If you've never read this May 2003 essay by Robert Baer (author of the book Sleeping with the Devil, from which it is derived), you really ought to do so now. It's a sober and sometimes appalling look at our relationship with Saudi Arabia ---and at what a dysfunctional disaster that country is.
It's a longish piece, but very rewarding to all sides of the debate about our involvement with corrupt Arab regimes.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 11:19 AM CDT
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Updated: Sunday, 7 August 2005 11:21 AM CDT
Saturday, 6 August 2005
A Traitor to Great Britain, Deserving of Being Stripped of His Citizenship and Deported
Courtesy of Tom Elia (via Jeff Goldstein) come these excerpts from George Galloway's recent appearance on Syrian TV. On 31 July 2005, Galloway said:
Mr. Blair is using this crime and all these dead people as a justification for this absurd idea of a war on terrorism. "Terror" is a word... Terror is a tactic, it's not a strategy. The idea that Muslims have some kind of sickness in their bodies, which must be cured, which is the idea behind Bush, behind Mr. Blair, and behind Mr. Berlusconi's government in Italy - It must be resisted. It's not the Muslims who are sick. It's Bush and Blair and Berlusconi who are sick. It's not the Muslims who need to be cured. It's the imperialist countries that need to be cured.
If terror is a tactic, then what is the strategy and why should someone who sits in a democratic, multicultural parliament stand up in defense of an ideology and culture that would never allow such representation to its own millions? That is the only question in understanding this wretched piece of rubbish ---as there is none of his treason.
Two of your beautiful daughters are in the hands of foreigners - Jerusalem and Baghdad. The foreigners are doing to your daughters as they will. The daughters are crying for help, and the Arab world is silent. And some of them are collaborating with the rape of these two beautiful Arab daughters. Why? Because they are too weak and too corrupt to do anything about it.
Galloway is an Islamofascist, right down to the Koranically anachronistic metaphors. What a worthless turd.
I Didn't Realize It Was That Blatant
Captain Ed directs my attention to something Howard Kurtz wrote in the Washington Post last summer about how Big Media lost interest in discussing Joe Wilson when it turned out he was a liar (emphases mine):
Former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV's allegations that President Bush misled the country about Saddam Hussein seeking uranium from Africa was a huge media story, fueled by an investigation into who outed his CIA-operative wife. According to a database search, NBC carried 40 stories, CBS 30 stories, ABC 18, The Washington Post 96, the New York Times 70, the Los Angeles Times 48.
But a Senate Intelligence Committee report that contradicts some of Wilson's account and supports Bush's State of the Union claim hasn't received nearly as much attention. "NBC Nightly News" and ABC's "World News Tonight" have each done a story. But CBS hasn't reported it -- despite a challenge by Republican Chairman Ed Gillespie on CBS's "Face the Nation," noting that the network featured Wilson on camera 15 times. A spokeswoman says CBS is looking into the matter.
Newspapers have done slightly better. The Post, which was the first to report the findings July 10, has run two stories, an editorial and an ombudsman's column; the New York Times two stories and an op-ed column; and the Los Angeles Times two stories. Wilson, meanwhile, has defended himself from what he calls "a Republican smear campaign" in op-ed pieces in The Post and Los Angeles Times.
If that isn't dereliction of journalistic duty, then what is? Actually, it's not so much dereliction as it is a deliberate blackout by Big Media intended to obscure their complicity in Wilson's lies.
I have no idea what Patrick Fitzgerald is about to hand down, but the story of this whole Plame business will not be complete without a full understanding of what a lying tool Joe Wilson is. Think that's an argument for mitigation? You're damned right it is.
Bullshit Now Playing: "If I Needed Someone" by the Beatles
I finally found a working link to Bob Novak's meltdown on CNN yesterday ---and all I can think of is that he had that one planned out. He also seemed inebriated.
I'd imagine that things are getting tough for the old guy, but it didn't look like James Carville was being any more of a sniveling sack of partisan shit than he usually is, so I don't know what set Novak off.
Anyway, CNN has sent Novak home, so you probably won't be seeing much of him for a while. Which is, I suspect, his chiefest desire.
Shapes of Things to Come Now Playing: "I've Got a Thing About Seeing My Grandson Grow Old" by Cat Stevens
NBC's Jim Miklaszewski reports:
The massive roadside bomb that killed 14 Marines Wednesday flipped their 37-ton vehicle on its top and blew it some 40 feet down the road.
Tonight, there’s disturbing information that some of the most sophisticated of these deadly weapons are reportedly coming from Iran.
U.S. military and intelligence officials tell NBC News that American soldiers intercepted a large shipment of high explosives, smuggled into northeastern Iraq from Iran only last week.
The officials say the shipment contained dozens of "shaped charges" manufactured recently. Shaped charges are especially lethal because they’re designed to concentrate and direct a more powerful blast into a small area.
I'm personally ---although only presently--- opposed to any military action against Iran, but we simply can't allow their military to work against us in Iraq.
I'm also very fearful for our men and women in Iraq. It must be a waking nightmare to be faced with the prospect of random murder, which is all these savages are capable of committing ---since, if they actually stood up to our best, they'd be slaughtered.
Thus, I think that the best way to get Iran's attention is to bomb the hell out of eastern Syria.
Adapters Now Playing: "Tom Violence" by Sonic Youth
I went and saw that new movie about penguins this past weekend and it was very interesting. Not so cutesy-poo as I had anticipated, either, but much more of a real National Geographic-caliber examination (because that's what it is, actually) of the life cycles of the emperor penguins of Anarctica. It was also visually fantastic.
Anyhow, it occurred to me at some point during the movie that what I was watching was a perfect explanation of the principles of evolution ---if only dumbasses will have it.
Why does the emperor penguin travel as far as 70 miles inland from the water's edge ---at the risk of starvation and utter peril at every stage in the process--- to mate, gestate, give birth, and care for its young? For that matter, why is a flightless bird ---who's vastly more adept at hunting for its food underwater--- hanging around in the coldest place on Earth? These are incredibly patient animals whose awkwardness of ambulation is so severe that you can almost imagine them thinking, "Yah, fuck this nonsense!" as they fall forward onto their bellies and body-surf across the ice.
All of which is to ask, why would an intelligent designer think of such a weird arrangement? Isn't it far more logical to believe that the reason why the emperor penguin exists as he does is because he made a niche for himself in a place where he either had to behave as he does or cease to exist? It is, as Dawkins would put it, a positive feedback loop between the animal and its environment: if you can get away with what you're doing in a place like this, the successive rewards will be that you're going to keep making babies that will grow up to keep doing the same thing ---and maybe even better, generation by generation. But if you can't maintain what you are in this environment, you will cease to exist because the brutal cold and the fragile birth process and the danger of terminal hunger would be too much to overcome.
Species exist because they adapt, which, in different locations and under certain circumstances of isolation and degrees of influence, accounts for all of the variation we see among the same basic ideas that animals represent. Another way of putting it is that every being is becoming. Perhaps not, in the way of evolution, as an individual, but in his serving his role in a longer process ---a process so unimaginably long that individuals cannot comprehend its span.
We are all self-made then. The only arbiter is Necessity, which ---as we all know--- is the mother of invention.
Smartassery Everlasting Now Playing: "Snarf not, lest ye be snarfed."
Help yourself to a big plate of James Lileks, who imagines for us what John Bolton's first day on the job at the UN was like:
There are, of course, protesters. They chant: "Hey hey! Ho ho! Bolton John has got to go! Hey hey! Ho ho!" But Bolton strides right through the crowd and enters the building, leaving the protesters stunned: It didn't work! The chant didn't work! Frantic calls are placed to ANSWER, CORE, ACORN, NARAL and the National Guild of Pronounceable Acronyms (NGPA); the leadership is informed that the magic chant has failed. Lucifer has entered the temple! Repeat, Lucifer is in the temple! Call George Soros and have him fund a new one STAT! No, that doesn't stand for anything.
Anagrammania! Now Playing: some scraps of paper on my desk with weird notes on them
Apparently, the most interesting anagrammatical arrangement of the letters of my name is Bozo Type, Ltd. That's according to some jerk somewhere whose name I can't remember.
Death, Taxes, and Losing an Election When Markos Zuniga Endorses You Now Playing: "King Midas in Reverse" by the Hollies
Charles Johnson reminds us that, with Paul Hackett's loss last night in the special election for Ohio's Second District, an endorsement from Markos Zuniga of The Daily Kos has proved to be the kiss of death. As the Environmental Republican notes:
By my count, this makes Kos zero for sixteen when backing candidates. If I was a Democrat running in an election, the first thing I would do is call Kos and ask him to never mention my name on his site.
Just a Feeling Mood:
Via Mrs. Lopez at NRO, here's some news from Editor & Publisher (emphasis mine):
The board of The American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) has voted unanimously to reverse an earlier decision to give its annual Conscience in Media award to jailed New York Times reporter Judith Miller, E&P has learned.
The group's First Amendment committee had narrowly voted to give Miller the prize for her dedication to protecting sources, but the full board has now voted to overturn that decision, based on its opinion that her entire career, and even her current actions in the Plame/CIA leak case, cast doubt on her credentials for this award.
The group's president, Jack El-Hai, posted an explanation on an internal list-serve yesterday, noting the opposition from the rank and file, and also mentioning two other reasons for the unanimous vote:
* “A feeling that Miller's career, taken as a whole, did not make her the best candidate for the award”
* “Divided opinions on the board over whether her recent actions merit the award.”
Hmmm. What do these people know that Tom Maguire doesn't?
The news this morning breaks my heart:
Fourteen Marines were killed in a roadside bomb blast in western Iraq on Wednesday in one of the single deadliest attacks against US forces since the beginning of the war.
The bomb exploded near a Marine amphibious assault vehicle as it was travelling south of Haditha, a town on the Euphrates river about 200km (120 miles) northwest of Baghdad. A civilian translator was also killed. One Marine was wounded.
It is the second major deadly attack against Marines in the area in the past three days. On Monday, six Marines were killed in clashes with insurgents in Haditha and a seventh was killed by a car bomb blast in Hit, southeast of the town.
The western Anbar province of Iraq is the heartland of the Sunni Arab-led insurgency and has been one of the deadliest regions for US forces since they invaded in March 2003. The towns of Falluja and Ramadi are also in Anbar.
I can only hope that our generals in Iraq are planning on making an example of these goddamned animals. I hope they fucking destroy Haditha. Cordon it off. Let the women and children walk out. And then unleash a thousand MOABS on that fucking rats' nest.
The Man Who Wrote This Was Murdered in Basra Today
American journalist Steven Vincent was found shot to death today in Basra. His latest article was in yesterday's National Review Online, in which he was talking to a big muckity-muck with Basra's Electrical Energy Transmission Directorate:
After an aside about how increasing numbers of his Directorate's employees belong to the religious parties that now dominate Basra ("they listen and watch everything then report back to the turbans") the good doctor cut to the quick: "Today, Iraq produces 3,000-4,000 megawatts, while its demand is 8,000. Make that 11,000-12,000 if you add in heavy industry."
The reasons for this shortfall, he went on, include a lack of up-to-date power plants (the last were built in 1991), deteriorating equipment (because existing plants have to go 24/7 to meet electricity demands, officials can't pull them offline for maintenance) and, of course, terrorists who target the energy infrastructure.
The south has its particular problems, he continued, among them the increased salinization of the Shatt-al-Arab due to Saddam's wars and disastrous environmental policies (salty water does a poorer job of cooling generators and attracts barnacles from the Gulf, which obstruct water conduits). Meanwhile, "religious parties place incompetent people in high positions. To get a job here, you used to need experience. Now it depends on your affiliation with the turbans."
There's also the matter of pillage. Some 900 high-voltage towers were destroyed during the last war: 50 by Coalition troops, 850 by looters. About a year ago, the Garamsha, a tribe particularly feared for their criminal activities, got in a firefight with the rival Halaf tribe, in the process destroying most of a sub-station on the north end of Basra. Six months ago, the Garamsha wrecked 10 high voltage towers, bringing down one 400 and two 132 kilovolt transmission lines.
"Today, we pay the Garamsha to 'guard' the powerlines," said Dr. B. "Actually, they don't do any work, they simply collect their money." The Iraqi government also buys "protection" from militias belonging to the religious parties, the doctor added.
"Back to the Future"
The Commissar has a little something about what direction NASA's going in to get back into space like they damned well oughta.
This country very much needs to be the one to lead humanity back to the Moon and on to Mars. It is our destiny to colonize other worlds. I daresay it's in our code.
A thousand years from now, no one will be talking about the things that happened here on Earth today. Except for the plans we were making to get back into space. That's where our future lies and we need to keep pushing for better ways to accomplish that mission.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 7:33 PM CDT
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Updated: Tuesday, 2 August 2005 9:37 PM CDT
Against the Anonymists
Roger L. Simon pretty much bitch-slaps the Washington Post for its article today on Iran's growing nuclear weapons potential:
Today's Washington Post article on a new intelligence report that Iran is ten years away from nuclear weapons is almost a burlesque of the mainstream media reliance on unnamed sources - there at least three, possibly as many as five (hard to tell) in the fifteen-hundred word story. But amongst the miasma of phrases like "Top policymakers are scrutinizing the review, several administration officials said..." (same people? different? who knows?) my absolute favorite for comedy value is:
"It's a full look at what we know, what we don't know and what assumptions we have," a U.S. source said.
A U. S. source!? They actually printed that with a straight face. (I assume they did anyway.) What, pray tell, is a "U. S. source"? I guess they mean someone in the government, but it could just as well be your Aunt Fanny in Nome, Alaska. And they say bloggers don't have editors!
Simon goes on to say:
I find journalism of this sort to be repellent and dangerously close to pure disinformation. When I see a quote atttributed to something like a "U. S. source," I would trust my Aunt Fanny in Nome, Alaska over the speaker or the writer of the article - even though I don't have an Aunt Fanny in Nome or anywhere else. It's time for the Washington Post and the rest of the Mainstream Media establishment to put an end to this nonsense.
Michelle Malkin directs us to thisNew York Sun article by David Lombino on the current woes of the nauseating Leftist noise machine Air America:
The top executive at a Bronx youth organization said yesterday that the former director of Air America Radio received more than $800,000 in loans for himself and the radio network from the nonprofit organization while serving as its development director.
Some of the transfers, according to the president of the Bronx-based Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club organization's executive committee, Jeannette Graves, occurred when the development director, Evan Montvel Cohen, who for a time served simultaneously as the liberal radio network's director, appealed to the organization for two loans worth $35,000. Another member of the executive committee said Mr. Cohen told the executive director of the organization that he needed the money to pay for chemotherapy for himself and other medical expenses for his ill father.
Ms. Graves said that Mr. Cohen also received another $213,000 loan for Air America in a check that was approved without her authorization and stamped with an imprint of her signature, and that the club wired more than $400,000 to him without her knowledge.
Mr. Cohen, who no longer is employed by either Air America or Gloria Wise, and who has not been charged with a crime, could not be reached for comment.
I don't like Al Franken or that wretched harridan Randi Rhodes, so if this sort of thing reflects poorly on their little operation, then I am glad to see it.
This past weekend, Steve Soto at the The Left Coaster, with his typically reflexive anti-military gloating, remarked of our impending eviction from our air base in Uzbekistan:
You can kiss off one critical part of Rummy and Cheney's forward bases strategy. Gee, I thought these despots were all W's buddies.
Don't you love the line from Rummy that "we always plan ahead?"
Tell that to the 138,000 troops in Iraq and nearly 2000 dead because Rummy couldn't plan his way beyond his lunch.
I asked Soto whether he was more a fan of Islam Karimov than he was a foe of our President, but received no answer.
And this is why there won't be an answer. Listen to what TigerHawk (via Austin Bay) has to say about our alleged lack of planning and arrogance and whatever else the Left imagines is to blame for our conduct of the war (emphasis mine):
The United States has a strategically significant base in Uzbekistan, which borders on Afghanistan. In May, Uzbekistan's hideous government opened fire on demonstrators and killed hundreds of innocent people, raising the ire of the civilized countries of the world. The United States, among others, threw a fit. Uzbekistan has now expelled the United States, ordering it out of the base within six months. Russia and China, neither offended by the thugs running Uzbekistan but both sorely annoyed by the U.S. presence in central Asia, are happy today.
The next time somebody tells you that the United States operates without principle, remind them that the Bush Administration walked away from an important base in central Asia because it stood up for political liberty in one of the most isolated places on the planet.