Sean's Blog

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Opinion And Current Events

Friday, April 11, 2003

The New York Times has examples of the kind of stories that reporters had to keep quiet if they wanted to work in Iraq.

"I came to know several Iraqi officials well enough that they confided in me that Saddam Hussein was a maniac who had to be removed. One Foreign Ministry officer told me of a colleague who, finding out his brother had been executed by the regime, was forced, as a test of loyalty, to write a letter of congratulations on the act to Saddam Hussein. An aide to Uday once told me why he had no front teeth: henchmen had ripped them out with pliers and told him never to wear dentures, so he would always remember the price to be paid for upsetting his boss. Again, we could not broadcast anything these men said to us."

This.....is what the war protesters were fighting for. No wonder Fidel's so popular. He's a moderate compared to Saddam.

James Bennett has become one of my favorite writers:

"The United States has now taken the first step in this direction. The Senate has approved overwhelmingly, by a two-to-one vote, a resolution offering Britain a full free trade agreement with America. Blair, still lured by the illusion of reform from within, will likely fail to act upon this opportunity. The United States must push ahead with a TAFTA initiative, making it clear to Eastern European nations that they would be welcome in it if they chose not to join the EU.

Sooner or later, Blair or one of his successors will see that such a TAFTA is the most effective, and in reality the only tool to rebuild Europe in such a way that it can dig itself out of its economic, demographic, and structural problems, and become a cooperative partner for, rather than rival to the United States. We must build up this option and continue to hold it out. The act of extending this invitation will gradually create a reality of its own in Britain, Ireland, and other places, expected and unexpected, in Europe. Such a move will truly enable the positive reconstruction of European institutions."

The OpinionJournal has a great indictment of Hollywood celebrities and their proclivity for Fidel Castro:

"The U.S. State Department called the actions "the most egregious act of political repression in Cuba in the last decade."

"Not, though, the Castro Faithful--the media moguls, celebrity journalists, filmmakers and Hollywood glitterati who continue to break bread with the Cuban dictator and idolize him as "one hell of a guy," in Ted Turner's words. No, they were silent. And given protest-happy Hollywood's long love affair with the unelected "President" Fidel--"one of the most mysterious leaders in the world," cooed Barbara Walters on ABC's "20/20" in October, as she puffed up his "personal magnetism" and supposed social triumphs--it's unlikely that there will be any expression of disapproval from these quarters soon."

"The list of those willing to keep Castro's good company, and remain silent when his actions revert to type, includes rich and famous celebrities who troop to Havana to pay their respects to the rich and famous dictator."

"Perhaps they don't know any better, as they return with Cuban cigars and fawning praise: "It was an experience of a lifetime" (Kevin Costner); "he is a genius" (Jack Nicholson); a "source of inspiration to the world" (Naomi Campbell). But people who should know better make the pilgrimage too. Director Steven Spielberg, founder of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation and winner of an Academy Award for illuminating the horrors of the Holocaust, described his meeting with Castro in November as "the eight most important hours of my life." Never forget, indeed."

Thursday, April 10, 2003

The U.S. House of Representatives voted last night to call for an immediate release of all political prisoners and for the establishment of democratic elections in Cuba. 11 representatives could not bring themselves to vote "yes" to the resolution. Here are the names of the 11 who voted "present":

Frank Ballance
John Conyers
Jesse Jackson Jr.
Sheila Jackson-Lee
Eddie Bernice Johnson
Carolyn Kilpatrick
Barbara Lee
Ron Paul
Bobby Rush
Maxine Waters
Albert Wynn

These people are so, what's the word, ideological (?), that they can't bring themselves to make basic demands of those who they are aligned with philosophically. If I couldn't vote "yes" to the above mentioned resolution then I might have to consider that I am no different than Castro and that, indeed, Castro and I are more alike than we are different. In fact, if I couldn't vote for this resolution then I couldn't blame anyone who said that I, like Castro, supported undemocratic, oppressive, totalitarian one party rule. If I couldn't vote yes for that resolution then I couldn't blame people for questioning my support for the whole range of American and western ideals. In short, I couldn't blame people for calling me an apologist for brutality, oppression, murder, torture, and inhumanity.

The sad part is that these people's constituents more than likely will support the position of their elected representatives without a second thought. Come 2004 they'll probably be elected by wide margins by voters who either don't know or don't care what their leaders believe. Do you think I would vote for a person who supported Castro and basically believed the same things that Castro believes? Not a chance in hell because Castro is a brutal dictator. I would expect my representatives to be forcefully opposed to people like Fidel Castro.

The Arab world is shocked (SHOCKED !) that Saddam lied to them. They can't believe how the Iraqi army collapsed and they can't believe how they believed the reporting from Abu Dhabi and Al-Jazeera television.

I wish this was encouraging news, but the people quoted in the article don't appear to have learned anything from the lies and distortions they have seen and been confronted with. I can only hope that Iraq will serve as the home base for a new, free press that will broadcast Iraqi views to the larger Arab world.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Here's the CNN report of the White House reaction to this historic moment.

Saddam's statue in the center of Baghdad was pulled down. This will be the image we remember.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

If the war protester's had gotten their way, these children would still be in Saddam's prisons for not joining the youth branch of the Baath Party:

"Around 150 children spilled out of the jail after the gates were opened as a US military Humvee vehicle approached, Lieutenant Colonel Fred Padilla told an AFP correspondent travelling with the Marines 5th Regiment.

"Hundreds of kids were swarming us and kissing us," Padilla said.

"There were parents running up, so happy to have their kids back."

I am more disgusted with the war protesters everyday.

Monday, April 07, 2003

Reuters is reporting that chemical weapons have been found. That's right. Chemical weapons have been found on mid-range missiles:

"NPR, which attributed the report to a top official with the 1st Marine Division, said the rockets, BM-21 missiles, were equipped with sarin and mustard gas and were "ready to fire." It quoted the source as saying new U.S. intelligence data showed the chemicals were "not just trace elements."

The war protesters now have the proof they needed that Iraq had WMD's.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

I haven't seen or heard estimates, but Ralph Kinney Bennett is calling it a slaughter.

That's not what anyone wants. If the left did have one argument that was both accurate and a serious reason for opposing war then it was the one that said a lot of innocent people are going to die. It's beginning to look like more than 100,000 Iraqi soldiers have died in what Bennett calls, "the ugly time." That does not make me happy and anyone who would celebrate this slaughter has a twisted view. Unfortunately, it was necessary. War is sometimes necessary. I'm sorry, but for now, it is.

Wow. This is significant, if it's true:

"The decision to proceed with an embryonic government comes in response to memoranda written by Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld last week, urging that the US begin to entrench its authority in areas under its control before the war is over.

Pentagon officials told The Observer that the administration is determined to impose the Rumsfeld plan and sees no use for a UN role, describing the international body as 'irrelevant'."

I don't think anyone who supported this war will now be calling for U.N. leadership in post-war Iraq. We've all seen what a wretched organization the U.N. has become. How it recently voted Lybia to chair a human rights committee (France and Germany abstained in that vote) and how it's democratic European nations have embraced brutal dictators such as Hussein, Castro, and Mugabe. Maybe it's time we decide whether to save the U.N. or to start a new organization. It just may be time for the world to rethink that body. Maybe it's time we changed Security Council permanent members. Some people are advocating a permanent seat for India, but I would only favor that if the members were the U.S., Great Britain, China, Russia, and India. France would have to go.

The Washington Post gives an idea with this story of how much thought planners have given to post-war Iraq. It's the story of the planning and need for immediate education reforms that have been in consideration since last April.

"AID (U.S. Agency for International Development) has sketched an ambitious schedule for delivering supplies, revamping the curriculum and retraining teachers. The plan calls for delivering materials to 2.1 million children in 12,500 primary and secondary schools within six months, and to 4.2 million children in 25,000 schools within one year after Hussein's downfall.

Another AID document, entitled "Vision for Post-Conflict Iraq," calls for the rehabilitation of 6,000 schools. The goal is for schools to "reopen promptly in secure areas after the conflict and on schedule throughout Iraq for the new school year." In Iraq, the school year starts in September."