New Link

New Link:

Semper Fi to Mike the Marine, just added to the "Other Halls" link section. Always a pleasure to see a Teufel Hunden on the web. Mike, if you stop in, take a look to the right and you'll find, under "Philosophy and Ideas," a link to the USMC Doctrine page. Everybody should read WARFIGHTING, don't you agree?

Learn it, live it, love it. Ooh-rah.

Asia Times - News and analysis from Korea; North and South

Why, Yes, You Do Need To Explain This:

The Spanish government is demanding that the Bush administration please explain why a shipment of SCUDs and dangerous chemicals was allowed to proceed to Libya:

The episode began on December 5, 2002, when US intelligence services informed Madrid about the route of a freighter named So San, which they suspected of trafficking weapons and which was, at the time, crossing a zone under Spain's authority in the Indian Ocean. Four days later, a Spanish frigate and warship intercepted the So San after ordering the captain to halt and firing warning shots. The vessel was found to be sailing under the Cambodian flag.

The weapons and chemicals came from North Korea and did not appear on the ship's manifest, which showed only that the merchant vessel was carrying bags of cement. After intercepting the freighter, Spain then handed the ship over to the US Navy. Immediate official explanations out of Washington and Madrid said the missiles might have been headed for the al-Qaeda network, which the US government holds responsible for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. However, just hours later, the US administration took Spain by surprise by turning the So San over to Yemen, explaining that the cargo was actually a legal shipment of weapons purchased from North Korea by the Yemini government.

The handover was preceded by a telephone conversation between US Vice President Dick Cheney and Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. When that conversation was made public, the White House justified the move by calling Yemen a friendly nation. So what initially came off as a brilliant Spanish military operation to prevent illegal trade in weapons of mass destruction was reduced to a suspected manipulation directed from Washington, with Madrid in the role of receiving and carrying out orders that were not very clear in their purpose.

The NATO sources cited in El Mundo said that at the time the shipment was intercepted, the United States was secretly negotiating the possibility that Libya would accept Saddam Hussein, then still president of Iraq, in exile. And Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who played the role of go-between during the Gulf War in 1991 by assisting in Iraq's withdrawal from Kuwait, had hopes of gaining access to the weapons.

"Gaddafi wanted the missiles and Yemen acted as intermediary. In the context of gestures with Libya, it was decided to look the other way, given that there was no international regulation that impeded it," said the newspaper, citing sources from the Pentagon.
Ah, yes, "gestures." I always like to reward gestures from former terrorists by letting them have medium-range missiles and chemical weapons material. Especially when the North Koreans can profit too!

Someday we're going to wonder why we didn't take this war a lot more seriously. I'm wondering already.

Locke, or Demosthenes?


My vote this week is for "The War will be a Success" from Anti-AntiWar. It's a fairly basic history lesson, and one worth keeping in mind. Sadly, there's a lot that can go wrong that this post doesn't cover. Still, the facts he mentions deserve consideration.

White House Aide Angers Pagans (

Pagans Help the Poor:

Reader MB sends this story along and asks for some commentary. The story is of the director of the White House's "Faith Based" programs, who was asked if pagan groups could get Federal money for charity efforts. His reply was that he hadn't heard of any such groups:

I haven't run into a pagan faith-based group yet, much less a pagan group that cares for the poor! Once you make it clear to any applicant that public money must go to public purposes and can't be used to promote ideology, the fringe groups lose interest. Helping the poor is tough work, and only those with loving hearts seem drawn to it.
It turns out there have been quite a few Pagans for the Poor:
In the past three years, Pagan Pride groups have collected 74,000 pounds of food and donated $51,000 to homeless shelters, interfaith food banks, the American Red Cross and other charities, according to the Indianapolis-based International Pagan Pride Project.

In Chicago, pagans support a battered women's shelter. In Massachusetts, they have given $20,000 for children with AIDS.

$51,000 is a pittance compared to what Christian groups donate to charity each year, it is true; but then again, the numbers of people who are professed pagans is quite small. The estimate in the Post story is 300,000, which is just about one tenth of one percent of the US population.

This, of course, points the way forward here. There's no reason to ban Pagan groups, as there aren't going to be very many of them because there aren't very many Pagans. There's no reason they shouldn't participate in charity, as long as they're held to the same standards as everyone else--a good one is the one cited, i.e., that the money can't go to promote ideology.

Of course, that's the problem with the Faith-based program anyway: no one trusts their neighbors not to preach while they feed the hungry and soothe the sick. The sick are still suffering, though, and the hungry are not fed. I should rather take the risk that some preaching might get done, than prefer that the ills should continue with no better treatment than that which the government can provide. If we have learned anything, it is that the government is the worst choice for caring for the poor. Anyone does it better.

Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus on National Review Online


Blogger's been down for the last couple of days. As a result, I was unable to post anything in honor of Pearl Harbor Day. Just for the record, though, it was not forgotten.

Jay Nordlinger, writing today for the National Review, has this item on the use of language:

You'll be pleased to know that Murder, Inc., the rap-record company, has changed its name — to, simply, "The Inc." The company's founder told a press conference, "People have been focused on the negative energy of the word 'murder.'" You don't say? "Negative energy"?
This reminds me of something I once heard David Letterman say: "'The Washington Bullets' [a basketball team, I think] has decided to change its name to something less violent. From now on, they will just be called, 'The Bullets.'"