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:: Saturday, August 31, 2002 ::

New Link Bar Section
In reviewing the referals reports for my site, I've noticed that some Google searches are indexing posts that are no longer on my homepage as if they were still on the homepage. I know visitors can click the "cached" link and pick up the version Google used, but that means making them go back (No! Please don't go!!!), or making them wade through all my archive pages (a worthy endeavor, but few people want to do that just to find one article). In response to the problem, I've added a new section to my links bar, called Google Searches. It will contain links to posts that I know Google has wrong. When I see a referral from Google (or Yahoo) that doesn't work, I'll add it to the Google Searches section. So if you came to the main page via Google, and you don't see what you're looking for, check the Google Searches links.

PS: You might want to check them out anyway, just to see what other people are reading.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 10:35:00 PM Link

Israel 'smashes' Hamas cell
BBC News has this article.
The Israeli security forces say they have uncovered a Hamas cell operating out of East Jerusalem that they blame for a string of deadly attacks on Israeli targets this year.


Israeli officials consider the arrests to be an important advance - the biggest Hamas cell that they have broken in East Jerusalem so far, says the BBC's James Reynolds in Jerusalem

Israel is now warning of possible implications for the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem, our correspondent adds.

The cell was operating out of East Jerusalem. Untill now, Arabs living in East Jerusalem have had identity cards that allowed them to travel freely throughout Israel. Israeli officials are considering new travel restrictions on East Jerusalem's Arabs. It's a shame that a few murderous bastards can screw things up for a city full of people, but the Israelis don't have much choice.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 9:31:00 PM Link
World must face Iraq, says Blair
The Telegraph has this article (via Ciceronian)
The world cannot stand by while Iraq is in "flagrant breach" of United Nations resolutions, Prime Minister Tony Blair said today.

But he insisted, in his first public comments on the issue since returning from his summer break, that no decisions on how to tackle Saddam Hussein's regime had been taken.

I'm not quite as optimistic as Sarah is in her post, but Blair's statement is better than a poke in the eye.

What worries me is that Saddam will try to play some sort of bullshit game of letting inspectors in, but not giving them the access promised. The gutless Eurotrash will sieze upon it as "peace in our time", and we'll be alone again, naturally.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 4:15:00 PM Link

Meet the Incredible Thulk
Meryl Yourish has this hilarious article. It's arguably a little off of Cato's usual beat, but it makes fun of the Euros, so it can't be all bad. Read the whole thing. The rest of it's funny, too.
The players: Mac Thomason, The Thulk (not a typo), and Meryl. The scene: Meryl's (rebuilt) living room. The situation: Deflecting the Copyright Police.

Mac: Run this by me again... this is the Incredible Thulk?

Thulk: That right. Me Thulk. Not Hulk. Thulk smash! See? [THOOM!] [picture falls off wall]

Meryl: Thulk, please be careful. I only just replaced the chair you broke last time.

Mac: Uh... okay... but—how are you going to explain the fact that the Thulk looks and sounds exactly like the Hulk?

Thulk: Thulk smash puny human if man not stop making Thulk explain. Thulk's head starting to hurt.


Captain Euro: Open up, citizen. We must discuss possible violations of the International Copyright Act and adjucating the case to the International Criminal Court. Justice demands action! The eyes of the world are upon you!

Meryl: Gee, that wasn't too scripted. I suppose we can't call him Captain Urine and hope he just goes away, can we?

Hulk: Hulk take care of this.

Mac: Not the Thulk?

Hulk: Not Thulk! Hulk! Hulk smash Euro. [leaps through door, knocking down Captain Euro, who is waiting patiently outside the door. Hulk picks up Euro, throws him. Euro smashes through the top of the dumpster, lands in the garbage.

Meryl: Oh, man... that's the second door this summer. The management company is gonna kill me. Hulk, they just replaced that dumpster. Be careful you don't hurt it, willya?

Captain Euro: [weakly] I tell you, this means sanctions! I will convene the might of the European Union and bring charges against you...

Hulk: [SMASH!]

Isn't that a great ending? Captain Euro ends up in the trash (I guess that makes him Eurotrash), and the Thulk reclaims his true identity. Children, there's a lesson for Americans, here. Be who you are, and don't let the whining, sniveling, Eurotrash stop you.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 12:52:00 PM Link
A congressional delegation goes to Saudi Arabia
National Review Online has this article.
Rep. Dan Burton (R., Ind.) arrived in Riyadh Thursday night, armed with a list of 14 names. He's head of a bipartisan delegation attempting to do something the State Department has neglected to for nearly two decades: Rescue kidnapped American children (some are now adults) trapped Saudi Arabia.

Right as the U.S. relationship with the oil-rich nation has been receiving a fresh round of scrutiny, the Saudi royal family has an opportunity to reverse course and actually allow American citizens held hostage in the Kingdom the chance to taste freedom.


Ironically, the New York Times reported this week that the Saudis are spending truckloads of cash on lobbyists and glitzy public-relations efforts — but Americans aren't being duped. Since May, negative public perceptions of Saudi Arabia have risen from 50 percent to 63 percent of the general population. In other words, Saudi Arabia has burned through $5 million of cash with absolutely no progress to show for it. But Burton's trip presents the House of Saud with a golden opportunity to save face and look a little less despotic — never mind the chance to do the right thing.

Keep your God-damned race horses! Let our people go!
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 2:18:00 AM Link
The Wisdom of Inaction, or Being Wrong Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry.
Victor Davis Hanson has this article on National Review Online. Hanson lists the dumb-ass arguments against the Gulf War, Going to Baghdad in 1992, Stopping Milosevic, and Afghanistan.
Iraq — Autumn 2002 Postscript Unfortunately we are not playing some parlor game of "gotcha" where it comes to the recriminations flying about over the need for action versus the wisdom of restraint. In 1990, 1999, and 2001, the fate of thousands of innocent lives hinged on whether the United States would or could risk military force for a just cause — in other words, whether it would choose the lesser of two evils for the greater good. People are alive today who would be long dead had we listened to the counsels of doom; and the world is a safer, not a more volatile, place for our past resolve. In the winter of 1991 we chose to be either magnanimous or realistic, and so let Saddam be. Thousands of civilians subsequently died for that decision, and now, a decade later, we are dealing with a wounded monster rather than a defeated despot. We should remember all that in the present frenzy.
This is the bottom line - the world will be a safer place without Saddam Hussein than with him. It's time for him to go.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 1:56:00 AM Link
Lindh seeks forgiveness, met other Western Taliban, lawyers say
Boston.com has this article.
WASHINGTON (AP) John Walker Lindh wants Americans to forgive him for joining the Taliban military, where he met other Westerners and is now telling federal agents what he knows, his lawyers say.
When pigs fly, and Hell freezes over.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 1:44:00 AM Link
:: Friday, August 30, 2002 ::
U.S., Italy move to block assets of suspected al-Qaeda supporters
USATODAY has this article.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and Italy moved jointly on Thursday to block the financial assets of 25 individuals and organizations believed to be linked to the al-Qaeda terror network.

The Treasury Department's announcement marked the United States' latest move to financially paralyze entities suspected to financing terrorists activities, a key component in President Bush's war on terror.


Of the 25 entities added to the U.S. blacklist, 11 are individuals and 14 are organizations. Any financial assets belonging to the entities in the United States would be frozen by the U.S. order, while accounts in Italy would be blocked by that government's action.

Treasury said it would submit the 25 names to the United Nations, which has its own list of entities believed to support terrorism.

All 11 individuals affected by Thursday's action are related to the Salafist Group for Call and Combat, an Algerian-based terrorist organization that operates in North Africa, Spain and Italy, Treasury said. The group, suspected of having links to al-Qaeda, is already on the U.S.' and United Nations' blocking list.


Treasury said the 14 organizations named Thursday are part of an extensive financial network providing support to al-Qaeda and other terrorist-related organizations. The 14 entities are owned or controlled by either Ahmed Idris Nasreddin or Youssef Nada, both of whom are already on the U.S. and U.N. blocking lists of terrorist financiers, Treasury said


Treasury officials said it would take around 10 days before they know whether any of the 25 entities named Thursday have assets in the United States.

The timing of this action is undoubtedly related to the recent UN report documenting European failures in the War on Terrorist Financing. I'm OK with that. If bashing our allies' failures causes them to correct their failures, then I'm happy the problem got solved.

If it's going to take 10 days to find out what, if anything, they have in the US, the cash will probably be gone by the time they get their answers. Unless, of course, the feds already know what they're going to freeze, and are just trying to panic the terrorists into trying to save their cash. That would be cool, using the terrorists' own money as bait.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 6:10:00 PM Link

Destitution Seen for Palestinians
The NY Times has this article
JERUSALEM, Aug. 29 — The senior United Nations official in the region today painted a devastating picture of the Palestinian economy under Israeli siege in which a large majority was "scrambling to survive" on less than $2 a day and despair was fueling ever greater extremism.

"The draconian security measures in Gaza and the West Bank are producing a real humanitarian crisis, which fuels anger and supports terrorism," Terje Roed-Larsen, the United Nations special coordinator here, said at a news conference.

Terje, old buddy, did it occur to you that if the Paleo-stinians would stop murdering Israelis, the Israelis would probably ease the security restrictions? The Paleo-stinians hold the keys to their own prison. All they have to do is stop killing Israelis, and the Israelis would be happy to have them come back to work in Israel. The Paleo-stinians would get better jobs, the Israelis would get relatively cheap labor, and everyone could be happy. Do you think the Paleo-stinians look for jobs in Israel because they love the prospect of working for Jews who invaded their land? Do you think the Israelis gave them jobs out of charitable impulses? No, they do it because of mutual economic advantage. The Israeli employer gets cheaper labor. The Paleo-stinian worker gets a better job than he could find at home. Unfortunately for the Paleo-stinians, Hamas and Company have made Paleo-stinian labor too expensive.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 4:28:00 PM Link
Cold War vs. War on Terror
VodkaPundit has this article on the difference between the Cold War and our struggle against Islamonazism.
Russia’s leaders were hypocrites -- and we won in large part because we made them recognize it.

We have little such leverage with Araby. Leaders there do not speak of the Rights of Man, but of Submission to God’s Will. They do not offer liberation, but shari’a. They do not claim to bring modernity, but to return to the glories of the past.

The Cold War was a civil war for the soul of Western Civilization. It was, except for a few, awful sideshows in Asia and Africa, and internal struggle over the future of our common home. This New War might not measure up as a full scale Clash of Civilizations, but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that the leaders of the Arab world will blush when we show them up as hypocrites.

Because they aren’t hypocrites. They have what they have and they are what they are because these are the things they want and want to be.

Stephen is right about this conflict. The Islamonazis aren't hypocrites. They are barbarians. History teaches that a civilization has three basic choices when faced with aggressive barbarians. It can kill them. It can take up the "White Man's Burden" and civilize them. Britain made this work pretty well in India, but India was already a civilized country. All the British had to do was create better government and schools. India wasn't killing Britons in Britan, either. The third choice is to surrender. Surrender is not acceptable, so the only remaining question is how many Arabs we must kill before the survivors say "I will fight no more forever".
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 10:33:00 AM Link
Take That, Liberal, Multiculturalist Scum!
Steven Den Beste skewers the multiculturalists in this gem of an article.
I think perhaps the drunk-under-the-street-light argument is part of the explanation for this hypocrisy on the part of leftist activists, but I think an even greater reason is that much of their multicultural rhetoric is really a disguise for hatred of Western culture, especially American culture. They say "all cultures are coequal" but what they mean is "American culture is worse than any other". The reason they ignore the sheer barbarism of treatment of women in Islam is that to acknowledge it would require them to admit that this is a place where Western culture has actually mostly gotten it right, albeit only recently and pushed in that direction kicking and screaming. If one is a female human, one's life and prospects are far better in Europe or Canada or the US than anywhere else.

They can't admit that we're actually praiseworthy in any regard. And so they turn their eyes, and ignore the plight of hundreds of millions of women in the Islamic world, all in the name of improving the lot of humanity on earth by fighting the real enemy: American culture.

:: Riyadh Delenda Est 9:13:00 AM Link
September 11: What Our Children Need to Know
The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation has compiled a set of lesson plans/essays on the 9/11 attacks. Produced in response to the multiculturalist, blame America first lesson plans being provided by the NEA, ths series contains 23 essays by well known personalities such as William Bennett and Lynne Cheney, and distinguished scholars, such as Victor Davis Hanson and Walter Russell Mead. Highly recommended reading.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 2:05:00 AM Link
Moroccan Citizen Arrested in Hamburg on 9/11 Charges
BBC NEWS has this article.
Mounir el-Motassadek, a 28-year-old Moroccan citizen arrested in Hamburg two months after the 11 September attacks, has been charged with more than 3,000 counts of accessory to murder and belonging to a terrorist group.

Giving details of the charges at a press conference in Karlsruhe, German Prosecutor-General Kay Nehm said Mr el-Motassadek was accused of "participation in a terrorist organisation".

He was officially charged on Wednesday with helping members of the Hamburg cell of Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, blamed for hijacking four airliners and crashing them into targets in the United States last year.

Mr el-Motassadek is suspected of being a member of al-Qaeda.

He was said to be responsible for supporting the suicide pilots while they were in America and arranging and financing their activities, including paying for flight schools in Florida.

Good for the Germans. They aren't doing as much as they could to stop Al-Quaeda from moving money, but every little bit helps.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 12:52:00 AM Link
Labour in open revolt over Iraq
Times Online has this article.
The scale of opposition in the Labour Party to Tony Blair supporting a pre-emptive attack on Iraq by the United States is laid bare today.

As the Prime Minister prepares for critical debates at the TUC conference the week after next and Labour’s annual conference at the end of September, a survey by The Times of party opinion has revealed the deepest hostility to Britain being sucked into a conflict.

An overwhelming majority of Labour constituency chairmen in the party’s most vulnerable seats said they would not support Mr Blair if he committed British forces to war.

In the dark days following the fall of France, Britain stood alone against the might of Nazi Germany until American public opinion shifted in favor of war. If political considerations in Britain prevent the Blair government from supporting us, we will have to carry on without British support. If Britain could stand alone against Hitler, surely we can stand alone against Saddam, if we must.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 12:18:00 AM Link
:: Thursday, August 29, 2002 ::
Germany Seizes Israeli Military Equipment Allegedly Headed For Iran
VOANews.com has this article.
Germany says it is returning to Israel an impounded shipment of military equipment German officials say was being shipped from Israel to Iran.

The equipment, rubber treads for armored personnel carriers, was found on an Israeli cargo ship docked in the German port city of Hamburg.

Israel's Defense Ministry says it authorized a private Israeli company to export the treads to Thailand. But German officials say the cargo's final destination was Iran.

Both Israeli and German law ban the export of military equipment to Iran, which has denied any link to the shipment.

An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Asefi, says Iran has no ties of any kind with Israel. He dismissed reports of the military shipment as Israeli "propaganda."

There have been several instances of Israeli arms merchants being convicted of selling military equipment to Iran. In 1998, an Israeli court sentenced a businessman to 16 years in prison for arranging to sell Iran the chemicals to make poison gas.

I hope the Israelis figure out who's responsible for this and throw away the key.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 11:47:00 PM Link
Blogroll Link Change Announcement
I just changed the way my blogroll links work. Clicking a blogroll link will open a new window. Clicking a second blogroll link while the new window is still open will cause the new window to be reused. I plan to use the same method on links in subsequent posts. This will let you easily refer to the articles I link to without filling up your screen with a mass of windows. This change should never open more than one new window, no matter how many blogroll links you click. You can use the comments form or my e-mail link at the top of the page to let me know how you like the change.

One exception to this change will be links to the NY Times. For some reason, their pages won't let other pages re-use the browser window.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 11:11:00 PM Link

Worried Saudis Try to Improve Image in the U.S.
The NY Times has this article. The Saudi government has been wasting millions of dollars on lobbyists and TV ads since 9/11.
So far, the publicity effort has failed to improve Saudi standing among Americans. A poll by Fabrizio, McLaughlin and Associates, a predominantly Republican firm, last week found that Americans' negative opinion of Saudi Arabia had surged to 63 percent, from 50 percent in May.


One of the government's American lobbyists, who spoke on condition that he not be named, said Saudi officials were deeply troubled by a perception in the United States that they were somehow complicit in the attacks.

"The fundamental problem the Saudis have in this country is the idea that they are not an ally," the lobbyist said. "For a country that has been an ally for 60 years, that's frustrating."

What's frustrating is when an "ally" won't support military against a common enemy. What's frustrating is when that "ally" refuses to cooperate in investigations of terrorist groups. What's frustrating is when that "ally" pursues policies which insult the troops we sent to defend them. With "allies" like the Saudis, who needs enemies?
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 1:37:00 AM Link
On Invading Iraq: Less Talk, More Unity
Al Haig has this article in the Washington Post.
Recently President Bush has been deluged with advice about Iraq, much of it coming from those with a record of 100 percent error on the subject. We have forgotten too quickly the misjudgments of officials who once saw Saddam Hussein as a responsible leader, counseled former president George H.W. Bush that the Arabs would handle him (before Iraq seized Kuwait) and expected Hussein to be dumped by some anonymous colonel, at no risk to the United States. If we are to avoid similar blunders in the future, then we must quickly clarify the suddenly emerging muddle on Iraq.

Three points are most critical. First is the old adage that "loose lips sink ships." In this case, too many people in the administration are doing too much talking, some urging the illusion of war on the cheap through new weapons and internal uprisings, others just averse to the use of force. Both are undermining the resolve created by President Bush's earlier pronouncements.


The second critical point is rejecting the fallacy that we must settle the Israeli-Palestinian war before we can do anything about Iraq. This was false in 1990-91, and it remains untrue today.


A third and final point: The war with Hussein never ended. Whatever the merits of announcing a preemptive military strategy or an objective of regime change, we need neither of these to justify action against Iraq. Iraq's agreement that international inspectors would confirm the destruction of its weapons of mass terror was essential to ending the Gulf War. Hussein has grossly violated these provisions since 1998.

When Arabs, Eurotrash, and other antiwar weenies claim the President needs UN approvial to invade Iraq, we should give the same reply the French castle guard gave King Arthur in Monty Python and the Holy Grail : "Well, I'll ask him, but I don't think he'll be very keen. Uh, he's already got one, you see?"
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 1:17:00 AM Link
War on Al Qaeda Funds Stalled
The Washington Post has this article.
The U.N. panel says the task of blocking al Qaeda's funds has been frustrated by the group's decision to shift its assets into precious metals and gems, and to transfer its money through an informal money exchange network, known as hawalas, that is virtually impossible to trace. Revenue from hard-to-track "illegal activities including smuggling, petty crime, robbery, embezzlement and credit card fraud augment these funds," it says.

But the effort to shut down al Qaeda's financial network has also been hampered by the inadequate auditing of religious charities, the lax border controls in several European countries -- members of the Schengen Area group, which allow travelers to cross their borders with a single visa -- and the "stringent evidentiary standards" required by European governments before they will seize an individual's assets, the draft report says.

The report says the Schengen Information System -- a computer program used to monitor border crossings in the group's 15 member states -- holds in its database only 40 of the 219 names on the U.N. list. Several members of the Schengen group said their "national laws precluded them from placing" their citizens' names on "national watch lists without appropriate judicial basis," according to the U.N. report.

Our gallant European allies don't seem to be any more enthusiastic about curbing terrorist funding than our gallant Saudi allies. Once we finish Iraq and Saudi Arabia, we need to have a heart-to-heart talk with our "friends" in Europe. We need to let them know that it's time for them to choose trading partners. Us or Osama - they shut down his financing, or we shut them out of the American market. In the meantime, American citizens can, and should, boycott Eurotrash goods.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 12:59:00 AM Link
:: Wednesday, August 28, 2002 ::
Tearing Reuters a New One
Meryl Yourish colostomizes Reuters in this first-rate fisking.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 7:27:00 PM Link
Alwaleed made honorary citizen of Cannes
ArabNews has this story.
RIYADH, 29 August — Prince Alwaleed ibn Talal yesterday became an honorary citizen of Cannes, France.

Mayor Bernard Brochand presented the honorary citizenship diploma to the prince aboard his yacht which is currently moored in Cannes. It was the 11th state recognition for the prince.

Is Rudy Guliani the only person in the world with the balls to tell this asshole to take his money and shove it? Alwaleed ibn Talal is the Saudi prince who tried to give New York City a ten million dollar check and a lecture on American foreign policy. I bet Mayor Brochand would do a table dance for a $20 bill.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 7:03:00 PM Link
On the Lighter Side
I found this Osama bowling game via ZionBlog. Enjoy.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 6:51:00 PM Link
Rumsfeld Says Allies Will Support U.S. on Iraq
NY Times has this Article.
WASHINGTON, Aug. 27 — Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said today that America's allies would support the United States if President Bush decides to attack Iraq, saying "leadership in the right direction finds followers and supporters."

Most of the nation's allies in Europe and the Middle East have publicly voiced opposition to a war with Iraq, and critics here say the administration's handling of Iraq policy illustrates its tendency to act alone in foreign policy matters.

But Mr. Rumsfeld said the president had not yet decided whether to attack Iraq and oust President Saddam Hussein, so it was premature for Mr. Bush to ask skeptical allies for their backing.

"I don't know how many countries will participate in the event the president does decide that the risks of not acting are greater than the risks of acting," Mr. Rumsfeld said, addressing 3,000 marines at Camp Pendleton, Calif. "But I've found over the years that when our country does make the right judgments, the right decisions, that other countries do cooperate and they do participate."


"What's important on Iraq, and on other important questions about terrorist states that are seeking to have weapons of mass destruction, is that our country engage in a somewhat elevated, thoughtful discussion about what free people ought to do given the circumstances of the 21st century," Mr. Rumsfeld said.

"In the 21st century, we're dealing not simply with conventional capabilities but potentially with unconventional capabilities — with chemical and biological and radiation and nuclear weapons. There you're not talking about sustaining an attack and losing hundreds or a few thousand. You're talking about risking the lives of tens of thousands, and potentially hundreds of thousands of people."

This is why Saddam needs to go now. Allowing an Arab power with Iraq's record of aggression to acquire nuclear weapons is simply dumb.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 6:23:00 PM Link
From the "Cato Is Not Alone" Dept.
Maureen Dowd has this article in the NY Times.
WASHINGTON — I was dubious at first. But now I think Dick Cheney has it right.

Making the case for going to war in the Middle East to veterans on Monday, the vice president said that "our goal would be . . . a government that is democratic and pluralistic, a nation where the human rights of every ethnic and religious group are recognized and protected."

O.K., I'm on board. Let's declare war on Saudi Arabia! Let's do "regime change" in a kingdom that gives medieval a bad name.

By overthrowing the Saudi monarchy, the Cheney-Rummy-Condi-Wolfy-Perle-W. contingent could realize its dream of redrawing the Middle East map.

No, I don't really think The Dowd-y One has become a war hawk, but it can be fun to see one's own arguments repeated by political opponents. Almost as funny as Michael Dukakis' tank ride. Still, even though she doesn't really mean what she wrote, she made a pretty good case.

I personally think Iraq should be done first, simply because the Saudi's don't have Saddam's WMD research programs. We have more time to finish the Saudis. And, with 250,000 troops on the Iraq-Saudi border, we could probably take the kingdom with a phone call.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 5:43:00 PM Link

To Regulate Prostitution, Iran Ponders Brothels
NY Times has this article.
TEHRAN, Aug. 27 — She identifies herself as Susan. At 26 she is slender and graceful, and her long hair is pulled back, giving her face with its hazel eyes and round cheeks an air of innocence. She does not at all look like a prostitute.


It is because of women like Susan that a conservative newspaper, Afarinesh, recently reported that two government agencies, which were not identified, had proposed legalizing brothels, under the name of "chastity houses," as a way of bringing prostitution under control.

According to the report, the plan involved using security forces, the judiciary and religious leaders to administer guest houses where couples would be brought together in a safe and healthy environment


In fact, the notion of such places is borrowed from the practice of temporary marriage, or sigheh, which is permitted in the Shiite branch of Islam, which predominates in Iran. Such marriages, which can last for a few minutes or 99 years, are especially recommended for widows who need financial support.

The practice allows a couple to marry for an agreed-on period of time by reciting a verse from the Koran. The oral contract does not need to be registered, and the verse can be read by anyone. Women normally receive money for entering the contract.


Susan, who said she did not know much about AIDS, said she would never go to a "chastity house," even if it would guarantee that her sexual partner was healthy.

"How can I trust a government that never cared about women like me?" she said. "They just want to find another way to raise money for themselves."

Leave it to the mullahs to turn a custom designed to help widows into a form of legalized prostitution. I always figured anybody who dresses as weird as they do has to be a pimp, at heart.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 2:12:00 PM Link
On the Lighter Side
You have to check this site out.The War on Terrorism_Retribution_Just for Laughs!
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 2:47:00 AM Link
:: Tuesday, August 27, 2002 ::
Return of the Iron Fisk
ArabNews has this article by Robert Jason Huf, an alleged American living and working in Jeddah. Mr. Huf, when he isn't writing for Arab News, is a consultant who helps foreign corporations bribe deal with Saudi officials so they can do business in the kingdom. The article is disgusting enough that once more, Cato must summon the power of the Iron Fisk Technique.

<bad martial arts movie dubbing>

Robert Jason Huf! You have o-fend-ed United States. You have o-fend-ed Cato. (not to be confused with Kato). Now you feel Cato's Iron Fisk Technique.
</bad martial arts movie dubbing>
The Rand Report and the Real Danger
By Robert Jason Huf, Special to Arab News

JEDDAH, 28 August — When asked by the editor in chief to write on the subject of the much-discussed document now known simply as the "Rand Report", the obvious question came to mind: What can be said that has not been said already? Not having read the actual report, and only being aware of the generally reported synopsis of the report ("Saudi Arabia is an enemy of the United States that sponsors terrorism at every level"), all that can be written here, when addressing the report, is as follows:

Don't you think that intellectual honesty requires that you read a document before you criticize it? Oops, sorry, intellectual (or any other kind of) honesty would be a disabling handicap in someone who facilitates business deals with the Saudis.
1. As an American citizen working and living in Jeddah, I have observed that Saudi Arabia is not an enemy of the United States. The country I see with my own eyes is not the country I see on CNN.
The Saudi government shoots Saudis who tell the truth about the kingdom. They don't quite dare shoot CNN's reporters.
While many have disagreements with much of current United States foreign policy, and are very much misinformed about American culture and the mind-set of the average American, they view the United States with warmth, traveling there often to either take a vacation, or to pursue their educational interests.
Like how to fly airliners into buildings? How to grow anthrax? But you're right about one thing, Bob. The Saudis don't understand shit about Americans. If they did, they'd have spent every dime they could scrape up to get Bin Lardass before 9/11.
2. Upon further observation, it has become clear that most Saudis are not terrorists, nor do they sympathize with them. In fact, the average Saudi is a generally lucid person who does not turn into raving, murdering, animalistic lunatic until he gets behind the wheel of his car. Rather than sympathize with terrorists, the average Saudi loathes terrorism as a form of brutality, which has unfairly stained the image of their nation and their religion.
Then why did the Saudis send this guy to be their Ambassador to London? Most countries try to send fairly moderate people as ambassadors. Oops, I suppose by Saudi standards he is fairly moderate.

If that is all there is to it, then the discussion would have ceased when President Bush denounced the report. The report itself is what it is: An analysis by a fellow who works for a private corporation, which has been publicly and forcefully rejected by President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Powell, and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. The report itself is not a contribution to United States foreign policy and is, therefore, harmless.

Truth is never harmless to a Saudi.
However, it would be useful to shift the focus from the report itself, and take a look at the real danger — the factor that secretly worries most people in the Kingdom, and, perhaps, excites a few others belonging to a tiny minority.

The dialogue sparked by the report should focus on the fact that most Americans choose to believe the report. An inordinate number of Americans choose to accept the Rand Report and the word of its heretofore little-known author, rather than believe the most respected and powerful men serving in the executive branch of their own government.

That's because, unlike your Saudi pals, Americans are taught to think for themselves. Except for a few evolutionally-challenged throwbacks on college campuses, Americans have the most highly developed bullshit detectors in the world.
If the maxim "perception is reality" has become a genuine truth in today’s world, then, for all intensive purposes, the reported synopsis of the Rand Report is a concrete reality from the perspective of the average US citizen.
That should read, "...for all intents and purposes, the reported..." Are you sure you're really an American, "Bob"? Is English even your first language?
Even before the Rand Report became public, the perception of most Americans since Sept. 11 is that Saudi Arabia is an enemy of the United States, and is a state-sponsor of Islamic fundamentalists bent on a campaign of terror against the West generally, and the United States specifically, using the money Americans spend on oil to destroy their beloved country and way of life. Further, the general impression in the United States — even before the disgusting events of Sept. 11 — has been that public schools throughout the entire Arab world teach Arab children to hate America and the West, rather than simply sticking to basic math and science, making the average American’s perception of Saudi Arabia one wherein the danger is institutional in nature.
That sums it up rather well, Bob. As far as Arab schools go, they do teach hatred of Israel, and they do teach that America is Israel's best ally. Are you suggesting that Arab children are too dumb to connect the dots?
After an alliance lasting almost seventy years, making it an older alliance than the United States now enjoys with many of our other close friends, such as Japan — an alliance which has survived an oil embargo (1973), an oil crisis (1979), and disagreements over Middle East policy (you pick the date) — how can the perception many Americans have of Saudi Arabia be so terrible? Certainly CNN, et al, do a fine job of picturing Saudi Arabia, and the Middle East as a whole, in the worst possible light. Of course, news networks do have one (if only one) limitation: No matter how much "spin" one can apply to a given issue, in the end, the networks can only work with the material they are given.
Even before the 1973 embargo, Americans disliked the Saudis, viewing them as no more than a pack of ignorant barbarians who happened to pitch their tents over a sea of oil. Remember Ahab the Arab?
Again, I can say, with confidence, that the Saudi Arabia I see with my own eyes is not the country you see depicted on CNN. However, that having been said, as a nation-state, as an economy, and as a society of individuals, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia might be the single most inept entity on earth when it comes to public relations and marketing.
Saudi Arabia's PR problems are just bad marketing? Bwahahahahaha.
If one is to sit around all day and simply blame Western news services for the horrible image this Kingdom has obtained over the course of the last eleven and a half months, then it stands to reason, as a matter of logical progression, that such a person would be careful about providing those news services with the ammunition necessary to foster such an impression. Unfortunately, some of most vocal citizens of the Kingdom are doing exactly the opposite.
Yeah, we noticed. In vino veritas? Oops, good Muslims don't drink alcohol, so I guess you can't blame the trash talk on booze. What is their excuse? Stupidity? Honesty?
Just a general example: When someone chalks-up everything he does not like as being yet another "Zionist Conspiracy", he makes it absolutely impossible for just about anyone in the United States to take him seriously. Global power politics is not as simple and bizarre as the story-line of an Oliver Stone movie.
If I were Oliver Stone, I'd be insulted. Even JFK wasn't as nutso as the one about the Mossad being responsible for 9/11.
When an American first hears this bit, the general reaction is to think that the person saying such a thing is probably a bit mentally and emotionally unbalanced. After hearing it for the thousandth time, it just sounds sad, and is interpreted by American ears as, "My position is intellectually bankrupt, and I do not wish to engage in a dialogue of any sort, whatsoever, with you." Having spoken with many Saudis on both a personal and business level, I know that there are many in the Kingdom who are far more articulate.
Is that because they wear tinfoil hats under their kaffiyehs?
There are times when this "Conspiracy Theory/Fantasy" stuff inspires anger in Americans. Generally speaking, I enjoy myself in Saudi Arabia. Otherwise, I would simply go somewhere else. However, when I read in Arab News, for example, people in positions of responsibility being quoted as calling the recent $116 trillion lawsuit against the Republic of Sudan and individuals and institutions in the Kingdom a well-orchestrated plot to damage Islamic institutions, I almost hit the ceiling of my office.
I can understand that. If all American companies quit trying to do business in the kingdom, you'd lose your clients, and you'd have to live off your writing skills. That would be bad. Just remember, if they catch you stealing, they cut your hand off.
I intend to write more on the suit in my next column. But for now, this will suffice: In the American system of Civil Litigation, regardless of the political proclivities of the attorney(s) involved in the suit, plaintiff’s are generally required before you can file a complaint for injury.

In this case, I seriously doubt if the widows and children of deceased firemen and policemen and the grieving parents of the young professionals of Cantor Fitzgerald and other companies care one way or the other about the success or failure of Islamic institutions.

You're wrong, Bob. I think they care very much about the success or failure of the bastards who bankrolled Bin Lesbian.
There are at least a dozen ways by which one could defend himself from this suit without displaying a colossal ignorance of the situation, as well as a callous insensitivity to the grief of the victims’ families. Insensitivity to the horror of Sept. 11 has not been displayed to me personally, face-to-face. Why is it being displayed in print?
For Saudis, colossal ignorance and callous insensitivity aren't just a job, they're a way of life. As for their treatment of you, Bob, you're just another American hired flunky. You aren't worth their time to insult.
A refreshing idea would be to present a factual defense, based on documentation and other forms of hard evidence. So far, what has been published about the suit by certain parties in Saudi Arabia only serves, in the mind’s eye of the average American, to make the named defendants more attractive targets for the grieving plaintiffs, not to mention the American population as a whole. Keep in mind, this case is going to be fought in the Court of American Public Opinion, as well as a Federal District Court in Washington, DC, and every unwise word put into print is going to be used to destroy Saudi Arabia’s reputation, in addition to the defendants’ respective court cases. There are, without question, Saudi citizens in positions of responsibility who can do much better than the above.
The problem with your "factual defense" is that Saudi charities have been funding terrorist groups in much the same manner that Noraid raised money for the IRA.
Another highly damaging episode: Prince Alwaleed, highly regarded as one of the world’s shrewdest businessmen, presents a check for $10,000,000 to the then-Mayor of the City of New York. Unfortunately, this check came attached to a lecture on American foreign policy. Just a tip — do not expect the United States, or anyone else, to simply accept a gift presented in such a fashion, no matter how generous and heart-felt the gift, especially when the entire nation on the receiving end is in the middle of coping with overwhelming shock, uncontrollable grief, and blind rage.
No shit, Sherlock.
In the United States, the episode was generally viewed as follows: A foreign dignitary trying to educate the greatest power on earth as to our faults. To add insult to injury, the fellow treats the entire nation like a greedy sycophant that will do anything for a buck by offering us a lot of money for the privilege. While this is not a fair characterization of the event, this was the perception.
Actually, I thought you were right on, Bob. You were far more generous than I'm inclined to be about Prince Half-a-wit's little lecture.
I will cut the list of examples short here, ending with the most recent and, perhaps, most damaging development: The decision to make America’s perceived (and, thus, actual) arch-enemy, Saddam Hussein, the poster boy for Arab solidarity.
No perhaps about it, Bob. Saddam is going down, and so is anyone dumb enough to stand in our way.
Just about everything that can be said as to whether or not the United States should topple the regime in Iraq has already been spoken and/or written. It is difficult to conceive of a scenario wherein President Bush will go back on his word and decide to leave Saddam Hussein in place. The most useful discussion at this point, should probably center around what the world might do to prevent a disastrous power vacuum in post-war Iraq.
Don't worry about a power vacuum, Bob. 250,000 American troops can more than fill any Iraqi power vacuum. And yes, they'll stay for a while. Iraq is just too good a staging area for strikes at any of our other enemies in the region: Syria, Iran, and yes, Saudi Arabia.
Unfortunately, the unproductive mantra calling for Saddam Hussein’s survival continues on the argument that the removal of this thug will destabilize the region.
Unproductive? How about suicidal?
This only serves to confirm the already existing impression that there are serious flaws inherent in the educational systems of the Middle East, and will not engender any sympathy from the vast majority of Americans.
Either flawed education, or congenitally stupid students, take your pick.
Also, as a general matter, Ghazi Al-Gosaibi, Ambassador to the United Kingdom, is quite correct in calling the United States a "wounded lion" in his most recent column, calling for dialogue rather than confrontation with the America (published in Arab News, Aug. 24, 2002, Page 3).
More like a pissed-off bear. A lion will at least kill you before he eats you. A bear will tear pieces of of you and eat them while you watch.
A wounded lion will see just about every animate object as an enemy — even fellow lions. To put yourself in the lion’s path is to make yourself, in the mind’s eye of the lion, the most immediate threat to his safety and, therefore, his worst enemy.
If you're trying to compare the Saudis to lions, don't make me laugh. The Saudis are more like a malnourished, cross-eyed, spastic, kitten, with terminal AIDS.
There are many erudite and honorable Arab leaders, and many worthwhile causes, which the Arab world can rally around without incurring the suspicions of ‘The Lion’.
The only halfway honorable Arab leader in my memory, is Anwar Sadat. He was gunned down by his own people. So much for honorable leadership among Arabs.
The key to Arab unity is not to create a common enemy (in this case, the United States). Rather, the focus should be on resolving the many differences and disputes within the Arab world (many of them emanating from Iraq), and demonstrating to the remainder of the globe the very best of Arab Civilization (it is hard to imagine Saddam Hussein as representing the very best of anything).
The "very best of Arab Civilization"? What medium will you use? Comic books?
In short, the flaws inherent in Saudi Arabia’s public relations efforts since Sept. 11 go far beyond a few backfiring television commercials. Just as most Americans do not understand the mind-set of the average Saudi citizen, most Saudis do not understand the mind-set of the average American.
Let me try to explain the American mind-set. A bunch of Saudis, led by another Saudi, murdered about 2,800 of our people, destroyed two of our greatest buildings, heavily damaged another major building, and destroyed four jet airliners. This forced us to tighten airport security, spend millions, if not billions of dollars just cleaning up the rubble, launch a massive investigation, and send thousands of troops halfway around the world to blow the shit out of Afghanistan, a country we didn't give a good God-damn about before 9/11. And that's not all. American servicemen who have traveled halfway around the world to protect your sorry shithole of a country aren't allowed to hold any sort of religious services, except Muslim ones. American servicewomen can't leave their bases unless they sit in the back of the bus, with a bag (abaya) over their heads. In pre-civil rights movement Alabama, African-Americans only had to sit in the back of the bus. There are American citizens who are prohibited by Saudi law from leaving the kingdom, legal adults whose only crime is that they were born female. Saudi Arabia is a society which practices gender apartheid, subjecting women to mistreatment matched only by other Muslim countries (and not many of them). What amazes me is that there was ever any basis for anything resembling friendship between our countries. If you love your sorry lives, do not stand between us and Saddam. You won't believe how fast we'll kill you.
Amir Taheri put it best, when he said that the US-Saudi alliance has been one which has existed as a leader-to-leader relationship, not one wherein the peoples of these two nations know each other, and know each other well (published in Arab News, Aug. 17, 2002, Page 10). He is correct, and, after all of these years, it is high time that this changes.
It certainly will change. The Saudis have picked a fight with the fiercest SOBs on the planet, and they're about to learn just how dumb an idea that was. Consider this: fifty million Arabs have been trying to kill five million Israeli Jews for fifty years without much success. Now you pick a fight with 250 million Americans?
There are very small, but vocal, minorities in both countries who do not wish for peace, much less friendship, between the West and the Islamic world. The only way to relegate these folks to the positions normally allocated for minority fringe groups, is for reasonable people to become equally vocal, if not more so. The only way to ensure that our voices carry the maximum weight, is to first make certain that our voices are informed ones.
The problem with that is that whenever a reasonable Muslim becomes vocal, the other Muslims try to kill him. Remember Anwar Sadat? Remember Salman Rushdie? For the last seventy years, America has been the "reasonable" one in this relationship. All it got us was a kick in the teeth. We're done with being "reasonable". You guys be "reasonable". Stay out of our way.
To that end, I hope this column helped in revealing, somewhat, the mind-set of the average American in these trying times: Americans, as a whole, are not "paper tigers" who are over-eager to please. Conversely, we are not ogres who run about slaughtering people without cause. What we are, are human beings who are willing to listen and learn — even after ‘The Lion’ has been wounded — at least until we believe we have been ignored and/or insulted.
Which we have been.
To the same end, I hope to gain some insights from my hosts. Please feel free to use the e-mail address listed below to contact me. Kindly note, unreasonable ranting and crackpot conspiracy theories will be summarily ignored. Only those who wish to engage in a serious dialogue about current events and the cultural differences between our two peoples should invest their time in sending a message to the listed e-mail address.
I'm absolutely serious. The kingdom is about to experience a shit tsunami if it doesn't get with the program.
After all, reasonable dialogue is necessary to educate each other about our different nations, and our very different peoples. Such a reasonable dialogue is the first step on the only path, which can possibly arrest the current deterioration of US-Saudi relations.
It's a little late for that, Bob. Just tell your Saudi pals to stay out of our way.
When not writing for Arab News, I generally assist foreign corporations who wish to directly invest in Saudi Arabia. Providing such assistance is a very substantial part of my job.
You might want to find another line of work. Your market is about to go to shit.
Therefore, when I write, I usually stick to issues pertaining to Foreign Direct Investment in the Kingdom.
You should probably stick to that subject.
However, beyond, and certainly more serious than, hurting my business by either turning-off or scaring-away potential clients, the current climate fostered by Western news services on one hand, and the dismal public relations and information coming from Saudi Arabia that feed said news services on the other hand, are effectively driving a wedge between our two peoples that will take generations to remove.
The wedge was always there. It just took Gulf War-related interest in the kingdom to set the wedge, and 9/11 to drive it home.
The sooner this nonsense is stopped, the faster said removal will be achieved. Until then, the Rand Report, in and of itself, is the least of our problems.
You got that right.

:: Riyadh Delenda Est 9:40:00 PM Link
Opec's Fading Power
BBC News has this article.
The power of once-mighty Opec - the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries - is indisputably ebbing away.


"We cannot control the oil market anymore," admitted Kuwaiti oil minister Adel al-Subaih last November.

New oil streams

The reason is simple: member countries control a much less significant share of the world's total oil supplies than previously.

Non-Opec countries such as Russia, Norway and Mexico have ramped up production while new flows of oil fields have been discovered in Africa and South America.

The ability of Saudi Arabia and the rest of the O-PECers to use the "oil weapon" against the West is overrated. The "caliber" of their oil weapon has shrunk from a .500 Nitro Express to a Red Ryder BB gun. We should not fear Arab threats to cut off or reduce oil production in response to American military action in the Gulf.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 7:53:00 PM Link
Iran Legislators Vote to Give Women Equality in Divorce
NY Times has this article.
TEHRAN, Aug. 26 — Iran's reformist Parliament has approved a bill that would grant women a right to seek a divorce equal to that of men for the first time since the Islamic revolution in 1979.

The bill would have to be approved by the hard-line Guardian Council to become law, and that is unlikely. But its approval in Parliament is considered a big victory both for women and reformist politicians. who have consistently sought the support of women, because it creates public pressure on the country's conservative Islamic rulers.


Hard-liners expressed opposition to the bill.

"The language of the bill is not in accordance with the norms of our society," wrote the daily Entekhab, run by Taha Hashemi, a student of the supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

That's because the norms of Iranian society are barbaric. Indeed, deviance from the "norms of Iranian society" would be a point in favor of almost any proposed law.
Reformist women in Parliament have previously tried to change laws that discriminate against women but their efforts have been blocked or altered by the clerical establishment.

A bill that would have raised the legal marriage age for girls from 9 to 15 was blocked for months by the Guardian Council, which contended that it went against Shariah, or Islamic law.

Eventually, the Expediency Council, which resolves differences between Parliament and the Guardian Council, approved raising the minimum age, but only to 13.

What do you expect from a religion of, and for, pedophiles? Muhammed married Aisha when she was nine years old, and had the hots for her when she was 4-5 years old!
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 7:27:00 PM Link
Atlanta Airport Screening Supervisor Fired for Missing Gun
USATODAY.com has this article.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — An airport screening supervisor in Atlanta was fired because he missed a loaded gun during a hand-check of a bag belonging to a woman charged with carrying the weapon into a terminal at Philadelphia International Airport, federal officials said.

Nancy Keller, 37, of Huntersville, N.C., was detained Sunday morning after she put a carry-on bag containing a .357-caliber handgun through an X-ray machine at the airport's Terminal F, authorities said.


U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacob Hart ordered Keller released on $100,000 unsecured bond during a brief court hearing Monday. She was ordered to give up her passport and restrict her travels to Pennsylvania and Ohio. Prosecutors said she is in the process of moving from North Carolina to the Columbus area. Hart also ordered her to stay out of airports.

Good for the TSA for firing this turkey. How could airport security screeners manage to miss a service-caliber (probably .357 Sig, from the description in the article) semi-automatic handgun with a loaded spare magazine? A .357 Sig pistol that uses 12-round magazines is almost certainly a service-size (suitable for open carry by a soldier or policeman) weapon, not a compact, easily-concealable one.

The article also contained this error:

Federal gun laws bar civilians from possessing magazines with more than 10 rounds.
Federal law bans the manufacture of high-capacity magazines for the civilian market, and possession of post-ban magazines by civilians, but possession of high-capacity magazines manufactured before the ban is perfectly legal, under federal law.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 6:35:00 PM Link
No Lie Can Last Forever.
While putting together a post, just now, I happened to remember one of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's. most beautiful and powerful speeches. It seems appropriate, as we wait for our government to bring Saddam Hussein to justice.
I know that you are asking today. "How long will it take?" I come to say to you this afternoon, however difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, because truth crushed to earth will rise again.

How long? Not long, because no lie can last forever.

How long? Not long, because you shall reap what you sow.


How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.

How long? Not long, because mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord, He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored. He has loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword. His truth is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat. He is sifting out the hearts of man before His judgement seat. Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer him. Be jubilant, my feet, our God is marching on.

These words were true in Montgomery, Alabama, and they are still true today.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 12:03:00 AM Link
:: Monday, August 26, 2002 ::
Arabs count cost of bin Laden's campaign
Reuters UK has this article.
CAIRO (Reuters) - Saudi-born Osama bin Laden said he wanted to drive a wedge between Muslims and the West. One year after September 11, the suspected mastermind of the attacks on U.S. cities seems to have made good progress.

The so-called "Arab street" is seething at what it sees as a U.S. "war on terror" in which Islam is the target. Governments are on the defensive, trying to mollify the masses and maintain a key strategic alliance with the main regional power broker.

Meanwhile, Arab ties with the United States have become brittle at best, with many Arab capitals frustrated that Washington seems to have turned a deaf ear to warnings that U.S. Middle East policy could create chaos in a volatile region.


"Saudi Arabia stands as the most harmed nation by these events since some of its citizens were accused although the Saudi government and the Saudi people had no role," said 54-year-old Saudi businessman Hilal al-Hamdan.

How many Saudis were killed on September 11? Fifteen? Fifty? The Saudis haven't begun to feel the pain of September 11. But they will.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 11:51:00 PM Link
Author sued over Islam 'insult'
BBC NEWS has this story.
Prize-winning French novelist Michel Houellebecq is being sued by four Islamic organisations in Paris after making "insulting" remarks about the religion in an interview about his latest book.

The action against Mr Houellebecq, 44, is being launched on 17 September by plaintiffs including Saudi Arabia's World Islamic League and the Mosque of Paris.

Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Paris mosque, said Muslims felt insulted by comments in the novel Plateforme, in which a character admits to a "quiver of glee" every time a "Palestinian terrorist" is killed.


But it is an interview with the literary magazine Lire during last year's launch of the book that prompted the legal action.

'Obscene words'

Mr Houellebecq reportedly said in Lire that reading the Koran is "so depressing" and that Islam is "the stupidest religion".

Perhaps common sense is not extinct in France, after all. If more Frenchmen felt this way, Cato would like France better. Time will tell how the court case plays out, but the fact that one can be sued in France for telling the truth is depressing. Perhaps the courts will stand up for freedom of expression. Perhaps the courts will stand up for truth. Perhaps the courts will stand up for justice. Naah, we're talking about French courts.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 11:18:00 PM Link
:: Sunday, August 25, 2002 ::
Shilling for Saddam
James Baker III, former Secretary of State under George H.W. Bush, has this article in the NY Times. I'm not going to subject Baker to a full frontal fisking, but I am going to respond to several of his points.

First, he implies that the cost of the operation will equal that of the Gulf War, 500,000 troops and $60 billion. This is highly unlikely. For solders to be willing to fight and die, they must either:

  • Have some hope of victory.
  • Be desparate to save themselves and/or their loved ones from butchery.
If we make it clear that our quarrel is with Saddam and the Baathist elites, not the Iraqi people, Iraqi troops will probably surrender even more quickly than they did in the Gulf War. We should need no more than 250,000 troops to depose Saddam. As for how to occupy the country, we cut deals with the various opposition groups - Kurds, Shiites, etc. They handle basic security in their areas, and we blow Hell out of anything they can't handle. As for finding Saddam, who would hide him? Bashir Assad? Seyed Ali Khamenei? King Abdullah? Crown Prince Abdullah? The Kurds? The Kurds would hang him from a lamppost. Khamenei would have a big show trial and then hang him from a lamppost. Assad would bury him in an unmarked grave and deny having seen him. King Abdullah would probably hand him over. The Saudis would kill him first (so he couldn't tell us about Saudi funding of his WMD research), then hand him over. He can run, but he can't hide.

Also, we would recover some of the monetary cost of the operation from the effects of reduced oil prices. Freed of the UN sanctions, Iraq would be free to ship as much oil as possible, and a US-backed government would be unlikely to listen to OPEC demands that they cut production. Reduced energy costs would spur the economies of America and the rest of the world, as well. American oil companies would take the lead in developing the Iraqi oil fields, and the taxes they pay would also help cover the costs.

Second, Baker implies there is a possibility that the Security Council would approve US military action in Iraq. The French would veto because they are craven, and the Chinese would veto because they hate the idea of the US playing hegemon.

Third, Baker claims we need to screw the Israelis into accepting a peace deal which puts their security at risk. That is a position which has little support among Americans as a whole, and no support among President Bush's political base. It's not necessary, either. Remove the oil funding for Palestinian terrorism, and the Palestinians will have to accept a peace deal which leaves Israel viable. They won't have the means to keep up the armed struggle.

Finally, he correctly states that we will have to occupy Iraq militarily. The lesson of WWI versus WWII is that if you want lasting peace, it is necessary to utterly crush and humiliate your enemies first, then rebuild them in your own image. We failed to do this in WWI and the Gulf War. Twenty years later, we were at war with Germany, and ten years after the Gulf war, we stand on the brink of war with Iraq. Unless you are prepared to annihilate a people utterly, as Rome did Carthage, there is no other path to lasting peace.

I do not understand the reluctance of former President Bush's foreign policy team to support President Bush's efforts to clean up his father's mistake. Are they that incapable of admitting that their assumptions were dead wrong? Or do they fear what Saddam's archives might show regarding the unprincipled support America has given Saddam in the past? Whatever embarrassments might lie in Saddam's files, they can't be worse than an Iraqi nuke being smuggled into the US and detonated in a major city. Saddam has to go, ASAP. With or without UN, NATO, Saudi, or the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 4:32:00 PM Link

Shilling for the House of Saud
Matt Welch has this excellent article (via InstaPundit)
With each deteriorating week, as in the 49 previous weeks, a curious cadre of Americans has stood up to defend the oppressive House of Saud against its critics in the democratic United States. No, it is not the academic multiculturalists, or the effete bi-coastal elites -- still favourite whipping boys, nearly a year later, of those agitating for the next U.S. war.

The real apologists have far more influence and access to power than all that, earned through decades of high-profile government employment. They are the former U.S. ambassadors to Saudi Arabia, and they have carved out a fine living insulting their own countrymen while shilling for one of the most corrupt regimes on Earth.

This article is a must read (if you can stomach it). Welch kicks ass and names names. The actions of our former ambassadors to Saudi Arabia are perfidous, they are corrupt, and they are foul. These men are a disgrace to the title Ambassador of the United States of America. They are a disgrace to the title Citizen of the United States of America. They are a disgrace to the title Human Being. Cato wishes the US Constitution had a provision to allow scum like this to be stripped of their US Citizenship.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 3:16:00 PM Link

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