Friday, September 20, 2002


There was a demo in Vienna today against a plan to require horses drawing carriages to wear diapers. The protesters protested by wearing, you guessed it, diapers.

Slate nicely provides a link to this 1999 Wash Post story about US infiltration of UNSCOM, including sneaking in equipment to intercept Iraqi military communications having nothing to do with the UNSCOM mission.

Shrub’s proposed resolution will do what I said the UN resolution he wants would do, transfer all decision-making power to Bush with a single vote, after which he would not have to bother with them again. It calls for him to be allowed to use “all means,” which we expected, when and if he wants, and in advance of any UN resolution and in advance of finding out how inspections actually go. Even the 1991 resolution required the government to use peaceful means first. What’s impressive is that the Bushies wrote the resolution so it doesn’t even restrict possible military action to Iraq. When they say they want “maximum flexibility,” they mean it. I hear yoga is good for that.

The Bushies are really pissed at German Chancellor Schröder for using opposition to Bush’s wars in his reelection campaign. And especially since that position may put the SPD over the top. But they’re really pissed that the justice minister compared Bush’s actions to Hitler’s, in using foreign conquests to detract from domestic failures. The Bush people think this is unfair, and point out that Hitler’s domestic policies, especially economic, were much more successful than Bush’s.

In the minute and a half I spent studying German, I missed one of their really useful compound words: nichtregierungsfaehig, meaning “unfit to govern.” Let’s all try to subtly work that word into a conversation. Add a .de to the end of that, and it’s an SPD website. Not quite sure what the animation of the donkey crapping is meant to signify.

Shrub also releases a new military doctrine of pre-emption, while trying not to use the word. I believe the title is Kill Them All, Let God Sort Them Out, since its premise is that there need be no proof of a specific threat in order for US action to constitute “self-defence.” It makes a pretense of multi-lateralism, which William Saletan of Slate says is merely unilateralism in disguise, since it involves creating coalitions only of whoever is willing to back us up in doing whatever we damned well want to do. It also says that the US will remain militarily far superior to anyone else forever, and that anyone trying to come close will get their ass kicked (“dissuade future military competition”).(The US now spends as much as the next 8 military powers combined). The Times reminds us that Bush when running for this job promised a “humble foreign policy.” By the way, non-proliferation will be replaced by counterproliferation, whatever the hell that might be.

Colin Powell says that the US will block UN inspectors going to Iraq unless it gets the resolution it wants. In other words, no inspectors without authorizing the US to go to war.

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