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Tuesday January 26, 2004

I finally did it. After months of avoiding it, I finally had to bite the bullet. I registered at LA They don't make it particularly easy. All I had to do was submit my username/password/name/address/no-I-don't-want-your-spam/phone number/age in nanoseconds/IQ/etc. No, that username is taken--try it again and add a six digit random number on the end. OK. Fine.

Now I'm privy to all the fine offerings of the Left Coast's major newspaper. Of course I was not disappointed. Here's the latest from Robert "Screech" Scheer (registration required) who believes that President Bush should be impeached:

After all, the president misled Congress into approving his preemptive war on the grounds that our very survival as a nation was threatened by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. We were told that if we hesitated, allowing the U.N. inspectors who were in Iraq to keep working, a mushroom cloud over New York, to use Condoleezza Rice's imagery, might well be our dark reward.

Now that Kay who, it should be remembered, once defended the war and dismissed the work of the U.N. inspectors has had $900 million and at least 1,200 weapons inspectors to discover what many in the CIA and elsewhere had been telling us all along, are there to be no real repercussions for such devastating official deceit?

Perhaps there was flawed intelligence, but does that equal deceipt. After all, the UN, the Clinton administration, the intelligence services of most other nations all believed that Iraq had and was developing WMD's. David Kay, who also believed before the war that Iraq had WMD's, had this to say in an interview with Tom Brokaw when asked if critics could correctly claim that Bush lied to the American people:

Well, Tom, if we do that, I think we're really hurting ourselves. Clearly, the intelligence that we went to war on was inaccurate, wrong. We need to understand why that was. I think if anyone was abused by the intelligence it was the president of the United States rather than the other way around.

When Brokaw brought up the bogus "imminent threat" theme, Kay said:

Tom, an imminent threat is a political judgment. It's not a technical judgment. I think Baghdad was actually becoming more dangerous in the last two years than even we realized. Saddam was not controlling the society any longer. In the marketplace of terrorism and of WMD, Iraq well could have been that supplier if the war had not intervened.

But no way will these quotes make the headlines. On the other side of the country (the right side, by the way) the New York Post gets it right:

Still, even if Iraq's WMD program was much smaller and less threatening than thought, that hardly undermines the justification for war. The facts?

* Iraq was in violation of multiple U.N. resolutions concerning weapons programs: It failed, for instance, to declare WMD programs and to account for WMD stocks; it also maintained missiles with ranges in excess of U.N. limits.

* President Bush never said there was imminent danger of an Iraqi WMD strike, only that America must act before then.

* Saddam was a clear threat to America's interests even without WMDs: He gave sanctuary to terrorists like Abu Nidal and started two disastrous wars against his neighbors.

* Saddam wasn't just an ordinary Arab dictator, but a genocidal mass-murderer.

* He'd already used poison gas to murder Kurds and during the Iran-Iraq war.


Is America an Empire? That's the brooding question in a new BBC series: America: An empire to rival Rome? Of course, many on the left look to our war on terrorism and the latest battles in Afghanistan and Iraq as evidence. Many of the intelligensia look to our military, cultural, and economic dominance as evidence. Here's Brittish historian Niall Ferguson:

"The United States," he said, "is an empire in every sense but one, and that one sense is that it doesn't recognise itself as such."

The key to being an empire, however, is wielding power, domination, subjugation--something Americans clearly are not interested in. Afghanistan is in the process of writing their own constitution. We are scheduling free and fair elections in Iraq (for the first time in decades) so that we can turn the keys to govenment over to the Iraqis. We have no intention of actually governing them--a principal requirement of an empire. This next bit comes courtesy of Instapundit:

The last thing America is, is an empire. My counter example is; we very badly needed and expected to have Turkish support in the war on Iraq. The Turks didn't give it and that put a spanner in some of our planning. Now, imagine if this were the Romans. Imagine if the emperor Trajan were planning an operation in Mesopotamia and the Cappadocians told him he couldn't use their territory. He would have lined the highways with crucified Cappadocians. That's what empires do, they do not say, "Oh, we'll respect what your parliament says and come from another direction".

Now this is funny:

The French space program took a significant step backward today as the European Space Agency announced that a much-heralded French Mars probe surrendered just moments after landing on the red planet.

The probe, which had been expected to travel extensively across the surface of Mars to collect and analyze rock samples, stunned the French nation by surrendering only eight seconds into its mission.

As millions of astonished Frenchmen watched on national TV, the probe extended a robotic arm -- designed to scoop up rocks from the surface of Mars and raised a white flag aloft, waving it back and forth.