Patterico's Pontifications

4/30/2003

 
WILL THE REAL SADDAM PLEASE STAND UP: If you have a couple of minutes and a media player, this is pretty funny.


 
ANAGRAMS FOR NORMAN MAILER:

Man or mineral?
Real minor man
Mean liar Norm


 
A LIFETIME OF BOOZE AND DRUGS GETS YOU: The pickled mind of Norman Mailer, who wrote this piece called "We went to war just to boost the white male ego." The premise being that, since white guys suck at sports nowadays, we had to prove we were good at something -- so we went to war.

I am not making this up. You think I am, but here's a quote:

"The great white stars of yesteryear were for the most part gone, gone in football, in basketball, in boxing, and half-gone in baseball. Black genius now prevailed in all these sports (and the Hispanics were coming up fast; even the Asians were beginning to make their mark). We white men were now left with half of tennis (at least its male half), and might also point to ice-hockey, skiing, soccer, golf, (with the notable exception of the Tiger) as well as lacrosse, swimming, and the World-Wide Wrestling Federation — remnants and orts of a once-great and glorious centrality . . . On the other hand, the good white American male still had the Armed Forces."

This is apparently not a joke -- except that, of course, anything this schmo says anymore is by definition a joke.

Too bad. I thought "The Executioner's Song" was a pretty good book.


 
SCOTT PETERSON ANAGRAMS:

Test not corpse.
Torn cop testes.


 
BAGHDAD BOB: The former Iraqi information minister has been trying to turn himself in. My initial assessment is that he will die.


4/29/2003

 
GOOGLE SEARCH CONTEST: Find a goofy Google search that pulls up Patterico's Pontifications as the top site in the search results. For example, I am proud to say that if you search Google for: "Scheer + man + on + dog" -- this site pops up first on the list. Winning entries get a mention.

Thanks to intrepid reader Richard for the idea and the "Scheer man on dog" search.


 
PILOTS GET NAKED: Somehow, this story about naked Southwest pilots reminds me of Peter Graves in "Airplane!"

"You ever been in a cockpit before? You ever seen a grown man naked?"


 
THIS IS THE THANKS I GET: Here's a guy who swallowed eight bags of heroin. The cops (who have been watching him deal heroin and had already seized 30 packs of the drug from him) save his life by calling paramedics, who get the guy to vomit up the heroin he swallowed. Had they not done that, he would have died. Now he says his constitutional rights were violated and the vomited heroin can't be used against him in court. Apparently, after seeing him "sweating profusely and breathing irregularly," the cops asked him if he had swallowed any of the packets -- without reading him his Miranda rights first!

Next will be a civil suit, I expect. Maybe he'll get a few thousand dollars in a settlement. So it goes in this fabulous country of ours.


 
SCHEER STUPIDITY: It has been over a year since Robert Scheer published perhaps the stupidest opinion piece ever published in a newspaper. After yakking about how the Holocaust "provides the enduring rationale for Israeli brutality in the name of self-defense," Scheer let loose with this -- my personal candidate for stupidest thing said by anybody in the past decade:

"What irony that many Jews now comfortably vacation in Germany but insist that Arab anti-Semitism is an immutable aspect of Muslim culture that can be met only with the crushing power of tanks."

I remember writing Scheer at the time and inviting him to explain the irony to me. See, I had always labored under the nutty, nutty misconception that Germany's anti-Semitism had also been met with "the crushing power of tanks." Whaddya know -- he didn't write me back.

Anyway, I realized this morning that I have a golden opportunity to expose his stupidity on a regular basis with my blog. And so I shall. Starting today, "Scheer Stupidity" will be a semi-regular feature.

Since this post is already long, I will keep today's entry short. Today's idiotic Scheer column states: "The only significant link between Al Qaeda and Hussein centered on the Ansar al Islam bases in the Kurdish area outside of Hussein's control." If only Robbie had been reading Patterico on Sunday when he published this post with this link to recent proof of the Al Qaeda/Hussein connection.

But that was Sunday -- evidently not in time for Scheer's deadline to get a column in on Tuesday -- two days later. Here's some real actual irony: the title of his column is "Are we dumb or just numb?" Heh.


 
NEGOTIATING WITH TERROR: Here's a story about our war on terror. There is a group in Iraq whose members "killed several American military personnel and civilian contractors in the 1970's and supported the takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran in 1979." The group "has carried out dozens of bombings that were aimed at Iranian military and government workers, but that also killed civilians. . . . It was added to the State Department's list of terrorist organizations in 1997." Last week Pentagon officials said that the group had served as a "de facto security organization for the Iraqi government."

We have just reached a deal (described here) with this group, which allows them to keep their weapons, including "artillery and antiaircraft guns" -- as long as they agree not to use them against us.

I am not making this up.


4/28/2003

 
LACI DECAPITATED: If I had a publicity guy in charge of publicizing this blog, he would tell me: "Write more stuff about Laci Peterson getting decapitated." See, I have a site tracker that tells me, among other interesting information, what searches people use to find this site. Turns out that "Laci + decapitated" is a popular Google search nowadays. Apparently, when I wrote a post about the idiot NOW representative who complained about murder charges for the killing of Laci's fetus, I used the words "Laci" and "decapitated" in close proximity. That got the attention of a lot of people who were looking for information about Laci being decapitated. Probably they were trying to find out whether Laci really had been decapitated. (Sorry -- I have no inside scoop.)

Well, I am not a whore, and I refuse to write posts including the search terms "Laci" and "decapitated" simply to get more hits on the site. If you want to read about Laci getting decapitated, you'll have to go somewhere else. (Unless, that is, the subject of whether Laci was decapitated just happens to come up naturally.)

UPDATE: While I am on the subject: has it been conclusively established whether Laci indeed was decapitated? I know there were reports to that effect early on, but I have not really followed the story thoroughly. Has there been official confirmation of this? Someone please click on the "E-mail me" link on the left margin of this blog, and fill me in on this important information, so I can keep my readers informed.


 
WHY BLOGGING WAS LIGHT OVER THE WEEKEND: We were in Vegas. I didn't want to say so beforehand because those hackers find out everything!


 
STILL MORE TORTURE STORIES: Iraqi athletes relate fond memories of Uday and his beatings.


 
HEH: Ye Newe York Times on the failure of the Founding Fathers to have a constitution in place a full three weeks after winning at Yorktown.


4/27/2003


4/25/2003

 
BLOGGING LIGHT OVER THE WEEKEND: More on Monday. Tell you why then.


4/24/2003

 
ALSO VIA THE SHARK BLOG: An advance copy of the Yasser Arafat obituary.


 
THE SHARK CATCHES ROBERT SCHEER WITH HIS PANTS DOWN: The always recommended Shark Blog has a priceless post here that exposes Robert Scheer for the ass he is.

The relevant quotes:

Scheer -- Jan 7, 2003:

However, the viewing public doesn't seem to understand that what is being planned by our president is not Gulf War II -- a swift punch in the mouth to our old ally Hussein -- but rather a multiyear occupation by the U.S. of an independent, powerful and modern Muslim nation rife with ethnic tension.

Scheer -- April 22, 2003:

Of course, our vaunted intelligence forces knew well ... that Iraq had been reduced by two decades of wars, sanctions and arms inspections to a paper tiger . . .


 
JUAN WILLIAMS ON SANTORUM: I just watched Juan Williams on Special Report with Brit Hume. Juan is critical of Rick Santorum because, he says, he doesn't understand why Santorum can't distinguish between homosexuality and polygamy -- after all, polygamy is illegal!

Of course, so is homosexual sodomy -- in Texas. And, of course, Santorum's entire point was that if you create a right of privacy for all sexually related conduct between consenting adults, you couldn't make polygamy illegal.

Other than those minor issues, Juan makes an excellent point.

Juan Williams -- not the sharpest tack in the box.


 
MORE STORIES OF TORTURE BY SADDAM HUSSEIN: Can be read here, if you really want. It's pretty gruesome. Quotes abound such as: "I thought they were going to fix my eye . . . but when I woke up I had just one eye left. They had cut the other one out." Another guy's tongue was cut out (you know, because he had allegedly used it to criticize Saddam). The article says that "the fedayeen officer who cut the tongue held it up to the crowd and shouted, 'You see this? This will be the fate of anyone who dares insult the president.' He then threw the bit of flesh on the ground; another fedayeen officer scooped it up and said it would be given to Uday Hussein as a present."


 
HE WAS THE SEVEN OF HEARTS: Am I the only one tired of hearing which playing card the latest captured Iraqi official was?


 
SANTORUM REDUX: Interesting piece in Slate by William Saletan, who investigates the issue of whether Santorum was right legally (not morally). Saletan asks the nation's most prominent gay group (the Human Rights Campaign) whether incest may be banned withourt violating the Constitution. Their representatives uniformly say yes, but uniformly falter when asked why. Worth a read.

Saletan concludes that "legally, I don't see why a sexual right to privacy, if it exists, shouldn't cover consensual incest. I think Santorum is wrong. But I can't explain why, and so far, neither can the Human Rights Campaign."

Once again, as a matter of pure morality I disagree with Santorum. I have more than more gay friend and I really could not care less what their orientation is. I do not think we should pass laws to ban homosexual activity. Maybe we could even pass a constitutional amendment insuring some right of privacy that could cover homosexual activity. At least if we did it that way, the possible unintended consequences would be thoroughly explored and debated by the country. When we start making up phony constitutional principles, we have to recognize that the unintended consequences of the made-up principles need not have been examined by anyone other than 5 lawyers on the Supreme Court.


4/23/2003

 
SANTORUM: I think Rick Santorum's remarks in his interview with the Associated Press (an unedited version of which can be read here) are being misrepresented.

If you are unfamiliar with the controversy, here's the part of what he said that is getting the attention: "And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything." This has been interpreted simplistically as morally equating homosexuality to polygamy/incest/adultery.

I don't think that the simplistic interpretation of his remarks is fair. In context, I think it's clear what Santorum meant: if the phony right of privacy invented by the Supreme Court is extended to say that anything consensual that happens in the bedroom automatically receives constitutional protection, then states will lose their traditional ability to regulate other consensual sexual activity that falls within that description (including polygamy/incest/adultery). (Santorum might have added prostitution to the list.) In other words, Santorum's observation had to do with constitutional law, and it is entirely accurate.

Now, as a moral principle, I think that that "let two consenting adults do what they want" is fine. But a constitutional principle it ain't. Santorum's constitutional point is a good one, and he is right to refuse to apologize for making it.

ASIDE: My favorite quote from the interview comes from the questioner. Santorum was explaining that depriving states of the authority to regulate private sexual conduct could threaten the traditional definition of marriage: "In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing." The questioner then said: "I'm sorry, I didn't think I was going to talk about 'man on dog' with a United States senator, it's sort of freaking me out."

UPDATE: Rereading the interview, I can see that Santorum did make at least one comment ("I have a problem with homosexual acts") that may not be a constitutional argument, but a moral comment. To the extent that is true, he has a problem that will require some 'splainin'.


4/22/2003

 
GREAAAAAT: This Washington Post piece says that "the U.S. military is racing belatedly to lock down files and equipment at scores of potentially sensitive facilities in Baghdad that went unguarded in the chaotic days immediately after the fall of Hussein." These "potentially sensitive" sites are sites that might have had important information on the location of WMD. Apparently "retired Lt. Gen. Jay M. Garner, the occupation governor of Iraq, sought special protection for 10 Iraqi ministries, identifying them as potential repositories of weapons data, but . . . only the Oil Ministry remained intact after U.S. ground forces took possession of Baghdad."

I hope that, at the very least, we secured all the sites where we believed the weapons themselves might have been. I am less concerned that we can't find WMD than I am that we may have created a situation where we let WMD get looted.


 
GARNER: I say get rid of Jay Garner in Iraq, and put in James Garner. Rockford will get a representative government up and running in no time, and he'll do it for just $200 a day. Plus expenses.


 
THE MOTE IN YOUR EYE: This article in the Dog Trainer purports to raise a "moral issue" about the LAPD's extensive use of resources to solve the murder of innocent 13-year old Joey Swift, as compared to the smaller resources devoted to solving the murders of gang members.

The focus is on LAPD. The headline reads: "Behind Swift LAPD Action, a Moral Issue" and the sub-head reads: "The probe into a slaying of a 'complete innocent' drew far more resources than the typical killing." The first sentence reads: "Hours after 13-year-old Joey Swift was fatally shot while leaving church, seven homicide detectives and more than 30 officers began searching for the killers."

But what about the Dog Trainer's treatment of this story, as compared to the attention the paper gives to stories of murders of gang members? The article acknowledges that media attention helped solve Joey's murder case. But does the Times run 5 stories every time a gang member is murdered? The story itself answers the question: no. As an LAPD detective told the reporter: "We know that if we were to tell you a [murder victim] is a well-known gang member, you would not cover it."

So what's the real story? The use of resources by LAPD -- or by the Times?


 
WMD: Remember, if finding them were easy, the inspectors could have done it.


 
THE SAUDIS: The Shark Blog (which I recommend) makes this wonderful observation about Saudi Arabia. On January 11, 1999 the Saudi government called for the easing of sanctions against Iraq. But on April 19, 2003 they called for sanctions to remain, explaining that sanctions should end only when Iraq has a "legitimate government."

Write your own punch line.


4/21/2003

 
WMD: Looks like an Iraqi scientist has said Iraq had chemical weapons et al. and destroyed them just before the war. The same story says that the scientist led a U.S. team to some alleged precursors. So, we will be vindicated, or we won't.


 
DIPLOMACY OR LACK THEREOF: "It seems like they're beginning to get the message," said Bush yesterday of Syria. He always puts things this way: we "expect" this will happen, etc. Always like a scolding parent.


4/20/2003

 
KEEP TALKING, NOW: This story quotes the head of the Morris County chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) as opposing a double-murder charge in the Laci Peterson case based on the death of the fetus. "If this is murder, well, then any time a late-term fetus is aborted, they could call it murder," this genius says.

Well, no. I am long past the point where I can reasonably expect a NOW representative to do some simple research before opening her mouth. So, Patterico will do her job for her, so that you, the reader, are not misled by this nonsense.

The movie industry makes sure you know that the Penal Code section for murder in California is section 187. Subdivision (b) of section 187 states:

"This section shall not apply to any person who commits an act that results in the death of a fetus if any of the following apply:
(1) The act complied with the Therapeutic Abortion Act, Article 2 (commencing with Section 123400) of Chapter 2 of Part 2 of Division 106 of the Health and Safety Code.
(2) The act was committed by a holder of a physician's and surgeon's certificate, as defined in the Business and Professions Code, in a case where, to a medical certainty, the result of childbirth would be death of the mother of the fetus or where her death from childbirth, although not medically certain, would be substantially certain or more likely than not.
(3) The act was solicited, aided, abetted, or consented to by the mother of the fetus."

In other words, abortion is never murder under California penal law. So maybe Scott Peterson can argue to a jury that Laci went along with a voluntary abortion before he decapitated her. Otherwise, he is facing double murder charges and a potential death penalty. And (listen up, NOW) none of this even remotely violates a woman's precious, precious right to dismember her unborn child.

Got that?


4/18/2003

 
YET ANOTHER BLOW STRUCK FOR THE ENVIRONMENT BY BUSH: Described here.


 
IRAQI INFORMATION MINISTER STUFF: Get the talking action figure here. And read his CNN obituary here.


 
DEMORALIZING: When Vanilla Sky (a great movie starring Tom Cruise) was out, billboards showing Cruise's face were all over Los Angeles. My daughter, who was 1 1/2, would look at the billboards and say: "Look! It's Daddy!" and my heart would soar.

Now she is 3. Last night, she was at the computer when I was reading an interview with Tony Blair, she looked at some of the accompanying photos of him and said: "That looks like Daddy."

No offense to Tony Blair, but what a comedown!


 
FOR THE LAW FOLKS: Or for anyone interested in such things -- this column by a law professor addressing the Ex Post Facto Clauses as interpreted by the Supreme Court. He makes a pretty convincing argument that the Court screwed up its interpretation of the clauses three years ago -- but mostly because they followed a precedent that was screwed up by Justice Chase (an unimpressive Justice later impeached for misconduct) in 1798.


4/17/2003

 
WEEKLY WORLD NEWS: I have to admit I did not know until just now that you can access the Weekly World News online at www.weeklyworldnews.com. I have never really read this publication before, because it, well, costs money. But I have always been amused by the covers I have seen at the supermarket, and now that I know I can read it for free . . .

I have a feeling I will be wasting a lot of my time in the coming days reading stories like this one about how to survive a terrorist attack. I love this quote: "Studies have shown that the safest place to be in a nuclear attack is under a small wooden desk." It's not the "Onion," but it's worth a mention.


 
BEHIND THE SCENES: This story goes behind the scenes on that incredible commercial I gave a link to below. It took 606 takes. If you haven't seen it, you have to check it out. If you tried the link and it didn't work, you can try a smaller version here.


 
GOOD STUFF: Scrappleface.com has something funny here: "The Bush Administration hailed yesterday's announcement by Tim Robbins that 'a chill wind is blowing in this nation' as a sign of the reversal of global warming."


 
HONG KONG'S AD GENIUSES: Most of you know that Hong Kong is home of one of the major concentrations of SARS -- severe acute respiratory syndrome, a deadly new strain of pneumonia -- and that shortness of breath is one of the main symptoms of the disease. But did you know about this? It seems that the Hong Kong tourist board is running a magazine ad campaign using the slogan: "Hong Kong will take your breath away." Click on the link if you think I'm kidding.

(The ad campaign was developed before the outbreak. Attempts to pull the ads after the outbreak came too late in some instances.)


 
CORNFIELD: Check out this "God Bless America" cornfield. To save you time, I am sending you directly to the snopes.com link which verifies that it is for real.

SIDE NOTE: By the way, snopes.com is a good example of the faith that we put in the "Myth/Reality" paradigm, which I mentioned below. I will believe anything I read on snopes.com, because they are the mythbusters. If they say it, it must be true. I have actually entered my social security number into an internet form, to join a class-action lawsuit (for consumers of compact discs) that snopes.com said was for real.


4/16/2003

 
NEW YORK TIMES DOES IT AGAIN: The headline of this piece is "Now Free to Protest, Iraqis Complain About Americans." I'll let you write your own commentary to the headline, but check out this piece of objectivity (with my emphasis):

"'It seems like people are pretty happy to see police on the streets again,' said Sgt. Lee Buttrill, 29. 'And they are always happy to see us,' he added, whether in earnestness or a perfect deadpan, it was hard to tell."


 
CONFLICTING VIEWS: This story from Iraq in the Dog Trainer is titled "Rioters Stab L.A. Times Reporter." This suggests a certain lack of unanimity in the views of Iraqis towards Americans. Or maybe they just didn't like the Times's war coverage?

We wish the reporter a speedy recovery.


 
COOL AD: This is one of the coolest advertisements I have ever seen.


4/15/2003

 
STUART TAYLOR: I like Stuart Taylor. He has a piece in the National Journal on racial preferences. You can read it here.

My only quibble is that he has put it in the annoying "Myth/Reality" format. I generally object to arguments using that format, which purports to confer a mantle of inescapable truth on conclusions that are usually, in fact, simply the writer's opinion (Myth: Patterico has only average looks. Reality: Patterico is one of the best-looking men on the planet.)

Still, worth a read.


 
RODNEY KING: Rodney King was driving 100 miles per hour, weaving through traffic . . . no, I'm not talking about in 1991. I'm talking about this past weekend. This time his (taxpayer-bought) Ford Expedition crashed into a house. "Police say they suspect that King was intoxicated at the time. A blood sample was taken -- but the results haven't been released." Read about it here.

Apparently police saw him speeding and weaving, but then recognized him, and said to one another: "You pull him over. No, you pull him over."

Okay, so I made that last part up.

"Police say King wasn't arrested -- but a report about the crash will be sent to prosecutors." I can hear the conversation now:

"You prosecute him. No, you prosecute him."


4/14/2003

 
HEH: I was just poking around on lucianne.com when I saw this story, the headline of which is "Decapitated woman was scheduled to be witness in federal case." Someone on lucianne.com commented: "How did this woman meet Bill Clinton?"


 
TAKE A BAATH: This New York Times story bears the headline: "Iraq's Baath Members Needed for Food, Aid, Power." An official defends the U.S. decision to rely on people connected with the Baath Party: "I think what we are talking about now are people we would classify in the western world as low level civilian administrators." Yeah . . . except in the western world, low-level administrators don't carry out orders to torture and murder.

This is a huge problem. Our government needs to realize that the Iraqis are terrified of any vestige of Saddam's murderous regime. Nevertheless, as we try to keep order, we are using former Saddam thugs to help us out. This Associated Press story states that a military official "would not say who the Iraqis on patrol were or whether any of them were former police officers or Baath Party members."

Even CNN guys can figure this out. Read this report of a dispatch from CNN correspondent Martin Savidge:

"Many of the police officers under the old regime were Baath Party members, and they were sort of the enforcers, not necessarily the protectors, of the people.

"And so now if you send some of these police officers back into the same neighborhoods where they used to enforce, the people who live there will wake up and say, 'What has changed? The same bad man who was on the street before is back on the street again.'"


 
LATE SHOW TOP TEN: Letterman's latest Top Ten List is titled: "Top Ten Things Iraq's Information Minister Has To Say About The War":

10. "We're pulling down the statues of Saddam to have them cleaned"

9. "Don't believe that stuff you see on CNN...or NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox or MSNBC"

8. "If you ask me who the winner is, it depends on what your definition of 'is' is"

7. "Iraqi television is off the air because we didn't want you to have to sit through 'Becker'"

6. "Do you know of any job openings for a lying weasel?"

5. "Wolf Blitzer and I are engaged"

4. "Iraqis are in the streets celebrating Cher's 40 fabulous years in show business"

3. "Incoming!"

2. "Saddam's not dead -- he's just out with a case of the shingles"

1. "War? What war?"


 
TRUSTING CNN: (This post assumes familiarity with the topic of the recent op-ed by CNN executive Eason Jordan, confessing that CNN deliberately distorted the facts about Saddam Hussein for years.) I promised you below that people will be closely examining CNN's record of coverage in Baghdad to look for evidence of the extent of CNN's misrepresentations about Saddam's regime. Today's Wall Street Journal has a piece by Franklin Foer, the journalist who interviewed Eason Jordan in October -- when Jordan claimed that CNN was giving "a full picture of the regime." Foer's piece has this eye-opening passage:

"It makes rich reading to return to transcripts and compare the CNN version of Iraq with the reality that has emerged. For nearly a decade, the network gave credulous treatment to orchestrated anti-U.S. protests. When Saddam won his most recent 'election,' CNN's Baghdad reporter Jane Arraf treated the event as meaningful: 'The point is that this really is a huge show of support' and 'a vote of defiance against the United States.' After Saddam granted amnesty to prisoners in October, she reported, this 'really does diffuse one of the strongest criticisms over the past decades of Iraq's human-rights records.'"

Just incredible.


4/13/2003

 
WHAT ECONOMISTS DO: This is very funny.

I found this, as I find so many things, by checking out The Volokh Conspiracy. I read that site so often that I have added a permanent link to it, on the left. Check it out.


4/12/2003

 
HMMMM: I am looking into Vladimir Putin's heart and seeing a man who spied on Tony Blair for Saddam.


 
TONY BLAIR TO BE ON SIMPSONS: Details (not many) here.

I love this guy!


 
IRAQI MUSEUM LOOTED: This is bad.


 
FEEDBACK: I have been blogging more heavily lately. Reward me with feedback. Click on the link to the left to "E-mail me."


 
GREAT STUFF: Check this out. It is the Iraqi information minister reporting on the battle at the "Star Wars" Death Star.

UPDATE: I should note that, due to the popularity of the site, the links to the Iraqi Information Minister fan site are sometimes slow.


 
FROM THE CNN WEB SITE: "Unconfirmed reports of torture and brutality by Iraq's first family have trickled out of Iraq for years." -- quote from this CNN.com story from October 1998.

Unconfirmed . . . because we don't want to confirm them.


 
IRAQI INFORMATION MINISTER FAN SITE: The site is called www.WeLoveTheIraqiInformationMinister.com. It describes itself as "a coalition effort of bloodthirsty hawks and ineffectual doves united in admiration for Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, Iraqi Minister of Information (currently on administrative leave)." It collects wonderful quotes such as: "God will roast their stomachs in hell at the hands of Iraqis." Check it out.

Thanks to Richard W. for the tip.


 
REASONS NOT TO TELL THE TRUTH CONTINUED: The good people at CNN aren't the only folks who knew about Saddam and kept mute. How about Scott Ritter, who spoke with Time Magazine in this interview from September 2002, in which he refused to describe a prison for children for dissidents:

"The prison in question was inspected by my team in Jan. 1998. It appeared to be a prison for children - toddlers up to pre-adolescents - whose only crime was to be the offspring of those who have spoken out politically against the regime of Saddam Hussein. It was a horrific scene. Actually I'm not going to describe what I saw there because what I saw was so horrible that it can be used by those who would want to promote war with Iraq, and right now I'm waging peace."

Jonah Goldberg has a nicely articulate reaction here: "I saw an unspeakably horrible kiddie torture house. I could tell you about it, but that might result in people trying to do something about it. And, since that would not be peaceful, better I keep quiet and help perpetuate a regime which will torture more children."


 
STILL MORE ON CNN: I don't think this CNN thing is going away any time soon. People (like me) are going to while away their free time looking through old footage or transcripts, searching for any stories where the likes of your Christiane Amanpours might have even implied that the stories of torture and murder by Saddam and his henchmen might -- even possibly -- not be true.

By the way, I have noticed a building consensus (see this piece in The New Republic, for example) that Eason Jordan may simply have been doing a bit of corporate CYA. Given that the stories of torture and murder are sure to come flooding out soon, wouldn't people be asking: "Why didn't CNN tell us about all that?" Rather than deserving credit for being forthright, Jordan may well be trying to inoculate himself against an inevitable firestorm.


 
MORE ON CNN CONFESSION: One more note about that CNN confession of long-unreported news about Saddam Hussein's Iraq I mentioned below. The CNN executive who authored the piece, Eason Jordan, gives us this amazing passage:

"I knew that CNN could not report that Saddam Hussein's eldest son, Uday, told me in 1995 that he intended to assassinate two of his brothers-in-law who had defected and also the man giving them asylum, King Hussein of Jordan. If we had gone with the story, I was sure he would have responded by killing the Iraqi translator who was the only other participant in the meeting. After all, secret police thugs brutalized even senior officials of the Information Ministry, just to keep them in line (one such official has long been missing all his fingernails).

"Still, I felt I had a moral obligation to warn Jordan's monarch, and I did so the next day. King Hussein dismissed the threat as a madman's rant. A few months later Uday lured the brothers-in-law back to Baghdad; they were soon killed."

Well, yeah, I guess they were, Eason! Because you don't seem to have felt any "moral obligation" to warn THEM about it!


 
YOU MUST HAVE SEEN THIS: Anyone surfing the web today must have seen this New York Times op-ed by Eason Jordan, CNN's chief news executive. In the piece, Mr. Jordan confesses the atrocities CNN has hidden about Iraq for years. If you missed it, it's a must-read. Mr. Jordan details long-withheld information about torture and murder by Saddam (pulling out teeth with pliers is one of the kinder tortures described) that CNN decided not to tell people about until now.

In attempting to justify CNN's years-long suppression of the most basic facts about Saddam's regime, Mr. Jordan emphasizes the need for protecting Iraqis, whom he says might have been tortured if the reports had been made public while Saddam was still in power. What Mr. Jordan neglects to mention is that the main reason for keeping the truth suppressed was so that CNN could stay in Baghdad -- and continue broadcasting the "truth" about Saddam's regime -- minus all the bad parts that they were suppressing. So you see, they needed to suppress the truth, so they could stay there, so they could give their sanitized reports from right there in Baghdad!

What you may have missed, however, was this interview with Mr. Jordan from October in which he denied that CNN would ever compromise its principles. Mr. Jordan said, "we work very hard to report forthrightly, to report fairly and to report accurately and if we ever determine we cannot do that, then we would not want to be there . . . We'd very much like to be there if there's a second war; but -- we are not going to make journalistic compromises in an effort to make that happen." (Emphasis is, obviously, mine.)

This is not failing to report certain things to protect people. This is what you call a "bald-faced lie."


 
DO NOT CALL LIST: If you are in California, click here to preregister for the national do-not-call list. Unless, that is, you enjoy being pestered by telemarketers at home.


4/11/2003

 
HOLD YOUR APPLAUSE: That is the title of this piece by Thomas L. Friedman in the New York Times. This is a perfect example of what I was talking about yesterday: people saying not to get excited by the Iraqis' liberation because we have not instantly made everything perfect. "America broke Iraq; now America owns Iraq, and it owns the primary responsibility for normalizing it." Look forward to more of the same over the coming days, weeks, and months.


 
INSULTS: This is the page you have been looking for all your life: insults.net. Featured in a Washington Post story about the Iraqi shoe-beating-as-insult phenomenon, the insults.net site has more information about insults than Don Rickles. The most popular page is the one containing information about how to swear in foreign languages. Check it out, and send a creative insult to Patterico via the e-mail link to the left.


 
PREEMPTIVE PRECEDENT: The Washington Post reports here: "Asserting the same right of preemptive war that the United States used to justify its invasion of Iraq, Indian officials have . . . warned that India may be forced to take limited military action against its nuclear-armed neighbor [Pakistan]."

We could, and should, have justified the Iraq war without the talk of "preemptive strikes."


4/10/2003

 
NEW YORK TIMES TO CORRECT ITS EDITORIAL PAGE?: It hasn't happened yet, but the New York Times should be eating crow big-time over an editorial on Monday, in which it got the Supreme Court cross-burning decision -- exactly backwards. Read David Tell's explanation of how this happened here.


 
FEMALE COMBAT PILOT: Read about her here -- and imagine the look on the faces of certain misogynists in the Middle East as they learn about women like her kicking the Iraqis' butts.


 
SCOTT RITTER: An interview with Scott Ritter from two weeks ago can be read here. Notable quotes from this strange fellow -- who must have been blackmailed by the Iraqis -- include:

"The United States is going to leave Iraq with its tail between its legs, defeated. It is a war we can not win . . . We do not have the military means to take over Baghdad and for this reason I believe the defeat of the United States in this war is inevitable . . . Every time we confront Iraqi troops we may win some tactical battles, as we did for ten years in Vietnam, but we will not be able to win this war, which in my opinion is already lost."

Looking forward to the next interview.


 
HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY: To my mom, whose birthday took place while I was stomping through snow in Sequoia.


 
SWEET QUOTES: In any catalog of wonderful recent quotes belongs this one: "'We discovered that all what the (Iraqi) information minister was saying was all lies,' said Ali Hassan, a government employee in Cairo, Egypt. 'Now no one believes Al-Jazeera anymore.'" From this AP story.


 
SADDAM: Not that it is necessarily that important, but where do you folks think Saddam went? Vaporized by a bunker buster? Tikrit, to prepare for a "final bloody showdown"? Syria?

I can't recommend Tikrit. The story linked in the previous paragraph quotes a U.S. source as saying that U.S. forces "would cut off Tikrit from Baghdad and assault the city with airstrikes." You hear that, Saddam?


 
ENJOY: Enjoy this last day of positive coverage of Iraq. Tomorrow reporters will start pointing out that the U.S. has not made the country perfect in a day.

The "Not In Our Name" types will quickly follow suit. After all, they must be very embarrassed today -- and must be dying to find something to pretend to be right about.


 
MORE IRAQI JOY: There are so many stories of Iraqi joy, it's hard to know which ones to choose. Here's one from our local Dog Trainer. It is full of quotes like this:

"'Victory! We are free!' the crowds called out. 'Thank you, President Bush!'"


 
HEARTBREAKING: This story in the New York Times brings home the feelings of the Iraqis as well as anything else I have seen. It's impossible not to be touched by this:

"A burly 39-year-old man named Qifa, assigned by Mr. Hussein's Information Ministry to keep watch on an American reporter, paused at midmorning, outside the inferno that had been the headquarters of Iraq's National Olympic Committee, to ask the reporter to grip his hand. The building, used to torture and kill opponents of Mr. Hussein, had been one of the most widely feared places in Iraq.

"'Touch me, touch me, tell me that this is real, tell me that the nightmare is really over,' the man said, tears running down his face."


4/09/2003

 
THOUGHTS:

1) Let's not forget that there is still a lot to do in Baghdad, so that when terror, further resistance, helping establish a government, starvation, and other problems arise (or continue), we are not shocked. We can't solve this country's problems -- created by Saddam over the course of 20+ years -- in a day, a week, or a month.

2) Let's not let such thoughts interfere with the pure joy of watching Iraqis hugging American soldiers and kissing pictures of President Bush -- overjoyed with their first taste of freedom in decades.


 
SADDAM STATUE COMES DOWN IN BAGHDAD:
Here is video.

I was sad because I had no shoes,
To throw at Saddam Hussein's statue.


4/08/2003

 
FOX NEWS SCREEN SHOTS: Some funny (phony) ones are here. Thanks to The Volokh Conspiracy.


 
SADDAM SURVIVES: The Dog Trainer today in this story had an interesting quote from a U.S. official regarding the intelligence report that had placed Saddam in that house we bombed. "We get a lot of Elvis sightings," the official said. "This is the first I recall [since March 20] that was fairly specific and gave a location."

Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis had just left the building.

Makes we wonder again -- like I did earlier (before we had an indication of the result) -- could these sightings be a hoax??

UPDATE: The CIA says that Elvis was there. The story with that information also says that it takes only 12 minutes for a plane to get there once the order is given. You hear that, Saddam? 12 minutes.


 
MICHAEL KELLY: Some time has now passed since Michael Kelly's death. I suspect that at some point, the Clinton toadies (who hated him) may make elliptical comments suggesting his death was deserved, because he supported the war. The Begalas and Blumenthals and Carvilles of the world are so nasty, and so fond of gloating, that they may not let an opportunity like this pass without comment.

I hope I am wrong. I hope they have more class than that. And I haven't seen any examples -- yet. But if and when I do, I will tell you in this space. Remember: you heard it here first.


 
WHOOPS: We hit Al-Jazeera again. I say "again" because we did the same in Afghanistan (whoops!). Such mistakes will do wonders for our image in the Arab world. . .

This is not to say that we are necessarily doing it deliberately. Evidence: we may be injuring coalition reporters too. Four Reuters staff members were injured yesterday in a blast at the hotel in Baghdad where all the Western journalists are staying. (Shockingly, Iraqi snipers are positioning themselves in the vicinity of that hotel! As Reuters would say: Oddly Enough!)


 
MORE ANTI-WAR: Suspected chemical weapons were used against anti-war protesters in Oakland. Wait -- I have further information . . . it turns out it was just tear gas.

Sorry, couldn't help that.


 
CALL ME PARANOID: "Intelligence sources" are usually just some guy in another country telling you some stuff. So who's to say that the "intelligence" saying that Saddam was in a residential area (in a home that we destroyed with a bunker buster or two or four) wasn't just some double agent trying to get us to kill civilians?


4/07/2003

 
PAUL AND JOHN OR JOHN AND PAUL: Write me and tell me I am wrong about this, but I don't see what is wrong with Paul McCartney wanting some credit for the songs that he had the main part in writing, as related here. I have long considered Paul to be the more talented of the two (though Lennon was no slouch!). Why shouldn't he get primary credit for his own songs?


 
JOURNALIST DEATHS: I am just now catching up to the news about the death of Michael Kelly, whom I liked very much. I also liked David Bloom, whom I remember watching covering many stories, in particular the Bush-Gore post-election mess. Both will be missed.


 
CHEERING IRAQIS: Another story of cheering Iraqis -- happy to be liberated from the dictator. Go figure. Quotes from the crowd include:

"Thank you very much, Mr. Boss."

"We love you United States."

"Saddam donkey."

"Night and day, no water."

"Hospital. No electricity, no food, no medicine."

"Very happy. I love you George Bush."

The same story reports the discovery of nerve agents. It's not clear what the significance of this is, since the nerve agents are described as innocuous -- simply "a mild form of tear gas." Does that mean Saddam was allowed to have them???

UPDATE: Apparently all they had really found were pesticides.


 
LIKELY QUOTE OF THE DAY: According to USA Today, in a story you can read here, a U.S. Army Captain (from Watkinsville Georgia) is quoted as saying of Baghdad: "I do believe this city is freakin' ours."


 
CHEMICAL ALI: It generally seems wrong to be happy about someone's death. We can probably make an exception in this guy's case.


4/06/2003

 
I'M BACK: I am back from the big trees in Sequoia, which were covered in snow. Until I think of something to say, here is some poetry from Donald Rumsfeld. No, really -- sort of.

Thanks to Steve for the tip.


4/02/2003

 
OFF TO SEQUOIA: I am off to the big trees tomorrow morning.


4/01/2003

 
MICHIGAN: For a good article on today's Supreme Court argument on affirmative action at the University of Michigan, read this. If you simply wish to listen to the audio, provided by C-SPAN, you can click here (if you have Real Player). Even Justice Thomas spoke up! Don't miss it!


 
LIBERAL BIAS: Interesting article in the Dog Trainer by the Times's media critic on liberal bias, David Shaw. Interesting, and refreshing, to see him say something like this: "I think it's the demonstrable presence of so many liberals in the big-city news media -- and their coverage of antiwar activities and the civil rights, feminist, gay rights, consumer and environmental movements -- that has enabled the conservatives to make their case for liberal bias." He left out coverage of criminal justice issues, but otherwise I think he has it pretty much right.

Shaw goes on to give an explanation that he admits might be self-serving: "[J]ournalists are skeptical, confrontational, and iconoclastic, which means they challenge the establishment, while conservatives want to conserve it. . . . So the better journalists do their job, the more likely conservatives are to see them as liberal." This does indeed seem self-serving and simplistic -- are there really no "skeptical, confrontational, and iconoclastic" conservatives? More to the point: is Shaw saying that conservative journalists are necessarily incompetent??

Shaw ends the article by boasting that he has actually gone on vacation with someone who opposes gun control -- twice! Pretty funny. He seems bright enough that the comment seems a bit tongue-in-cheek. In other words, I think I am laughing with him, not at him. Worth a read if you care about such things.


 
GUANTANAMO TREATMENT: I have seen many links to this story in the Boston Globe as evidence that prisoners are not mistreated at Guantanamo. For example, this article by Michelle Malkin quotes the part of the story that says that "nearly all of the former detainees enthusiastically praised the conditions at Guantanamo and expressed little bitterness about losing a year of their lives in captivity, saying they were treated better there than in three days in squalid cells in Kabul. None complained of torture during questioning or coerced confessions." She goes on to quote the Kandahar taxi driver who said: ''The conditions were even better than our homes. We were given three meals a day -- eggs in the morning and meat twice a day; facilities to wash, and if we didn't wash, they'd wash us; and there was even entertainment with video games.''

Thing is, folks like Malkin ignore the parts of the article they don't like. Like the driver for a Taliban official who "said he was punished by being put into a container-like room without windows, where he was given food through a hole. He got sick and was moved to an individual cell where he was left naked for a week, he said. For weeks after that, he was given only cold food, he said. . . . He said he saw a prisoner beaten until his arm broke after protesting guards dragging chains during prayers." Or the Taliban soldier who said: "I was gassed till I fainted and hosed with water cannon for complaining and resisting the indignitites against the holy Koran.'' That solider "pull[ed] up his pant leg to show scars he says he got from being kicked by heavy-booted US soldiers when he protested their actions."

Now, do I know these latter claims are true? No. But they are made in the same newspaper article cited by more than one pundit as proof that life at Guantanamo is rosy. I think these pundits have to address these claims, not simply pretend that they have not been made.


 
THOMAS AND SCALIA: Yesterday Justice Thomas voted against Justice Scalia in two cases.


 
MORE ON VAN SHOOTING: The Washington Post has this article from an "embedded" reporter regarding the shooting of the van with all those civilians inside. The memorable line from the platoon leader right after the tragedy: "You just [expletive] killed a family because you didn't fire a warning shot soon enough!"


 
INTERESTING: I can't vouch for this chart, but if the facts it represents are true, it is interesting. It's a chart showing who has sold weapons to Iraq, correlated with who opposed the war in the Security Council.


 
LACK OF ACTIVITY: I probably should have warned readers that the site would be inactive for a couple days while my friend was in town from Texas. I should warn readers that it will again be inactive this Thursday through the following Sunday, as I am hiking through the big trees in Sequoia with the same friend. But have no fear; I'll try to pack some rants in between now and Thursday.

UPDATE: I had to delay posting because blogger.com had technical issues this morning.


 
EMBEDDED: I'd rather be bedded than embedded.


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