Saturday, January 25, 2003
Saddam's son Uday Hussein is saying that, if the US attacks, Iraq will retaliate with poison gas. Rush Limbaugh points out on his site that this more or less constitutes an admission that Iraq has WMDs. How can they deny they have them, and threaten to use them at the same time? Of course, Uday is not an official government spokesman. But all the same...
Also, Rush points this out regarding our European allies: 15 of 19 NATO members are on board for disarming Saddam. OK, France and Germany are not militarily insignificant in the European balance. Because of the German constitution, we would never get real German armed help outside Germany's immediate neighborhood. France is just being France. So what are we so concerned about?
The UN Security Council has authorized the disarmament of Iraq. If they try to slap our hands for taking out Saddam without further authorization, we can veto any Security Council resolution. So can the British. The General Assembly may do something, but they have no real power. I really don't think the rest of the world cares so much for the fate of Saddam that it will endanger commercial relations with the world's only superpower for his sake. We already have a free hand. All we need to do is to get the troops into position, and commence.
The Boston Herald overs the ordination of 11 seminarians as transitional deacons today.
Lord bless them in their ministries.
Last month, just before Cardinal Law resigned, the Vatican gave conditional approval for the Archdiocese of Boston to seek bankruptcy protection. The approval was conditional on the opinions of other US cardinals. According to the Globe, the other US cardinals raised significant objections to a filing. But the Archdiocese, at least publicly, is saying that bankruptcy is still an option, since many of those objections have been withdrawn.
A worm similar to the Code Red worm of 2001, has slowed parts of the internet to a crawl this morning. The question, as always, is one of responsibility. Is it a bored kid with too much technical knowledge just doing it because he can, or someone with more sinister intentions?
Friday, January 24, 2003
[Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld enters briefing room at 1:00 pm EST]
Ladies and gentlemen, I have a brief statement on the issue of "human shields." I regret that I will not be able to take questions afterwards, as I have a meeting in 10 minutes with the Secretary of State. You can catch up with me later on this issue.
Idealism is a noble thing. Our country itself is based on the noblest ideals respecting human freedom and the rights of Americans. However, misplaced idealism, idealism put to the service of a brutal dictator who has used weapons of mass destruction against his own people, against his neighbors, and would use them on us or our allies if he could deliver them, is a perversion of idealism. In fact it borders on lunacy.
Secretary of State Powell has just announced that no more visas will be issued to US citizens to visit Iraq, and that those American citizens currently in Iraq are urged in the strongest terms to leave immediately. Should the President decide to use armed force in Iraq to bring it into compliance with UN mandates to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction, Iraq will most likely become a war zone, and not a safe place to be. The US cannot guarantee the safety of American citizens who choose to stay in Iraq. Likewise, neither the US nor its allies can guarantee the safety of other foreign nationals in Iraq.
Warfare is a messy thing, and people get hurt, even with our best efforts to avoid widespread civilian casualties. It is all the more difficult to guarantee the safety of anyone inside Iraq since the Iraqi regime actively tries to secret its military hardware in areas occupied by civilians, often the most vulnerable civilians, too.
But if the President gives the go-head for the use of military force, the presence at target sites of volunteer "human shields" from this country or from our allies will not deter or slow down the pace of military operations one bit. Our policy will be to take no notice of their presence. If called to do so, we will strike the targets we deem it appropriate to destroy, whether there are "volunteer human shields" protecting those sites or not. The safety of the members of our armed forces and the rapid and successful conclusion of their mission is paramount and will trump all other considerations. We regret that this may cause the death or injury of people who are acting as "human shields." But we did not place them there. They are there of their own free will. If they choose to remain there, that would be their own poor choice. The United States accepts and recognizes no responsibility for their safety. We urge them to leave Iraq immediately. We hope that their own countries will take the prudent step of also cancelling all visas to Iraq, and recalling their nationals from this very dangerous place.
Thank you. As I said, questions will have to wait until later.
[Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld leaves briefing room at 1:02 pm EST]
The Archdiocese of Boston is investigating whether the pastor of Saint Margaret's, Lowell, Father Joseph Ruggeri, used special collection money to pay off a pair of Springfield people who may have been blackmailing him over Internet-related sexual activity.
This is really a convoluted story. The Springfield people, Dominic Martin and Briana Martin face charges of larceny and extortion. Dominic Martin, it turns out, is the "priest" and "bishop" of an odd sect, the Traditional Western Rite Archdiocese of America, which claims to carry on the traditions of the Catholic Church before the Catholic/Orthodox split of 1054. Despite that, he "married" a gay couple recently.
Father Ruggeri's name has not come up in any recently-released public documents. One would think that, with all that has gone on in the last year, any priest who does not want to be considered a candidate for the Darwin Awards has taken his illicit sexual activity so far below ground that it cannot be traced (or preferably discontinued it altogether). Perhaps the "internet-relasted sexual activity" is in the past. Something about this whole story does not compute. But perhaps it will when more details are available.
While some sources are saying mid-February, I think units just now being mobilized and having their first waves shipped over will take a few weeks to shake down in theater. Late February seems the most likely scenario to me, though an air campaign could begin sooner. It is pretty certain that special forces units are in Iraq now. It would be astonishing if they were not. I suspect we will see sorties in the No-Fly Zones increased dramatically, so that the Iraqis are tempted to show us what they have for AAA and SAMs in those two regions (and so that we can destroy whatever is there). That effort could escalate all by itself. Even if they don't take the bait, we will destroy what we can see.
The simple fact is that Saddam's friends in al Qaeda (and there are al Qaeda-affiliated units fighting for Saddam against the Kurds) sealed Saddam's fate on September 11th, 2001. And if I were Khadafy or an Iranian mullah, I'd be looking for a way to be seen as on the right side (as Pakistan's Mussaref has done) in the coming war, or they will be next.
Thanks to Mark Shea for this link.
The bishop in question is Bishop William K. Weigand of Sacramento.
"As your bishop, I have to say clearly that anyone – politician or otherwise – who thinks it is acceptable for a Catholic to be pro-abortion is in very great error, puts his or her soul at risk, and is not in good standing with the church," Weigand said. "Such a person should have the integrity to acknowledge this and choose of his own volition to abstain from receiving Holy Communion until he has a change of heart."
"Ever since the little incident last month, people have been asking questions," Weigand told congregants in reference to the Kavanagh showdown. "They asked "how can a Catholic be in good standing and still hold that point of view? I'm saying you can't be a Catholic in good standing and hold that point of view. The governor's position is very public and contrary. ... You can't have it both ways," he said.
I think this is the first fruit of the recent letter from the Vatican on Catholic politicians and life issues.
If Bishop Weigand would do the same thing here, he would be a welcome change as the new Archbishop of Boston. On the other hand, after checking the Dallas Morning News' list of pervert priest protectors from last June, maybe not. At least Bishop Weigand is right on this topic.
Michelle Malkin, in a column carried at TownHall.com, looks at the ease with which those who desire to can illegally cross both of our land borders. She rightly points out that this is a huge national security concern, and that the President will say nothing about it in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday.
"The simple truth is that we've lost control of our own borders," Ronald Reagan warned nearly two decades ago, "and no nation can do that and survive." We ignore America's lost sovereignty at our peril.
TownHall.com today carries Debra Saunders' column, in which she contiues the barrage against the French.
Front Page Magazine carries a excellent column of Charles Krauthammer's which originally appeared in the Washington Post on the necessity of getting the Iraq campaign started and done with quickly.
You won't see me link to Rolling Stone very often. Thanks to Matt Drudge for the link. And thanks to Howie Carr for the suggestion on how to verify the existence of the phenomonon.
For those inclined to doubt the story, remember the percentages are not what matter. What matters is the existence of this sub-subculture, which is easily confirmed by doing a Google search under either bug chasers or gift givers. Without trying very hard, I pulled up an article on the subject from May, 1999. In five minutes, I came up with way more information than I would ever want to know on the subject. Apparently, there has been a great deal written about this subject in the homosexual press, but this is the first time it has hit the mainstream press. Don't let people with a pro-homosexual agenda (like Andrew Sullivan) steer you wrong. The phenomonon exists. As I said, it is not the percentage that matters, but the existence of the sub-subculture.
"Carlos offers, not for the first time, to have me come along and watch him and Richard have sex, but I decline. In the taxi to Richard's place, the conversation falls silent. He hasn't been tested in a couple of years, and he's reluctant to get a test now. He might very well be positive already. But as long as he doesn't know for sure, he can always hope that tonight is the night he gets the virus. Every date is potentially The One. Stepping out of the cab into the rain, I ask what he will do if he finds out one day that he has succeeded in being infected -- ending the fun of being a bug chaser. He stops, then says he might move on to being a gift giver..."
Thursday, January 23, 2003
Of course, Jonah Goldberg discovered it.
People are discussing commercials and going through the motions of comparing the teams that will play. The grocery stores are festooned with football decorations, so the game must be near. I must confess that the Super Bowl is a matter of complete indifference to me, if the New England Patriots are not playing in it. I don't follow other teams, so their rosters are largely meaningless to me. I really don't care who wins. I have only watched 2 or 3 Super Bowls in my lifetime. This will not be another one.
What will I do with myself? Mrs. F. and I may watch something else from our extensive VHS (and embryonic DVD) library (over 1000 titles). We may play cribbage or Yahtzee or Monopoly or anything. If we feel like it, we may just plug in some CDs, or go across the street to see a first-run movie. We might read, go out to dinner, paint model soldiers, write, do school work. We have ample means to keep ourselves occupied, not just on Super Bowl Sunday, but every day of the year. Boredom is not a serious danger here.
We don't watch TV, meaning either regular network programming or cable, anyway. The Super Bowl will be just one more thing that we will not have watched. And you know, we won't miss anything.
Radio talk show host Michael Savage's book, Savage Nation, has hit No. 1 on the NYT bestseller list. Since our local talk radio station decided to chuck Sean Hannity this past fall (his show was tape-delayed to air 8pm-11pm, so as not to conflict with Howie Carr's show, which runs at the same time that Hannity's is broadcast, and the station apparently decided they needed something at night that was not 5 hours old by the time it aired in Boston), I have been listening to Savage. I agree with him most of the time. But I've got to tell you, his New Yooork accent is just too much for New England ears. Life-long New Englanders are programmed to find the New York/New Jersey accent distasteful. Only the southern accent is as offensive as the New Yooork-Joisey accent for us New Englanders. I am particularly open-minded, so I don't switch Savage right off.
Suggestion to Savage: lose the accent.
Suggestion to Rush Limbaugh: if Hannity and Savage can both hit number 1, isn't it time for book 3?
National Review On Line's John J. Miller reports that Russell Kirk's ghost stories are being reprinted in two volumes. The first, Off the Sand Road, is available now, but there are only 500 copies. Ash Tree Press is the publisher.
Byron York at National Review On Line explores the communist connections of Washington's "peace" demonstrators.
National Review On Line features Bolek Kabala's brief history of conservative college newspapers. I got my start as a writer with the Observer of Boston College, which I helped found in my freshman year, and became editor of in my junior year.
I think we have reached the 15th consecutive day with the thermometer not reaching freezing. The weather forecasters are saying it will be Monday before we get as high as 32 degrees. Mrs. F. phoned to tell me that the bank thermometer down the street read 3 degrees (I can't walk her to the train in the mornings anymore because of my knee, so we do the next best thing, talk on the cell phone while she walks to the train). Wind chills are in the horrific range of 10 to 20 degrees below zero. A homeless man died of exposure in Boston after refusing to come into shelter the other night. While I was grocery shopping yesterday evening, it felt as if all the cold winds from Canada and points north were hurtling down directly at the Stop & Shop. The Montreal Express was palpable.
But there is cause for hope. The Burpee Seed catalog arrived yesterday. True, we currently don't have space for gardening. But the arrival of this catalog, together with the increasing amount of daylight, brings a sense of hope even to this dark and cold time. For me, there is nothing like the sight of daffodils, marigolds, tulips, corn, tomatoes, and other growing things to shake off the gloom of winter. We are about to enter the period when we traditionally get our heaviest snow of the year (January 25-Feburary 15). Perhaps we shall have a day or two of respite, with temperatures getting to 50 degrees, before we are buried for the rest of the winter.
The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue Is working on a provisional study on the New Age movement. The Church has said very little about paganism/Wicca/New Age. Believe me, living in Salem, the Wicca capital of the world, with four New Age shops across the street (a coven meets in one of the shops after hours) I can see that the Church really needs to be pro-active on this front. Younger people baptized Catholic but raised without proper formation are being drawn into Wicca, etc. by peer pressure, feminism, environmentalism as taught in the schools and by network programming, and openness to homosexuality (again, as taught in the schools and on TV).
The document the Vatican will release does not sound like anything authoritative (it is called a provisional study). What we really need is the appointment of rigorously orthodox pastors who are also dynamic speakers able to reach the hearts and minds of young people without dropping to their level as the various liturgical/musical efforts directed at youth do. But Father Rutlers are few and far between. Vianneys are even more so.
It isn't so much a matter of making young people feel comfortable with the Mass by making it sound like a rock concert. It is a matter of revising Catholic education so that young people have better formation, so that they are less vulnerable to the pull from paganism, or from fundamentalist protestantism. It means purposefully setting out to make young people more rigorously Catholic than their parents (and maybe grandparents). Preaching that rises above the "Jesus is love." school is part of it. Young people need to be scared a little bit more about sin, death, Judgment, Hell and the devil.
While it may be too late to revisit, "No salvation outside the Catholic Church," something coming closer to that needs to be put in place. Without it, adhering to the Church throughout one's life does not seem to matter much. The Church has to somehow make it clear that it does matter, and make sure that every kid passing through Cathlic schools and CCD programs understands that from day one.
George Will, in a column caried by TownHall.com today, takes on leftist presumption.
Also at TownHall.com, Bob Tyrell takes on the peace movement.
And David Horowitz reminds us that the "peace movement" isn't about peace so much as an opportunity to exercise anti-American bile.
Jonah Goldberg's syndicated column, carried today at TownHall.com, on the French generally being a boil on the world's backside is well worth reading. .
As Kenneth Pollack details in his masterful book "The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq," France has been rewarded time and again for its feckless lapdoggism. "As a result of (France's) shameless pandering, the French have been the largest or second largest recipient of Iraqi oil-for-food contracts in every phase of the program."
FrontPage Magazine also carries Ann Kingston's assessment, originally written for the National Post, of the leftists running off to Baghdad to be human shields for Saddam. What nimrods! Any one of them would qualify for the 2003 Darwin Awards. The gene pool, of course, would be better off without them. Unfortunately, they are mostly, like most leftist protestors these days, well past prime child-bearing and rearing age. If they want to put themelves in the path of a missile strike, that is their choice. Too bad for their families, though. I hope the presence of these idiots will not hinder or delay the war effort one bit.
In about three weeks, we should have the last troops we are planning to deploy to the theatre in place, and the weather should be optimum for taking out Saddam. We dare not wait the months the Euro-weenies are suggesting, since morale and discipline, as well the the physical state of the equipment on the ground and the prospect of mounting desert temperatures dictates that we wait no longer than 4 weeks from today. By then, most of the looney leftists will have tired of their game and gone home to protest against globalization, or the flush toilet, or the internal combustion engine, or some other nonsense. If world opinion is not lined up by then? "They will bleat" (sound familiar? Cornwallis discussing the Irish Parliament in Thomas Flanagan's The Year of the French), at first, but acquiese once we have won. Victory has a thousand fathers. Defeat is an orphan.
FrontPage Magazine today carries Michael Radu's appraisal of the Venzualan situation, where a pro-Castro president is systematically ruining the national economy and helping to shore up Castro (and being a thorn in the side to the US). He will have to go eventually. The sooner the better, Radu says. I agree, but one crisis at a time, please.
It really should have been "blue" America. Why the networks' election map in 2000 showed Republican-won states as red, and Democrat-won states as blue, I have no idea. The color scheme was the opposite in the 1980s.
Wednesday, January 22, 2003
World War II cartoonist Bill Mauldin died today of complications from Alzheimer's Disease. He was 81. Mauldin won his first Pulitzer Prize in 1945 for his Willie and Joe cartoons depicting the reality of the war in Europe. He was, at the time, serving as a rifleman with the 45th Infantry Division's 180th Regiment. His cartoons became a staple in Stars and Stripes. His second Pulitzer was one in 1959 for an editorial cartoon in which he showed Boris Pasternak in the gulag, asking a fellow prisoner, "I won the Nobel Prize for Literature. What was your crime?"
Mauldin worked at various papers as an editorial cartoonist in the 1950s and 1960s. He acted in two movies, including Audie Murphy's The Red Badge of Courage. Requiescat in pace.
May we soon be able to say the same about the Texas reparations suit.
Today marks a very sad anniversary, Roe v. Wade's 30th. To the believer, it is as if Holy Innocents Day came twice in a month, as if Good Friday came early and out of the sequence that puts it in perspective. Always winter, and never Christmas.
Some forty million aborted babies later I think we can see clearly the de-sensitizing effect Roe has had. Respect for innocent life has declined markedly. Terminally ill? Let Jack Kevorkian deal with it. Wouldn't society be so much better off if we just took the next step and started slaughtering elderly people at, say, the age of 70? Now, as we saw below, we have a death cult in the homosexual community as well.
But getting rid of Roe, while it should remain a high, if hidden, priority on our Supreme Court justice selection agenda, will not solve the problem. Reverse Roe tomorrow, and we have abortion legal in all 50 states. The effort has to be deeper than overturning one wrongly decided case. Pro-life people need to change the hearts and minds of several generations, significant parts of which care nothing for religious belief, but only for their own convenience. Progress has been made, but RU486 and its progeny threatens to undermine it. Very soon the practise of horrific surgical abortion will disappear altogether. But lives will still be taken. It will just be cleaner and less traumatic. That will be something much more difficult to fight against.
With well-founded ideas and prayer, it may yet be overcome. If it will be overcome, it will be in the US, not Europe, which is too far gone in decadence and irreligion to make such a reform. The good news is that, historically, many state legislatures have been eager to have as restrictive an abortion law regime as allowed by the Supreme Court. Once that monument to judicial activism in the cause of feminism at the top comes crashing down, there will be action. Remove the mantle of the Supreme Court's protection, and public opinion on the topic may shift further in the pro-life direction.
National Review On Line today features a symposium on Roe. An editorial from 5 years ago is re-posted. Ramesh Ponnuru has a thoughtful essay on current pro-life prospects. John J. Miller is a little more optimistic. President Bush's proclamation of National Sanctity of Human Life Day is heartening. Frederica Mathewes-Green has a conversion story for us, in which she refutes many of the common justifications for abortion. We need to hear many, many more conversion stories.
And read what Jonah's Mom has to say at Lucianne.com about this sad day:
40 Million Angels
On this, the day that marks thirty years since Roe vs. Wade, we would like to pause and reflect on the teachers, scholars, doctors, lawyers, carpenters, plumbers, writers, singers, dancers, nurses, accountants, artists, architects, clerks, machinists, cops, soldiers, sailors, researchers, scientists - pick any profession or way of life. They died before they got there. They died for our "freedom." They died so that we can all be "equal." Forty-million souls....what a dear, dear price to pay.
This time, it was Father James W. O'Neil, SJ whose good name was wrongly placed on the file of a deceased diocsesan priest, Father William J. O'Neill, who is accused of sexually abusing boys. Similar mistakes have happened with regard to a Father Ahern, a Stigmatine priest accused of abuse, in whose file documents that belonged in the files of priests not accused of any abuse appeared, and with regard to the two Father James Foleys. The plaintiffs asked for the file of one James Foley, and got the file of another James Foley. It just happened that the file of the one they got, Salem's James Foley, contained an extraordinarily nasty story about fathering children and pulling a Ted Kennedy at Chappaquiddick while the mother died of a drug overdose.
Carelessness of this kind could get the Archdiocese sued for large sums by aggrieved former priests, who have a reasonable expectation that their confidential files will remain confidential unless they are accused of some sort of wrongdoing.
Today's Washington Times editorial takes a look back at the Vatican's 1990 and 1991 denunciations of the Persian Gulf War, and shows that they were as baseless as the warnings coming from the US bishops and Rome today. If the Vatican and the American bishops spent nearly as much time and effort preaching the Gospel, feeding the hungry, and educating Catholic children as they do carrying water for brutal Islamo-fascist dictators, they would really be serving mankind (and God).
France and Germany are considering dual citizenship. Citizen of one soft over-taxed, anti-American socialist "paradise," citizen of two.
FrontPage Magazine has more on this lawsuit (really a travesty that should be dismissed by the court sua sponte and counsel of record sanctioned).
Check out the "We're entitled," attitude of one of the named plaintiffs:
"The Germans (Jews) got theirs. The Indians got theirs and may get more," she said. "Everyone has received reparations, except African-Americans. It's our turn now."
Do I need to point our that Irish people have never been given reparations for the potato famine, and the "No Irish Need Apply" signs? My ancestors were kings in Ireland more than a millenium ago. Maybe I should sue to get a throne in Upper Ossory. How about Englishmen of pure Saxon blood suing the Normans for taking their country away from them? You know that Italians have never been given reparations for the generations of stereotype and discrimination they suffered here. Isn't it odd that no one has started a suit to compensate WASPS for being scalped or captured by Indians from King Phillip's War until the 19th century? How about some of that casino revenue for descendants of families torn apart by Indian raids? Would the plaintiffs say it will be the "turn" of these groups later?
Claims for group harm that happened in the remote past are bad for society. This society, above all others, is based on individual choice, attainment, and skill. There is no way to prove that those who are in the gutter today are there because of slavery, not when members of groups not impacted by slavery are there right along with the descendants of slaves. Somewhere along the way, there was a lack of initiative, drive, skill, or intelligence that contributed to the lowly status of those who dream of reparations. It has more to do with why they are where they are than slavery ever did.
Our legal system is inadequate to redress claims of harm of this nature. It is fine in compensating an individual for damage done to him personally by some other existing person or entity. The questions of causation and individual circumstances over the last 200 years would puzzle a Solomon. But it is not the province of the courts to mediate between ethnic and racial groups in this manner. If certain people want reparations, let them take their case to Congress or their state legislature. Let them get a democratically arrived-at remedy. Let them win over public opinion, rather than some Clinton-appointed federal judge. Then we will see what merit there is in their claims.
Yesterday, we learned that whites are disproportionately "in harm's way" in the US military, though the percentage of blacks in the armed forces overalll is higher than in the general population. Today, we find that Hispanics now outnumber blacks, according to the US Census Bureau. That means that blacks are no longer even the most important minority group numerically (though, since they tend to vote as a monolithic bloc and think in absolute lock-step with the Democrat Party, their political power far exceeds that of Hispanics). The times, they are a-changin'.
Matt Drudge is reporting on an upcoming article in Rolling Stone that claims that 25% of newly HIV-infected homosexual men actively sought out the virus. It says they are called in the gay comunity "bug chasers" and that those who transmit the virus to them are called "gift givers."
"In this world, the men with HIV are the most desired, and the bug chasers will do anything to get the virus."
Gay groups "aggressively encouraged" Freeman to drop the article.
One sad passage captures a young man in New York City who wants to be infected:
"His eyes light up as he says that the actual moment of transmission, the instant he gets HIV, will be 'the most erotic thing I can imagine.'"
An infector is quoted as saying: "I'm murdering him in a sense, killing him slowly, and that's sort of, as sick as it sounds, exciting to me."
What a sick and disturbing subculture!
With this evidence, can anyone doubt what the Holy Father has said about a "culture of death"?
One thing that surprises me about this article is that it was not spiked. From Drudge's blurb, it appears that the homosexual community tried to accomplish that, but somehow failed with Rolling Stone. Why a publication like Rolling Stone, whose political correctness is normally measured on the Richter Scale refused to accomodate their friends in the homosexual camp is beyond me. Maybe they'll take up the job that New York Times reporter was doing last spring, and out that American cardinal next. But don't hold your breath.
O, tempora! O, mores! But we don't have "mores" as Cicero understood that term. We have barbarism masquerading as civilization, tastelessness spun as the height of good taste, and the most disgusting forms of death and decay pretending to be beauty.
Tuesday, January 21, 2003
Scott Ritter, the former UN weapons inspector who made world headlines lately by shilling for Saddam was arrested for trying to lure a 16 year-old girl at a Burger King. Makes you wonder who knew about this weakness of his and whether they tried to use it, and whether it has anything to do with the about-face Ritter made. People with undisciplined sex lives are vulnerable to blackmail.
Seems as though it will be interesting, though forget about following the dialogue.
And shuffling perverts from town to town has done nothing to redress that, has it Your Eminence?
The Ivy Division is headed to join the build-up in the Persian Gulf region. This is a heavy infantry division, mostly mechanized with plenty of tanks in their TO&E. Although I haven't studied their organization in some time, they used to be essentially an armoured infantry division, with six battalions of mechanized infantry, five tank battalions, an artillery brigade often attached, and a regiment of attack helicopters as well as an MLRS unit. It is the first "all digital" division in the US Army, though I don't think it will make that much of a difference. However, if the fact that their systems are little more up-to-date gives them a morale advantage, it is useful. The most cutting edge weapons are often not decisive, though. The German army in Normandy held the US and British troops at bay for more than 2 months in 1944 with more than half their transport horse-drawn.
The Fourth and other American forces will probably deploy in brigade-sized all-arms teams similar to the kampfgruppes favored by the Germans in World War II. The US Army embraced the all-arms team concept a long time ago, but have not settled on a good name for it. They have used the terms "task force" and "combat command" at various times. The German word "kampfgruppe" is probably the most descriptive and is most in use.
Since the enemy is expected to yield its frontiers, rapid movement will characterize the outset of the battle. It will get slower as we approach the cities, where the Iraqis plan to engage us in urban house-to-house warfare. As we mop up city after city, WMD can be expected to be used by the Iraqis. There will also be a massive effort to sabotage the Iraqi oil industry. Wells, underground oil supplies, pipelines, refineries, and port facilities may be destroyed, in the same way Hitler wanted his generals to make western Germany scorched earth in the face of our advance in 1945. That is why a massive strike to kill Saddam and the leaders of the Iraqi state and military at the very outset may be the best strategy. If there is no one above division-level left to give the orders, the WMD may not be used, and the environmental nightmare of Iraqi scorched earth may be averted.
In any case, God bless and protect the members of our armed forces as they go about our work.
Two American civilians (employees of the Defense Department) were shot by terrorists while driving north of Kuwait City. One has died. This is another reason we can't keep the troops penned up in Kuwait for very long. The longer they sit there, the more likely they are to become targets for terrorists. Best to just get on with it, UN or no, and get the show on the road. Ironically, our troops may be safer in combat with the Iraqis than in their cantons in Kuwait and elsewhere.
In the words of P.J. O'Rourke, give war a chance. In the words of Shakspeare, "Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!" Our troops will be better off, they'll be back with their families the quicker, and they won't be sitting targets for every Islamo-fascist with a gun, grenade, rocket launcher, or mortar (which is about 100% of the Islamo-fascist population). World opinion will get over it. French public opinion in January 1991 was 79% against the Persian Gulf War. After we won, it was 67% in favor. The same will happen now, and not just in France. We have the means. All we need is the will.
We don't want to fight.
But,by jingo, if we do,
We've got the ships,
We've got the men,
And we've got the money, too.
Trite, of course, but nevertheless true.
Greater Boston is in the worst cold snap in 123 years. Brrrrrrrrr!
There was not much going on over the weekend, anyway.
Herds of left-wing nutters paraded around Washington and San Francisco to assert the inhumanity of the Bush Administration vis-a-vis Saddam Hussein. The sorts who turn out for these things were, are, ever shall be the hard-core Hate-America-First Crowd, San Francisco Democrats (in Jeanne Kirkpatrick's wonderfully evocative phrase from 1984), communists (they sponsored the effort), tree huggers, gay rights freaks, femi-nazis, consumer "advocates," PETA-types (the last five making up the usual left-wing rent-a-mob coalition). It really is astonishing when one contemplates the number of fools for whom the 1960s still live. My advice, start the lithium again. Nothing new to see here.
Martin Luther King Day passed quietly, the most pointless of national holidays in honor of someone not personally deserving of such a celebration (plagiarism, rampant womanizing, blatant hypocrisy, possible affiliation with the Communist Party). The usual bitching and moaning from certain quarters that society remains "unjust" to certain groups (translation: "more transfer payments and 'affirmative action', please"). The usual politicians posturing for the same groups at the same breakfasts as every other year. Oh well, the rest of us are happy enough for the day off. I noticed a lack of mention of the day at my favorite sites here at St. Blog's (except Mark Sullivan's). Not surprising. Not our day. Equality isn't my particular goal. Liberty and equality are not the same thing, you know, but in fact are rival tensions (more of one, less of the other). I'll take ordered liberty over forced equality (except for equality before the law and in voting rights) any day.
Social equality on the basis of race to me is irrelevant. All whites are not my genuine equals, or yours. Ditto blacks and any other groups. Social equality does not exist as a general thing. It exists between certain individuals on the basis of upbringing, education, and profession, et cetera. There are blacks who are my social equals and yours, though they are few as a percentage. The same holds for Hispanics, and Asians, and whites. My landscaper, or my dustman, whether white, black, or purple polka-dotted, is not my social equal, and there is no point pretending he is. Neither is a drug dealer, rap star, or other undesirable with plenty of money. Treat all with courtesy and Christian charity (we are not pre-revolutionary French noblemen, after all). But don't offend me with nostrums about social equality based on anything other than taste, upbringing, education, and similarity of mutual interests and outlooks.
I'm baaaacck! Heck, even Mark Shea blogged this weekend.
Monday, January 20, 2003
Little to no more blogging today. I'm going to finish off Hotel Pastis, and maybe watch Band of Brothers. Enjoy the last day of your long weekend, if you're having one.
Sunday, January 19, 2003
I've been spending the weekend recuperating. The swelling in the knee has dropped to about half the mass it had shortly after the accident. I'm weening myself off the pain-killers, and decreasing the frequency of icing, and increasing the frequency of exercising the joint. I expect to be walking normally in another two weeks, and to have full range of motion by Easter.
Spent the afternoon on the sofa (with the knee elevated, of course) reading Peter Mayle's marvelous Hotel Pastis. I haven't had an afternoon to sit back and just read a novel in many months. There is no other writer who just makes me want to light up a cigar, pour myself a glass of Cointreau, and treat myself to some pate de foie gras. Unfortunately, there is nothing in the house closer to the foie gras than a simple goose liver pate with the vaguest hint of truffles. And, though my humidor is well-stocked with a selection of Dunhills, Hoyo de Monterrey Excaliburs, Macanudos, Fonsecas and Ashtons, it is way too cold outside to smoke a cigar (I smoke them outside to avoid breathing in much of my own smoke, and to keep Mrs. F. happy). Although the weather forecast holds out no hope of "cigar weather", we may yet have a nice January thaw. Nevertheless, the Cointreau is very nice with some bittersweet chocolate.