Saturday, March 22, 2003

Shoot Straight You Bastards! Don't Make a Mess of It.

Reuters is reporting that one of the men of the 101st died of his wounds from that grenade attack. I wish I knew a bit more about the Military Code of Justice - I'll see if I can find a source and read up. But in the meantime, I'm just thinking that that SOB in Kuwait needs to be put up on charges and shot.

And it got me to thinking about the 1974 NBC teledrama, The Execution of Private Slovik - a drama of a 1945 execution for dissertion of one Eddie Slovik, the first since the Civil War - a movie, as you'll see, which appeals to me on so many levels.
I'm not quite dead sir... in fact, I think I could pull through...

What if Saddam isn't dead, but just gravely, gravely ill? Who is going to claim leadership if the old bastard still might pull through?

"Well, Great Saddam, when you were.. I mean... when I thought you were dead, I mean, I like... you know.. talked to the secret police about... you know... uhmmm... errrr....?"

Anyone think Saddam let's the guy who claimed leadership, even for six hours, live to see another sunset? Not freaking likely.

This might be the best of all possible worlds.

Friday, March 21, 2003

Treason Doth Never Prosper

Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason.

- Sir John Harington (1561-1612)

British soldiers from 40 Commando’s Charlie Company found a bunker full of the dead [Iraqi] officers, with spent shells from an AK47 rifle around them.

Iraqi enlisted men apparently shot their officers dead rather than fight.

Misleading Headline of the Day Award...or Ted Turner's Wishful Thinking?

"U.S. in Talks for Peaceful Surrender."

The Fountain of Liberty

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson, 1787.

In the meantime...

via Michael Totten.

Hellspawn of Lessig, Part II

My friend Jason over at LawGeek, notes that the Transportation Safety Agency not only searched a bag, but decided the time was right to leave an editorial comment about the bag's contents. The Seattle Times story notes that the TSA denied its agent left the hand-written note:

This leads Jason to ask, rightly:

This raises two interesting possibilities: (1) It was a TSA screener or (2) It was some random person who managed to elude TSA security measures, sneak into the baggage area of the airport, riffle through a bunch of bags, find the TSA search notice, and write the message -- all without detection. So either the TSA did it or the TSA has some serious security holes. I don't know which concerns me more.

Jason's done a lot of work with Larry Lessig on the Sonny Bono case and while I agree with him about almost nothing, he's as right as hell about this.
Throwing Things!

My friend Adam Bonin over at Throwing Things notes that celebrities are taking Mickey Kaus' advice to put out bad news while the world's attention is focused elsewhere. Check it out.

Adam is the self-styled "E!" to a Blogosphere lousy with CNNs. And Eugene Volokh said he was cool. And he is. And so's his wife.
All Frank Chu, All Day Long!

Evan Coyne Maloney, God Bless Him, has put up four uninterrupted minutes of Frank Chu (Current QuickTime required).

More on Frank Chu can be found here.

UPDATE: Mrs Earthling reports from San Francisco that included among the 100-150 protestors on Market Street she can see from her window is our man, Frank Chu.

Good Updated Map

BBC has a useful updated map with reported troop deployments and such.
Like Joseph Stalin....or's a Cult of Personality

Or, at least, it was.

But in Safwan, just across the Kuwait border, Iraqis watched and in some cases helped as U.S. Marines rigged chains to giant portraits of the Iraqi president and tore them down. Townspeople mostly hid from the occupying force. Some patted their stomach to beg for food. Maj. David "Bull" Gurfein, pumping his fist in the air, led a milling crowd of citizens in chants of "Iraqis, Iraqis, Iraqis!" A young man in a headscarf told Gurfein: "No Saddam Hussein. Bush!"

I'm glad we're knocking down Saddam Hussein icons, but if we want 'em all down, we'd better be prepared to hire Bechtel or something... the Marines can't do it all. Say....maybe that can be the new lefty conspiracy-of-the-week. Bechtel will surely win some reconstruction contracts, but maybe they're just after... yeah, that's it... Saddam Hussein Iconography Cleanup. Now that's going to be lucrative.

Noting the comments of Erik, over at Wax Tadpole, in the same vein, I don't blame the Iraqis, not least the fellows in the South, for hiding from us when we showed up in town. President George H.W. Bush screwed the Iraqis something fierce last time. It's been too dark for too long in Iraq, and if these guys spend weeks or months staggering, blinking and bumping into furniture under the harsh light of freedom, before they realize that Saddam Hussein is gone for good, I don't blame them a bit.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Iraq's Generation X

We will fight the infidel crusaders until death... or... you know, whatever.
Second Time's a Charm

The guy who fell to his death off Golden Gate Bridge yesterday...survived a fall from the Bridge 15 years ago.
Tenative Steps...and Silence

I'm really beginning to think we got Saddam. Here's a guy who had every intention of burning his country to the ground and yet, in the last twenty-four hours, nothing's happened. No major attack toward Israel, no major resistance, nickel-and-dime artillery and ballistic missile attacks. Basically...nothing.

And I think the relatively small strikes on Baghdad back that up...we don't want to smash communications in Baghdad just yet...because we want to know if he's still there. He cannot rely on carrier pigeon and if he picks up the phones....we will know. And yet we've apparently heard nothing.

And then there's this:

Administration officials also said they were relying on intelligence from Iraqis who had not spoken to them in the past. ‘‘People are talking to us now and telling us things now that they would never have dreamed of telling us,’’ an official said. ‘‘People are sticking their necks out in all kinds of way in Iraq that they never would do before.’’

Tomorrow shall be interesting indeed.
Will Smith for President

I'm very much of the view that Will Smith will be President of the United States some day. The man is this generation's Ronald Reagan. Today, he announced that he's pulling out of being a presenter at the Academy Awards:

He felt uncomfortable in attending and respectfully asked to be excused. There's no agenda, there's no speeches. He just didn't feel personally comfortable in going because of the world situation," said his publicist Stan Rosenfield.

Now, God knows what will happen in the war between now and Sunday night, but Will Smith is one smart cobber and pulling out -- without saying why -- let's him hedge his bets. Twenty years down the line, if the war went well, and he pulled out for "personal reasons" - and if the war went badly, he pulled out to protest it. Either way, he keeps his Hollywood bona fides.

N.B.: I assume Will Smith's politics are Liberal/Democrat and, therefore, I am very unlikely to want him to be President. Nevertheless, I'm sure convinced that he will be.
We will not fly our flags in their country...

From Lt Col Tim Collins, Commander 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish:

"The enemy should be in no doubt that we are his nemesis and that we are bringing about his rightful destruction. There are many regional commanders who have stains on their souls and they are stoking the fires of hell for Saddam. He and his forces will be destroyed by this coalition for what they have done. As they die they will know their deeds have brought them to this place. Show them no pity....
We go to liberate not to conquer. We will not fly our flags in their country. We are entering Iraq to free a people and the only flag which will be flown in that ancient land is their own. Show respect for them....There are some who are alive at this moment who will not be alive shortly. Those who do not wish to go on that journey, we will not send. As for the others I expect you to rock their world. Wipe them out if that is what they choose. But if you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory...If someone surrenders, ensure that one day they go home to their family. The ones who wish to fight, well, we aim to please.
If you harm the regiment or its history by over-enthusiasm in killing or in cowardice, know it is your family who will suffer. You will be shunned unless your conduct is of the highest, for your deeds will follow you down through history. We will bring shame on neither our uniform or our nation."

God Save the Queen.
Uday Hussein is Dead

Or is in a world of hurt. This blogger put a couple of data points together and so concludes.

I can't say he'll be missed.
Transformers v. Saddam

Optimus Prime is a member of the Ohio National Guard. He started out life as an Autobot worker named Orion Pax.

Noted via NRO.
From the Rumour Mill

We claimed Aziz defected so we could get the piece of grab-asstic amphibian shit to deny it. We tracked the broadcast. We followed Aziz. We found the leadership.

And then we dropped the bomb.

Get up for the downstroke, Saddam!

Frank Chiu makes the Big Time!

Evan Coyne Maloney has a new film of on-the-street interviews with anti-war protestors in San Francisco. It's good, fun stuff. But best of all, in the middle he's got a lot of good tape of San Francisco's hardest working protestor, Frank Chiu.*

A lot of folks unfamiliar with the street scene in San Francisco are asking themselves: "What's up with that guy?"

Well, to suggest that this fellow is typical of anti-war protestors is remarkably unfair. Frank is on the streets of San Francisco, every single day (he occasionally heads over to Oakland's Jack London Square), eight to six. He dresses better, he's more coherent than many of them and a damned sight more dedicated. He's polite,** can usually be found at any televised protest, and carries a sign that says a lot of things - but most famously "Impeach Clinton - 12 Galaxies Guiltied to a Zegnatronic Rocket Society."

Frank has fan sites.

Frank has a fan club.

Frank has a resume.

Frank has songs written about him. Modern Rock....and Reggae-Speed Metal.

Frank has an electronica-beat poem.

A couple of years ago, someone had a Frank Chiu blog.

Hell, this last October, despite out-massing Frank by a good 150 pounds, I went as him to a Halloween Party.

I know Limbaugh picked up on Maloney's last film and I'm hoping this is Frank Chiu's moment!

Frank, baby, your time has come! The 12 Galaxies will pay for what they've done to you and -- by God! -- you will finally be paid as a movie star.

* The Asian fellow in the middle of the film with the Tom Waite-like voice talking about the secret resurrection of President Ben Franklin.

** Mrs Earthling noted this morning that Frank actually yelled at her a couple months back. Although this troubled me, I tried to remind her, gently, that if she had spent the last four years agitating for the impeachment of Franklin Pierce, she might be grouchy, too.

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers!

UPDATE: I see a few dot-mil users poking around my site. To all of you guys wearing the uniform... thank you! I can't buy you all a beer, but I promise the next time a man or woman in uniform presents me with a target of (thirsty) opportunity, that round's on me.
Good Review of the Strikes

Washington Post has a good article about why we took an early shot at the regime and saved the shock-and-awe for a couple of nights hence.
What about the Iraqi citizens with pacemakers?

Iraqi medicine is sufficiently advanced that there will be a large number of folks with pacemakers in Baghdad. I assume when the E-Bomb goes off, those poor fellows are screwed. I'm wondering how long after the E-Bomb goes that the Guardian or the Independent will run a lead article protesting the fact that Baghdad's cardiology patients were needless victims of the war...

Mind you, I'm sorry about those poor fellows, but count on a suggestion by the English press that cutting off Baghdad's communication with its troops, and therefore freeing up tens of thousands of troops to lay down their arms without fear of immediate reprisals against those troops' families (which will save hundreds or thousands of lives), won't be worth the, say, seventeen quick cases of cardiac arrest.
Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Blogs of War...

John over at Blogs of War is doing a Yeoman's job of nearly minute by minute updates.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Last Ride of the Tomcat

The Iraq War is almost certain to be the last combat deployment of the venerable Grumman F-14 Tomcat, shortly to be replaced completely with the F/A-18 Super Hornet (designed and built, in part, by the father of a loyal reader of this Blog). Still, it's appropriate to acknowledge how much the Tomcat's done for this country (interestingly, only two countries have ever owned the Tomcat... and both of them have flown it into combat. The United States... and Iran): Twice over the Gulf of Sidra F-14s challenged -- and defeated -- Libyan fighters. It's work in the first Gulf War, of course. But mostly, the Tomcat has deployed thousands of times to make our aircraft carriers what they are... keeping Taiwan free, South Korea secure and the sea lanes open for commerce.

So, to here's to Team Grumman and all the men and women who have flown and maintained the F-14 over the last thirty years.

Thanks for watching my back.

Operation: Iraq Freedom?

Damn. Another disappointment. What's wrong with the good old days of "Operation: Torch" and "Operation: Overlord" and "Operation: Dropshot"? The beaches on Kyushu for the November 1945 invasion of Japan were going to be named "Town Car" and "Sedan" and "DeSoto" (i.e., "My Daddy stormed the beaches of DeSoto!"), not this politically correct stuff like Operation: Restore Hope and Operation: Dental Hygiene.

The Australians were doing better with "Operation: Bastille", but give me something meaningless but ominous-sounding, like Operation: Polecat or Operation: Alcatraz, any old day.

Here's an article that was going around the blogosphere a while back about the importance of the proper naming of an operation.
Le Files d'X

Seems to me that if we do find any good dirt on the French in the large files of Saddam Hussein, shady dealings, kick backs, graft, what-have-you, we ought to do.... exactly nothing. Okay, not nothing, exactly. Let's do one better. Let's release a couple hundred pages of documents - enough to force an investigation into an Assistant Minister of Defense or something - but also someone close enough to Chirac or de Villepin that they know we've got the goods on them, too.

And then leave it the hell alone. What we ought not do is embarrass the biggest French public officials because with a fellow like Chirac I think (a) he's hurt more by his own fear about the impact of the dirt than the dirt itself (it wouldn't be the first time he's faced corruption charges) and (b) I don't believe he's capable of embarassment. You cannot over play this hand or similar dirt about public officials we like may well come to the surface, you want the French political crowd to recognize that we are doing them an enormous favour...and then hang it over their head for as long as humanly possible.

I'd love nothing more than to see the entire French government go down in a giant corruption-trial clusterfuck, but what good does that do us? The French government can't all be involved and then someone else will appear... maybe better, maybe worse... that we won't have the goods on.

I'd much rather have an incomplete accounting of who sold what to whom than have a chance to addle French foreign policy in the Middle East for years - perhaps decades - to come.
Iraqi Human Rights Accomplishments!

Over at Salam Pax, our Iraqi correspondent mentions that yesterday, Iran and Iraq completed the final prisoner exchange from the Iran-Iraq War. A war which ended 14 years ago.
War's Started

Well, looks like there's already fighting around Basra, so there's not much more to say, really, until all the shooting's over, save this:

Pray for Peace. Work for Victory.
If you want the rumour mill for the war...

Head over to, a site of Mideast news run by a former reporter for the Economist.

Debka will be to this Iraq War what Drudge was to the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Rumours are already flying that Tarik Aziz has been shot and/or capture trying to defect.

(In honor of our Anglo-Australia allies, for the duration of the war I shall be using English spellings and English/Australia nouns, just for flavour. Now, I have to go help my wife open the bonnet on our lorrie and then go down and buy some petrol).

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Paul Harvey as the Prime Blogger: The Case Against

A couple of weeks back, Instapundit pointed to this item from a technology/church information blogger, making the case that Paul Harvey was the original blogger, offering commentary along with the day's news. I tended to agree, until I heard him say this on the noon broadcast today, noting that he didn't have any new news on the war...

“Meanwhile, if you agree, I will not belabor you with ceaseless nerve-wracking redundency and conjecture and hash... and rehash...and now, Page 2...” - Paul Harvey, Noon Broadcast (@ approx. 4m 10s), 3/18/03

No self-respecting Blogger would let a lack of new data get in the way of providing new commentary...
For the rest of my days...

For the rest of my days, Tony Blair has my mark. The man is a lion.

Mange tak!

Denmark's in, God bless them. A submarine, a corvette and ground troops.

You can contact Prime Minister Rasmussen at to say "Mange Tak!"

The Danish submarine in question is the S323 Salaen, and you can read about their submarine fleet here.

Tumleren (Kobben) class (Type 207) small coastal submarines
Displacement: 524 tons submerged
Dimensions: 46.61 x 4.6 x 3.8 meters (153 x 15 x 12.5 feet)
Propulsion: Diesel-electric, 2 diesels, 1 shaft, 1,700 shp, 17 knots
Crew: 18
Sonar: PSU 83
Armament: 8 21 inch torpedo tubes (8 torpedoes)
Former Norwegian subs, German built. To be decommissioned by 2003.

The Corvette is the F355 Olfert Fischer, commissioned in 1981.

Nils Juel class large corvettes
Displacement: 1,320 tons full load
Dimensions: 84 x 10.3 x 3.1 meters (275.5 x 33.5 x 10 feet)
Propulsion: 2 shafts; 1 cruise diesel, 4,800 bhp, 20 knots;
1 LM2500 high speed gas turbine, 26,600 shp, 30 knots
Crew: 90
Radar: TRS-3D16 air search
Sonar: PMS-26
Fire Control: 2 Mk91 missile control, 1 9LV200 gun control
EW: Rascal
Armament: 8 Harpoon SSM, 6-cell VLS Sea Sparrow, 1 76 mm OTO DP, 4 20 mm
These are compact but relatively well armed frigate/corvettes.
Have recieved a new mid-life upgrade with new command system, VLS Sea
Sparrow, new radar.

Monday, March 17, 2003

If Iraq were being invaded by Cirque du Soleil, I'd be worried

If American national security were being defended by the cast of Cirque du Soleil, I'd be worried by this frightening display from the Iraqi army...

Otherwise, I'd suggest they'd do better spending their time sewing barage balloons or building a trebuchet or something...
Play Ball!

In one swift stroke, I've managed to upgrade my San Francisco Giants tickets from this view:

To this:

Didn't even cost me a thing. This almost makes up for Game 6.



That I've lived to see the day when a sitting President of the United States labelled France as "lack[ing] the fortitude" makes me happy indeed.
A Near Miss

The one time I don't mention my blog in a random comment directed at NRO's The Corner, it naturally makes it in.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Woodruff Reaches For It

I was watching Judy Woodruff this morning interview Henry Kissinger. I'm sure Kissinger knows a few things about flag etiquitte, but this question seemed to be really reaching to put a bad spin on the Azores Summit:

WOODRUFF: Dr. Kissinger, at the same time, what does it mean? I mean, you saw the 12 flags behind these four leaders. If I'm not mistaken, those were the flags of the four countries repeated three times, if anything, to make it appear that there is more transatlantic solidarity than there appears to be.

I don't know television, but I can tell you that a wall full of flags makes better visuals than a plain blue curtain... and maybe I'm being naive, but perhaps the reason there were not the flags of our other forty allies was that they weren't attending the summit. I can only imagine her question had the Prime Minister of Portugal, in violation of all standards of flag etiquitte, flown the flags of three dozen countries who do support us when their heads of government were not in attendance...

Now France wants a delay...

Now France says it will seek a 30-day deadline. I'm so not impressed.
Use of excessive force....has been approved

The US Air Force authorizes the use of deadly force against trespassers. A word to the wise: don't test 'em.

Of course, you have to catch them, first.
Diplomacy Comes to an End

Debka reports that former Lebanese President Gemayel, who has a good relationship with Saddam, made our last effort to get Saddam to accept exile, in Egypt, Syria or Sudan. Saddam refused any offer that removed him from power. The conversation mentioned in this Debka article, between Gemayel's escort, a US Colonel, seems a bit detailed to make me believe it -- even if a conversation like that had taken place I doubt the leak would have been far more general -- but this snippet was disturbing:

[Saddam] set the scene for the Azores summit by putting his country on a war footing, taking command of the Iraqi air force and dividing the country into four military districts with orders to “destroy any foreign aggression”. His younger son Qusay was put in command of the key Baghdad district.

Qusay is the meanest, craziest of the bunch so Baghdad has got far, far bigger problems than American bombs.