Tuesday, February 04, 2003
# Posted 9:55 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
While I didn't say so at the time, I found all seven of the designs under consideration to be deeply disappointing. They were lifeless, even deformed. Sadly, the damage of September 11th has scarred New York and the United States forever. But that is exactly why we need a new World Trade Center that represents our highest ideals, not our broken spirits.
Since the initial unveiling of the designs, two new ones have been added to the list. They are not much different. From the nine, two have been named semifinalists. But before the final decision is made, I'd ask you to take a look at a design proposed by a 23-year old amateur architect who has only visited New York twice in his life.
In its simplicity, Robert Thompson's design is far superior to that of the professionals. Of all its elements, the one which struck me most was the recommendation that the new World Trade Center have just a single tower. A circular tower of glass with vertical bands of aluminum. I think it is a perfect symbol of the unity that September 11th has left in its wake. Its circular shape invokes the tradition of associating circles with regeneration and wholeness.
These simple lessons are what is missing from the complex designs of the professionals. While I don't know if there is time left to reconsider the official designs, there is always hope.
Robert, thank you and good luck.
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# Posted 9:27 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
In response to my anguished cry, Spinsanity's Brendan Nyhan sent over a pair of very interesting links which suggest that there is a lot more to this story than the Post is letting on. First up is a link to a January 2001 CNN interview with Denis Halliday, the former UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq.
According to Halliday, the sanctions have
"led to the deaths of possibly more than one million people in ten years. Now that is a tragedy. And that begins to meet some of the definitions of the United Nations Convention on Genocide."That last word was not an accident. Halliday's observation was a direct response to the CNN moderator's demand that he justify his earlier description of the sanctions as genocide.
As far as Saddam's long term record is concerned, Halliday says this:
"Before the [Gulf] war, all Iraqi children were given breakfast and lunch in the school system. So, the fact is that we, the United Nations of the West, have demolished the human rights of the Iraqi children. There's no history of the Baath Party not meeting the basic human rights of Iraqi children. In summary, I think we have no basis to be suspicious of Baghdad’s approach to its own children."Hmmm. When it comes to weapons of mass destruction, Halliday also has a somewhat unusual perspective. As he notes,
"According to some of the experts, including Scott Ritter, Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction capability today. Even Hans Blix...has said that he does not believe that Iraq has redeveloped weapons of mass destruction.Folks, you can't make this stuff up. Anyway, getting back to the food program, Halliday comments that
"The Baath Party -- as led by President Saddam Hussein, of course -- handles the entire oil-for-food program. That means they do the contracting; they do the handling and processing of, for example, wheat into flour; and they handle distribution of these foodstuffs in the country. According to my current successor in Baghdad, who is an expert on the world food program, Baghdad does an extremely efficient job of food distribution."Well, what did you expect him to say? Somehow, I sense that the WaPo shouldn't have trusted the current UN coordinator to provide an objective evaluation of the Iraqi program.
Moving on, we come to the second link sent over by Brendan, which takes you to an 1999 WaPo op-ed by Clinton NSC chief Sandy Berger. He pointed out that
"Currently, the United Nations allows Iraq to spend up to $5.2 billion in oil revenue every six months for humanitarian purposes. Saddam is so indifferent to the suffering of his people that he still refuses to make full use of this allowance. But the food supply in Iraq has grown, and soon will provide the average Iraqi with about 2,200 calories per day, which is at the top of the United Nations' recommended range.Assuming Berger has the calorie figures right (and if you met the man, you'd know he's no stranger to calories), there shouldn't be anyone starving in Iraq. Yet two years after Berger published his op-ed, Halliday cited UNICEF data which recorded that "some 4-5,000 children are dying unnecessarily each month."
Is there any way to resolve this inconsistency? Perhaps. According to reader LK,
It's actually a common misconception that the main problem with the sanctions regime is malnutrition and starvation--which, though still a major problem, does not compare to the massive malnutrition and starvation that characterized the period before the oil-for-food program was initiated. The program, for all its faults, has helped. A lot. The current problem has to do with Iraq's inability to fix water treatment plants, electrical systems, and other kinds of infrastructure that we who live in developed nations take for granted. Without clean water andLK also provides this comment from another former UN huminatarian coordinator, Hans von Sponeck, who said that
"What really continues to be a severe problem, with implications for health treatment, healthcare, for electricity and water supply, is [the blocking of] anything that has to do with chemicals, laboratory equipment, generators, chloride, any water purification inputs, communication equipment. For example, it took over a year to release ambulances because they were blocked since they contained, as they should – in America you don’t have an ambulance without communication equipment inside - but they had communication equipment and they were blocked. So the Iraqis did not have access to such an important thing as an ambulance. So it is a saga that is really unbelievable."That's all I have to report right now. Send in more info if you have it. My spider-sense says that the story isn't over yet. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 7:15 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
That's why Colin Powell is right to say that there won't be a smoking gun, but rather that the US will provide evidence from "which any sensible person can deduce that [the Iraqis] are hiding something and that they are going to great lengths in foiling the work of the inspectors."
NB: The NYT might consider hiring John Mueller as a fact checker. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 7:00 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
At first, I wrote Merkel's statement off as optimistic spin, figuring that Schroeder lost because the Germany economy is in serious trouble. But today I had lunch with a German friend who assured me that many, many Germans are deeply concerned by Germany's isolation from Europe (and the US) and that the Chancellor's conscious effort to play the anti-war card failed for that reason.
That was good to hear, but I'm still not sure. Was the voters' message that Schroeder simply shouldn't be focusing on foreign policy when there are hard times at home? I recall one American president who learned that lesson the hard way...
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# Posted 6:47 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 6:37 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
While this happy philosophical consensus won't do much to resolve the current crisis, it's better than having Saddam say that nuclear weapons are nothing more than a social construct. Imagine trying to draft a UN resolution to deal with that... (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 3:18 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
I don't have numbers on this one, but I sense bloggers actually are pretty good about admitting mistakes, since they know that their credibility and their readership will disappear overnight if they are no better than their competitors. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 3:08 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Monday, February 03, 2003
# Posted 8:45 PM by Daniel
Hart all but guaranteed another attack on the U.S., referring to the 21,000 containers arriving at our 361 ports, 1 to 2 percent of which are inspected. He predicted a shift toward Israeli style security measures (bags inspected everywhere, and so on) when America is attacked again.
I agree that his answers about the UN were hopelessly vague, but let's give him a chance to brush up on his knowledge. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 7:43 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 7:08 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 6:48 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 6:47 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
It says that Saddam's food distribution program is a model of honesty, efficiency and non-partisanship. While it is hard to doubt Hussein's intelligence, I have a hard time believing that a brutal totalitarian regime would rise above politics when it comes to an issue as crucial as food rationing.
Anyway, what follows is a list of questions, which I hope that some of you will send me answers to.
1) The article cites widespread praise for the program from common Iraqis. Presuming that the Post's correspondent was only able to talk to such individuals in the presence of a government minder, is there any reason to believe what they say?
2) The article quotes a UN food inspector, who is deeply impressed by Saddam's efforts and declares that he has not encountered any corruption. In contrast, Iraqi exiles say that rations are withheld from dissidents. Is there any reason to believe that this UN inspector is any better at finding out what Iraq is really up to than Hans Blix and Co.?
3) Aside from a brief reference to malnutrition, the article reports that Saddam's food program has kept all Iraqis well-fed, especially after the UN oil-for-food program began. What happened to all the desperate, starving individuals which critics of UN sanctions have talked so much about?
4) 50,000 Iraqi merchants function as distributors for the food program. Who are these individuals and how did they get their jobs?
Happy hunting. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 6:26 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
"I want leaderships in Afghanistan, a multiplicity of leaderships. I want the Afghan people to have choices. I don't want them to be stuck with one man...because of a lack of choice."Karzai's example will bring the Islamic world one step closer to freedom. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 6:11 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Safire notes that conducting diplomacy via op-ed is a striking departure from tradition. But IMHO, what's even more striking is that a rift between the US and France is being resolved not, as usual, by backroom diplomacy, but by the forceful public statements of nations once considered bit players on the world stage. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Sunday, February 02, 2003
# Posted 8:58 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
You'd think that Walt and Mearsheimer might have learned something from the ongoing stand-off with North Korea: that the US has a very limited ability to influence dictators who can threaten the lives of tens of thousands of civilians in neighboring states allied to the US. If we give Saddam enough time, he will develop a missile that can take out Istanbul or Tel Aviv.
Most disturbing of all for those who call themselves realists, Walt and Mearsheimer propose no alternate course for dealing with Iraq. They say we're safe as long as the inspectors are on the ground. But the inspectors will have to come home sometime. And then what?
UPDATE: Links fixed. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 8:34 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 8:26 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
1. "Young Muslims around the world will see U.S. action without U.N. approval as neocolonialist, motivated more by a desire for Iraqi oil than Iraqi freedom." Whereas young Muslims great admiration for the other four ex-imperialist powers on the Security Council will persuade them that the invasion of Iraq is a justified expression of altruism.
2. "Bush did not acknowledge that a unilateral invasion risks destabilizing Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or Egypt." Pakistan perhaps. As my posts on Saudi Arabia and Egypt have suggeted, their dictatorships are far too dominant to be challenged in the short term. As for Pakistani fundamentalists, I'm not sure they really care what the Security Council thinks.
3. "The major foreign policy job of the American president is to maintain healthy relations with the great powers -- Europe, Russia, China and Japan." That's funny. I thought foreign policy was about promoting American security and ideals. And wait. Did Bradley just say that Europe is a great power? What's its telephone number?
4. "Bush's strong remarks ignored the fact that military actions often have unpredictable consequences." Whereas Security Council assent will make the consequences of war predictable?
5. "To act without specific consultation [from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey] on the structure of postwar Iraq invites their alienation and their adventurism among Iraq's ethnic groups, making it that much more difficult to establish a multiethnic, democratic Iraq." Pray tell, Mr. Senator, what lessons about democracy we can learn about democracy from the governments of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria.
6. Here's what Bradley doesn't say: "Being able to display vats of anthrax or rail cars full of chemical warheads should silence those who now criticize President Bush for undue haste and recklessness. It could compel international cooperation that is lacking now." Thanks to Jim Hoagland for the quote.
Oh well. It's not as if the Democrats had much credibility on security issues to lose anyway. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 7:47 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 7:00 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 6:33 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Identifying prejudice demands a definition of prejudice. Webster's provides some guidance on this matter, but not much. It offers multiple definitions including both "an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge" and "an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics".
At first glance, the dependence of such definitions on controversial concepts such as 'sufficient knowledge' and 'irrational hostility' suggests that prejudice is in the eye of the beholder. But from experience, we know that it isn't. As an American, the first example of prejudice that comes to mind is that of racial prejudice. The segregation of schools, water fountains, public buses and swimming pools offered concrete evidence that prejudice can be very, very real.
In the case of Europe and the United States, we have no such evidence to rely on. Instead, Americans notice prejudices in the words and concepts through which Europeans express themselves. The reverse pattern is evident as well, with Europeans often detecting a definite closed-mindedness in American thought and speech.
This contrast, however, does not reduce the value of drawing on examples such as racial prejudice in the United States, since physical manifestations of prejudice such as segregated housing are reflections of prejudiced thoughts. In fact, one might say that segregation was not an example of prejudice, but rather an example of discrimination that reflected the prejudice known as racism.
Thus it comes as no surprise that the end of segregation has not brought an end to prejudice. What has changed is that we now must argue about whether an specific instance of mistreatment reflects prejudice, or instead the simple lack of concern that one stranger often shows to another.
In a recent experiment, researchers sent out pairs of resumes which were identical except for the fact that one of them had a "white" name on it, where as the duplicate had a "black" one. Perhaps not surprisingly, the researchers found that employers were considerably more likely to offer interviews and jobs to applicants with white names. (For the moment, I'm going to take it for granted that the results obtained from the experiment were valid. Eve Tushnet isn't so sure.)
Even if one assumes that this experiment documents a clear instance of discrimination, it is hard to know exactly what was going through employers' minds while the resumes were being read. In fact, it is extremely unlikely that any of the readers consciously said to themselves that because an applicant had a black sounding name, he or she was less likely to be competent regardless of what the resume indicated.
Instead, it is probable that the presence of a black name subconsciously raised the standards to which an applicant would be held. Thus, while reviewing black applicants' resumes, employers believed that they were making an objective, rational decision based on tangible evidence.
Before applying the lessons of this example to the trans-atlantic divide, it is worth considering for a moment the possibility that there were some employers who consciously decided to turn down applicants because they were black. Even then, it is hard to demonstrate that this decision reflected prejudice, defined as a belief that is irrational or based on insufficient information.
I would guess that if there were employers who consciously decided to turn down black applicants, it is not because they consciously resent blacks or believe that they are inherently inferior. Rather, they may believe that since there is a greater statistcal probability that a black individual has committed a crime, it is rational for their firm to reject black applicants in order minimize the probability that they are hiring lawbreakers.
Such behavior is, of course, illegal. The law preventing it, however, reflects a moral imperative rather than logical one. Yet what if the employer in question believed that his firm should avoid hiring blacks because they are, on average, taller? In that case, the employer would be damaging his own interest in finding competent employees. In that sense, he is irrational. But is he prejudiced? For all we know, he is simply a fool.
Now what if an employer rejected black applicants because he believed that they are, on average, shorter than others? We could even stipulate in this case that the job in question is best performed by tall employees, e.g. filling shelves in a bookstore. Again, it is hard to know if the employer is racist rather than simply a fool.
Wisely, the law bars all racial discrimination regardless of motive. Why is that? After all, the market might benefit if fools lost business because of their irrationality. I think the answer here has to do with the cultural context in which decisions are made. Because of the history of racial prejudice in America, it makes sense -- both moral and economic -- to assume that the mistreatment of black job applicants reflects prejudice, defined as per Webster's.
With regard to European anti-Americanism, there is no such historical context to faciliate observation or decision-making. Rather, it might be more accurate to say that the prevalence of pro-American sentiment alongside anti-American sentiment in much of Europe prevents one from relying on historical context as a decisive indicator.
Even if one were to focus on the short span of time separating September 11th from the present, one would have to acknowledge that pro-American sentiment is no less strong than its negative counterpart. As Le Monde's banner headline declared on September 12th, "Nous sommes tous des Américains." -- "We are all Americans."
In the face of such compelling empathy, one has to have an extremely sensitive method of detecting anti-Americanism if one wants to assert that it exists. To that end, it is worth reconsidering the most probable explanation for the outcome of the resume experiment described above: subconscious prejudice. To be more specific, the prejudice consists of a subconscious belief that blacks are either less competent employees, more prone to criminal activity or something along the same lines.
The specificity of such prejudices is extremely important, since it enables them to co-exist with general attitudes toward a given group that are not necessarily biased or even negative. As Eve Tushnet points out, some of the employers profiled in the resume may well have been black.
Clearly, such individuals are not prejudiced against blackness itself, but rather against specific traits they associate with elements of the black population. Thus, it might not be accurate to refer to such prejudice as racism. A wealthy and highly-educated black employer might associate black-sounding names with "gangsta" behavior that he considers embarrassing to black Americans as a whole and thus a tangible threat to the struggle for equality.
For all its misguided nobility, this is still prejudice. However, it reflects an intricate mixture of cultural, socio-economic and racial biases. If one is searching for the essence of anti-Americanism, one has to develop methods sensitive enough to detect even this sort of prejdice, the kind that reflects the best of intentions.
TO BE CONTINUED (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Saturday, February 01, 2003
# Posted 9:06 PM by Daniel
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# Posted 5:51 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
CORRECTION: Sorry for the bad link. To access the policy brief, follow the link above THEN click on the "Policy Watch" link and scroll down just a bit to "#702: Easy on the Stick". (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 2:33 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 2:20 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 10:56 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 10:34 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
In a direct challenge to Islamic authorities, Montazeri declared that "Ayatollah Khamenei was 'not infallible' and could be challenged by Parliament." Montazeri was once Ayatollah Khomeini's heir apparent, but had a falling out with him. As befits a close ally of Khomeini, he was firmly anti-American. How much of that sentiment remains is unknown. Regardless, Montazeri is a force for democracy.
For more background on Montazeri, see Pejman's Tech Central Station column from December. Pejman's post on the State of the Union has also led me to wonder whether Bush's firm support for Iranian democracy had something to do with Montazeri's release from house arrest. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Friday, January 31, 2003
# Posted 6:52 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
UPDATE/CORRECTION: WSJ's Best of the Web says that the CIA analyst in question has a long record of distorting evidence in order to defend Saddam. Thanks to JL for pointing this out. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 6:30 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
And besides, I now have a better idea, thanks to Bob Kagan's column on our European friends. Introducing, the "Axis of Cojones". (Click here if you need a translation, and here if you want to put the translation in context.) (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 6:09 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 5:54 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
told an audience that included senior officials from Kabul that he has become aware of worries that the United States will "forget" Afghanistan.As the President noted in the State of the Union address, "In Afghanistan, we helped liberate an oppressed people. And we will continue helping them secure their country, rebuild their society, and educate all their children -- boys and girls." If I were Hamid Karzai, I'd say that Bush's statement isn't a bad start. Though one might wonder whether Bush's failure to use the word 'democracy' means that he isn't all that concerned about whether it is Karzai that presides over a rebuilt Afghanistan. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 5:20 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
The real question is this, however: If we don't take Saddam out now, will North Korea take advantage of each future crisis to enhance its weapons program? And will Saddam move to advance his each time North Korea causes trouble? I think you know the answer.
UPDATE: ElBaradei has taken a tough stance regarding North Korea, but the Administration has declared his conclusions to be premature. I think ElBaradei is right, but the Administration may not want to divert its attention from Iraq. There also seems to be a good old-fashioned scandal brewing in the South.
UPDATE: The WaPo contradicts the NYT and says the administration is taking North Korea's actions seriously. Possibly, these conflicting accounts represent a difference of opinion between the State Dept and the White House, with the WaPo taking its lead from the former, the NYT from the latter. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Thursday, January 30, 2003
# Posted 10:41 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Expect a response here sometime this weekend. In the meantime, read what Time and The New Republic have to say about anti-Americanism. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 10:34 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Incidentally, Mandela does not describe his strategy for getting rid of Saddam or protecting the Iraqi people from him. My guess would be that it goes something like this: George Bush should spend twenty years in prison until the moral force generated by his noble self-sacrifice convinces the international community that it must impose sanctions on Iraq that ultimately force it to embrace democracy.
UPDATE: Considering that Mandela is getting on in years, maybe I shouldn't be so hard on him. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 10:23 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 10:16 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Funny, I didn't know that the EU had a right to decide when international law applies and when it doesn't. Then again, it's a non-binding resolution, so maybe the EU is just pretending to be unilateralist becaues what it really wants to do is show America what it feels like to be abused a mean old bully on the other side of the Atlantic.
Even funnier, the NY Times managed to report the EU resolution without mentioning that it contradicts 1441. According to the Times, "the European Parliament voted 287 to 209 in Brussels to urge the United States not to take unilateral military action against Iraq, because Baghdad's dealings with the weapons inspectors did not 'justify military action'." "Dealings", huh? (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 10:05 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 9:58 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
I came up with the name after reading that Elmar Brok, a German legislator had remarked on Blair and Berlusconi's visits to the White House by observing that ""The race of the vassals has begun."
Now, a vassal isn't necessarily a good thing to be. Webster's defines a vassal as:
1: a person under the protection of a feudal lord to whom he has vowed homage and fealty: a feudal tenantNow, I don't believe that the Gang of Eight (the old nickname for our European friends) are vassals of old Uncle Sam. As they themselves point out, "The real bond between the U.S. and Europe is the values we share: democracy, individual freedom, human rights and the rule of law."
But by referring to them as the Axis of Vassals, it should remind those on both sides of the Atlantic how intolerant the alleged spokesmen of Europe can become when forced to recognize that the rest of Europe is more interested in the values its shares with the United States than the interests that it doesn't. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Wednesday, January 29, 2003
# Posted 10:20 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
While the details provided in the column are quite interesting, the main message is nothing new: That sanctions have not prevented northern Iraq from becoming both more prosperous and more free than it ever was before. This fact demonstrates beyond a shadow of doubt that it is Saddam Hussein and not the West which is responsible for impoverishing and brutalizing the rest of Iraq.
Finally, one point I haven't thought of before: None of the major media outlets seems to have ever published a news item or even an op-ed claiming that life in northern Iraq has not improved dramatically over the past decade. That may be the best evidence out there for what Iraq would be like without Saddam Hussein. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 9:48 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Nowhere in Friedman's column does he explain how it will be possible to promote democracy in Iraq if Saddam is replaced with a cooperative general. This silence is striking in contrast to Friedman's assertion last week that the only hope for ending terror in the Middle East is a democratic transformation.
But perhaps we should go easy on Tom. Self-contradiction seems to be pervasive on the pages of both the NYT and the WaPo. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 1:30 PM by Daniel
"Americans are a free people, who know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation. The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to humanity.
We Americans have faith in ourselves but not in ourselves alone. We do not claim to know all the ways of Providence, yet we can trust in them, placing our confidence in the loving God behind all of life, and all of history.
May He guide us now, and may God continue to bless the United States of America."
So....the President tell us to place our confidence in the loving God behind all of life, and all of history. Bush also asks asking him to guide us--is that official government endorsement of religion? What about those pesky non-believers?
I am far from an expert on these matters, but those are some of my thoughts. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Tuesday, January 28, 2003
# Posted 11:13 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
"The inspectors alone will never disarm Iraq. But they can slow Mr. Hussein's weapons programs, leaving more time for diplomatic efforts to remove him from power and for Washington to mobilize the international support it now lacks."Just two days later, Raines has informed us that Hans Blix's findings
"argue strongly for giving the inspectors more time to pursue their efforts and satisfy international opinion that every reasonable step has been taken to solve this problem peacefully."If one were being generous, one might say that Mr. Raines wants the inspectors to find a smoking gun so that the rest of the Security Council will back an invasion. But it sure as hell sounds like he's saying that the inspectors can't disarm Iraq, so we should give them more time.
CLARIFICATION: Josh points out (via e-mail, no link) that while Howell Raines has the final say on editorial matters, it is Gail Collins and co. that actually write the NYT editorials. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 10:51 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
My thesis advisor in college used to make fun of CEIP's name. "'International Peace', huh? They're a little behind schedule on that one, aren't they?" And, in fact, CEIP has quite a history, at least in the pre-WWII of taking some terribly naive stances on world politics.
Now, before I say what I'm going to say next, I'd like to point out that all of the Junior Fellows at Carnegie, including myself, were afraid of nothing more than the president of Carnegie, Jessica T. Mathews. Thus, when it came time to put on the annual Christmas comedy show, most of us were hesitant to say anything about Jessica. But in the end, she seemed to take it all pretty well.
Hopefully, Jessica will demostrate the same merciful attitude toward what I am about say, which is this: Her op-ed in today's Post sets a new standard for incoherence and naivete.
To my knowledge, Jessica is the first person to have argued that the US shouldn't enforce 1441 even though Iraq is obviously in material breach. Huh?
But at the same time, she says that inspections should go on for another year, even though there is no reason to believe Saddam will cooperate. Huh?
The reason for going to all this trouble is because the "aim of U.S. policy must be to put the onus on each of the permanent members of the Security Council, in particular, to place its complete commitment behind the intent of Resolution 1441 to disarm Iraq."
Uh-huh. So the purpose of US foreign policy should be to get the rest of the Security Council behind a resolution that has no chance of accomplishing anything.
Based on my experience at Carnegie, I'd have to say that what's really going on here is a spectacular demonstration of verbal acrobatics designed to provide some sort of justification for not doing anything to offend Europe. This is pathological multilateralism.
If even Jessica Mathews knows that Saddam is in material breach but Jacques Chirac won't acknowledge it, then what is multilateralism worth? (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 10:24 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
The Post is right, of course. And now that you think about it, aren't you glad that Hans Blix has been so incompetent and uncooperative up until now? I mean, absolutely no one can say that Blix gave such a damning report because he is an American frontman. As such, Hans Blix has given the Bush administration exactly what the French and Germans fear most: credibility. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Monday, January 27, 2003
# Posted 10:06 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Lincoln Plawg asks: The question for the US is, of course, what position could the Europeans take up, short of supine submission to each and every US proposal, that the Administration would approve?That's the whole post, word for word. Kevin, I've praised your work very highly before. You put up more thoughtful, in-depth posts than almost any other blogger. So why is it now acceptable to bash America without a solid argument to back the bashing up?
(0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 9:45 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Even so, I almost expect Newsweek to declare that this column is a fabrication, a subtle reminder of Time Magazine's unmasked incompetence. But why look a gift horse in the mouth? Here is Zakaria striking conclusion:
There are always risks involved when things change. But for the past 40 years the fear of these risks has paralyzed Western policy toward the Middle East. And what has come of this caution? Repression, radical Islam and terror. I’ll take my chances with change.Damn right. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 9:12 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
One might argue that Hagel's words are nothing more than a cynical effort to track polls which show a majority of independent voters opposing a war without UN approval.
But why oppose a President who demonstrated just two months ago that he is willing to fight hard for his party's Senate candidates and then lead them to victory? Principle. Or perhaps Hagel is an idiot. One of the people I trust most when it comes to foreign policy, someone who happens to share Hagel's affiliation with the GOP, has firmly insisted for years that Hagel is, in fact, an idiot. Only time will tell.
At the moment, John Kerry seems to be chasing the idiocy crown. In the same WaPo article which quotes Hagel, Kerry accuses the Bush administration of "alienating our longtime friends and allies, alarming potential foes and spreading anti-Americanism around the world" through its "blustering unilateralism." Isn't one supposed to alarm one's foes? More importantly, didn't Kerry learn what happens to democratic contenders who blame America for anti-Americanism? Campaigning for the primaries may cost Kerry come Novermber.
(0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 8:43 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 8:35 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 8:33 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Both articles are excellent overall, especially in their portrayal of Blair's principled stand in the face of overwhelming opposition. And while both Warren Hoge and Irwin Stelzer are clearly sympathetic to the Prime Minister, they underestimate his political talents by an order of magnitude.
One comes away from both authors' work with a sense that Blair's commitment to principle may have robbed him of the leadership role he nurtured so carefully both in Britain and throughout Europe. Yet rather than sacrificing his achievements, Blair's is gambling that an Anglo-American triumph in Iraq will establish him as the greatest Prime Minister since Churchill.
Neither Hoge nor Stelzer explores what effect a successful invasion of Iraq -- followed by the revelation of overwhelming evidence that Saddam Hussein has been lying to the Security Council -- might have on Blair's reputation. When the weapons are found, German and French intransigence will have been exposed as a self-righteous and outright selfish endeavor that protected the government of a brutal tyrant.
When the weapons are found, German and French aspirations to international leadership will have been set back a generation. In contrast, Britain will have won the lasting gratitude of the lone superpower in addition to having established itself as the one nation other than the United States with the potential to lead the international community.
Perhaps most important of all, Blair will have left behind his life as a politician and become a statesman. In democratic nations, the highest praise is reserved for those leaders who, as a matter of principle, sacrifice their standing in the short term only to win great admiration later on when their principles are vindicated. This is that path that Churchill followed in resisting Chamberlain's appeasement of Adolf Hitler and insisting that Britain must stand up for what it believes.
Perhaps none of this will come to pass. And even if it does, Blair may share Churcill's legacy of defeat at the polls in the aftermath of war. But Churchill changed what it means to be British. In Blair's commitment to principle one senses that he is more interested in forging a stron gBritish identity for the post-Cold War era rather than ensuring victory at the polls.
Wisest of all, Blair knows that no amount of rhetoric, of spin, will convince others that he is right. Only events can change the public mind. That is Blair's gamble. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 7:39 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
Sunday, January 26, 2003
# Posted 10:43 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Sharon cannot really win this election. Even if he forms the next government, he has already lost his most precious asset--his progress in reversing a lifelong reputation for recklessness and becoming a symbol of stability and consensus. Sharon's achievement had been to subordinate ideology to national unity. He sacrificed the agenda that defined his political career, opposing a Palestinian state, to rally Israelis around the agenda that defined his military career, fighting Palestinian terrorism. In so doing, he recreated the two preconditions for every past Israeli victory: national cohesion and the ability to take the war into enemy territory.(0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 10:21 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
What makes the TNR expose of this trend so intriguing is that it is written by a conservative and cites sources -- most of them medical experts -- who are also conservative. And then it ends by making a conservative case for the seriousness of ADD and the value of Ritalin. As the author explains, ADD medication
"reflects and reinforces conservative values. For one thing, [these medications] increase personal responsibility by removing an excuse that children (and their parents) can fall back on to explain misbehavior and poor performance...Moreover, unlike liberals, who tend to downplay differences between the sexes, conservatives are inclined to believe that there are substantial physiological differences-- differences such as boys' greater tendency to suffer ADHD."There are a number of lessons to be taken from the Ritalin debate. First is the way in which the partisan media can become an echo chamber reinforcing prejudices on each side of the liberal-conservative divide. (Regular visitors will know that this is not a disingenuous attack on the conservative media, since I am a constant and vocal critic of liberal media bias.)
Second, pundits need to take special care in addressing the relationship between science and public policy, since it is all too easy to let simple applications of ideology substitute for the hard work of scientific research.
Third -- and most important from my personal perspective -- is recognition of the fact that no individual knows enough about enough issues to avoid becoming reliant on ideology as a guide. We all have our own prejudices, and errors are inevitable. As such, the best test of objectivity may be whether one is honest enough to admit one's mistakes and try to do better next time.
This point has personal significance for (aspiring?) centrists such as myself, since we have no ideology to guide us. Uncomfortable with the confident statements of pundits on both left and right, centrists are often most liable to become cynics. But that I am not. I believe that a better effort can be made, and that the media has a long way to go before it can claim that human imperfection is the only thing standing in the way of fairer reporting. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 5:24 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
1. David comments on Glenn Reynolds' view of Communism.
2. Josh argues that Communism's dangers must be recognized.
3. David responds that Josh is oversimplifying.
4. Josh demands examples of Communist governments that were not totalitarian dictatorships.
5. David provides them.
6. Josh insists that Communism is a governing philosophy which must be judged according to how its adherents governed.
7. David takes issue with Josh's standards of judgment.
8. Coming soon? (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 5:08 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
In his most recent missive, Josh avers that "Nazism, like Communism, is a governing philosophy, and must be judged according to the way it governs. And that is overwhelmingly brutal." While my knowledge of philosophy pales in comparison to that of Mr. Chafetz, I sene that the term "governing philosophy" is no different from the more general term "political philosophy". Therefore, there is no reason to judge a given political philosophy solely according to how it governs, rather than how it functions in opposition, in the social and economic realms, or in the academy.
This point is critical because Josh absolutely refuses to acknowledge the moral significance of many non-Stalinist Communists search for social justice. Forced to admit that this positive aspect of Communistm did exist, Josh now responds that "Nazis supported some worthy causes, as well (decreasing unemployment and raising the standard of living for the working class, for one). Are we wrong to judge them, too, 'according to their political record alone'?"
There is a very simple answer to this question. The Nazis who wantd to raise living standards for the working class were the same Nazis who murdered 6 million Jews. But the Communists who worked for decades to organize labor unions throughout the United States and Western Europe often (not always) had nothing to do with Lenin, Stalin or other brutal Communist dictators.
That said, perhaps I can offer Josh a thought which will make him comfortable with accepting the multifaceted nature of Communism. It goes like this: Throughout the Cold War, at a time when Communism threatened to overrun the nations of Western Europe as well countless others, prominent figures on the intellecutal and political left sought -- sometimes naively and sometimes disingenuously -- to mitigate perceptions of a Communist threat by comparing the Communist record favorably to that of the Fascists. In doing so, these figures referred to the same positive aspects of the Communist legacy that I have referred to in my posts.
Such arguments were deeply flawed in both moral and political terms because they sought to mitigate the brutality of existing Communist governments through reference to the positive actions of those Communists who sought legitimate forms in the West. I rejects such arguments unequivocally. Nonethless, it is a historical fact that Communism gave rise to both brutal and humane political movements, the latter of which ought to be recognized for their contribution to social justice.
NB: Josh also raised the point that Marxism inspired socialists and social democrats as well as Communists. Thus, I was wrong to say that "political movements based on Marx's ideas have referred to themselves as Commuist rather than Marxist." What I should have said was that "political movements based exclusively on Marx's ideas have referred to themselves as Commuist rather than Marxist." Socialism and social democracy have a complex intellectual heritage which draws on many sources other than Marx. In contrast, pure Marxist political movements, as far as I know, prefer to refer to themselves as Communist. And it is these Communists who sometimes fought for social justice. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 12:24 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Anti-war commentators are becomig desperate. They can no longer pretend that inspections might work or that Saddam does not have proscribed weapons. They are searching for any justification whatsoever to hold off an invasion. Consider, for instance, what the Times has come up with to counter its admission that Saddam is in material breach of Resolution 1441:
Mr. Bush has never...been clear about exactly why we are preparing to fight. Sometimes his aim appears to be disarming the Iraqis or punishing Baghdad for defying the United Nations; sometimes the goal is nothing short of deposing Mr. Hussein. The first lesson of the Vietnam era was that Americans should not be sent to die for aims the country only vaguely understands and accepts.The critical flaw in this argument is that the American public would not hesitate for a second to support the invasion of Iraq if it shared the Times' belief that "No one who knows his history can doubt that he is secretly trying to develop weapons of mass destruction." As polls have shown, what Americans want is more evidence of Iraqi non-compliance, not a justification for enforcing 1441.
Ironically, the Times has backed itself into the same corner as French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, who said just a few days ago that "Already we know for a fact that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs are being largely blocked, even frozen. We must do everything possible to strengthen this process." As Jonah Goldberg points out, "if France knows [this] for 'a fact,' then France also knows for a fact that Iraq has such weapons programs. After all, you can't block or freeze what doesn't exist..."
In the final analysis, no self-respecting multilateralist can argue both that Iraq is in material breach of 1441 and that the United States should hold back from enforcing the UN's stated will.
(0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 12:03 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 11:57 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
Then, in a rhetorical twist reminiscient of the mighty Chafetz, she asks "Why keep a tradition of honoring the Confederacy...
Of course, the rest of her question demonstrates why see and Josh C. will never she eye to eye: "...while you're going to court to stop a tradition of helping black students at the University of Michigan?" I would comment on the offensive nature of that remark, but I think it's abject stupidity is fairly self-evident. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 11:43 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
"Israel is becoming more religious — both Jews and Arabs," said Rabbi Yaakov Solomon, 28..."But the secular side is becoming more and more extreme."Now give me some of that old time religion! (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 10:52 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
While short lived, the Commuist governments of Guatemala in the 1950s and Czechoslovakia in the 1960s were not totalitarian dictatorships. For the definitive account of Jacobo Arbenz and Guatemalan Communism, see Piero Gleijeses' book, Shattered Hope.
While some revisionists have sought to argue that Arbenz was never a Communist, Gleijeses shows both that he was and that he went to certain lengths to hide that fact from both domestic and international audiences. However, Gleijeses also shows that Arbenz was an aggressive social reformer who did more for the Guatemalan poor in his few years in power than the rest of Guatemala's governments did ever.
In addition, Arbenz was a democrat, who won the presidency in free and fair elections. Moreover, he did not move to prevent further elections that might have brought the opposition to power. Of course, Eisenhower had no interest in promoting democracy, and thus ordered the CIA to overthrow Arbenz, thus ushering in three decades of brutal dictatorship which resulted in the the death of tens of thousands of innocent Guatemalans.
While I am not as familiar with the Dubcek/Swoboda government in Czechoslovakia, I will tell you what I learned from John Gaddis, a historian who has never been accused of exaggerating the merits of Communism. While Dubcek and Swoboda were not elected, they began to grant Czechoslovakians rights which were unheard of in the Communist bloc. Their reforms culminated in the legendary Prague Spring of 1968 and the brutal Soviet invasion which brought it to an end.
While Dubcek and Swoboda had no interest in resisting Soviet control of the Warsaw Pact, they did advocate "Communism with a human face". There was no chance, however, that the Soviets could remain passive in the face of living proof that their Communism lacked the humanity of its Czech variant.
What the tragic history of Guatemala and Czechoslovakia illustrates is that there were few opportunities for a better Communism to flourish in a world divided by the Cold War. The brutality of Communism was a result of the conscious decisions of brutal individuals such as Lenin, Stalin, Mao and their violent avant garde. While I value economic freedom enough to reject Communism out of hand, it is foolish to write off all Communists as no different from Stalin.
This brings me to Josh's second point, that he has no idea who I'm thinking of when I say that there were many idealistic Communists who fought for social justice. I mentioned the role of Communists in 19c. Europe, but Judith Weiss at Kesher Talk has reminded me of the critical role played by Communists in the American progressive movement of the interwar era. As Judith notes, according to
a new book about civil-rights activist Anne Braden, from the turn of the century up to WWII, if you thought segregation and Jim Crow were wrong, if you thought women should be able to get birth control and credit in their own names, if you didn't think Modern Art was the harbinger of social chaos, and if you wanted to find others like yourself and maybe even do something to further your ideals, you ended up hanging out with Communists. That's where the action was. Although its flawed ideas and the application of those ideas by fanatics led to economic ruin and enormous human-rights abuses which I have no desire to whitewash, Communism was at its core an ideology of human rights at a time when social inequalities were vast and many still believed in the divine ordination of social and gender heirarchy.I can provide some independent confirmation of Judith's point, since in my course on American with the legendary David Montgomery, we learned about the critical role of Communists in organizing America's industrial unions.
All this should demonstrate why Josh's question about whether or not there have been good Communist governments is the wrong question to ask. Governments were not the only forum in which Communists were active, so to judge them according to their political record alone is counterproductive.
On a final note, I'd like to respond to Josh's belief that I am "conflating Communism with all Marxism". First off, Josh's distinction is valid, since there are many scholars who work within a Marxist analytical framework but are not Communists. Yet as far as I know, political movements based on Marx's ideas have referred to themselves as Commuist rather than Marxist. After all, he didn't call it "The Marxist Manifesto".
(0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Saturday, January 25, 2003
# Posted 8:14 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
In response to my argument that Stalin's brutality should not reflect on either Marx himself or other well-intentioned Communists, Josh asks, "Should we then refrain from thinking ill of all fascists because not all of them wound up to be genocidal maniacs?"
Sorry, Josh. The old "Communist-fascist switch" isn't going to work on me. Fascism tends to refer to Nazism, Mussolini's Italian fascism, and other European derivations thereof. None of them had any redeeming value. In contrast, there were many idealistic Communists, especially in the 19th century, who turned their ideological commitment toward the ends of social justice. Since I made that point before and you didn't respond to it, I'll assume that you agree.
As for your argument that a commitment to historical materialism entails a belief that Marxism in practice is the "true Marxism", I'm not sure where you're coming from. On the most basic level, historical materialism refers to the belief that one can only understand history in terms of the economic forces that shaped it. Some historical materialists interpet this mean that ideas are a "superstructure", i.e. nothing more than a reflection of the economic "base" that serves as their foundation.
While some historical materialists may have asserted that one can judge an idea according to the historical developments which bear its name, doing so contradicts historical materialism by assuming that the idea itself rather than associated social forces were responsible for those developments.
Even so, one has to reckon with the fact that Communism had "a tendency to churn out murderous despots", and thus, you add, "deserves our scorn." Frankly, it's hard to scorn a tendency. Do we scorn Christianity because it had a tendency to launch crusades and pogroms? Islam because of its terrorists? In the case of such complex phenomena, I prefer to hold invididuals accountable for their own actions and beliefs, thus preserving a sense of the ways in which controversial ideas can produce different outcomes in different situations.
Getting to your last point, I think it important to recognize that there are many on the Continent who "no longer wear the badge of Communism" but are still suspicious of those who refuse to recognize the distiction between Stalinism and Western European communism. And, while I am well aware of Herr Fischer's record, the fact remains that he is the German foreign minister and that he is far from the only European minister who has a similar background. While I understand your reluctance to accommodate those such as Joschka, I think that doing so is infinitely better than provoking conflicts which only benefit Saddam Hussein. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 7:30 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
The anti-war movement of today is an outgrowth of the anti-IMF/World Bank activism that we now associate with the innocence of September 10th. If memory serves, the anti-IMF/World Bank movement more or less opposed the bombing of Yugoslavia as a matter of aggressio albeit for moral ends. While I won't defend that statement any further without the chance to do some research, I think it is generally correct.
Those who did support the war in Kosovo, such as Chirac and Schroeder, do not now rely on simplistic arguments about waging war for oil. Instead, they defend the semi-plausible argument inspections need more time to work.
As such, I think that "No Blood For Oil" reflects the transition of Marxist analytical thought from intellectual paradigm to common sense throughout much of Europe. This is not to say that "No Blood For Oil" is a flawed argument because of its intellectual pedigree. The real issue is a lack of evidence.
More importantly, I sense that many of those who accept the logic of blood for oil reject Marxism and Communism as firmly as ourselves. This is what I mean when I say that Marxist analysis has become common sense. In Europe, one will not find oneself alone on either the left, the right or the center if one identifies the search for wealth as the foundation of foreign policy, especially American foreign policy. In contrast, Americans think of foreign policy in terms of security and ideology.
It is this divide, no less than the one between multilateralists and unilateralists, that has prevented the Western democracies from coming together to bring justice to Saddam Hussein. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 7:09 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
It's not McCarthyite to call people who are communists, communists. Communists, as devoted followers of murderous totalitarianism, deserve to be called to account every bit as much as their Nazi colleagues. And in the 21st century, they can hardly pretend to be ignorant of their ideology's true nature.Not so fast. While there isn't much good to say about the Communist record in world politics, it is important both as a matter of principle as well as matter of pragmatics to recognize that the Communism of Mao and Stalin was not the Communism of either Karl Marx or his Western heirs.
As a matter of principle it is important to recognize that the intellectual contributions of Marx and the Western Communist tradition -- as well as their passionate commitment to social justice -- should not be blackened by an unjust association with those who turned Marxism to their own brutal ends. In contrast, there was only one Nazism, that of Adolf Hitler.
From a practical persepctive, simplistic denunciations of Communism ensure the widening of the gulf that separates America from Europe. While 1960s radicals such as Joschka Fischer have become more moderate in the process of becoming mainstream political and social figures, few of them have forgotten what it was like to believe in the human potential of Communism. Misguided as their faith was, they still stand ready to denounce as unthinking conservatives those who cannot separate Soviet Communism from its Western European counterpart.
While paying closer attention to European sensibilities may not have a tangible impact on the current coflict over how to disarm Saddam Hussein, a greater willingness to talk politics with the Europeans on their own terms may help them build an intellectual framework for the post-Cold War era that is not anchored in the conflicts of the Cold War. With such a framework in place, it may become possible to avoid such coflicts the next time the West has to confront a brutal dictator bent on developing weapons of mass destruction. After all, no one benefits from such coflicts except the dictators themselves.
(0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 5:26 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
For some analysts it is obvious that a lone superpower will capitalise on opportunities to secure its economic interests. For protesters it is immoral to sacrifice blood for oil. For either, it is often a 'real' reason, even the lone reason, behind the camouflage of Bush's stated reasons [for wanting to invade Iraq].Naturally, OxBlog is sympathetic to Patrick's views. What's really interesting about them, though, is their focus on the logic of causality. While some of us often take it for granted that the left will always argue that greed is the engine of aggression, one has to ask why anti-war protesters are so wedded to this specific empirical position, as opposed to the more defensible ethical position that war is unthinkable unless one is attacked first.
Or perhaps one should ask, which comes first: the belief that war is wrong, or the belief that this is a war for oil and therefore it is wrong? Do those who assume the former simply accept the latter because it reinforces their position? I don't know.
Rather than arguing against the anti-war position, the more interesting question may be what leads people to it. While I'm not all that concerned about the self-defeating American anti-war movement, it might be interesting to know what really drives European anti-war sentiment. Resentment of American power? Self-interest? Sincere pacifism? Or the belief that this is a war for oil? If we knew, we might be able to avoid the constant conflicts that set back our efforts to disarm and overthrow Saddam Hussein. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 4:10 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
I tend to disagree. Whether explicitly of not, the leadership of the anti-war movement tends to believe that anti-American sentiment is a natural reaction to American aggression. Therefore, if America resists the impulse to invade Iraq, it will have taken the first step toward redressing Middle Eastern grievances. This view is logically consistent, albeit sadly naive.
What Patrick might argue is that opposing war from a leftist or liberal perspective is hypocritical. On the left, as Patrick observes,
There's no discussion of peaceful ways to achieve regime change — or even any recognition that this brutal, illiberal dictator needs to go. No speaking out in solidarity with repressed Iraqi minorities or women. No exploration of ways to trigger democratic change in the region. No plan for challenging regimes they believe to be even worse, like Iran, Saudi Arabia, or North Korea.But if one truly believes that American aggression is the foremost existing threat to human rights, than prioritizing the anti-war campaign is not hypocritical.
In the final analysis, the absence of constructive recommendations on the left may be the reason that it's influence is so limited. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 1:54 PM by Daniel
(0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Friday, January 24, 2003
# Posted 10:48 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Once again, the hero of the story is an angry chicken farmer, Mr. Anwar. Whereas the NYT made Anwar seem like a legitimate symbol of Iraqi grievances, the WaPo pointed out that
Anwar's anger would not have rated so much as a footnote in the annals of arms inspections in Iraq if the Information Ministry had not convened a news conference for him today and then organized a field trip to his farm, where he showed off a hole about 18 inches wide and four feet high in the storage building."In other words, the most apalling instance of UN abuse Saddam could come up with was the vicious destruction of a brick wall on a chicken farm.
(NB: I have nothing against chicken farms or farmers. A while back, I defended them from the wrath of the vegetarians. Nonetheless, I find something humorous about a disgruntled chicken farmer becoming the NYT's symbol of Iraqi national pride.)
Anyway, the Post also outdid the Times by pointing to the real significance of Chickengate, which is that
Anwar's comments, delivered with government imprimatur, suggested Iraqi officials have once again shifted their stance toward the inspections, abandoning the conciliatory attitude they projected when the top two U.N. weapons inspectors visited Baghdad on Sunday and Monday.Note to Howell Raines: The WaPo is now accepting applications for summer internships. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 4:25 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
WHAT??? Rangel is basically saying that this is a war for oil, and that rich, white Americans will be happy to send poor black Americans off to fight for it.
If there were even a shred of evidence behind Rangel or Dionne's assertions, then the tens of thousands of protesters who demonstrated against the war should have consisted mainly of the families of soldiers, not the privileged children of the middle-class (led by unrepentant Stalinists).
And, if memory serves, the inequalities of the Vietnam-era draft were the reason middle-class students (think Clinton) got deferrals or joined the National Guard (a la Quayle and Bush). At the same time, the Department of Defense was thinking of every way it could to find more soldiers without offending the middle-class, even if that meant lowering the passing grade on intelligence tests so that men once considered mentally incompetent could be sent off to fight the Vietcong.
So here's to the men and women of the United States' all-volunteer armed forces. Men and women who of their own volition have said they are willing to lay down their lives for a country they believe in. I am honored to have them carry our flag. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 3:53 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Then again, according to Paul Wolfowitz, "we know from multiple sources that Saddam has ordered that any scientists who cooperate during interviews will be killed, as well as their families." I guess what's going on at the UN is the same thing that goes on at universities when a student is on the brink of failure. Rather than file all the paperwork necessary to confirm a failing grade, the professors simply pass the student on to the next level and the next professor. The game continues until the dean or provost has to make a final decision and enforce the rules so that the university's reputation remains intact.
In a unipolar world, there is only one dean and he has had enough of uncooperative professors. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 8:12 AM by Daniel
I do feel that it is inconsistent and unfair to be against affirmative action based on race and ethnicity while allowing for other preferences such as geography and family history. You can't be against some preferences some of the time or for them when they suit you.
"But, if affirmative action is justified when it helps the political fortunes of the GOP, why isn't it justified when it helps create a racially diverse college campus?"
Is it fair to be against one type of non-merit preference but not others? (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 7:42 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
Now, I hope the whole story doesn't end here, because it has become a case study in media irresponisibility and bias. What I really can't figure out is how Time got quotes from the United Daughters of the Confederacy saying that Bush Sr. had stopped sending wreaths in 1990. According to the Time retraction, what Bush Sr. actually did is change the date of the wreath's sending from Jefferson Davis' birthday to Memorial Day. Good for him.
In addition to Time, the biggest losers from this whole debacle are the Daughters of the Confederacy and other organizations associated with the same cause, whose offensive views were picked up by the mainstream. Oh yeah. And all the bloggers who now have egg on their face because they made so much of the initial story.
Mr. President, I owe you an apology. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Thursday, January 23, 2003
# Posted 10:18 AM by Daniel
Where she loses me is her support for the University of Michigan's policy, which I think is pretty absurd--awarding a student 20 points out of 150 for being member of a historically underrepresented minority.
I have a problem with Michigan's specific policy--20 points for ethnicity, 3 for a perfect essay, and 12 for a perfect score on the SAT--not the broader idea of taking race into account among several factors (schools already take factors like gender, geography, athletics, and if parents attended). (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 6:08 AM by Daniel
(0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Wednesday, January 22, 2003
# Posted 10:08 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 9:10 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
UPDATE: A little more hypocrisy. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion