another week of fantastic entries and difficult voting choices. If you find any posts you think should be considered, please let myself or another council member know.
Thursday, September 04, 2003
Death to the Hyphen from One Hand Clapping
$14,625 from Aaron's Rantblog
Tale of the Gun from The Spoons Experience
Liberals for the Status Quo from joannejacobs.com
A poor workman blames his tools from Patio Pundit
Don't Try This At Home - Or Anywhere Else from Give War A Chance
If that happens, expect a decline in local populations of small mammals, waterfowl, birds and farm-raised ducks and chickens, said Ruth Milner, a district biologist with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The mink were released Monday morning from the Roesler Brothers Fur Farm when someone cut through a fence and opened numerous cages. The Animal Liberation Front (ALF), a group classified as a domestic terror organization by the FBI, has claimed responsibility in an e-mail to the media.
(Hat-tip to Drowning at 2 Feet Sea Level)
His withdrawal should embarrass Republicans who have been outwitted on judgeships by Ted Kennedy and Hillary Rodham Clinton, who are orchestrating the first filibusters of appellate-court nominations in American history. Democrats have paid no political price for raising the "advice and consent" standard for Senate confirmation to 60 votes from a simple majority.
What they did not consider was the toll this tactic was taking on the nominees themselves. The 'least risky' approach ended up resulting in a very visible and costly defeat. Will there be any bright side to this result? Only if it puts a little backbone into the Senate Republicans and spurs them to action on the remaining nominees. (If they need a case study on how to fight, they should take a look at the current Texas Redistricting battle.)
I do wish the Honorable Miguel Estrada well, and appreciate him hanging in there for a long 28 months. I hope that the remaining judicial nominees can receive their 'consent' quickly, before they too are forced to follow in Estrada's path.
UPDATE: This finally hit the news wire at about 8 am C.S.T. USA Today has an article here, for those who do not have WSJ online subscriptions.
Wednesday, September 03, 2003
Here is a portion of his recent letter (per the Washington Times):
At night the streets are full of pedestrians, many families with children. I am at a loss to reconcile what we see on the ground with what is being reported.
The "regular people" are much better off than they were. Security has improved with Iraqi police everywhere, telephones are starting to work, electricity, while off and on, is relatively stable, the stores are full of food, and, little by little, people are getting jobs back.
Pensions have been paid on time. The schools are working and people for the first time have hope and a future.
When I was here before the war what was most awful for people was that they had no future -- nothing to look forward to. For us who have never experienced that situation, it is difficult to understand, but it is akin to being in prison without the possibility of parole.
They would look at me and say, "Sure we have food, a place to live, a job. But can you understand what it is to live with no tomorrow? It is like living in prison."
Now -- for the first time in 35 years -- they have a hope and a future. What most impressed me was to see Iraqis really hustling. They are thinking of starting companies and importing goods.
(Hat-tip to On the Third Hand)
'After being in my district for five days, I have concluded my constituents are opposed to redistricting, but they also believe the fight should be on the Senate floor,' Whitmire said before heading back to Texas.
Whitmire complained that Democrats lacked 'an exit plan.'
His return increased pressure for Democrats to end their 38-day standoff in Albuquerque.
It will take just one of the 11 boycotting Democrats to return to the Legislature to create a quorum necessary for the Senate to return to business.
"He has indicated he desires to go home. All of us want to go home. But for us, representing our people's future is more important," Shapleigh said.
In a radio interview, Whitmire said something to the effect of 'There is a point where staying in New Mexico becomes unproductive.' It is pretty obvious that the unproductivity started when their chartered airplane first crossed the state line.
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
'You can't win without a vision, and that means working with allies.'
Why? I would like to read Gen. Clark's explanation of why without allies, there is no vision.
In the Detroit Free Press, David Crumm describes giving a copy to two teenage girls for a week. Here are their responses:
'Then, I showed it to my friends, and they started whipping through the sections. Then, they asked me where they could pick it up, too. So, it's definitely cool.'
Ashley's friend Nancy agreed. For her first and second years in high school, Nancy attended Rochester Adams High, where she said once in a while people treated her like a geek because of her faith. This fall, Nancy is joining her friend Ashley at Oakland Christian School in Auburn Hills where Bibles are not only accepted -- they're required.
Nancy said she wishes she'd had Revolve last year at Adams. 'You wouldn't look completely ridiculous pulling this out at lunch. It's not like some big, black Holy Bible you're pulling out. It's a magazine. A lot of people read magazines.'
Hanson was charged only with a misdemeanor because of the late-night time of the incident, and the fact that the freezer was in a back area with no one inside, District Attorney David Roger said.
'The only victim in that case was a lobster, and Nevada statutes don't provide for attempted murder of a lobster,' Roger said.