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Friday October 10, 2003

Although a little late to the table, Team Bush has finally begun to counter the media onslaught which has been dedicated to portraying the Iraq situation in a negative light:

Miss Rice said a report to Congress last week by David Kay of the Iraq Survey Group showed several instances of Saddam lying about his weapons programs to a team of U.N. inspectors led by Hans Blix. The team's failure to ferret out specific, definitive evidence of weapons caused the United Nations to balk at the prospect of war last year, she said. "Had any one of these examples been discovered last winter, the Security Council would have had to meet," Miss Rice said. "And I believe that they would have had no choice but to take exactly the course that President Bush followed."

To those who say, "well, no weapons of mass destruction were found. This doesn't justify the war.", I have a question: If this information (The Kay Report) were brought to the UN before the war, would the Security Council have agreed to war? I'm not as confident in the reasonableness of such allies as France and Germany as is Miss Rice, but it's a possibility. If the UN didn't vote for war with this new information, it would have shown once and for all (as if we need further proof) the utter fecklessness of the UN. The new information clearly shows that the Iraq regime was involved in UN prohibited activities as proscribed in Resolution 1441. Remember that Res. 1441 also referred to "serious consequences" if Iraq did not come clean. If you believe that the UN Security Council would have approved a resolution of war, then this is tantamount to a justification to war.

Krauthammer puts it this way:

Moreover, for those who care about the United Nations (I do not, but many administration critics have a weakness for legal niceties), Resolution 1441, unanimously passed by the Security Council, ordered Hussein to make a full accounting of his WMD program and to cooperate with inspectors, and warned that there would be no more tolerance for concealment or obstruction. Kay's finding of "dozens of WMD-related program activities" concealed from U.N. inspectors constitutes an irrefutable material breach of 1441 -- and an open-and-shut justification for the U.S. decision to disarm Saddam Hussein by force.

"The Hammer" likens our search for WMD in Iraq to finding a needle in a haystack

...As yet, mind you. "We are not yet at the point where we can say definitively either that such weapons stocks do not exist or that they existed before the war and our only task is to find where they have gone," Kay testified last week.

This is fact, not fudging. How do we know? Because Hussein's practice was to store his chemical weapons unmarked amid his conventional munitions, and we have just begun to understand the staggering scale of Hussein's stocks of conventional munitions. Hussein left behind 130 known ammunition caches, many of which are more than twice the size of Manhattan. Imagine looking through "600,000 tons of artillery shells, rockets, aviation bombs and other ordnance" -- rows and rows stretched over an area the size of even one Manhattan -- looking for barrels of unmarked chemical weapons.

And there are 130 of these depots. Kay's team has so far inspected only 10. The question of whether Hussein actually retained finished product is still open.

One last tidbit from the Iraq front. Both Instapundit and Andrew Sullivan believe that the NYT is making progress on it's reporting on Iraq. Check out this graf:

In his news conference, Mr. Bremer listed what he called America's achievements (although many of his comparisons were from immediately after the war, when services were far worse than before it began): 40,000 police officers on the streets; 13,000 new reconstruction projects; more electricity generated now than before the war; 1,500 schools renovated; 22 million vaccinations; 4,900 Internet connections not to mention freedom of speech, virtually nonexistent under Mr. Hussein, and an end to torture, which was commonplace.

At first glance you think: hey, they're actually mentioning some of the accomplishments in Iraq. But look at the snide parenthetical remark: although many of his comparisons were from immediately after the war, when services were far worse than before it began. So the meaning becomes something like, "well, this is what Bremer calls accomplishments, but they're a bit overstated because the comparison is not entirely relevant". (One could even go so far as to say that Ian Fisher really means, "well, before the war things were much better, but then we went in and bashed everything up". I, however, wouldn't go that far.) So OK, Fisher wants to downplay these accomplishments by saying they're unfair comparisons to immediately after the war. But then, he immediately goes on to highlight exactly what these achievements are:

Most of these highlights are represented as raw numbers, not as some comparison to a previous time. The three improvements which refer to a previous time (electricity generated, freedom of speech, an end of torture) clearly refer to a specific previous time: before the war/under Mr. (ha, mister) Hussein.

Now read the snide parenthetical statement again: although many of his comparisons were from immediately after the war, when services were far worse than before it began. None of these accomplishments refer to comparisons from immediately after the war. I certainly believe that if Mr. Bremer had cited any comparison to immediately after war, Ian Fisher would have, you know, actually put them in his article.

Ok, I've beat that paragraph to death. I won't comment on this next one, but merely add it as comic relief:

Mr. Bremer suggested that America could handle the job in Iraq. But the Bush administration will find it hard to claim victory as long Iraq remains so unsafe that not even the United Nations can work at anything like full capacity.

With regards to NYT reportage, I remind myself that improvement is a relative term.

Tom Bevan at RealClearPolitics thinks we may have reached the tipping point in Iraq coverage.

John Lott discovers Rush is white right:

Accounting for these other factors shows a much stronger pattern. Black quarterbacks' news coverage is 27 percentage points more positive than whites. And, that difference was quite statistically significant the chance of this result simply being random is the same odds as flipping a coin five times and getting heads each time.

The media's interest in the number of black quarterbacks can also be seen in other more explicit ways. Last season, out of 217 news stories discussing the race of professional quarterbacks, 194 mentioned whether an individual quarterback was black, only 23 if they were white. By contrast, for running backs and receivers where the ratio of blacks to whites is even more lopsided with blacks dominating discussions of a player's race are virtually nonexistent. Only six stories mentioned that running backs were black and 10 that they were receivers, and the numbers discussing that they were white were four and seven, respectively.

Yet, if indeed skin color results in significantly more positive coverage, doesn't that imply that the media, not Mr. Limbaugh, is racist? Presumably the media feels that coverage is justified, though it could mean that the press had too low expectations of blacks.

Now, this dude is a hawk:

First, the Israeli government declares that due to the unrelenting attacks, it is now in an official state of war. According to the customs and conventions of war, Israel has had this right for a long time.

Second, in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 2444 (which affirms resolution XXVIII of the 20th International Conference of the Red Cross held at Vienna in 1965), the Arab populations in the disputed areas will be protected as much as possible.

To accomplish this, they will be moved out of harm's way (i.e., the lands where the enemy combatants emanate from) to a safe country, since the majority of Arab combatants use the physical structures and territories occupied by said population in which to hide. Wherever possible, civilians will be sent or repatriated to the country of their origin or heritage.

Third, the Israeli army will do whatever is necessary to make sure that this war is definitively won, no matter how long this takes. The enemy will be definitively eradicated and any present or future war-making capabilities thoroughly eradicated.

Fourth, once the war is finished, any living combatants or collaborators can be tried for war crimes. These crimes, as first outlined in Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague, IV), October 18, 1907, ARTICLE XXIII, and ratified in subsequent international treaties, states (in part) the following, which has come to be known as 'crimes against humanity'

Hal Lindsey knows the truth. Also, I thought he was great on Barney Miller. Excerpt,

This week, following a deadly suicide-bombing attack, Israel decided to focus its retaliatory strike at the source of the terror. Israeli Defense Forces bombed what they claim was a terrorist training camp near Damascus.

...The central points to remember are these: 1) the camp belonged the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, as they admitted; 2) no other targets, either military or civilian were targeted or struck; and, 3) nobody was killed.

...The IDF attack did not target civilians, did no collateral damage, and was surgically precise. The Syrians promptly demanded (and just as promptly got) an emergency meeting with the United Nations Security Council where the Syrians demanded a resolution condemning Israel.

...No investigation not one of the diplomats calling for Israeli blood had been to the scene to determine if it were a terrorist camp or not, just the word of Bashar al Assad. But why would anybody want proof when their mind is made up in advance? The U.N. diplomats didn't need proof to pass the resolution, they only needed an excuse. An empty camp out in the middle of a desert isn't much of an excuse, but it was enough for them.

It's nature's way of telling you something's wrong:

France's wine harvest this year is the smallest in a decade after violent storms and a summer heatwave battered vines, industry figures show.

Moreover, the exceptional 2003 vintage that some hoped would compensate for the lack of quantity may not materialise, the national Onivins agency said after consultations with producers.

This is probably not true, but we can still hope can't we?

According to an anonymous Palestinian official purportedly quoted on the website of the Hamas-affiliated Palestine Information Center, the possibility exists that Arafat has been poisoned by Israel.

"We have information which we are trying to verify according to which President Arafat may have been injected with a lethal dose that slowly and gradually leads to a natural death within a month," the official was quoted as saying.

Wednesday October 8, 2003

Somewhere short of "Gonzo Journalism" (the journalist as a part of the story), but definitely more than the Heisenberg uncertainty principle (the very act of observing an event actually changes the event):

ONE of the whopping lies of our time is that journalists are simply innocent bystanders with no responsibility for the outcome of events. In fact, our own media may turn out to be the crucial variable in Iraq. They've already made a success of post-modern terrorism as surely as Colonel Tom Parker made Elvis a star.

The truth is that today's media shape reality - often for the worse. The media form a powerful strategic factor. They're actors, not merely observers.

Monday October 6, 2003

Brett Stephens gets it write (sic) in the Jerusalem Post:

I don't really know if our media jihadis are honest fools or dissembling geniuses. In my experience, people who speak of themselves as "serious, intelligent and morally sensitive" tend to be frivolous, glib and morally callous. Above all, they are self-deceiving. They love to talk about how much they care for the indigent and oppressed, and they believe what they say. But when George W. Bush goes ahead and does something for the indigent and oppressed, that's a lie and an outrage and a sweetheart deal for the Halliburton and Bechtel Corporations.

And they really believe that, too.

One day, perhaps, we'll get a satisfactory explanation as to why a president whose chief sins seem to be that he was born to an influential family, isn't articulate, and piously believes in Christ should be treated as the Great Satan. In the meantime, we must bend every effort to prevent our media jihadis from doing to Western public perception what the Middle East's jihadis are trying to do to Iraqi infrastructure: Destroying the foundations upon which a more hopeful future may arise.

Go read it all.