"Irreverence is the champion of liberty and its only sure defense."
- Mark Twain

"Anyone who combines politics and baseball is an idiot, because everyone knows that ping-pong is the greatest sport. Oh, and I'm really a Communist who hates NASCAR and listens to Joan Baez in the dark.
-- Glenn Reynolds

About the author
Andre Vladimir Sebastian is a figment of your imagination. Honestly, you really could have done better than him, now couldn't you? Next time, put a little effort into it.

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Waging War Through Diplomacy
Dick Morris' latest column is a thoughtful analysis of the political meaning of the way in which President Bush has chosen to begin the war. Morris says, "Even by Tom Daschle's exacting standards, Bush's ability to coax surrender and defection out of the enemy military must go down in history as one of the proudest moments in American diplomacy. He has turned Clausewitz's famous dictum - that war is diplomacy by other means - on its head: Diplomacy has become war by other means, deploying talk as a precision-guided munition." I wouldn't disagree with this. I made a similar point on Thursday, but not as well or as thoughtfully.

  posted by AVS @ 22.3.03


Saddam An American Secret Agent?
Check out Iraqi Col. Ahmed Ghobashi's interview with The New York Times. He has some insights into the pathetic state of the Iraqi military as well as a novel theory about Saddam.

"We are not cowards, but what is the point?" Ghobashi told The Times. "I've got a rifle from World War II. What can I do against American airplanes?"

Reports The Times: "Colonel Ghobashi talked on for a while, detailing his participation in the disastrous wars begun by Mr. Hussein in Iran and Kuwait. He had been a professional soldier, he said, and he did not sign up to engage in fanciful adventures. As Colonel Ghobashi talked on, his tone grew bitter, until he concluded that Saddam Hussein must have a secret agenda.

"'He doesn't give us enough to eat, and he doesn't pay us,' the colonel said. 'And then he starts this thing with the Americans and then tells us to defend the country against the invasion.'

"Colonel Ghobashi pursed his lips in contemplation and rendered his final opinion on Mr. Hussein.

"'I believe he is an American agent,' he said."

  posted by AVS @ 22.3.03

This UPI story has been linked on several sites. If you haven't seen it, go now. An american anti-war protester who came to Iraq as a human shield flees Iraq and proclaims his conversion to the anti-Saddam side. The terrified Kenneth Joseph says Iraqis "told me they would commit suicide if American bombing didn't start. They were willing to see their homes demolished to gain their freedom from Saddam's bloody tyranny. They convinced me that Saddam was a monster the likes of which the world had not seen since Stalin and Hitler." That's exactly what the pro-war side has been saying for, oh, about 14 years. Maybe all these anti-war protesters are what education theorists call "experiential learners." If we just ship them to Iraq en-masse and leave them for a few weeks, they'll come around to the right side.

  posted by AVS @ 22.3.03

The Debate I'd Like To See
If we could have an internationally televised debate between the anti-war protester who gave this quote to The Times of London, "When war, like the one now in Iraq, threatens the fate of humanity, it is even more urgent for us to proclaim, with a firm and decisive voice, that only peace is the way of building a more just and caring society" and recently liberated Iraqi Ajami Saadoun Khlis, who according to The Guardian told the U.S. Marines as they entered his town, "You just arrived. You're late. What took you so long? God help you become victorious. I want to say hello to Bush, to shake his hand. We came out of the grave," that would be great entertainment. It wouldn't persuade any of the protesters, who don't let facts get in the way of a good opportunity to march in the streets chanting ant-American slogans. But it'd be fun to watch Khlis wipe the floor with the other guy.

  posted by AVS @ 22.3.03

Welcome To The Jungle, Err, We Mean Jail
Vancouver police have posted this web site to seek help finding a group of morons who rioted back in November when Guns N Roses failed to show up for a scheduled concert. If you see any of these people, stay away. They are violent and extremely stupid. Just contact the Vancouver police at the email address posted on the site.

  posted by AVS @ 22.3.03

Confessions Of A (Formerly) Dangerous Mind
A thoughtful blogger from Nebraska confesses to having been a peacenik in college, but says, "Ironically, it was the actions of my fellow peaceniks that turned me more objective and conservative. When I tried to engage several in conversation about injustices and world events, the response was often, 'Reagan is a bastard. Hey, do you know if anyone here's got pot?' How frustrating."

She goes on, "At some point, I had a epiphany. I wondered if our leaders actually were warmongers. I wondered if they really only wanted war. I wondered if they really thought citizens were good for nothing but taxes and to support their black tie dinners. Then it hit me: "They might care." Maybe decisions they make are hard and keep them up at night. Maybe they have a modicum of common sense. It was at that point that I started coming around. Then I started my treks to the library. I began soliciting the opinions of those whom I differed with. I began to understand that it all wasn't black and white. I began to realize that my utopian society could only exist if every country on the planet was in agreement -- and that was never going to happen. It occured to me that if we had no military, we'd be a nice, big piece of real estate for a megalomaniac and with a megalomaniac in power, we might not be able to express a dissenting voice. Ever."

To read the whole piece, see Renee's site. It's worth the time.

  posted by AVS @ 22.3.03

Where Are The Civilian Casualties?
This seems too good to be true, but so far the Iraqi civilian death toll stands at only eight after almost three days of war. Single digits. Most of the non-lethal injuries to the civilian population reportedly have been caused by Iraq's own forces. The New York Times reported Saturday that Iraqi officials list more than 200 injured in the air raids. But NPR reported this afternoon that of those 200, almost all, "if not all," were wounded by Iraqi anti-aircraft fire as the shrapnel fell back to earth. Al Jazeera is starting to broadcast images of bodies in the rubble. We'll have to see about that. The remarkably low civilian death toll is definitely the most underreported story of the war so far. If our guided missiles are that precise, and our troops that careful, it will take a lot of wind out of the sails of any future anti-war movement. Anti-war advocates have sown a great deal of doubt and reluctance about war by trumpeting wildly inflated casualty predictions. Remove this weapon from their arsenal, and they become much less effective.

  posted by AVS @ 22.3.03

The Anti-War Movement's Biggest Idiot
You may have seen this already, but if not, definitely take a look. This anti-war protester in Olympia, Wash., chained himself to the wrong building in protest of President Bush's ultimatum to Saddam. Instead of the Department of Energy building he thought he would bind himself to, he locked himself to the front door of the Washington State Grange. What an idiot.

  posted by AVS @ 22.3.03

Man Beats Saddam With Shoe
Well, OK, man beats Saddam poster with shoe. In this hilarious Reuters photo, an angry Iraqi man stops a U.S. Marine from tearing down a giant poster of Saddam Hussein so he can vent his anger by beating the poster with a shoe. The cutline says another Iraqi man kissed a Marine on the cheek. But remember, President Bush should be ashamed of this war, which everyone knows is against Muslims.

  posted by AVS @ 22.3.03

Treason In San Francisco
San Francisco anti-war protesters march with a huge banner advocating the murder of American military officers. This was at a so-called peace march. Goes to show that the radical left is not at all opposed to killing -- as long as those being killed are Americans who hold positions of power and authority. Kudos to Little Green Footballs for finding and linking the pic.

  posted by AVS @ 22.3.03

More Embedded Bloggers
BBC reporters blog their dispatches here. You can tell from the typos and grammar errors that this is real blogging.

  posted by AVS @ 22.3.03

Look, There's Daddy Getting Shot At!
The families of the Army's 7th Cavalry sit in a room at Ft. Benning, Ga., and watch their warrior husbands, fathers, and boyfriends on TV, The Times of London reports. I know, I said yesterday that I like having embedded journalists, and I do. But there's something so macabre about bringing the families together at the base so they can watch real-time feeds of their loved ones conducting war. As one of the family members who dislikes the practice told a reporter, "The battlefield is a dangerous place. This is not a movie for people to watch on TV."

  posted by AVS @ 22.3.03

The Iraqis Open Fire -- On Themselves!
The Times of London reports that Iraqi conscripts caught between U.S. Navy Seals and British Commandos made the same decision anyone else would in that situation. They shot their officers and surrendered.

  posted by AVS @ 22.3.03

Lying for Columbine
The insipid blowhard Michael Moore is up for an Academy Award this Sunday for his alleged documentary titled "Bowling for Columbine." John Fund has a devastating column laying out the lies, intentional distortions, and laziness that makes up this Oscar-nominated and Cannes-winning piece of garbage.

  posted by AVS @ 21.3.03


French Conspiracy?
Ack! French's mustard is the official mustard of Yankee Stadium! But it's OK, French's is a New Jersey company named after its founder, R.T. French. Or so it claims in a recent press release linked by Dave Barry.

  posted by AVS @ 21.3.03

Embedded bloggers
Have you noticed the improved quality of news reports from Iraq since the last time we were there? The news from the front is actually from the front this time and not from some shaking high-rise flophouse with gaudy curtains and mass-produced furnishings to duck under. (Say, where is Bernard Shaw, anyway? Evidently he left his career under that desk.) Having the scribes on the scene has made for much better reporting than the stuff we got back when the press pool waited at the hotel or base to be debriefed after the fighting was over. The icing on the cake is that some correspondents are blogging. Their dispatches are linked at

  posted by AVS @ 21.3.03

Happy Iraqis
"No Saddam Hussein!" yelled an Iraqi to a U.S. Marine who was ripping down huge posters of Hussein, this wire story reports. "Bush!"

"Americans very good," said another. "Iraq wants to be free."

Others chanted, "Amerik!" "Amerik!"

In response to Iraqis swarming out to happily greet U.S. troops or to beg for food, Marines chant in response, "Iraqis! Iraqis! Iraqis!"

Tell me again, why is this an unjust war?

  posted by AVS @ 21.3.03

Bush's Restraint
With more than a quarter of a million troops at his disposal, complete air superiority, and enough firepower to turn every inch of Baghdad to rubble, how did President Bush begin Gulf War 2: The Final Chapter? He launched roughly 40 missiles at one building to try to kill nine people. Some warmonger.

Bush's opening salvo in this war should put an end to all remaining accusations that the president cares nothing for innocent iraqi civilians, that the war is really against Muslims, or that the war is about anything other than separating Saddam Hussein from the machinery of power. (But of course it won't.) In the same situation, how many men would have weilded so much power with such careful restraint?

  posted by AVS @ 20.3.03


Some Images Of The Prelude To War...

The Face of the Enemy

Hey, if you're gonna bother protesting, at least spell check your sign

Gulf War or Star Wars?
(click pics in ascending order)

Pic 1

Pic 2

Pic 3

Pic 4

Pic 5

Pic 6

Pic 7

Pic 8

Pic 9

Pic 10

Pic 11

Pic 12

  posted by AVS @ 19.3.03


A Time For Greatness

There is a time for some things, and a time for all things; a time for great things, and a time for small things.
-- Cervantes

Now is a time for great things. The "sophisticated" nations of Europe (France, Germany, Belgium, Greece, Sweden, Luxembourg) act as if this is a time that must never come. To them the time for small things -- the perpetual enjoyment of sensual pleasures made abundant by the nexus of capitalism and the modern welfare state -- is a permanent state of utopian existence which is actually achievable if only we leash the restless engines of human activity and lash them to the redistributive apparatus of the state. While there are capitalists left to subdue, who has time for liberating oppressed Third World peasants? And besides, war is so... primitive. Post-modern, intellectual man has evolved beyond the simplistic "logic of war," as de Villepin condescends to remind us.

For the rest of the world (including the majority of Europe) which is undeceived by the mere existence of its own wealth and security, purchased in large part by the presence of United States armed forces, such an attitude is dangerous to the extreme, for it turns all attention inward toward the attainment of the ultimate utopian state. There is no energy left for dealing with outside concerns, even potential threats to one's security. But one who ignores the rest of the world is not ignored in return -- just the contrary.

"We have passed more than a dozen resolutions in the United Nations Security Council," President Bush said on Monday night. "We have sent hundreds of weapons inspectors to oversee the disarmament of Iraq. Our good faith has not been returned. The Iraqi regime has used diplomacy as a ploy to gain time and advantage. It has uniformly defied Security Council resolutions demanding full disarmament."

Every world leader knows this to be true. Even Hans Blix said this in his MTV interview (thanks to Jay Nordlinger for the quote):

"I think one must be aware that the Iraqis would not have moved one inch without political and military pressure," Blix said. "I took part in Secretary Kofi Annan's discussions with the Iraqis last summer and I'm quite sure they would not have moved but for that. It's fine with public opinion and with the Arab League and many others urging them to accept inspections, but they would not have accepted inspections had it not been for the U.S. pressure. And this has to remain there. Even now I think the pressure is a necessary element. The threat of force is important and vital, but the use of force is awful."

That last sentence is why the United States will go to war this week without the backing of the United Nations. The French and Germans know very well how vital is the threat of force for dealing with thugs and tyrants. They simply cannot stomach the idea of actually using that force. It's so unsophisticated. That and they know their nations will never again be close to world-power status unless they find some way to contain the United States. Isolating America over Iraq can give France and Germany the political leverage within the European Union, and possibly the larger world, that they have sought since the EU's inception.

As President Bush said Monday night, "This is not a question of authority, it is a question of will."

Once again, the United States picks up its sword to preserve world security when most of the rest of the world refuses to act.

"The United States and other nations did nothing to deserve or invite this threat, but we will do everything to defeat it," Bush said. "Instead of drifting along toward tragedy, we will set a course toward safety. Before the day of horror can come, before it is too late to act, this danger will be removed."

Like every danger in the past century, this one will be removed by the courage, resolution, and strength of the United States.

  posted by AVS @ 17.3.03


More Evidence of Duke's Foul Play
Check out this News & Observer pic of a flagrant Duke foul during the ACC championship game on Sunday. Casey Sanders, the one committing the mugging, played 23 minutes and scored one point (he hit a free throw). One could say he was frustrated, but this foul came in the first half.

  posted by AVS @ 16.3.03

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