Friday, April 25, 2003

Looters Be Damned

As usual, Mark Steyn has the best piece so far on the thefts from the Iraqi National Museum by organized thieves (not random looters as has generally been reported around the world). He made light of the impact in a previous column, sparking an indignant letter to the National Post, to which he responded:

[Editor of the London Spectator] Boris Johnson called the Iraqi museum's contents "the equivalent of the Crown Jewels, things that were meant eternally to incarnate the culture of your land." But the Crown Jewels matter because they symbolize reality -- the peaceful constitutional order that the Queen's subjects have enjoyed for centuries. By contrast, the contents of the Baghdad museum symbolize everything that the monstrous reality of Saddam's Iraq rejected -- law, government, progress, innovation, vitality. So a lawless regime preserved the records of the first legal code in a glass case, and for most of the last few years you couldn't even get in to see it. The past was just another Saddamite plaything, appropriated for some useful regime-propping imagery but otherwise disposable. Before they got diverted into jumping on the Bush-bashing bandwagon, the students of antiquity were more concerned with Saddam's dam project at Makhul, which was threatening to submerge Assur, the old capital of the Assyrian empire. There's a fine image: civilization's cradle being thrown out by the Baath water. As usual, it fell to British, American and European archaeological teams to plan to rescue as much of "Iraq's past" as they could.

Democratic Primary Report

I’ve always considered Senators Kerry and Lieberman to be the only serious candidates for the Democratic nomination in 2004, but the lofty position the Senator from Connecticut held even after the 2000 defeat is clearly slipping. He’s running fourth in a declared field of ten in fundraising so far, barely beating Gov. Howard Dean of Vermont as of the last SEC filing deadline. If Lieberman, as the default national leader of his party, has to run hard just to overtake a wildly leftwing antiwar candidate like Dean he’s got a lot of work to do in the next three months.


Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Finally, Protestors Make an Impact on Government Spending

Given their failure to stop Operation Iraqi Freedom from proceeding, antiwar protestors across the country have been understandably dejected lately. Now the reports are coming in, however, that their demonstrations are having an impact after all. All of the extra police and emergency response presence needed to maintain order has ended up costing the cities in which protests were staged millions of dollars. Even my humble hometown of Portland, Oregon is footing the bill for around an extra million. This in a state that is laying off teachers because of a state-wide budget crisis. Congratulations, you brave street activists. You might not have changed the White House’s mind, but you helped deprived the state’s kids of a quality education.


Thursday, April 10, 2003

The Language of Diplomacy

As my good friend ZCC has noted, subtlety is not the U.S.'s strong suit when it comes to foreign policy. The State Department has already begun warning rogue nations and their compatriots to “draw the appropriate lesson from Iraq” – which would be something along the lines of “you’re next.” Given the informed speculation about top Iraqi officials being given refuge by former ophthalmologist and regional strongman Bashar Assad, the Syrians should be especially nervous.


Wednesday, April 09, 2003

The Jackal That Didn’t Bark

Dalal Saoud, writing for United Press International today, surveys how what was supposed to be the Mother of All Battles is ending up more like Oakland after a championship game loss – lots of general looting and lawlessness, but no organized military action. The house-by-house urban bloodbath that antiwar pundits predicted we would find in Baghdad is nowhere to be seen.


Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Just Say No to Misleading Propaganda

In perhaps the rarest of all occurrences within the federal government, an agency is recognizing a failed policy and choosing to discontinue it. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy is discontinuing it’s shameless All Drug Users Are Terrorists campaign. The spots premiered at this year’s Superbowl, to the tune of $3 million wasted taxpayer dollars.

The View from Medicine Hat

Canadian MP Monte Solberg takes his countrymen to task for their reflexive anti-Americanism and inane protests: “For a good number of people this is not about war at all. It's just primal-scream therapy for people who hate George W. Bush.”