Blix feeling froggy.

First thing I saw on the Corner this morning: Hans Blix accuses US of planning the war. You know, it isn't often you find such big nuggets of pure leftist stupidity littering the landscape like they have since the war started, but this is a particularly big one.
The invasion of Iraq was planned a long time in advance, and the United States and Britain are not primarily concerned with finding any banned weapons of mass destruction, the chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, said in an interview on Wednesday.
I believe that probably falls under the heading of "no shit". The primary job of the US is to topple the regime; it was your fucking job to find the weapons, and you failed. Twice.
"There is evidence that this war was planned well in advance. Sometimes this raises doubts about their attitude to the (weapons) inspections," Blix told Spanish daily El Pais.
How preciously phrased. There was also some evidence that someone inside UNMOVIC was helping the Iraqis figure out where you were going to be looking for WMDs as well, Hans. And sometimes, I confess, that raised doubts about your attitude to the inspections as well.
"I now believe that finding weapons of mass destruction has been relegated, I would say, to fourth place, which is why the United States and Britain are now waging war on Iraq.

Today the main aim is to change the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein," he said, according to the Spanish text of the interview.
With cheese! But you've confused cause and effect; that's not why the US is waging war with Iraq, the war is why the Easter egg hunt has been relegated to fourth or fifth place on the list of priorities.
Blix said US President George W Bush had told him in October 2002 that he backed the UN's work to verify US and British claims that Baghdad was developing biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.
And I'm sure at the time he did. And then you guys screwed around and hemmed and hawed and made it perfectly obvious that your main objective was merely to draw out the process long enough to hamper any pre-emptive action on the part of the US--not to actually find any WMDs.
But he said he knew at the time "there were people within the Bush administration who were sceptical and who were working on engineering regime change". By the start of March the hawks in both Washington and London were getting impatient, he added.

Blix said that he thought the US might initially have believed Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction - although its "fabrication" of evidence raised doubts about even that - but that Washington was now less convinced by its own claims.

"I think the Americans started the war thinking there were some. I think they now believe less in that possibility.
Wrong. Speaking solely for my American self, I certainly believe there at least were some in country until you dicked around long enough for most of them to be moved out for safekeeping elsewhere.
But I don't know - you ask yourself a lot of questions when you see the things they did to try and demonstrate that the Iraqis had nuclear weapons, like the fake contract with Niger," he explained.
That's quite an accusation, particularly coming from a guy who as recently as February indicated that the Iraqi government was not cooperating with his own inspections.
That was a reference to US allegations - later denied - that Iraq had sought to purchase uranium from the west African state of Niger.

"I'm very curious to see if they do find any (weapons)," he said.
Yeah, I'll bet you are.
Blix said the war, which on Wednesday entered its 21st day, was "a very high price to pay in terms of human lives and the destruction of a country" when the threat of weapons proliferation could have been contained by UN inspections.
But it couldn't have been. It wasn't. Your inspections were a crude farce straight out of the commedia dell'arte.
By attacking Iraq, Washington had sent the wrong message - that if a country did not possess biological, chemical or nuclear weapons, it risked being attacked.
I'm pretty sure the message sent--and received--was that the US is not going to dick around endlessly like the UN is inclined to do.
"The United States maintains that the war on Iraq is designed to send a signal to other countries to keep away from weapons of mass destruction.

But people are getting a different message.

Take the announcement North Korea has just made. It's tantamount to saying 'if you let in the inspectors, like Iraq did, you get attacked'.
No, it's more like saying 'if you let in the inspectors and then screw with the inspections process, you get attacked.'
North Korea accused the United States on Sunday of using a UN Security Council discussion of its nuclear programme as a "prelude to war" and warned that it would fully mobilise and strengthen its forces.
North Korea is starving. It would be foolish to underestimate an enemy, but I have difficulty taking their military threats at face value when they can't even feed the army.
"It's an important problem," Blix continued.

"If a country perceives that its security is guaranteed, it won't need to consider weapons of mass destruction. This security guarantee is the first line of defence against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."
Again, this assumes that all countries are run by reasonable men, which is manifestly a false premise.
The 74-year-old Swede announced in March that he would step down from his post when his contract runs out in June.
Big of him.
Blix's reputation for independence and resisting political pressure was sorely tested as the Iraq crisis unfolded and US officials became exasperated with his measured reports on Iraqi cooperation with his inspection teams.
And his credibility was shredded in the process, imo.


"Why should the war influence a bunch of books about grown men and women who jump around in their underwear and punch people?"

Kevin Parrott posts a long and interesting dissection of a Comicgate article about the comics industry and the war in Iraq. Even if you're not particularly interested in comics (and I haven't been since the late 70s), this is pure gold and funny as hell.


The language of war.

Interesting Slate article on the possible linguistic contributions of Gulf War II to the English language. [Thanks to Paula for the link.]
I wouldn't have believed it.

Colin Powell is capable of givng snarkmeister Rumsfeld a run for his money in dealing with the European assumption of moral superiority.
Memo to Al Jazeera: you're not important enough to target.

Unless someone behind you is shooting at our guys, of course. Meanwhile, in Jordan:
Dozens of Jordanian journalists staged a sit-in outside the Jordan Press Association in Amman, chanting anti-American slogans and calling for an end to the "massacres of journalists and civilians" in Iraq.
[Link via the Corner.] Since when is two journalists a "massacre"?

Btw, later tonight I'll be staging a sit-in in my living room, chanting pro-American slogans and celebrating the judicious use of US military force. I expect the event to be at least as influential on the conduct of the war as the proceedings in Jordan.


I'm no fan of Oasis...

...but Liam Gallagher's tirade about Chris Martin is just f***in' funny.
“That lot are just a bunch of nobhead students — Chris Martin looks like a f***in’ geography teacher. What’s all that f***in’ s*** with writing messages about Free Trade on his hand when he’s playing. If he wants to write things down I’ll give him a f***in’ pen and a pad of paper. Bunch of students."
Further Corner perusal...

...brings up an article along the lines of the semi-popular "let's stop bashing the French" bleat, this time under the guise that it's "evil" to hold the French accountable for having surrendered to the Germans:
Obviously, in 1995, "cheese-eatin' surrender monkeys" was funny for different reasons; it was absurd to think anyone - 50 years after World War II - holds a nation accountable for exercising a basic instinct of survival.

"(It's) a tad unfair, if you look at what the French were faced with," said Dr. Gael Graham, associate history professor at Western Carolina University.
Western Carolina?
The French surrendered in World War II rather than face state-of-the-art, seemingly unbeatable German tanks.
They could have easily stopped Germany from illegally reoccupying the Rhineland in 1936, when they were much the superior force, simply by announcing their intention to oppose Hitler, and they chose not to bother, then capitulated in record time in 1940. The hell with them.
"There's a sense in this country that we saved the French," Graham added. "We didn't do it alone, and we didn't mostly do it."
Sorry, Gael, your grasp of WWII history seems even tetchier than mine.
And aren't we presently telling Iraqis that surrender is a good thing, even admirable in the face of state-of-the-art, seemingly unbeatable coalition forces?
Yes. But we outclass the Iraqis militarily by a damn sight more than the Germans outclassed the French--nor are we seeking lebensraum from them.
The French, if anything, are cheese-eatin' noncompliance monkeys.

Can we at least agree France should be further down on our bashing list, behind al-Qaida, Iraq, Iowa, large-market sports franchises and Germany?
No. We can't. And you can stuff your can't-we-all-just-get-along tripe right up your ass.

File this under "cry me a river."

Police breaking out the rubber bullets on the protesters in Oakland.
Several people were injured, including some who suffered large bruises. One man lifted up his shirt to show a welt about the size of a baseball.
[Link via the Corner.] Good thing Russell declined.
2-minute trailer for "Pirates of the Caribbean".

Because I like pirate movies. (No, not "Cutthroat Island".) The trailer on the official site looks great, the one at upcomingmovies.com looks like crap on my system.
Life is just more enjoyable when you have a juvenile of humor.

Bill McCabe's revised map of France.
Because I love parody.

I present the genius of Ian Hamet at Banana Oil, re the Brain-Terminal NYC protester video (ample linkage provided in the material.) [Paula, this one's just for you.]