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3/07/2003

 

help me out here



is hans blix really this dumb

His cautious, balanced assessment said Iraq has undertaken "a substantial measure of disarmament" by commencing destruction of its proscribed Al Samoud-2 missiles and that inspectors have been able to interview an increasing number of Iraqi weapons scientists and technicians.


or does he simply not want to go back to being a nobody again once u.s. bombs start falling?

please, please tell me it's because he's starved for attention. please don't tell me that the world really has pinned it's hopes on a man with the mental acuity of a carrot.

locdog doesn't think his ticker could take it




 

please allow me to offer...



...a cautiously optimistic HOLY COW!

but then, locdog has been let down so many times before




 

just what are bush's real motives?



who cares?

since back before the passing of resolution 1441 (or revolution 1441, as the iraqi people may someday call it) the howler monkeys on the left have been a-hootin' and a-hollerin' over bush's real motives for war in iraq.

come and listen to a story bout a man named bush
his texas oil buddies had to spur him in the tush
they said "saddam's policies just ain't our cup of tea"
so bush saddled up the troops for profits iraqi

oil, that is. black gold. texas--


well, you get the point.

no, say others. it isn't oil. we may be muddle-headed democratic partisans but we aren't that dumb. it must be political. after all, bush has promised bin laden "dead or alive" and he's yet to deliver. maybe he'll never catch him. and all the while saddam hussein hangs like an apple waiting to be plucked. bush knocks off saddam, there's lots of cool night-vision tracer fire on cnn, wolf blitzer gets another raise, and happy days are here again. that's got to be it. if it wasn't political, he'd be going after north korea. they're a bigger threat.

except that can't be it, either. partly because north korea is not a bigger threat, but mostly because the type of unilateral military action bush has threatened (and probably will have to take) is politically unpopular both at home and abroad. quite a gamble. as thomas freidman recently explained "Anyone who thinks President Bush is doing this for political reasons is nuts. You could do this only if you really believed in it, because Mr. Bush is betting his whole presidency on this war of choice."

others, like mr. friedman's colleague the respected psychic maureen dowd, are apparently privy to the dark, inner workings of the president's mind. perhaps he is seeking to make up for the sins of his father, who opted to leave hussein in power when he had the chance to take him out (and imagine, by the way, the barrage of dung-flinging from leftist monkeys had bush41 tried it.) or maybe bush doesn't like being perceived as a weakling, and is compensating for his supposed failures against big, bad terror by picking on a scrawny wimp like saddam hussein. this is my personal favorite inner-demon because it reminds me of those old charles atlas ads you used to see in comic books--the ones where the beefy, brawny bully (put bush's face on his head--i dare you not to laugh) would kick sand in the face of the scrawny 120 pound wimp in front of all the girls. heh heh heh... perhaps bush is on a mad quest for vengeance. perhaps he is fueled by his rage over saddam's botched assassination attempt on his father and is willing to risk anything to kill the man who tried to off his daddy. or maybe it's some turbulent soul-stew blending all of the above into an acrid bile, unifying bush's splintered psyche and fueling his destructive monomania towards consummation.

whatever.

about the only thing that could be said for this completely non-falsifiable pack of ad hominem smears is that it's good for a laugh. the assumptions one has to make about the president's mental health to swallow any of these eliminates all but bush's most bitter, hate-filled foes as possible devotees. besides, captain ahab didn't ceaselessly lobby the u.n., give last chance after last chance, and, even when the whale had breeched off his port bow, plead for a joint solution. "matter, united nations," bush has said. "but if you won't..."

the left has shed much ink in an attempt to impugn bush's stated motives for war with saddam hussein (note i do not say "war with iraq" as iraq likes its dictator considerably less than we do.) a great ballyhoo has been made over his failure to present any plausible motives for his proposed military action. and yet the left has failed to offer any plausible ulterior motives, and being that i am not inclined to share their knee-jerk cynicism and guilty-until-proven-innocent standards, i would say that they have fallen short of the standard of proof they established when they took it upon themselves to call the president of the united states a liar.

besides, who cares if bush does have ulterior motives? is saddam hussein not a brutal dictator? has he not murdered hundreds of thousands in stalin-esque purgings and wars of conquest? does he not rape and torture his own people? has he not gouged out the eyes of children before their parents’ faces and beheaded mothers before the eyes of their children? is he not the most combative, unpredictable despot in the craziest, most explosive region on earth? will the iraqi people (not to mention the world) be far, far better off after saddam hussein is dead? in the face of the president's over-whelming moral authority, the best liberals can do is to tuck their tails between their legs and snivel "well, i still don't see why it has to be us who's got to do it."

because no one else will.

locdog will take the president at his word until someone gives a good reason not to





3/06/2003

 

is it just me or...



has blogger completely gone to hell?

locdog can only take so much of this




 

no, i'm not pope bashing



and let me just say that i am weary of that entire line of argument. if you oppose the gay agenda it's because you are homophobic. if you oppose affirmative action it's because you are a racist. if you oppose the pope's position on iraq it's because you're in the IRA. ok, fine: that's hyperbole. but why is it impossible for a protestant to have a principled objection to the pope's views? folks, we've been offering them for years now...

blogger and fellow frayster john mcg writes of yesterday's jihad post

The more I read stuff like this...the more I think the Vatican is really on to something, and it's troubling people's consciences, and they're reacting to it by doing everything they can to kill the messenger.


now john, if you don't know him, is a class act and rises above typical charges of anti-catholic bigotry, but he still falls into the trap of impugning a person's motives rather than dealing with what they say. as far as i know, john, you aren't a psychic. so rather than guessing what it is that's really driving me, why not simply respond to what i've written? why not explain to us all why it is that pope JPII is propagating the myth that international sanctions are responsible for the sufferings of innocent iraqis when even the most rudimentary understanding of post-gulf war history exposes this for the patent nonsense it is?

another frayster cum blogger, tony adragna of the successful quasipundit blog, deigns to throw this dog a bone

Now, you may disagree with the Pope -- as do I on several issues -- but to suggest that he's overstepped the bounds of his role is rather a silly complaint. To argue that Catholics aren't bound to respect his authority in the matter before us... well, that's just plain old inaccurate.


tony, another class act, opts to point out factual inaccuracies in my statement rather than speculate on my motives. a fair and just tactic, for certain. but i can't quite figure out why tony's zest for rectifying error ends at the vatican door. what of the pope's misguided blame game? it may be that tony escapes the perils of ad hominem argument, but he still isn't dealing with the real issue.

to frame tony's reply a little better, his position is that even when the pope isn't speaking ex cathedra, he retains apostolic authority, hence, he isn't merely offering an opinion and catholics are obligated to follow him. how far would you take that, tony? would you be sinning if you didn't join in the pope's fast? clearly, you would be sinning by not fasting for lent in general, but what about a refusal to use the lenten fast specifically for peace as the pope has requested? given the established purposes of the fast, the ones that JPII has swept aside sans ex cathedra heft, one wonders how one could escape sin either way. furthermore, does the pope retain full apostolic authority when he isn't speaking ex cathedra? if so, why would roman catholicism even bother with the distinction? it must only be because "apostolic authority" is something less than infallible (as in peter screwed up and paul had to straighten him out) in which case we really are talking about a person's fallible opinions and we really aren't talking about an obligation to obey since the possibility exists that millions could be led into sin.

i posted the jihad post on the fray, and you can see the results for yourself by following the threads found here, here, and here. in case you're lazy, i'll cut to the chase by pointing out that while most people took strong exception to my treatment of the pope, and a few blatantly objected to my writings as plain old fashioned evangelical prejudice, hardly anyone bothered to deal with the evidence presented concerning the sanctions and the implications it holds for the pope's position. it's hard for me to believe that the pope is acting as altruistically as many (not all) of you catholics have suggested when he's using such questionable means. i guess i just can't understand why it is you catholics don't demand accountability from the leadership of your church. if you had, the priestly scandals the vatican has so long ignored might have been drastically mitigated. i'm not trying to cheap-shot you guys, but refusing to face a problem is the best way to exacerbate it, and priestly pedophilia is about as obvious an example of that as any i can think of.

some catholics, like the aforementioned tony adragna or amy welborn, will admit to being at least somewhat uneasy with the pope's position or tactics, but offer no explanations (or explain away some aspects while refusing to deal with others), and no calls for accountability. i would imagine that these catholics are acting in what they perceive to be humble submission to the will of God as expressed by the pope, and that is truly admirable. but whenever the pope isn't speaking infallibly, shouldn't he, by virtue of his tremendous influence, be held to the strictest standards of accountability? meaning no disrespect, i believe that the worst position a catholic could hold is the one that says "well, i don't necessarily like what the pope's doing, but..." knee-jerk papal apologists are a bit like ostriches sticking their heads in the sand. but isn't it worse to first see clearly as an eagle, then stick one's head in the sand? the question is one of degrees: to what extent does one lie to one's self? i'm not trying to make enemies, folks, but i believe there is a serious lack of accountability in the catholic church and i don't see how downplaying or overlooking vatican indiscretions is going to fix the problem.

locdog is glad for those catholics willing to ask the hard questions (like joseph d'hippolito, who really should get his own blog)





3/05/2003

 

the pope continues his jihad against america



that JPII would take the advent of one of Christendom's holy days as an opportunity for crass global politicking is bad, but that he would do so through saddam-approved propaganda is unconscionable.

VATICAN CITY — Pope John Paul II stepped up his crusade against a looming war in Iraq yesterday, urging the world’s Christians to stage a fast for peace on the same day as his envoy is to meet US President George W. Bush.

The pope said the day of fasting today would remind people of the long years of suffering endured by Iraqi citizens as a result of the international embargo against the country.

The pontiff said the day of fasting today should “provide greater understanding of the difficulties and sufferings or our brothers confronted by hunger, misery and war”.


before i get into the pope's classic blame-the-victimism, allow me to kindly ask why on earth Christians would stage a world-wide fast for peace, and what on earth (or in the heavens) gives him the right to call for such a fast when in so doing he implies that God shares his own rather narrow viewpoint? the pope is not speaking with apostolic authority here folks, and when he's not speaking ex cathedra he's just some guy with a pointy hat and an opinion. ditch the hat and hand him a guitar and he'd be bono. and yet he isn't bono, and he isn't just some guy. he's the spiritual leader of hundreds of millions worldwide and he's exploiting their trust through what can only be described as a cynical diplomatic power-play. the inescapable implication of his "urgings" is that Christians should want nothing more than peace. not freedom, not justice, not even love as love sometimes causes us to act in unpleasant ways when inaction would be the easier course. because of this, Christians must need align themselves against those who support war--not as a matter of indifference or even deeply held personal conviction, but as an article of religious faith. jihad.

now the rest. has JPII forgotten why there are sanctions on iraq? it isn't because we wanted to kill "500,000 iraqi children" as unicef and the united nations have reported. it was because saddam hussein has victimized his own people, his neighbors, and, if he could, the world at large. these sanctions were enacted to force saddam to do what he was absolutely unwilling to do of his own accord: spend his billions on butter, not guns. at no point since the gulf war has iraq ever been denied food or medicine by "international embargo". and yet somehow it is the "international embargo" that is to blame for the sufferings of the iraqi people. fine, i'll switch off my incredulity long enough to give the pope his day in court. let us see who is to blame.

August 6, 1990, U.N.S.C.R. 661, was levied and froze Iraqi assets, with exceptions allowed for "supplies intended strictly for medical purposes and, in humanitarian circumstances, foodstuffs."


iraq is allowed to buy food and medical supplies. once again, these have never been restricted and saddam remains free to buy them even now. the un reaffirmed this stance in resolution 687 which dictated the cease fire conditions for the gulf war.

April 3, 1991, U.N.S.C.R. 687 dictated cease fire conditions. The Resolution specified three categories of demands: unilateral disarmament, compensation to Kuwait for damage inflicted during the occupation and war, and acceptance of the 1963 Iraq-Kuwait border...A United Nations Special Commission (U.N.S.C.O.M.) was charged with implementing and verifying destruction of Iraq's chemical and biological weapons capability, destruction of medium and long-range ballistic missiles, and installing monitoring mechanisms to ensure that these capabilities were not rebuilt. Resolution 687 confirmed that the humanitarian circumstances were such that food imports should be allowed after notification to the Sanctions Committee.


supposedly, the impact of economic sanctions left iraq without funds to purchase medicine and food. strange, then, that while saddam had managed to scrape together enough money to rebuild his military and chemical/biological weapons programs, he couldn't seem to find any spare change to feed his starving children. (no doubt raiding the sofa cushions of his many palaces alone could have fed half of them.) and so saddam stubbornly refused to comply with resolution 687's demands for two years, all the while denying inspectors access to his banned weapons programs and frustrating diplomatic efforts to restore said access. in an awe-inspiring display of equanimity, the u.n. endeavored to find a way to get food and medicine into iraq despite saddam's recalcitrance.

August 15, 1991, U.N.S.C.R. 706 allowed Iraq to sell up to $1.6 billion of its oil. The proceeds were to be deposited into an UN administered account. The money in the account was to be used to buy humanitarian supplies for Iraq, to compensate Kuwait for war damages, and to reimburse U.N.S.C.O.M. for its costs. (Iraq did not agree to the terms of this Resolution and publicly has not sold oil.)


saddam refused, doubtless because he would not be in control in the funds, and hence the monies acquired really would go towards purchasing food and medicine.

finally, in 1994, saddam decided to comply with resolution 687, and the sanctions were on the verge of being totally lifted.

June 1994, U.N.S.C.O.M. reported that it had eliminated Iraq's known chemical weapons stockpile. Sanctions, as a result of Iraqi compliance were to be loosened...A few days before delivery of U.N.S.C.O.M.'s report in October, Iraqi troop movements prompted a new Gulf crisis. As a result, lifting sanctions on Iraq has been permanently been relegated to 'the back burner.'


and there you have it. neither the united states, united nations, nor anyone else that i know of (except maybe saddam's new best friends the saudis and iranians) has ever refused to sell food or medicine to iraq. saddam hussein has refused to buy it. and despite numerous creative attempts to get saddam to comply, he preferred instead to use the blood of his starving children to fuel his tanks and their flesh to feed his forces. he remains in rebellion to this day.

now, regarding this 500,000 number. if you do a google search for "500,000 dead iraqi children" you'll find page after page of the vilest anti-american propaganda you could ever hope to see. and yet, i can't find any sources to discredit this figure, and it does come from unicef and u.n. food and agriculture reports. those groups aren't exactly notorious supporters of the USA, but let's assume for the sake of argument that the 500,000 figure is correct. how could JPII, war protestors, bleeding hearts in the democratic party--anyone--reasonably blame the "international embargo" for these deaths in light of saddam's conduct and the handsprings the international community turned to get humanitarian aid to saddam's suffering people even at the height of his defiance?

maybe the pope doesn't know any of this. maybe he isn't aware of the u.n.'s long post-war history with iraq. maybe he said what he said because he wasn't in possession of all the facts. if that's the case, then to say the very least he is dangerously irresponsible and not fit to wield the power and influence he's been given. even the most cursory examination of post-gulf war history bears this out. given the pope's track record, though, it's becoming increasingly difficult for me to accept that ignorance is a plausible excuse.

locdog knows politics when he sees it