February 14 2003
BLIX REDUX: So Dr. Blix will do it again today. The Washington
Post reports he
will provide a mixed review of Iraqi cooperation to the UN
Washington and London will say Blix's report shows further
material breach on the part of Iraq. Paris and Berlin will
use the second Blix report to argue that progress
is being made and to give inspectors more time.
is whether Blix's report will change the dynamic that currently
exists in the UN Security Council. Will it provide enough cover
for France, Russia and China to support a second resolution? If
so, Bush will have achieved de facto support of military action
against Iraq. If not, the UN will have made itself irrelevant
and a "coalition of the willing" will step in and enforce
the will of the international community.
KOREA SHAKEDOWN: The North Korean government is like the international
equivalent of Jesse Jackson, running around the world shaking
people down for cash.
paid them billions of dollars to stop developing nuclear weapons
- which they didn't really do. Now we learn that South
Korea paid $186 million in cash just to get the North Koreans
to sit down and talk about reconciliation.
Korea is so upset over the IAEA's moving the current crisis
into the United Nations - it will curtail their ability to blackmail
us for cash. North Korea is adamant about getting the U.S. into
one-on-one talks so they can get a nice fat settlement. Listen
to the North Korean ambassador to the UN and tell me if this sounds
are strongly opposed to such kind of multilateral talks, since
this is just designed to avoid any responsibility of the US
from its international commitments,'' he said.
have said it better himself. The problem is that this time, the
consequence of such blackmail isn't a boycott of Toyota or the
NFL, it's a possible nuclear holocaust.
OF NUKES: Let's talk about bias. I read this
article from the San Francisco Chronicle and thought, "you
know, this doesn't necessarily sound like a good idea." Here's
the Chronicle lede:
of House Republicans proposed a fundamental shift in America's
nuclear weapons strategy on Thursday, saying the GOP would push
for the design and manufacture of a new generation of warheads,
a more aggressive policy on their use and steps that would make
it easier to resume nuclear testing.
A few minutes
later, after I'd tracked down the House Policy Committee web
site and read through their news
release on the subject, it seems like modernizing our nuclear
weapon stockpiles could be a reasonable component of a larger
overall defense strategy.
to the full report isn't working, so I'll have to withhold final
judgment until I have a chance to read it through. But the idea
of updating our nuclear weapons policy isn't necessarily a bad
one, and the Chronicle's reflexive, hysterical reaction certainly
doesn't help foster serious debate on the issue. - T.
Bevan 8:01 am
February 13 2003
IRAQ BROKE LIMIT ON MISSILES: Gee, really? Why this news
should come as a surprise to anyone is beyond me. The NY
Times story states that "the panel's conclusion will
add fuel to the United States' argument that Iraq is defying Security
Council disarmament resolutions." Surprise, Iraq is defying
UN Security Council disarmament resolutions. Since this is not
news to anyone who doesn't have their head in the sand, it will
have no real effect on the war. However, it might help in the
PR battle to get the foot-draggers at the UN to wake up and smell
the coffee. Unfortunately, for most on the left the only thing
that will get them to confront the very real threat is another
attack and thousands killed. Thankfully for our future security,
the political left is not running America.
KOREAN MISSILE CAN HIT U.S.: Like the 'news' Iraq is violating
Security Council resolutions, this is old news, but in the context
of North Korea's reconstituted nuclear ambitions this
story is just more proof for why we need to be aggressively
building and deploying a robust missile defense. Ari Fleischer
said as much yesterday: "This old news is why it’s important
to proceed with deployment of missile defense." Why is this
MILLER ON DONAHUE: They don't have the transcript
up yet from last night's show, but when they get it up take a
read. Miller just abuses Donahue's pacifist and liberal pabulum
in a very hilarious hour devoted exclusively to politics.
AND GAS MASK HYSTERIA: For months we heard the chorus of complaints
you have to tell us more, tell us what we can do. And then when
the government does take the proactive step to offer some common
sense suggestions on how to deal with a potential attack, Democrats
led by Senator Daschle, unload with cheap
shots - "This administration has to do a lot better than duct
tape, they have to do a lot more than tell people that the responsibility
is now on their shoulders."
Can Do Better Than Duct Tape' column, in today's Washington
Post, she suggests:
needs to tell the public that everyone should have an N95 mask
(which costs $1) with them at all times. The government should
indicate that there are easy-to-use, family-friendly gas masks
available that could save lives.
needs to have a family-friendly gas mask with them at all times?
No thanks, Sally. I'll probably buy some plastic and a couple
of rolls of duct tape for the home, but I'm not going to live
in constant fear I might be gassed by al-Qaeda. Common sense,
prudent precautions - yes. Gas masks at all times, I don't think
Senator Daschle what he
can do with his duct tape.
OVER ESTRADA DEEPENS: I watched a little of the filibuster
yesterday and I really don't understand the Democrats'
strategy on this Estrada nomination. To me it seems like a
sure loser for them both politically and substantively. The only
way this can work for them is if the Senate Republicans blink,
and maybe that is the Democrats' strategy. J.
McIntyre 8:32 am
February 12 2003
MORE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION?: We'll have to ask Michel Martin
over at ABC News, but I think this
is just another case of outstanding achievement by a well
qualified individual - so well qualified, in fact, that he was
selected for the position by his peers.
WATCH: Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are embarking upon a
truly ill-conceived plan to filibuster Miguel Estrada.
President Bush called the obstruction of Estrada "shameful
politics" and issued
a statement urging the Senate to hold an up-or-down vote.
Also, yesterday a group called the The Committee for Justice (headed
by C. Boyden Gray) released
a commercial urging support for the Estrada nomination that
will begin running in North Carolina, Indiana, and Washington
D.C. And Senate Majority leader Frist made it clear he is ready
to play hardball:
will stay here all night tonight and all night tomorrow. If
they (Democrats) want to stay through the weekend, we’ll stay.”
to see how Democrats aren't going to take it in the teeth on this
one. Estrada has 54 votes in the Senate, has the support of some
major Hispanic organizations, and if they play their cards right
Republicans should be able to make Estrada's nomination enough
of a PR nightmare for the Dems to eventually swing 6 votes and
shut down a filibuster.
York's piece this morning says Democrats have the votes to
sustain a filibuster and are willing to go to the mat:
battle over the federal appeals-court nomination of Miguel Estrada
has taken an ominous turn for Republicans, with Democrats beginning
an unprecedented filibuster and demanding that President Bush
make concessions before they will allow a vote on Estrada's
confirmation. At the moment, it appears that Democrats have
the 41 votes they need to keep a filibuster going, delay a final
vote, and perhaps even kill the nomination.
nomination may hurt the President in the short-term, but I still
think it will hurt the Democrats more in the long run.
OF THE BIN LADEN TAPE: I'm on
record as saying I think bin Laden is dead; megalomaniacs
of his stature just don't do business this
experts think the tape is real and that it shows a definitive
link to Iraq. Germany also thinks the tape is real but says it
prove a thing (No wonder Iraq is publicly thanking
Berlin for protection).
I'm wrong, and maybe this is bin Laden's best effort at jihad.
At least I'm in good
T. Bevan 9:52 am
February 11 2003
"VICTORY WITHOUT BULLETS": Ah, the
French and the Germans. You really have to admire the brazen
arrogance and blatant hypocrisy on display as these two countries
attempt to hijack the institutions of the international community
and provide cover for one of history's most abominable figures.
they've created a serious
crisis in NATO, and everyone fully expects a similar situation
to develop at the UN Security Council this Friday after Dr. Blix's
report. They've also coaxed
Russia on board by exploiting old Cold War fears and promoting
the bogus specter of U.S. world hegemony.
standing with the rest of the world to state clearly that Iraq's
refusal to comply with UN resolutions be met with force, Germany
and France offer a different vision for the world. It's a vision
that responds to defiance with tolerance, shifting timetables,
more inspections, and further delay. Most importantly, it's a
vision that says punitive military action is simply not acceptable
under any circumstances. Imagine the lessons being learned in
Tehran, Pyongyang, and elsewhere around the globe.
news is that President Bush remains
unfazed. And, hopefully, other nations will continue to voice
public support for the case against Iraq, leaving the French and
the Germans standing alone in Paris and Berlin and wondering what
ever became of their "victory without bullets."
The Chicago Tribune runs
a front page story disputing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's ties to
al-Qaeda. The Trib focuses on reports from Shadi Abdallah, a former
associate of Zarqawi and bin Laden, who has been in German police
custody since last year.
Abdallah's claims would certainly contradict the case Colin Powell
made before the UN last week. However, if you read the story two
relevant points become clear. First, Abdallah entered into the
terrorist system and received his initial training as an al-Qaeda
recruit before shifting his allegiance to Zarqawi. Second, the
Tribune story says:
declared that Zarqawi, a one-legged Jordanian who is now at
large, had "links with all [terrorist] groups with the exception
of Al Qaeda....All groups like him because he is always willing
to help and supports everybody."
Even if Zarqawi
isn't formally allied with al-Qaeda, his participation and support
of terrorist organizations around the world make him a legitimate
U.S. target, as well as any regime that provides Zarqawi safe
haven. Furthermore, the fact that Abdallah himself moved back
and forth between the two terrorist groups (al-Tawhid and al-Qaeda)
reinforces Powell's contention that a "sinister nexus"
exists between Iraq and terrorist organizations.
MOVES THE BALL - PART II: New CNN/USAT/Gallup
Poll out showing increased support for Iraq across the board.
Bush approval rating at 61, Powell at 85. Anyone else confused
by the last question on the survey? - T.
Bevan 8:28 am
February 10, 2003
THE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION SMEAR: As far as pundits go, I like
Michel Martin. Even though I don't always agree with what she
says, I appreciate the fact she makes smart, thoughtful arguments
every Sunday on ABC's This Week roundtable. Yesterday, however,
Martin absolutely embarrassed herself by making
the following comment about Miguel Estrada:
is a promising young lawyer who went to excellent schools, had
excellent clerkships and a good work record. What he lacks in
judicial background he makes up with a compelling life story.
You know what that's called? Affirmative action."
highlighted the truly insidious and divisive nature of affirmative
action: the idea that ANY minority who achieves prominence within
a given field - whether it be Condi Rice, Colin Powell or Miguel
Estrada - has done so because of affirmative action. This is demeaning
not only of the individual and their achievements, but also promotes
the cynical (not to mention absurd) notion that minorities as
a group must rely on preferences and quotas to be competitive.
her own logic Ms. Martin is just a piece of affirmative action
window dressing on This Week to balance out the all-white, male
cast. That's certainly one way of looking at it.
would be to say that Michel Martin is a very gifted journalist
and her qualifications put her in the top echelon of commentators
at ABC News. Among this elite group, she was asked to be part
of the This Week roundtable team because, in addition to her outstanding
record, the producers of the show valued the different perspective
she would bring to the discussion as a minority woman.
VS. VIRTUE: The difference between the two ways of looking
at Michel Martin leads me to my next point: diversity is a worthwhile
value, but it's not a virtue. This is a distinction that has been
sorely overlooked in the recent debate over the University of
In the first
instance, if we assume Ms. Martin is the product of affirmative
action, we discount her skills and achievements by placing "diversity"
above them as the defining criteria for her being included on
But if we
focus on Michel Martin's achievements, her journalistic career
which places her among ABC's elite, it's easy to recognize - without
diminishing her qualifications - that her viewpoint as an
African-American woman is an important, valuable asset to the
is true of Miguel Estrada. Estrada didn't benefit from "affirmative
action" - intelligence, hard work and ambition are what helped
get him to where he is today. Standards were not lowered for him.
But certainly, once among a group of elite candidates with similar,
impeccable credentials, Estrada's ethnicity and the diversity
of his background and viewpoint became a valuable asset - as it
including President Bush, acknowledges that diversity is a valuable
and healthy aspect of our society. Diversity is something we should
strive for - but it isn't such a virtue, in and of itself, that
we should lower standards and sacrifice achievement at its altar.
PROBLEM: One final point. If, as proponents of affirmative
action tell us, diversity is such an important part of the academic
experience (both in the classroom and on campus), why is there
no drive to expand diversity at the 104
historically black colleges and universities in America? Are
the students attending these colleges (99.9% of whom are African-American)
being short-changed in terms of their educational experience because
there isn't enough diversity on campus?
can't envision Jesse Jackson protesting the fact that more white
and asian kids need to get into Howard University, but if diversity
is truly an overriding virtue then that is exactly what should
happen. - T.
Bevan 8:37 am