Sunday, April 27, 2003

James Fenimore Cooper

Equality, in a social sense, may be divided into that of condition, and that of rights. Equality of condition is incompatible with civilization, and is found only to exist in those communities that are but slightly removed from the savage state. In practice, it can only mean a common misery.
James Cooper was the author of The Last of the Mohicans.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Nobody wants to be next?

From the Strategy Page
April 10, 2003: The fall of Baghdad has shocked Palestinians. Following on the quick collapse of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, there is less enthusiasm for radicals and terrorism. It's dawning on the Palestinians that they are the only former colonial population that has not established their independence since the end of World War II and maybe they are going about this the wrong way.
Funny how that works. You can almost see the wheels starting to turn.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Brave New World

Now that one of the most malicious Arab governments has been de-fanged and extinguished, the US relationship with Israel will change. The US has a vested interest in the well-being of the nascent Iraqi state. Israel had been the US's primary ally throughout the cold-war. With the fall and the future rise of Iraq, Israeli concerns and requests will gradually get less interested ears in Washington. If US policy in the Middle East is successful the Israeli's reduced influence will be a small price to pay. Even right now the elimination of Saddam has stopped a major funds source to the grandfather terrorist Arafat. Some time in the not too distant future Israel may find itself facing pressure from the US to compromises with Palestinians, even as the US continues its "carrot and stick" diplomacy through out the Middle East.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Who's Naughty and Nice

Saddam's statue has been torn down in the center of Baghdad. If you did not see it live on TV, you will see it replayed over and over in the next few days. The fighting has not stopped but you can imagine that many of the tormenters are going to be targeted for revenge by their victims. Some gruesome acts of vengeance won't surprise me. Eye for an eye, et al.

UPDATE: The Iraqi Info minister just issued a statement with regards to the statue being taken down in Baghdad... It is not important, an insignificant statue, the real statue is safe and unharmed. (I didn't come up with this gem, my colleague next to me did).

Tuesday, April 08, 2003


Have not been posting. Nothing really to say. Until today. I caught the DOD press conference today where the journalists flipped-out (is the best way to say it) about the US tank shooting at the hotel in Baghdad where the journos were staying. These guys and gals really took this personally, the anger was pretty obvious. I don't remember such emotion over the execution of POWs by Iraq. To somebody from outside the profession seeing this display of righteous indignation was amusing. How dare the military which is conducting a war use its military hardware in the vicinity of the press corp. Doesn't the military know that the journalists are NOT, under any circumstances, to be near any explosions. Never mind that the city is filled with flying bullets, how dare they.

Just amazing.

Friday, April 04, 2003

Idea for the day

For journalists to be useful during this conflict I suggest that the next time they are in the same room with the Iraqi "Information Minister" they rush him, put him in a headlock and administer noogies.


How well did you sleep last night? (You need power point.)

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Stay Away

After seeing footage of bombs dropping in CENTCOM briefings, shown live on television, I've been wondering what a JDAM explosion is really like. Its not like you can witness TNT explosions in your day-to-day life, much less hundreds of pounds of TNT. Well, this description at least gives some food for thought.
When this bomb detonates in a blinding millisecond flash it gives an awesome high-speed lesson in chemistry and physics. All that Tritonal is instantly transformed into a very hot gas expanding with such force that it pushes the heavy steel bomb casing out in all directions like a balloon until it shatters into thousands of white hot fragments.

Any human being within the immediate radius of the detonation (about 200 feet in the open) has no choice but to die, instantly roasted, blown to bits (shockwave and overpressure) hurled at high speed against some object, or pierced through countless times by shrapnel.

The air where the explosion takes place is compressed and driven outward at supersonic speed, creating a pressure wave that results in, as one medical treatise chastely puts it, "patterns ranging from traumatic amputation to total body disruption." If you are not blown apart or don't suffer massive trauma from being slammed into a wall or other object, chances are your internal organs will be crushed by overpressure that may reach thousands of pounds per square inch (normal pressure on a human being at sea level is 14.5 psi). The inner ear, lungs and intestines are usually the first to go.

You get the picture. Bombs are ugly things. And although we have the amply proven ability to drop JDAMs in the windows or doors of "embedded" military targets, it's still not a good thing to be in the adjoining building or the mosque across the street when they go off. Blast wave and shrapnel effects can reach as far as 4000 feet beyond the hit.
Pretty scary.

Monday, March 31, 2003

Random Thoughts

This morning, commuting to work, I was staring out the window of my bus, looking at the Hudson River and for some reason Abraham Lincoln's quote about fooling people floated to the top of my head
You can fool all of the people some of the time,
and some of the people all of the time,
but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.
Now Lincoln was no angel. He certainly did his share of damage to this republic and the Constitution. But you have to admit that is a pretty clever thing to say.

About Time

Finally, some of the message seems to be sinking in.
"America, a power deeply injured, and has become very dangerous, and it thinks to take over the whole Arab world," Belgian RTL TV quoted [Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt] saying.
Not the taking over the Arab world part, but the "very dangerous" part.
He said the US regards the Arab world responsible for all terrorism. "This is a logic which I do not share," he said. An estimated 30,000 Muslims mainly from North African countries live in the port city of Antwerp.
Its amazing how thick some people are, the lengths you have to go to convince them that this is not a game is amazing. You have to wonder what is going on inside their little heads. It just goes to show you that actions speak louder than words.
Via Drudge.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Poor Arnett

Just got wind that lots of folks pissed off about Peter Arnett's comments on Iraqi television. While I don't hold out much respect for journalists in their ability to practice journalism, this incident is very suspicious. I would like to point out that the Iraqi regime is cornered like it has never been before. There are many people, besides Saddam, fighting for their lives, and Peter Arnett or "world opinion" is the least of their worries. If Peter Arnett survives this and emerges saying he was coerced it will not matter much in the press. He may emerge a week from now when the effects of his statements, intended or not, have passed. If you are wondering how they will play out notice how much play an explosion in a marketplace has gotten compared to the summary execution of POWs. He may just disappear, poor guy. If this is what Arnett calls journalism his career is over.

Personally, I think the guy is in over his head. He pushed the envelope, went to Baghdad, and now... God help him.

UPDATE: Apparently, Pete did not have a gun to his head. He was seen apologizing for his comments. Quite the journalist, that Arnett.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Sound Advice

Who wants to take over the world?!? Then you have to *run* it, which is stressful, tedious and absolutely no fun.

Life is God's way of preserving meat.

Just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

Revenge is a dish best served with a side of obsession and a nice tall glass of spite.

Television: Not really work, but still considered a job.

Living on Earth may be expensive, but it includes an annual free trip around the Sun.

What part of "gestalt" don't you understand?

He who laughs last thinks slowest!