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Tilting at Windmills

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January 3, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE EXECUTION OF SADDAM....I didn't get a chance to blog about the execution of Saddam Hussein last week, but Christopher Hitchens revived the subject yesterday in his usual state of high dudgeon:

Did our envoys and representatives ask for any sort of assurances before turning over a prisoner who was being held under the Geneva Conventions? According to the New York Times, there do seem to have been a few insipid misgivings about the timing and the haste, but these appear to have been dissolved soon enough and replaced by a fatalistic passivity that amounts, in theory and practice, to acquiescence in a crude Shiite coup d'etat.

....The timing -- isn't anyone in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad paid to notice this kind of thing? -- was explicitly designed to rub every kind of humiliation into Iraqi Sunnis. It profaned their observance of the Eid ul-Adha holiday, while gratifying the Shiite fundamentalists whose ceremonies begin one day later. To have made the butcher Saddam into a martyr, to have gratified one sect, and to have cheated millions of Iraqis and Kurds of the chance for a full accounting -- what a fine day's work!

Was Saddam's execution a miscarriage of justice? I suppose so, but on the cosmic scale of miscarriages of justice I find myself underwhelmed by this particular example. What did we expect, after all?

More to the point, what did Hitchens expect? I'm pretty willing to criticize just about anything the Bush administration does in Iraq, but did Hitchens seriously expect the United States to refuse to turn over Saddam to the supposedly sovereign government of Iraq after a trial and verdict that we ourselves had condoned? On what grounds? Because of a suspicion that they might not conduct the execution with the same attention to legal niceties that are observed in, say, the great state of Texas? That would have gone over well, wouldn't it?

Hitchens knows -- or should know -- exactly what Iraq is like today. The Shiites are in control, and there's not much we can do to stop them from working their will. The United States has very little leverage or control over events on the ground, and virtually no influence over the sectarian violence, something that our acquiesence in the tawdry execution of Saddam merely confirms. I can't say whether Hitchens is genuinely surprised by this or just feigning it, but it's rather spectacularly unconvincing either way.

Kevin Drum 12:02 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (291)

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Comments

They could have made me happy by hanging Hitchens too!

Posted by: R.L. on January 3, 2007 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

...dead men tell no tales.

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on January 3, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

More to the point, what did Hitchens expect?

Good question Kevin. I find the left-wing attacks on Saddam's execution incomprehensible. The tyrant has killed hundreds of thousands of people. He's terrorized millions more. He also illegally invaded both Iran and Kuwait causing more misery. All for his own personal self-gratification. Looking at it from this context, Saddam got off easy. If they actually cared about the Iraqi people, liberals whould stop weeping about the death of dictators and start caring about the protection of innocent Iraqi lives from terrorists like Saddam.

Al

Posted by: The Real Al on January 3, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Al, your inability to comprehend simple things is your own problem, and nobody else's. so, shush.

Posted by: cleek on January 3, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Because of our help, Iraq was able to try and execute Saddam in accord with the highest standards of international justice. He couldn't have got a better trial, or execution, in Texas.

We should be proud that Iraq is on the road to democracy.

Posted by: Al on January 3, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

We should be grieving that Iraq is on the road to anarchy.

...there.

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on January 3, 2007 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Kinda funny,Al's post,You can remove Saddams name and replace with Bush and not change the meaning of his post.Top of the day to ya Al.

Posted by: Thomas3.6 1/2 on January 3, 2007 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

They could have waited an extra day to hand over Saddam due to "unavoidable logistical difficulties" to avoid insulting Sunnis. That's not even a consideration of justice, just making sure that fallout to one's own position is minimized. Given the fact that fallout is likely to be visited on one's own citizens serving in the military. Isn't that ever a consideration?

Posted by: Barbara on January 3, 2007 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, yet another example of lefty hypocrisy.

You were AGAINST Hitchens before you were FOR Hitchens and pretty much everything he writes is done so in an alcoholic haze--UNLESS of course he writes something you liberals can wave around in the air.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

I almost never respond to Al. Al, Saddam did not do what he did solely for his own personal gratification. Along the way he also gratified the social and economic position of Iraqi Sunnis. Forget justice for a moment -- not to consider that there are a significant number of Iraqis who don't see things your way is just asking for more trouble than is necessary under the circumstances.

Posted by: Barbara on January 3, 2007 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Al makes the point very nicely - the timing and maner of the execution was designed to be used to beat liberals over the head. I'm surprised there was no mention of the gourmet last meal the limp wristed liberals wanted him served prior to his execution.

Posted by: Yawn on January 3, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

The most important thing to remember is that this had to be done, quickly, before too much of his next trial occurred. His second trial was related to the biochem weapon use on Kurds. Too much evidence with US fingerprints on them. Had to end it now.

Rubbing it in the Sunnis face was just a bonus.

Posted by: BY on January 3, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

We had an opportunity here--a chance for the Iraqi government to demonstrate that they were more than just a sectarian rabble. It was not considered necessary to have the Nazi war criminals condemned at Nuremberg to be executed by a mob of jeering concentration camp survivors, and there was no reason to allow Saddam to be executed by a group of Mahdi Army thugs. The idea that the Bush Administration does not have enough pull with the Maliki government to impel them to conduct the execution in a dignified manner is ridiculous to me. Saddam was captured by US troops and was in our custody during the trial and sentencing. Washing our hands of the execution seems a bit disingenuous, to say the least. Saddam should have been executed, just not in a manner that allowed him to look more dignified than his executioners.

Posted by: orogeny on January 3, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

It's difficult to say it, but Hitchens is coming from a pragmatic point of view. He expected our government to be more mindful of anything that might add fuel to the fire in Iraq. Surprisingly, Kevin does not see it that way, perhaps because he has given up on expecting the administration to betray any sense of competence on matters large or small.

Posted by: gregor on January 3, 2007 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

In actuality, Hitchens has deviated somewhat substantially from his usual stance when it comes to Iraq. Hitchens is basically a liberal who viewed the human rights abuses of Hussein and our war against Hussein devoid of the context of whether it could be won or fit within the parameters of national security. His support of the Iraq War is actually lefty loony in the most extreme sense of the concept, in many ways. He's also a lot less wavering in the light of subsequent revelations and current experience than the average Iraq War supporting liberal (like Packer).

Posted by: Barbara on January 3, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

They for the life of them still can't understand why our actions did not turn Bagdad into a carbon copy of Republican-voting Orange County.

Posted by: Alan on January 3, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Saddam should have been executed, just not in a manner that allowed him to look more dignified than his executioners.

The thinking here is quite clouded and is colored by a foolishness you only find in liberals.

Saddam Hussein was condemned to death; therefore, he should have been executed.

Now, you can quibble with the how but you can't quibble with the why, now can you?

That seems to be all you liberals are good for--when a condemned man is executed, you whine and complain about HOW he was executed, conveniently forgetting hundreds of thousands of people who could not be there to see justice done to their own executioner.

And you wonder why you can't be trusted to defend America!

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

It opened my eyes a bit.

The part about the government getting the last minute OK from Shiite clerics to execute Saddam on a Sunni holiday was a gem.

I also like the official who reported nonchalantly to CNN via cell phone that there was routine chanting and dancing around the body and then later went on to say "there was absolutely no humiliation to Saddam Hussein when he was alive, and after he was executed . . . It was done in a proper way, in all the international standards and the Islamic standards, and Iraqi standards. I'm really proud of the way it went on."

And now we're going to escalate things and take on the Shiite militias? Why don't we complete the circle and bomb the kurds, christians, mandaeans, and jews . . . or just get it all over with and have the 2nd marine division attack the 4th infantry division.

Posted by: B on January 3, 2007 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

First of all Al, Saddam's 'illegal' invasion of Iran was not only encouraged, but logistically supported by the United States. Second, his invasion of Kuwait was not for his personal gratification but to sieze oil fields to help pay for the aforementioned war (and probably some future wars). This doesn't make him any less of a monster, but they are critical elements to the overall context, and you cannot ignore them and have a meaningful conversation about Hussein's crimes.

Second, no one is lamenting his death. What many people, and hardly all liberals, are angry about is how the execution was co-opted by f-ing Sadrists! How can you not be embarassed and angry that the people who executed were shouting Sadr's name as they executed him? That this was filmed and broadcast around the world? Bush may as well have personally desecrated the graves of every soldier who died fighting Sadr's militia.

Lastly, people are angry, especially Iraqis, because Hussein never had to answer for his most awful crimes because it would dredge up uncomfortable facts about US complicity in those crimes (whatever degree of complicity it may have been).

This President is overseeing an absolute freakshow.

Posted by: Matthew C on January 3, 2007 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

I've been saying this for years, but it bears repeating; Shiism as a political and religious movement is kinda bonkers. Wahhabis are cold-blooded, but Shiias are nuts.

Good thing they continue to be marginalized!

Posted by: enozinho on January 3, 2007 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

this just emphasizes the titanic mess iraq is in, that there really isn't a government in place but rather a mob out for revenge. this is what our troops are dying for every day. thanks, george!

Posted by: mudwall jackson on January 3, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, Hitchens isn't someone I generally turn to for analysis, but here he is completely right and Kevin seems to have gone off the deep end. I'm hoping this is an aberration, and not somethign we can expect more of in this new year (at least not on Kevin's part.)

Was Saddam's excecution a miscarriage of justice? I suppose so, but on the cosmic scale of miscarriages of justice I find myself underwhelmed by this particular example.

Well, sure, perhaps it wasn't a genocide of an entire people in response to an imagined slight without any process at all, so "on the cosmic scale" it may be a pretty minor injustice, considered in isolation. OTOH, this kind of bizarre invocation of irrelevant pseudo-context to serve as a handwaving dismissal of substantive criticism of current missteps is something I expect for the shameless paid shills of the Bush administration, not from you, Kevin.

What did we expect, after all?

I suppose that means which sense of "expect" you mean; the normative or predictive one. In the latter, of course, this whole disaster is about on par for the administration. But the combination of incompetence and ill intent the administration has demonstrated in the past, particularly as regards the war in Iraq, should not reduce the standards to which their current and future actions are held by the public to whom they are ultimately accountable.

More to the point, what did Hitchens expect? I'm pretty willing to criticize just about anything the Bush administration does in Iraq, but did Hitchens seriously expect the United States to refuse to turn over Saddam to the supposedly sovereign government of Iraq after a trial and verdict that we ourselves had condoned? On what grounds?

The US military scarcely cites compelling grounds when it decides not to comply with requests of the supposedly soveriegn Iraqi government when it comes to the conduct of military affairs within Iraq; I hardly think delaying a prisoner handover is less significant an intrusion on the independence of the Iraqi government than waging war within the capital on organizations represented in that government in ways in which the government has specifically called on you not to. The idea that the US military's hands were tied on this because the Iraqi government had conducted some formal process and issued a request for an action on the US's part is laughable on its face, though asserting things like that is the kind of transparently false, shameless blame-avoidance technique we've all become used to from the administration, I would not have expected you to fall for it.

Because of a suspicion that they might not conduct the execution with the same attention to legal niceties that are observed in, say, the great state of Texas?

Well, sure, that's a legitimate grounds to refuse, and a fear which would, the evidence demonstrates, have been entirely accurate. As miserable as the administration of the barbaric practice of capital punishment is in the US, what happened with Saddam went far beyond even that.

Another reason, and one that would be more reasonable to expect the US to invoke as it frequently does invoke it when going its own way on military matters in Iraq despite the pleading of the Iraqi government, would be to invoke concerns for the security situation in Iraq in general and for US forces in particular in imposing conditions on the handover such as, at a minimum, delaying it until after the holiday, or even better until after all the currently pending charges against Saddam were heard and resolved.

The perception in Iraq that this was not an effort at justice but simply yet another part of the ongoing cycle of sectarian retribution being played out throughout the country is directly at odds with the US mission in Iraq. Now, I personally believe that that mission is one that is impossible to acheive by the presence of US forces in the first place, but that doesn't stop me from being able to recognize that things like this make conditions worse.

Hitchens knows -- or should know -- exactly what Iraq is like today.

So do, or should, you.

The Shiites are in control, and there's very little we can do to stop them from working their will.

The Shi'a certainly dominate the formal government, but no one (Shi'a, Sunni, Kurd, American, etc.) is in control over Iraq and free to work their will with no constraints, and the US has effectively exercised an ability to constrain the Shi'a-led government in its desire to exercise its will on matters great and small; imposing conditions on access to one prisoner held by the US would be easy, not the impossibility you seem to paint it as.

The United States has very little leverage or control over events on the ground, and virtually no influence over the sectarian violence, something that the tawdry execution of Saddam merely confirms.

What the tawdry execution of Saddam confirms is that the present US leadership lacks either the judgement, the moitivation, or the will to exercise the influence it manifestly has over events on the ground when it is most needed; it certainly exercises influence on other matters quite freely, so it is utter fantasy to claim that the US lacks influence.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 3, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Drum wrote: ..what did Hitchens expect?

That, given the opportunity to create democratic institutions in the image of the US, Iraqis would forget years of partisan conflict and work together to build a fair, just society for the benefit of everyone.

After all, doesn't everyone in the world think and act as Hitchens expects them to?

Posted by: grape_crush on January 3, 2007 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

or just get it all over with and have the 2nd marine division attack the 4th infantry division.

Sorry, Bill Clinton is no longer the Commander in Chief, so that's not likely to happen.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Good thing they continue to be marginalized!"

Except that's the side we are apparently picking in Iraq. Not officially. Not yet. But the writing is on the wall.

Posted by: BY on January 3, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Shut up, Normie. The nation's had enough of ignorant boobs like you, as evidenced last November.

Posted by: CN on January 3, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

apparently everyone missed the fact that we requested a 14 day extension from Maliki and he refused. considering the technical sovereignty of the Iraqi government we didn't have much choice after that.

Posted by: Nathan on January 3, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

...hmm, we told George W Bush went to sleep early that night.

...hmm, we were also told he would be having Thanksgiving with his family in November, 2003 but he flew to Baghdad instead.

...

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on January 3, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

The mistake with Saddam's trial happened immediately after the arrest when they didn't turn him over to the Hague. Course, they might of had to turn Rumfield and Bush over at the same time.

Posted by: LowLife on January 3, 2007 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

considering the technical sovereignty of the Iraqi government we didn't have much choice after that.

There is no "technical" sovereignty, sir. There is merely sovereignty or nothing; and Saddam wasn't executed on property controlled by the government of Iraq. He was executed on a US military base, which is subject to a Status of Forces agreement and in some cases is the equivalent to US territory overseas, similar to an embassy.

Poor liberals--a guilty man hangs and all you want to do is whine about whether the rope was the right color and whether his neck got itchy.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Most remarkable is that when you step back a bit you realize that Bush handed Saddam over to, let's face it, an Islamist militia. Who would imagine that so soon after 9/11, the President and his nation's war conduct would be at the mercy of terrorists?

Posted by: neil on January 3, 2007 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Matthew C for restoring a bit of santiy to the thread.

The complaints about the behavior of the executioners have mainly to do with the future, not the past: for what the event says about what the country is becoming.

With shouts of "Moqtada! Moqtada! Moqtada!" ringing in the air, its as if we're seeing the ending of a horror movie and the set-up line for the even scarier sequel: one tyrant is down, the next is rising up.

Posted by: Friend of Labor on January 3, 2007 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Additionally, its important to note that Hitchens, contrary to Kevin's handwaving nonspecific accusation that he doesn't understand what is going on in Iraq and has unrealistic expectations of the Iraqis explicitly notes why the Shi'ite reaction to Saddam is, counterproductive as it may be, understandable (making analogy both to attitudes toward German Nazis and Italian Fascists at the end of WWII).

What he criticizes, rightly, is the US, which generally exercises quasi-imperial power over the Iraqi government, not understanding and acting to control the situation to prevent, or at least mitigate, its counterproductive manifestations, and in fact being a collaborating force in the disgusting affair, when it had the power to exert influence and knew, or reasonably should have, that failing to do so would produce horrid consequences that were easily, if not avoided entirely, substantially mitigated.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 3, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Bill Clinton is no longer the Commander in Chief, so that's not likely to happen.

Oooh snap! I forgot about all of the quagmires Clinton got us into. Bush's clear vision for Iraq is not even comparable.

Posted by: B on January 3, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Who would imagine that so soon after 9/11, the President and his nation's war conduct would be at the mercy of terrorists?

at the mercy of ? hell no. Bush is aiding and abetting them. he's propping-up their terrorist regime, funding their terrorist activities and training their terrorist foot-soldiers.

heckofa job, Bushie.

Posted by: cleek on January 3, 2007 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK
apparently everyone missed the fact that we requested a 14 day extension from Maliki and he refused. considering the technical sovereignty of the Iraqi government we didn't have much choice after that.

Considering the not merely technical soveriegnty and far greater power of the US government and who actually had him custody, that's ridiculous: we clearly had a choice. And the US military has certainly exerted the power it has to operate as it wills in Iraq to the extent of waging war against groups of Iraqis in Iraq in manners disapproved of by the Iraqi government with its "technical sovereignty", so the idea that their desire to take custody of Saddam left the US government with no practical choice is ludicrous.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 3, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Executing someone is barbaric no matter how it is done. Some ways are just more barbaric than others. It is a mistake to try to sanitize death.

Quite frankly it would have been much more humane to just shoot him on sight rather than keeping him confined in prison and suffering through years of lawyer talk. I guess all the show trial is the modern equivalent of being drawn and quartered and dragged through the streets.

Posted by: bakho on January 3, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

They could have made me happy by hanging Hitchens too!

Rather than hanging Hitch, put him in a cell and dangle a bottle of Johnny Walker from the ceiling just out of his reach.

Posted by: "Fair and Balanced" Dave on January 3, 2007 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

I am no big fan of Christopher Hitchens -- quite the contrary -- but why isn't he allowed to be unhappy about shameful shenanigans surrounding an execution? The US is complicit, or implicated anyhow, in this as in the whole sorry mess, and I am ashamed of it, too.

Posted by: Wendy on January 3, 2007 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Saddam Hussein should have been handed over to an international tribunal for trial as was Slobodan Milosevic, as were the Nazi war criminals after World War II.

However, had this been done, the ensuing trial -- unlike the fake, phony, show trial in Iraq -- would have brought to public attention the role of Ronald Reagan, Donald Rumsfeld, George H.W. Bush et al in enabling Saddam's worst crimes against humanity, including his US-approved and US-supported war of unprovoked aggression against Iran, which killed hundreds of thousands of people.

Instead, the GW Bush administration made certain that Saddam would only be tried -- and then executed -- for lesser crimes that could not be directly linked to the support of the Reagan and GHW Bush administrations, thus removing any risk that Saddam, in the dock at the Hague, might bear witness against his accomplices, Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 3, 2007 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

The al Maliki government allowed Saddam's execution to be carried out by Sadrists, who used the occasion as an opportunity to humiliate Sunnis AND the U.S. by cheering for al Sadr and by carrying out the sentence on a Sunni holyday that is not a Shi'ite holyday. Al Sadr's militias are the strongest among the militias we are pressuring al Maliki to disband.

Was this a good strategy to minimize sectarian conflict?

Right wingers here seem to be reacting reflexively, assuming that liberals are objecting to this execution because of objections to capital punishment. Read the Hitchen's quote. It's a strategy thing--what most administrations would have in the process of achieving a goal.

In fact, Hitchens wrote a piece in Slate about Abu Ghraib wistfully contemplating capital punishment for the American soldiers who tortured Iraqi prisoners. He believes they committed treason by endangering fellow soldiers and their country's goal of bringing a working democracy to Iraq.

And by the way, it is acceptable to cite a commentator and state that you agree or disagree with him/her at different times, depending on what the commentator actually wrote at that particular time. It is possible to agree with someone on some matters, and not on others.

Posted by: cowalker on January 3, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

I hope this thuggish hanging weakens the hand of the Shia militia and Sadr. It completely exposes Maliki as Moqtada's shill, and in theory could underly a push for the forming of a bloc of Sunni/Shia/Kurds against them.

But I doubt it.

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 3, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

U.S. military operations in Iraq are governed by a status of forces agreement. I have seen no contention that that agreement allowed the U.S. to retain custody of Hussein after the execution order was signed.

after all, the U.S. has status of forces agreements with Germany, Japan, the UK, and about a hundred other countries. last time I checked, no one disputed the sovereignty of those countries.

Posted by: Nathan on January 3, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

The question, Norman Rogers, should be what effect a choice will have going forward. Clearly the US could have either turned Saddam over when it did or held back until after the Sunni holiday. So the comparative question is whether executing Saddam on a Sunni holiday vs. not on a Sunni holiday is likely to intensify the violence in the street, calm the violence in the street, or have no effect. 20-some million Iraqis--maybe one more goes over the edge and sets an IED. What do you think?

If you say intensify the violence, then you just argued for more American deaths. Maybe only a few, but more. If you think the course of action taken will calm the violence, then maybe the execution was well-timed.

I don't personally care whether Saddam was hanged yesterday, today, or tomorrow. I do not want to see more Americans coming home in boxes. Consequently, because I think the timing of the execution was inflammatory, the way the execution was carried out matters.

Of course, you're free to take the cheap way out and say it won't have any effect. Just like a flipped coin might land on edge. Could happen.

The effect may not be large, but the actual timing was entirely unnecessary. Would you trade one more American life for a 2-day delay in Saddam's execution? I would.

Posted by: k on January 3, 2007 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Hitchens isn't a liberal. He's never been a liberal. He's an ex-Trotskyite. (Even in his current "apostasy" he still eulogizes Trotsky.) Hitchens falling in with neo-cons -- the originals were also ex-Trotskyites -- isn't surprising.

A good dissection of Hitchens's idiocies can be found in The American Conservative. If anyone is interested.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on January 3, 2007 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers wrote: "Sorry, Bill Clinton is no longer the Commander in Chief, so that's not likely to happen."

Though he dresses up his comments with gaudy, self-indulgent pretensions to comedy, Norman Rogers is really just another run of the mill, weak-minded, ignorant, gullble, right-wing dittohead.

Or else a satire that's gone way, way stale.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 3, 2007 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

This bears repeating; Columbus risked sailing off the edge of the Planet to avoid trade routes through the Middle East.Wonder why ?

Posted by: Thomas3.6 1/2 on January 3, 2007 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

"By the way, I think Kevin Drum is exactly right here - this execution was done by the Iraqi government, not the USA. (Imagine the hysterics from the Left if the USA jumped in and told the Iraqi government how to run their executions - it would be more whining about the Iraqi government being a "puppet" of the USA.)"

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on January 3, 2007 at 1:17 PM

Overlooked in all the hullabaloo is the fact that the execution,although carried out by the Iraqis,was done on an american army base in Bagdad. All the Bush silence on the matter is because he wants to avoid this fact and hopes the issue will be overrun by his soon to be promulgated "way forward".

Posted by: wlgriffi on January 3, 2007 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

The actual crime that Saddam was convicted of was not paying close enough attention to death warrants.

Life is the strangest comedian of all.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on January 3, 2007 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK
U.S. military operations in Iraq are governed by a status of forces agreement. I have seen no contention that that agreement allowed the U.S. to retain custody of Hussein after the execution order was signed.

I have seen no contention, and even more importantly no evidence, that the agreement does not allow that. Once that evidence is presented, we can further consider whether the agreement is at all relevant in light of other US conduct and how well that follows the agreement.

after all, the U.S. has status of forces agreements with Germany, Japan, the UK, and about a hundred other countries. last time I checked, no one disputed the sovereignty of those countries.

Last time I checked, the US government wasn't conducting offensive military operations against groups connected to the government of any of the countries you've named, within the territory of that country, even when the involved government objects to the manner of the conduct of the offensive operations. Which might be why the reality of the "soveriegnty" of Iraq is more frequently questioned.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 3, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Demonstrating to the whole world that the Bush administration is nothing more than another group of thugs who were simply more powerful than the thugs in Saddam's regime . . .

Posted by: Google_This on January 3, 2007 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

This bears repeating; Columbus risked sailing off the edge of the Planet to avoid trade routes through the Middle East.Wonder why ?

Because the Spanish had routed the Moors off the Iberian peninsula, had terrorized the Jews off the Iberian peninsula, and were funding expeditions to get their effective warriors involved in conquest rather than boring themselves into revolution inside the kingdom.

...duh.

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on January 3, 2007 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers,

The question is not whether Saddam deserved a better execution, it is what would have served America's interests best.

If the execution had been comparable to the Nuremberg executions--bright lighting, hushed voices, soldiers in proper uniform, reading the charges and then carrying out the sentence--I believe that it would have been beneficial to the US image throughout the world. In addition, it would have allowed the Iraqi government to present itself as a civilized, competent authority that deserved respect and international recognition.

Instead, we got the equivalent of a terrorist beheading video...dark room, thugs in masks and leather jackets chanting praise for a warlord whose militia has killed thousands of people, both Americans and Iraqis.

We allowed Saddam to become a martyr, his death will be a rallying point for our enemies.

Do you honestly believe that this is the way that it should have been handled?

Posted by: orogeny on January 3, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

or even better until after all the currently pending charges against Saddam were heard and resolved.

Which is precisely why the US wanted Saddam executed now. You're barking up the wrong tree by arguing that through incompetence the US made an error in allowing the execution. The GWB admin wanted the execution -- NOW -- before Saddam's lawyers could present evidence at the next trial of US complicity in the gassing of the Kurds.

Posted by: Disputo on January 3, 2007 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK
This bears repeating; Columbus risked sailing off the edge of the Planet to avoid trade routes through the Middle East.Wonder why ?

While perhaps some of his crew were uneducated enough to be afraid of that, not even Columbus was ignorant enough to believe there was even a reasonable possibility of falling off the edge of the world. Every moderately well-informed person of the day knew the world was round, and most of them (one of the real reasons Columbus' ideas were viewed skeptically) had a pretty decent idea of the approximate size, as well.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 3, 2007 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Saddam was tried separately for the charges for which he was quickly hanged in order to avoid disclosure of American complicity (by GOP administrations) in the larger crimes against the Kurds and others, crimes funded, materially assisted, and covered up by the Reagan and GHW Bush administrations.

Posted by: Google_This on January 3, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Ahhhhh, Disputo beat me to it by two minutes.

Must . . . type . . . faster . . .

Posted by: Google_This on January 3, 2007 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Right wingers here seem to be reacting reflexively, assuming that liberals are objecting to this execution because of objections to capital punishment.

no, they're deliberately lying about what the liberal reactions are. they're cherry-picking quotes out of context to cobble-together yet another Liberal Strawman. it's shameful, but not unexpected.

Posted by: cleek on January 3, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

The United States has very little leverage or control over events on the ground, and virtually no influence over the sectarian violence, something that our acquiesence in the tawdry execution of Saddam merely confirms.

and yet, the US gets blamed for everything that goes wrong there, because the average Iraqi "on the street" can't believe that the great American power doesn't have the ability to influence things the way we want them. it's just another reason to get out and get out quick.

was actually a reason to never have started the damned war in the first place, but i suppose that's water over the dam.

Posted by: e1 on January 3, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK
Which is precisely why the US wanted Saddam executed now.

Well, yeah. Except not right now, hence the request for a 2-week delay.

You're barking up the wrong tree by arguing that through incompetence the US made an error in allowing the execution.

No, I think it was incompetence that allowed the precise timing, rather than forcing a short delay and other steps to mitigate the perception of the execution as a sectarian act; I think it was ill intent of exactly the type you describe that led the US not to demand a more significant delay that would allow all the charges to be heard.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 3, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan: I have seen no contention that that agreement allowed the U.S. to retain custody of Hussein after the execution order was signed.

Have you seen any contention that it allowed US forces to retain custody of Hussein before the execution order was signed?

Tell us, Nathan, do the status of forces agreements with, say, Germany, allow US forces to take and maintain custody of individuals accused of violating German law?

If the status of forces agreement with the Iraqi "government" (yes, those really are scare quotes ex-liberal) allowed the US unlimited power to take any action it wanted to within the country at any time and any place on its own discretion, would Iraq's sovereignty still be beyond question?

Posted by: Google_This on January 3, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Btw, wtf is Kevin quoting, much less reading Hitchens' drunken rantings? He has earned the same treatment that is given to the likes of Coulter and Drudge.

Posted by: Disputo on January 3, 2007 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Have to get this out before reading the comments:

Hitch -- loathesome as he is most of the time -- is dead right here. In every way imaginable, the execution of Saddam as it happened was botched so badly on every level it's almost as if it were planned that way -- but even the most socially regressive forces in either Iraq or the US could never be *that* competent to pull something this catastrophic off so spectacularly.

I won't go through the long litany of reasons -- which are amply augmented by Riverbend's recent post, as well as probably to be found in comments already. But certainly we could have exercised just the timiest bit of pressure to cause a *delay* to assure that the three major groups in Iraq signed off on it.

As it stands, it's inflamed the Sunnis so egregiously as to doubtless start off another round of vengance killings / anti-Shi'ite religious atrocities on the order of the Samarra mosque bombing ...

You're right, Kevin; we don't have much influence in Iraq. But we could've at least *tried something* here to make an inevitably bad outcome at least *slightly less atrocious* than it turned out to be.

And now to go read the comments ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

Secular Animist beat me to the punch, but I am surprised, Kevin, by your historical blindness here. Slobodan Milosevic was captured and bound over to an international tribunal for trial. Manuel Noriega was captured and taken back to the United States by Papa Bush and is languishing in an American prison still, if I am not mistaken. Other captured war criminals from Japan, Nazi Germany, etc. were also either incarcerated or turned over to a neutral party for trial. Ferdinand Marcos was given asylum in Hawaii. The treatment of the dictator Saddam Hussein is unprecedented in modern American history.

Don't get me wrong - Saddam was a truly loathsome man who deserved to spend the rest of his life in prison. However, to surrender him to bloodthirsty savages, who would mock him and give him no rights that any captured war criminals would be afforded, puts the U.S. on the lowest tier of countries in terms of human rights violators. How are we any different than Iran, Saudi Arabia or North Korea when it comes to allowing barbaric treatment of prisoners? Don't flatter yourselves into thinking we hold any moral high ground by saying Hussein's execution was carried out by Iraqis, since he was our prisoner and we allowed this medieval barbarity to take place. I am ashamed to be an American after this savagery occurred.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 3, 2007 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

google_this:

I find it highly likely that the status of forces agreement allows the U.S. to maintain custody of prisoners of war. the U.S. did not prosecute Hussein. they handed him over after all appeals had been exhausted (when Maliki signed the execution order).

Posted by: Nathan on January 3, 2007 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

actually, most post-WWII trials took place in German courts, under German law.

the defendants at Nuremberg were charged with crimes against other countries, Hussein was convicted of crimes subject to Iraqi jurisdiction.

Posted by: Nathan on January 3, 2007 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan: I find it highly likely that the status of forces agreement allows the U.S. to maintain custody of prisoners of war.

Really? When the only charges being brought are purely domestic and solely within the jurisdiction of the host country?

Hardee har har!

Keep rationalizing. It's fun to watch.

Posted by: Google_This on January 3, 2007 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

and the Milosevic travesty of a trial hardly renders confidence in that sort of system

Posted by: Nathan on January 3, 2007 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

cleek wrote: "no, they're deliberately lying about what the liberal reactions are. they're cherry-picking quotes out of context to cobble-together yet another Liberal Strawman. it's shameful, but not unexpected."

No, it is completely expected, since present-day American so-called "conservatism" has no actual content other than the hatred of "liberals" that is spoon-fed to weak-minded, ignorant, neo-brownshirt dittoheads by Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Fox News, Sun Myung Moon's Washington Times, the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, and the rest of the bought-and-paid-for shills of America's tiny, ultra-rich, hereditary, neo-fascist, corporate-feudalist ruling class.

That's the most striking thing about all the comments post here over the past many months by dittoheads like rdw, Jay, Norman Rogers, et al -- when you get right down to it, the only real content of their comments, regardless of the ostensible subject matter, is their hatred of "liberals".

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 3, 2007 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

orogeny:

If the execution had been comparable to the Nuremberg executions--bright lighting, hushed voices, soldiers in proper uniform, reading the charges and then carrying out the sentence--I believe that it would have been beneficial to the US image throughout the world. In addition, it would have allowed the Iraqi government to present itself as a civilized, competent authority that deserved respect and international recognition.

How little you actually know about Nuremberg. It is rumored that Charles de Gaulle was present for the execution of either Field Marshall Gerhard von Rundstedt or Model, I cannot recall which, both of whom were responsible for the execution of hundreds of French guerrillas. de Gaulle had the room of the execution cleared, and with one thrust, killed the German field marshall by beheading him with a sword once owned by a Marshall in the Grand Armee under Napoleon. de Gaulle then turned to General Eisenhower and screamed, "triumph!" and passed out from the excitement. Eisenhower had to have an aide clean the blood from his boots.

Instead, we got the equivalent of a terrorist beheading video...dark room, thugs in masks and leather jackets chanting praise for a warlord whose militia has killed thousands of people, both Americans and Iraqis.

Well, to each their own.

We allowed Saddam to become a martyr, his death will be a rallying point for our enemies.

He has not been made a martyr, sir, and you conflate the meaning of martyrdom in the Arab world with the hanging of an unpopular thug who surrendered when he could have killed himself.

Again, you liberals are all about whining at the details of HOW he was executed while never once questioned the WHY of his execution. This dithering will be your undoing.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan: . . . most post-WWII trials took place in German courts, under German law.

And the US kept custody of those individuals being tried during the entire time the trials were going on?

Riiiiiight.

Posted by: Google_This on January 3, 2007 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Well it's like this, Trying to transport goods through the middle east,Most camel trains where hi-jacked all the goods plundered and people runnung the trains had there heads cut off.So it was ordered to find new trade routes that would avoid the middle east altogether.So see nothing has changed there for thousands of years and it never will.Much like the U.S. the Religous freaks are no diffrent just there address.

Posted by: Thomas3.6 1/2 on January 3, 2007 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan wrote: "... the defendants at Nuremberg were charged with crimes against other countries, Hussein was convicted of crimes subject to Iraqi jurisdiction."

And as I noted above, it is no accident that the US agreement with the Iraqi government was for Saddam Hussein to be tried and then executed for relatively lesser crimes that took place in Iraq before his US-backed war of aggression against Iran, to preclude any trial by an international tribunal for Saddam's worst crimes against humanity, which were approved and supported by Ronald Reagan, Donald Rumsfeld and George H.W. Bush.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 3, 2007 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I find your post high pettiness. Hitchens was wrong about invading Iraq. So what? He's a bit player, at best.

I find it disturbing Saddam Hussein was executed before he was held accountable for a reasonably complete list his alleged offenses.

It's particularly bothersome that people who could influence the timing of the execution stood to gain personally from the execution. And conceivably Saddam Hussein could have embarrassed or implicated people from the U.S. government, like Don Rumsfeld.

The story is the circumstances of the execution, not what some fringe commentator wrote about it.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on January 3, 2007 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan: and the Milosevic travesty of a trial hardly renders confidence in that sort of system

Proving once again that conservatives will hate anything and find fault with everything that Clinton had anything to do with without any reason whatsoever.

Posted by: Google_This on January 3, 2007 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

its idiotic to suggest that there was u.s. complicity in the gassing of the kurds. we had no beef with the kurds (who after all are Sunnis)...our beef was with the Shia--specifically Iran and Hezbollah.

we may have turned a blind eye to Hussein's use of poison gas in the Iran/Iraq War...but we had nothing to do with the Kurds.

as for the chemical equipment, most of it was German. the Iraqi Department of Agriculture did purchase some small quantities of dual-use chemicals in the 80's from American agricultural suppliers.

Posted by: Nathan on January 3, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

When the Romanians spontaneously revolted against their Stalinist dictatorship and executed Ceausescu, freedom loving people everywhere could rejoice. Even if the justice served was not up to Western impartiality standards, it was an act of direct will by an oppressed people. It is too bad Saddam could not have been fated to a similar event.

When the US handed Saddam over to the government of Iraq for trial and exectuion, it turned its back on the rule of law and enlightened impartiality. This event has signalled to the world that the US is leading the world back in time, to a barbaric lawless place where the strong dictate all of the rules. I think that is why Saddam's execution was so disheartening. He should have been taken to the World Court and tried there for his crimes, but our leaders thought otherwise. Why they should do so is reason for speculation of devious motives, which I think are revenge for W. Bush and witness elimination for Cheney and Rumsfeld.

Posted by: Brojo on January 3, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers wrote: "Again, you liberals are all about whining at the details of HOW he was executed while never once questioned the WHY of his execution."

Again, you are ignoring everything that everyone has actually written in their comments here, and regurgitating Rush Limbaugh's scripted characterization of what "liberals" are saying about the execution, revealing yourself to be a pretentious blowhard who is really nothing more than a typically weak-minded, ignorant dittohead who is incapable of independent thought.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 3, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

What if fanning sectarian flames was the desired effect of the execution?

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on January 3, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Norman: Again, you liberals are all about whining at the details of HOW he was executed while never once questioned the WHY of his execution.

Why should we question the "why?"

Are you questioning whether Saddam should have been found guilty and executed?

I don't know of any liberals who are and you seem to be admitting that they aren't, while suggesting that we should question "why" he was executed.

If you think there was some reason "why" Saddam shouldn't have been found guilty and executed, then please enlighten us!

It is rumored . . .

It was rumored that Saddam had WMDs.

How did that turn out, Norman?

Posted by: Google_This on January 3, 2007 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan wrote: "its idiotic to suggest that there was u.s. complicity in the gassing of the kurds ..."

Your statements in this comment are factually incorrect, as even a brief bit of research will demonstrate.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 3, 2007 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Semen Analyzer:

Again, you are ignoring everything that everyone has actually written in their comments here, and regurgitating Rush Limbaugh's scripted characterization of what "liberals" are saying about the execution, revealing yourself to be a pretentious blowhard who is really nothing more than a typically weak-minded, ignorant dittohead who is incapable of independent thought.

As I sift through your pile of dung looking for that pony I suspect is in there, I notice that you have nothing substantive to refute my point.

When the HOW becomes more important than the WHY, we are lost in a game of semantics and cute attempts to denigrate America.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Read many of the comments.

He effectively controlled a third of the nation with one or possibly two armies he controlled, even while in jail.

What are these armies going to do? First, they will make sure the current Iraqi government never succeeds. Second they will attack American soldiers constantly until they get the death toll up to Viet Nam standards. Third, with the death of Saddam, much, if not most, of the Saudi money will be funnelled to Al Queda in support of terrorist attacks on American soil.

Ultimately we will pay another trillion for this hanging, and since the wealthy were so fond of killing the guy, I suggest we tax the weathy to pay for the next round of terrorist attacks and wars they got us into.


Posted by: Matt on January 3, 2007 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

And what does the Status of Forces agreement have to say about allowing a sectarian mob to conduct a lynchng on an American military base, Normie?


Jackass.

Posted by: CN on January 3, 2007 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Really? When the only charges being brought are purely domestic and solely within the jurisdiction of the host country?"

um, what does this have to do with a prisoner of war. read much?

bojo's an idiot:
"He should have been taken to the World Court and tried there for his crimes, but our leaders thought otherwise."

The World Court does not have jurisdiction over individual defendants. WTF are you talking about?

Posted by: Nathan on January 3, 2007 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

enozihno:

As a Sunni Muslim, why do you consider the Shia "nuts" while merely calling Wahabi/Salafi fanatics "cold blooded?"

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the percentage of Shi'ite suicide bombers compared to Sunni is rather miniscule, no?

Do you have a way to explain this?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Gargle_This:

If you think there was some reason "why" Saddam shouldn't have been found guilty and executed, then please enlighten us!

Funny how none of you can read. You cannot question the legitimacy of actually executing a mass murdering dictator; therefore, you liberals busy yourselves talking about whether a guard shouted the name of Moqtada al Sadr and whether he should have been tried in the Hague.

Those who were butchered by the minions of Slobodan Milosevic waited months while the world court diddled their fingers long enough for the old dictator to hoarde his heart medication and off himself.

What is it about "justice" that you liberals find so contemptible? And please refute my points--a paragraph-long insult calling me a "ditto-head" is so old hat. I do not care for Rush Limbaugh--too much of a populist, too much of a blowhard, not kind enough to my Northeastern wing of the Republican party.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist:

really? which facts? what research? I would suggest that a perusal of the military archives at globalsecurity.org or janes would enlighten you on many of your conspiracy theories.

you didn't even know that the kurds are sunnis, did you?

Posted by: Nathan on January 3, 2007 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan,

the defendants at Nuremberg were charged with crimes against other countries, Hussein was convicted of crimes subject to Iraqi jurisdiction.

The defendants at Nuremberg were charged with universal crimes that, if there was question before there remained none after, were subject to the jurisdiction of every country. Some of those were crimes against other countries (crimes against peace and war crimes), some were not (crimes against humanity need not be, and those prosecuted at Nuremberg often were not).

Saddam was charged with offenses which included all three categories of international offenses defined in Principle VI of the Nuremberg Principles. That the offenses were also cognizable under Iraqi law does not make them less violations of international law triable before an international (or simply foreign tribunal)—as such offenses are subject to the jurisdiction of every state, and such jurisdiction may be exercised through international tribunals.

The purpose of international tribunals and universal jurisdiction is to deal with the circumstances where the the most affected state or states is or are unwilling or incapable of providing fair trial or administration of justice.

I find it highly likely that the status of forces agreement allows the U.S. to maintain custody of prisoners of war.

I'm not interested in your bare, self-serving conclusions. If you want to argue that the Status of Forces Agreement has provisions relevant to and which excuse the actions of the US government here, you aren't going to convince anyone with unsubstantiated statements of your convenient beliefs.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 3, 2007 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

nathan U.S. military operations in Iraq are governed by a status of forces agreement. I have seen no contention that that agreement allowed the U.S. to retain custody of Hussein after the execution order was signed. after all, the U.S. has status of forces agreements with Germany, Japan, the UK, and about a hundred other countries. last time I checked, no one disputed the sovereignty of those countries.

Last time I checked, the U.S. was not invading and conducting armed warfare against elements of the German, Japanese or UK governments.

Posted by: heilbad on January 3, 2007 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

oh, and Secular Animist and Disputo:

Wayne Madsen is not a source. and neither are internet rumors ultimately based on Madsen

Posted by: Nathan on January 3, 2007 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Only the Bush administration -- that ever-growing and reeking pile of inompetence and dysfunction currently soiling the world stage -- could singularly manage the feat of elevating a vicious sociopath like Saddam Hussein to the status of martyr in the Arab world.

Hermann Goering, Rudolf Hess and their murderous cohorts in the Nazi Party were afforded more due process and legal consideration at Nuremburg than the former American ally now known as the “Butcher of Baghdad.”

What triumphed in the "Green Zone" at the break of dawn on December 30, 2006 was not justice, but rather a Bush family vendetta. The relentless, remorseless cycle of vengeance and retribution in Iraq has now been visited upon its former head-of-state, a man who was one of its foremost advocates and practicioners.

Thus, the violent circle that Americans ostensibly sought to break with Saddam’s removal remains intact, and our president has instead proven to be a more-than-willing party to it.

May God – who in His infinite wisdom reserves such vengeance as His exclusive domain — bestow His infinite mercy on us, that we can somehow atone for the chaos and tragedy George W. Bush has seen fit to inflict upon Iraq in our name.

Aloha.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 3, 2007 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan, my boy:

Please explain the rule of law to these liberals. Tell them how the world court works. I'm far too fatigued to try to get into it. While I hold them off with sword and shield, you must break out pen and paper and demonstrate how wrong they are.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK
we may have turned a blind eye to Hussein's use of poison gas in the Iran/Iraq War...but we had nothing to do with the Kurds.

At a minimum, we rushed US officials to Baghdad in a show of continued support to demonstrate to Saddam and the world that the gassing of the Kurds would not shake US unconditional support for his regime a and his war immediately when it became known, which, in regard to the gassing of the Kurds, is considerably more than turning a "blind eye".

The evidence that the US was involved before the fact is a little but more murky.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 3, 2007 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK
Wayne Madsen is not a source. and neither are internet rumors ultimately based on Madsen

This is manifestly untrue. You may have valid grounds for arguing that Wayne Madsen is not a reliable or credible source, but that's a different claim entirely.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 3, 2007 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Norman,

How little you know of Nuremberg.

Neither Von Runstedt nor Model were tried at Nuremberg. Model comitted suicide before he could be captured and von Runstedt was taken to England after he had a heart attack and was later released. He died in Hanover in 1953.

Did you just pull the DeGaulle thing out of your ass???

Posted by: orogeny on January 3, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan: . . . we may have turned a blind eye to Hussein's use of poison gas in the Iran/Iraq War...but we had nothing to do with the Kurds.

If you know a country's leader is committing genocide and you continue to offer that country's leader continued military aid and political cover and support after receiving that knowledge, you are enabling those activities and yes you are complicit.

Funny how conservatives claim that liberals are complicit in the crimes of terrorists for merely questioning the Bush administration and the war in Iraq, despite no funding of or private or public statements of support for the terrorists, but conservatives aren't complicit when they specifically and deliberately fund a tyrant and make public statements of support for that tyrant.

Posted by: Google_This on January 3, 2007 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan:

I find it highly likely that the status of forces agreement allows the U.S. to maintain custody of prisoners of war.

Sorry, I thought you actually knew what you were talking about; I take back my attempt to enlist you on my side.

Son, when you take into account the fact that hundreds of Iraqi VIPs have been held in US custody on bases that are governed by the Status of Forces (SOF) agreement signed between the Iraqi government and the US government, subsequent to the disbanding of the Coalition Provisional Authority, you must conclude that Saddam was rightfully executed on a base that was under the provisions of that SOF agreement. Transfer of custody occurred the day of the execution; a transfer of custody occurs ONLY when there is a SOF agreement in effect between the US and the host government.

Could someone from my side demonstrate a facile and lucid command of the particulars, please? I do so hate to be the lone voice of reason.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

orogeny:

and von Runstedt was taken to England after he had a heart attack and was later released.

Ah, so it was von Rundstedt. Well, the "heart attack" occurred when de Gaulle used the sword on him then. I apologize if my memory is hazy--I heard this story in 1967 when I was visiting family in England.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

"If you know a country's leader is committing genocide and you continue to offer that country's leader continued military aid and political cover and support after receiving that knowledge, you are enabling those activities and yes you are complicit."

well, you've just nailed the entire American left in the 20th century under that logic.

Posted by: Nathan on January 3, 2007 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

OK Norman let's look at why.Because Saddam killed a bunch of people.People have been dying in the Middle east for 6000 years,So why are we just now so concerned about he deaths of a bunch of people that would cut our heads off if given the chance.Saddam did not die because he killed people,Saddam died because the Bush Adm. wanted him dead.Now ask, WHY ??

Posted by: Thomas3.6 1/2 on January 3, 2007 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Norm,

So De Gaulle went to Hanover, Germany in 1953 and cut off von Runstedt's head with a sword? And he brought Eisenhower with him?

Posted by: orogeny on January 3, 2007 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK
well, you've just nailed the entire American left in the 20th century under that logic.

Or more accurately, the American Right's dishonest, overgeneralized caricature of the entire American left, which is exactly why the American Right made the overgeneralized, dishonest caricature of the Left it did. Now, quit with the inaccurate distraction efforts.


Posted by: cmdicely on January 3, 2007 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

NR:

I assume that they were confusing the World Court with the ICC...which doesn't have jurisdiction over Iraq, but anyway...

Posted by: Nathan on January 3, 2007 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

A good point made by a good man:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A senior U.S. general said on Wednesday U.S. forces left all security measures at Saddam Hussein’s execution, including searching witnesses for mobile phones, to Iraqi authorities.

An unofficial video of the hanging, apparently filmed on a mobile phone, showed Shiite officials taunting Saddam just before he was hanged, sparking outrage among his fellow Sunni Arabs as well as concern among moderate Shiites and Kurds.

Asked at a news conference in Baghdad on Wednesday about criticism of the hanging, U.S. military spokesman Major General William Caldwell said: “It was not our decision as to what occurred but we would have done it differently.”

To me, this bears a hypothetical, and I hope you will indulge me. Were the US in charge, this is how it would have been carried out. I believe that Saddam would have had his arms and legs tied to the saddles of four timid white horses in the midst of a square. After a brief prayer from a good Episopalian man of the cloth, a gun is fired, the horses leap in four different directions, and justice is served to a mad dictator.

The old method of mounting his head on a pike near the main entrance to the city would perhaps offend too many liberals--a pity. What better way to show the insurgency who's boss?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Norman: Those who were butchered by the minions of Slobodan Milosevic waited months while the world court diddled their fingers long enough for the old dictator to hoarde his heart medication and off himself.

Yeah. Months. Let's see. Bush (and conservatives) waited over 24 months before invading Iraq, despite conservative (and Bush) claims that Saddam was butchering people right and left.

So, it was wrong to wait for "months" to ensure a full and fair trial about killing already in the past, but okay to wait for over two dozen months to actually stop the alleged genocide going on in Iraq?

Of course, there was no ongoing genocide in Iraq, another Bush administration lie.

BTW, Norman, it is not that we can't read, it is that you cannot write clearly.

And exactly how long did it take to try Saddam, Norman?

Wasn't he captured in 2003?

Wasn't that more than 36 months ago?

Didn't the Iraqis butchered by Saddam have to wait "months" for their justice and after 36 months, what would another few months have mattered - how would that be dragging our heels more than Bush dragged out Saddam's trial and execution to coincide with partisan needs?

Posted by: Google_This on January 3, 2007 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

UM Nathan my dear boy.Reagan and H.W Bush are from the GOP not American Left.They where the only ones supporting Saddam.You may say you are sorry now.

Posted by: Thomas3.6 1/2 on January 3, 2007 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

As I personally wished to see Saddam placed on an ice floe in the Arctic with Shrub, Cheney and Rumdumb to collect data on Global Warming, or had him released into the desert with cluster bombs of gas dropping around him, I still find it interesting that the Star Chambers of the Tudors have become the Show Trials of Stalin and the Iraqi Government?, if that is indeed what it is - And the execution by Mahdi thugs is not much different that Tudor executions - 600 years of "advancement".

And some say that reading the times of the Tudors is dated.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 3, 2007 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Norman: What better way to show the insurgency who's boss?

Well, the Bush administration hasn't found any other way to show them who's boss (unless the intent is to actually show that the insurgency is the boss!), so I guess that putting Saddam's head on a pike would be your last desperate bid to accomplish that, eh?

Posted by: Google_This on January 3, 2007 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

What better way to show the insurgency who's boss.Isn't that exactly what Saddam did.So should Bush face the same court that Saddam did.?

Posted by: Thomas3.6 1/2 on January 3, 2007 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan: . . . you've just nailed the entire American left in the 20th century under that logic.

Showing just how partisan you are.

But you are free to provide any example of the "American left" providing the means and funding for WMDs to another country, as well as public political support for the leader of another country after an act of genocide by that leader.


Posted by: Google_This on January 3, 2007 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan wrote: "its idiotic to suggest that there was u.s. complicity in the gassing of the kurds ..."

U.S. Had Key Role in Iraq Buildup
Trade in Chemical Arms Allowed Despite Their Use on Iranians, Kurds

By Michael Dobbs
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 30, 2002; Page A01

....According to a sworn court affidavit prepared by Teicher [Howard Teicher, a former National Security Council official, who worked on Iraqi policy during the Reagan administration] in 1995, the United States "actively supported the Iraqi war effort by supplying the Iraqis with billions of dollars of credits, by providing military intelligence and advice to the Iraqis, and by closely monitoring third country arms sales to Iraq to make sure Iraq had the military weaponry required."....

At the same time the Reagan administration was facilitating the supply of weapons and military components to Baghdad, it was attempting to cut off supplies to Iran under "Operation Staunch." Those efforts were largely successful, despite the glaring anomaly of the 1986 Iran-contra scandal when the White House publicly admitted trading arms for hostages, in violation of the policy that the United States was trying to impose on the rest of the world.

Although U.S. arms manufacturers were not as deeply involved as German or British companies in selling weaponry to Iraq, the Reagan administration effectively turned a blind eye to the export of "dual use" items such as chemical precursors and steel tubes that can have military and civilian applications. According to several former officials, the State and Commerce departments promoted trade in such items as a way to boost U.S. exports and acquire political leverage over Hussein.

When United Nations weapons inspectors were allowed into Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War, they compiled long lists of chemicals, missile components, and computers from American suppliers, including such household names as Union Carbide and Honeywell, which were being used for military purposes.

A 1994 investigation by the Senate Banking Committee turned up dozens of biological agents shipped to Iraq during the mid-'80s under license from the Commerce Department, including various strains of anthrax, subsequently identified by the Pentagon as a key component of the Iraqi biological warfare program. The Commerce Department also approved the export of insecticides to Iraq, despite widespread suspicions that they were being used for chemical warfare.

In late 1987, the Iraqi air force began using chemical agents against Kurdish resistance forces in northern Iraq that had formed a loose alliance with Iran, according to State Department reports. The attacks, which were part of a "scorched earth" strategy to eliminate rebel-controlled villages, provoked outrage on Capitol Hill and renewed demands for sanctions against Iraq. The State Department and White House were also outraged -- but not to the point of doing anything that might seriously damage relations with Baghdad.

"The U.S.-Iraqi relationship is . . . important to our long-term political and economic objectives," Assistant Secretary of State Richard W. Murphy wrote in a September 1988 memorandum that addressed the chemical weapons question. "We believe that economic sanctions will be useless or counterproductive to influence the Iraqis."

....Far from declining, the supply of U.S. military intelligence to Iraq actually expanded in 1988, according to a 1999 book by Francona, "Ally to Adversary: an Eyewitness Account of Iraq's Fall from Grace." Informed sources said much of the battlefield intelligence was channeled to the Iraqis by the CIA office in Baghdad.

Although U.S. export controls to Iraq were tightened up in the late 1980s, there were still many loopholes. In December 1988, Dow Chemical sold $1.5 million of pesticides to Iraq, despite U.S. government concerns that they could be used as chemical warfare agents. An Export-Import Bank official reported in a memorandum that he could find "no reason" to stop the sale, despite evidence that the pesticides were "highly toxic" to humans and would cause death "from asphyxiation."....

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A52241-2002Dec29?language=printer

Posted by: A. Nonymous on January 3, 2007 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK
I assume that they were confusing the World Court with the ICC...which doesn't have jurisdiction over Iraq, but anyway...

This is inaccurate. The ICC has no territorial limitations on jurisdiction. It is restrained from exercising jurisdiction if neither the State of which the accused is a national nor the State in whose territory the crime occurred has accepted jurisdiction of the Court either through ratification of the Rome Statute prior to the occurrence of the crime, or specific assent to ICC jurisdiction with regard to the particular crime after the occurrence of the crime.

As the US was intimately involved in negotiating, imposing conditions on, and approving (and, later, exerted direct pressure on the selection of judges for) the process of trying Saddam, to argue that it was an error for the US not to demand his trial by "the Hague" (where both the ICJ or "World Court" and the ICC sit) instead of putting him before an Iraqi court is a legitimate complaint; the US could just as easily have applied pressure for an international trial, either Iraq accepting an ad hoc tribunal or accepting ICC jurisdiction for Saddam's crimes. The US administration chose not to do so because it was pursuing a policy to discredit the entire idea of international justice, both ad hoc through institutions like the ICTY and more permanent through institutions like the ICC.

Just another way in which the ideology of the Right has undermined good policy (or at least, better policy than that ultimately undertaken) in this administration

Posted by: cmdicely on January 3, 2007 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

orogeny:

So De Gaulle went to Hanover, Germany in 1953 and cut off von Runstedt's head with a sword? And he brought Eisenhower with him?

No, no, no--von Rundstedt was discovered to have been complicit in the execution of several French resistance fighters. When de Gaulle found out that the old Field Marshall had escaped the hangman's noose, he demanded satisfaction after Eisenhower was elected President. von Rundstedt was spirited away from Hanover, transported to an undisclosed location in Northern Virginia, and de Gaulle cut his head off. The body was handed back to the family and de Gaulle and Eisenhower began their secret alliance, which led to US involvement in Southeast Asia after Dien Bien Phu.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Wayne Madsen is not a source. and neither are internet rumors ultimately based on Madsen

Well, as usual Nathan's argument boils down to swatting at strawmen.

Not surprising for an idiot so stupid that he thinks that because the US doesn't have a specific grudge against a particular group, that it couldn't possibly assist friends that do have such a grudge to massacre that group.

Read much, dumbshit?

Posted by: Disputo on January 3, 2007 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

As much as it pains me to say it, kudos to cmdicely.

(Ugh. I have now "agreed" with a loony lefty. I may need to wash my hands after I post this.)

Nathan, please. Give it a rest, son. You know nothing of the law. If you mean to continue commenting, please do not do it from a conservative viewpoint. Thank you.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

well, you've just nailed the entire American left in the 20th century under that logic.

Damn, Nathan is indeed dumber than I thought.

Fool me once... don't get fooled again.

Posted by: Disputo on January 3, 2007 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo asks "Read much, expletive?"

Probaly wine lists and restaurant reviews. One must stay ahead of the curvee.

Posted by: stupid git on January 3, 2007 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, Norman. I had no idea. Off your meds, eh?

Posted by: orogeny on January 3, 2007 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

well, I see that cmdicely agreed with me again...he just doesn't like admitting it.

I said that the World Court doesn't have individual jurisdiction, he agreed. I said that the ICC doesn't have jurisdiction over Iraq. He agreed. And then he explained why. Um, the fact that the ICC could have jurisdiction if certain conditions were met -- i.e. U.S. and Iraqi acquiescence -- doesn't change the fact that, as you conceded, the ICC doesn't currently have jurisdiction.

Norman Rogers, you are an idiot. And I am not a conservative. I am what passes for a moderate these days -- which in these threads makes me a wingnut. (Yes, I do think the way Hussein was executed was a travesty...but neither do I feel sorry for him.)

Posted by: Nathan on January 3, 2007 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Off your meds, eh?

I take aspirin only, which helps with the headaches I get after dealing with the likes of you and your ilk.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Norman,

Now, now, he did know of civilian common law and other useless trivia. And did he not clerk under Whiplash Willie for a year?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 3, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

A. Nonymous:

what part of that cut and paste job disagrees with what I said? none of it.

Posted by: Nathan on January 3, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

google_this:

certainly. should we start with the Soviet Union?

Posted by: Nathan on January 3, 2007 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers, you are an idiot. And I am not a conservative. I am what passes for a moderate these days -- which in these threads makes me a wingnut. (Yes, I do think the way Hussein was executed was a travesty...but neither do I feel sorry for him.)

No, I'm an investment banker by trade, and even I know more about the law than you do, and I let my lawyers handle legal matters for me so I can stay blissfully unaware of things.

You are what passes for a "moderate?" Son, a moderate is a man who refuses to sh*t, get off the pot, or conclude the matter by wiping himself.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers:

Please see my comment at 1:40 PM. Thoughts?

Posted by: k on January 3, 2007 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

specifically, WWII

we don't even need to get into fellow travelers in the 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's.

but we sent plenty of cash and weapons to Stalin during WWII. I believe a Democrat was in the WH at the time.

(the fact that this was justified under the circumstances is irrelevant since we are applying your blanket standard)

Posted by: Nathan on January 3, 2007 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Norman_Rogers: unlike both you and cmdicely, I am a lawyer.

and, as I said above, I was correct as to the World Court and the ICC.

(cmdicely wrongly surmised as to the grounds for my statement but rightly noted that I was correct as to the ICC's lack of jurisdiction)

when cmdicely knows that you are right but due to his obstinance doesn't want to be seen agreeing, he will bury his agreement in a mess of straw man verbiage..

Posted by: Nathan on January 3, 2007 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

I said that the ICC doesn't have jurisdiction over Iraq. He agreed. And then he explained why. Um, the fact that the ICC could have jurisdiction if certain conditions were met -- i.e. U.S. and Iraqi acquiescence -- doesn't change the fact that, as you conceded, the ICC doesn't currently have jurisdiction.

Nathan, you are such a loathsome liar. The hypothetical is not that Saddam (who is dead now anyway) be sent to the ICC *now*, but that he be sent when he was captured, which could have been effected by granting the ICC jurisdiction.

You pretended that a small hurdle is an insurpassable obstacle, and now that you have been called on it, you're pretending that it's merely a huge hurdle.

Posted by: Disputo on January 3, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

So, Nathan, suppose X gives a terrorist group some money, knowing that it is a terrorist group, and some chemicals that can be used to construct a WMD and the terrorist group uses that WMD, without any further assistance or intent by X, to kill 200,000 people in New York City.

According to your logic, I'm sure you will agree that X is not complicit in those deaths, right?

The Reagan and Bush administrations knew what kind of tyrant Saddam was and that Saddam would use any aid they provided, as well as any political cover, to commit murders, even genocide, and engage in warlike actions against other nations, so don't claim that X is different because X should know that the terrorists would use the aid for nefarious purposes.

If you give a known murderer a gun, you are complicit, whether you intend it or not, in any murder she/he commits with that gun.

If you can name any on the "American left" who knowingly and deliberately gave a murdering dictator a "gun", I will be happy to condemn them as well.

But don't pretend that the Reagan and Bush administrations weren't complicit in Saddam's reign of terror.

Nathan: should we start with the Soviet Union?

Sure. Name the aid that the "American left" sent to the Soviets that was used to produce WMDs and then point to use of the WMDs to commit murder or genocide.

Posted by: Google_This on January 3, 2007 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

unlike both you and cmdicely, I am a lawyer.

A fact that your clients surely regret.

Posted by: Disputo on January 3, 2007 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

k,

Okay. You didn't say anything worth responding to.

I'll read it again.

No, sorry, lad. I don't care to respond. But thank you for stalking me down the thread--what the deuce is up with that?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

And btw, show how "the entire American left" is complicit in any one or more of the alleged acts you might name.

Posted by: Google_This on January 3, 2007 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

but we sent plenty of cash and weapons to Stalin during WWII. I believe a Democrat was in the WH at the time.

And so now Nathan has come full circle and is equating the Kurds with the Nazis.

Nice.

You should sue whatever Caribbean law school you graduated from for manufacturing defective products.

Posted by: Disputo on January 3, 2007 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan: when cmdicely knows that you are right but due to his obstinance doesn't want to be seen agreeing, he will bury his agreement in a mess of straw man verbiage..

When Nathan knows you are right but due to his obstinance doesn't want to be seen agreeing, he loudly proclaims his bona fides as a lawyer and tries to bury you with a ton of generalizations, exaggerations, mischaracterizations, omissions, and obsfucations.

Posted by: Google_This on January 3, 2007 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

A boy named Nathan:

Norman_Rogers: unlike both you and cmdicely, I am a lawyer.

You are a master of the obvious, at least with regards to myself. I am an investment banker by trade and educated at Princeton and Duke; I make work for lawyers. You, as a supposed lawyer, receive the assigned work that I create for you. I accomplish this by arranging complex business deals you then perform what amounts to the work of a peon and sort out the particulars.

The vision is mine; the blizzard of paperwork is yours.

And which one of us is getting things done in this country?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

nathan wrote: what part of that cut and paste job disagrees with what I said? none of it.

The part where you said:

its idiotic to suggest that there was u.s. complicity in the gassing of the kurds...we may have turned a blind eye to Hussein's use of poison gas in the Iran/Iraq War...but we had nothing to do with the Kurds.

since the article shows that the Reagan and Bush Administrations know of the gassing of the Kurds and despite that knowledge continued to support Hussein with intelligence, money, weapons and diplomatic support. That right there is complicity, and it is certainly more than suggesting we had "nothing to do with the Kurds." Sure, we didn't pull the trigger, but we kept on supplying him with the ammunition.

Oh, and also the part where you said

we had no beef with the kurds (who after all are Sunnis)...our beef was with the Shia--specifically Iran and Hezbollah.

since the article also noted that "In late 1987, the Iraqi air force began using chemical agents against Kurdish resistance forces in northern Iraq that had formed a loose alliance with Iran, according to State Department reports."

You didn't even know that the Kurds had allied themselves with the Iranians, did you?

Posted by: A. Nonymous on January 3, 2007 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo:

It would have been an impossibly high hurdle for this treaty-abrogating administration, unfortunately ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan: . . . we sent plenty of cash and weapons to Stalin during WWII.

Was the US aware of any genocide being committed by Stalin at the time? Provide your proof.

Were the cash and weapons used against a common enemy (the Nazis) or against the Soviet citizenry? Provide your proof.

Is the best you can do supposed similar actions from 50 years ago to prove that the "entire American left" in the 20th century is guilty of the same activities as the Reagan and Bush administrations?

LOL

Posted by: Google_This on January 3, 2007 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo: I said the ICC didn't have jurisdiction. That is a statement of fact. The fact that the ICC could have hypothetically been given jurisdiction doesn't make that statement of fact invalid.

Bill Gates is not the president of the United States. The fact that Bill Gates is over 35 and is a native-born citizen means that he hypothetically could be president of the United States. this does not change the fact that his not.

Posted by: Nathan on January 3, 2007 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

"Hussein was convicted of crimes subject to Iraqi jurisdiction." Sounds 'bout right. Guess that's why the U.S. deposed him, because it's very keen on jurisdictional matters. Keep typing Nathan...seems as good as any other wrench to keep you holding.

Posted by: none on January 3, 2007 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

I said the ICC didn't have jurisdiction. That is a statement of fact. The fact that the ICC could have hypothetically been given jurisdiction doesn't make that statement of fact invalid.

My bad. I thought you made that statement as part of an argument about the impossibility of sending Saddam to the ICC. I didn't realize that you were just throwing out random, contextless factoids that have no bearing on this thread.

You are such an idiot.

Posted by: Disputo on January 3, 2007 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

"Well, yeah. Except not right now, hence the request for a 2-week delay."

Over on TPM there seems to be some suggestion that Maliki's argument for expedient execution happens to coincide with right-wing talk machine arguments. For example, the "what if someone kidnaps schoolchildren and demands his release."

I would not at all be surprised if the request was never really made or if it was made with CYA in mind.

As I and others have pointed out, subsequent trials were going to have too much evidence of complicity and support from the US for us to be comfortable. In this, Bush is protecting Daddy. True family values!

Posted by: BY on January 3, 2007 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

It would have been an impossibly high hurdle for this treaty-abrogating administration, unfortunately ...

Granted. And if Nathan's argument is that were it not for the intransigence of the GWB admin, Saddam could have been tried at the ICC, I will grant him that. Unfortunately, he now seems to be arguing that none of his statements here have any bearing on this thread.

Posted by: Disputo on January 3, 2007 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

I would not at all be surprised if the request was never really made or if it was made with CYA in mind.

My thoughts exactly. I also do not assume that the GWB admin is interested in quelling sectarian chaos.

Posted by: Disputo on January 3, 2007 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Outing Nathan

Posted by: none on January 3, 2007 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan's posting "I am a Lawyer" reminds me of Steve Martin singing "I am a Dentist" in Little Shop of Horrors

Nathan, just get off your Harley?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 3, 2007 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Norman said: "When the HOW becomes more important than the WHY, we are lost in a game of semantics and cute attempts to denigrate America."

I disagree. MEANS are important too. Not just ENDS. Getting rid of Saddam is a good end. I don't think we've pursued the proper means at all since day 1.

Posted by: BY on January 3, 2007 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo: "I didn't realize that you were just throwing out random, contextless factoids that have no bearing on this thread."

That sounds suspiciously like Charlie.

Maybe "Nathan" is another "not Charlie."

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 3, 2007 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Norman,

Slow day at the bank, it seems.

I've followed your comments because you're the best your side has to offer today.

Do tell, old boy, where you picked up your charming linguistic idiosyncrasies. I haven't heard terms like "lad" and "what the deuce" since Great-Grandfather passed on in the 'eighties. Such quaint language was, sadly, long obsolete by the time I attended Harvard a quarter-century ago. Is it still heard around Old Nassau?

Posted by: k on January 3, 2007 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

A boy named Nathan:

Bill Gates is not the president of the United States.

I'm following you...

The fact that Bill Gates is over 35 and is a native-born citizen means that he hypothetically could be president of the United States.

Technically, yes. But the problem with your reasoning is that Gates dropped out of Harvard; this, in and of itself, disqualifies him from being President.

Article II of the US Constitution:

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, abandoned the pursuit of a higher degree, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

this does not change the fact that his not.

My reading of the Constitution indicates that no person who "has abandoned the pursuit of a higher degree" is qualified to be President.

But I don't think a lawyer should go around claiming he knows what he's talking about when, in fact, he does not. Poor boy...

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK
well, I see that cmdicely agreed with me again...he just doesn't like admitting it.

Er, no, I didn't.

I said that the World Court doesn't have individual jurisdiction, he agreed.

While I would agree (and do here), I didn't comment at all on this, because it was mostly a distraction. So, a lie.

I said that the ICC doesn't have jurisdiction over Iraq. He agreed. And then he explained why.

No, I didn't. You claimed the ICC doesn't have jurisdiction "over Iraq". This is a meaningless statement, the ICC does not have or lack jurisdiction over states. It has jurisdiction over particular crimes, including many of those Saddam is charged with. The only limitations on the scope of that jurisdiction besides the crime involved is temporal, in that the ICC's jurisdiction does not extend back in time before the ICC was instituted.

The ICC also has conditions on the exercise of jurisdiction, which are distinguished form lits on its jurisdiction. It is the conditions on the exercise of jurisdiction that apply here.

Now, its true, that there is something of an analogy between the concepts, in American jurisprudence, of subject-matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction and the concepts, in the Rome Statute, of the jurisdiction of the ICC and the conditions for the exercise of that jurisdiction, respectively, they aren't precisely the same concepts under different names, and in referring to the jurisdiction of the ICC, the terminology in the Rome Statute rather than imperfect analogy to some other legal system is most proper.

I explained before (and again) your error in describing the ICC as without "jurisdiction over Iraq", I did not agree with it. So, that's the second time in one post that you lied to say I agreed with you.

And I am not a conservative.

Yeah, you are.

I am what passes for a moderate these days

No, Nathan, like a tragically deluded transsexual, you don't "pass" nearly as well as you think you do.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 3, 2007 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Do tell, old boy, where you picked up your charming linguistic idiosyncrasies. I haven't heard terms like "lad" and "what the deuce" since Great-Grandfather passed on in the 'eighties. Such quaint language was, sadly, long obsolete by the time I attended Harvard a quarter-century ago. Is it still heard around Old Nassau?

Nothing is more hilarious than a peasant trying to rub elbows with his betters...

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK
certainly. should we start with the Soviet Union?

Sure, start there. Now provide your proof that every member of the American left throughout the entirety of the 20th Century supported the Soviet Union.

(Considering that there are some members of the American Left during the 20th Century who were never such during the existence of the USSR, that's going to be hard, but its your claim I'm asking you to defend, and your stated basis, so that's not my problem.)

cmdicely wrongly surmised as to the grounds for my statement but rightly noted that I was correct as to the ICC's lack of jurisdiction

I made no suggestion that your statement had any grounds, and I didn't note you were correct, I pointed out that you were wrong and how.

Have you ever considered practicing honesty just for a minute or two to find out what it feels like?

Posted by: cmdicely on January 3, 2007 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Norman,

I think we've found a point on which we can agree...

It's been a pleasure.

Cheers.

Posted by: k on January 3, 2007 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

"Norman":

This is pretty shameless, even for lefty masquerading as an old coot from Princeton.

Here's what *my* copy of the Constitution sez:

Article 2, Section 1, Subsection 4:

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to tbe Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

=-=-=-=

Nothing in there about dropping out of college.

Caught you with your pants right down around yer ankles, old bean :):):)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Here's what *my* copy of the Constitution sez:

I'm sure "your" version of the Constitution says all kinds of things.

Pardon me for having a little fun at the expense of our young esquire, Nathan. Do you always make a fool of yourself by pointing out the bloody obvious?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Granted. And if Nathan's argument is that were it not for the intransigence of the GWB admin, Saddam could have been tried at the ICC, I will grant him that. Unfortunately, he now seems to be arguing that none of his statements here have any bearing on this thread."

Posted by: Disputo on January 3, 2007 at 3:44 PM

He does that a lot. His style would work far better for him if he commented at a blog where you can re edit or simply delete older conflicting comments instead of having the clear trail of deception immortalized from the moment he first presses the post button. That is one of the features of this blog I love the most, one can go and backcheck what people have said contemporaneously without their having any subsequent ability to modify/remove anything they wrote which later is proven false, contradicted by their own later statements, etc.

Nathan:

When Norman Rogers is calling you a legal fool you know you have truly lost any credibility and effectiveness as a troll at this blog. Congratulations, you have descended yet again into the realm of complete buffoonery. While I heavily disagree with Rogers on almost every thing he writes here and think he lives in a world of caricatures more than reality where people are concerned he has at least demonstrated the ability to think and demonstrate good reasoning skills (when the underlying premises employed are wrong you still get garbage as the result but that is not the fault of the tools used in the process but the underlying material being worked on) from time to time whereas you have never managed that from your first time out here. Your understanding of basic legal principles and how they are applied is clearly far less than that of Rogers let alone cmdicely's and the idea that you seriously believe yourself to be the finest legal mind in this thread is so delusional as shown by the evidence of your prior words here and elsewhere at this blog that if you truly do believe it you need serious medical help.

General:

I agree KD is way off base for the reasons provided by others regarding timing, manner of death, speed of process for the least serious charges instead of any of the more egregious to protect American GOP reputations/interests, and finally for the absolute idiotic decision to have this done on an American base while disavowing any involvement. While I have always found Hitchens to be profoundly pretentious in style regardless of his current political views of the time on this he is again like the proverbial broken clock. This was so disastrously managed that I feel the same way as I think it was Bob who said they could believe it intentional save they have never seen evidence of the required competence to stagemanage this serious a catastrophe. It took a real convergence of stupidity and corrupt self interests on all involved sides to have managed to turn Saddam from the thug he had clearly been (despite his few good points as in being a strong secularist and providing the most progressive Arab nation for women's rights) into someone that was able to die with dignity despite the attempts of his executioners to deny such dignity and make him a potentially far greater martyr than he could ever have been otherwise (well at least for say the first decade or so after his death, after a long enough period passes many really bad leaders get cleaned up in memories regardless of nationality involved).

This is yet another example in a string of examples of complete incompetence, ignorance, and corrupt venality at work regarding Iraq since the first time Bushco made public their interests in having a military confrontation with Saddam. I have said it many times over the years at this blog, I would be hard pressed to see how an enemy undercover agent could have done more by design to weaken and reduce the power of America across the board (economic, military, moral authority, credibility) than the Administration of George Walker Bush has managed. We see yet again in this execution of Saddam exactly what grounds exist for having such a perspective on GWB, and I strongly expect to see the history books written over the next few decades to take this view more and more strongly as further evidence of the disaster GWB has wreaked upon America, her power and place in the world, and for the rest of the world especially her traditional western allies with this insanity called Iraq occurs and is clearly linked back to the invasion of Iraq.

Posted by: Scotian on January 3, 2007 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

pursuing a policy to discredit the entire idea of international justice, both ad hoc through institutions like the ICTY and more permanent through institutions like the ICC.

The idea of Int'l justice has never be accepted as relevent inside the US. US citizens accept the US constitution and the US Supreme Court. They do not accept any control of any foreign courts over US law or US courts. Nor would the transfer of control ever pass a vote of the public. It's much like the EU constitution. It's never been approved directly by the voters. Western Europe is run by elites in a way that would never be acceptable in the US.

Support for this system of Int'l justice is purely the goal of liberals unable to pass laws here to their liking. It's a pursuit that has been a political mistake.

If you know anything about the Philadelpia region you know of Abu Jamal and Officer Daniel Faulkner. This young family man was brutally assassinated by Abu Jamal. The PR savvy Jamal made himself into a cause celeb in Hollywood and in France (getting a street named after him in Paris) an among the usual cast of airheads. Except the Philly Cops and DAs office knows a thing about PR too. At the recent 20-yr anniversary of the event the 'celebration' of the fallen hero's life was far better atended and covered compared to the 'railroad justice' crown shedding tears for the cop killer.

It seems philly types don't much like being characterised as racist rubes by Hollywood airheads and French cowards. Imagine that. Your dream of a court in the Hague influencing American justice is just that. 3-strikes will always be the law of the land. The French insult won't be forgotten. The Philly police will see to it.

Posted by: rdw on January 3, 2007 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

"Norman":

If your idea of a good time is making things up and sticking them in a block quote of the Constitution to score cheap snark points -- can you really blame me (or anyone) for thinking you're a spoofed identity who doesn't believe a word of what you type?

If Nathan's so easy to skewer -- why resort to deep-dish crud?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian writes:

When Norman Rogers is calling you a legal fool you know you have truly lost any credibility and effectiveness as a troll at this blog. Congratulations, you have descended yet again into the realm of complete buffoonery. While I heavily disagree with Rogers...he has at least demonstrated the ability to think and demonstrate good reasoning skills...

In your face, liberals! Your patron saint has given me the greatest praise of my blog thread career!

What say you, rmck1? Jealous of the praise I have earned?

Which one of you liberals will apologize to me and admit that I am correct? Oh, that's right--none of you are mature enough to do so!

Fools!

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1:

If Nathan's so easy to skewer -- why resort to deep-dish crud?

It's called satire, sir. Acquaint yourself with it. Nathan the boy is clearly a verbiage-spewing annoyance and I am ashamed to have him on my side of the political spectrum. I was merely having a bit of fun that ANYONE who has a remote, passing knowledge of the Constitution would recognize as a piece of high satire on my part.

I'll accept your apology for blowing the joke for everyone who reads the thread after this point if you'll agree to stop stalking me; you're a scrub and you're not worth my time.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian:

With all due respect, you're gravely wrong on your assessment of "Norman." "Norman's" just enjoying baiting Nathan, so he's echoing cmdicely. There is nothing deeper there than that.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

The idea of Int'l justice has never be accepted as relevent inside the US. US citizens accept the US constitution and the US Supreme Court. They do not accept any control of any foreign courts over US law or US courts. Nor would the transfer of control ever pass a vote of the public.

Hear, hear! Finally, someone who can carry the baton!

Use both barrels on these liberals! It's like shooting monkeys in a barrel!

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

"Norman":

It's called spewing bullshit.

You can attempt to justify it after the fact any way you'd like.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1, my stalker said:

There is nothing deeper there than that.

Really? What about this point?

Son, when you take into account the fact that hundreds of Iraqi VIPs have been held in US custody on bases that are governed by the Status of Forces (SOF) agreement signed between the Iraqi government and the US government, subsequent to the disbanding of the Coalition Provisional Authority, you must conclude that Saddam was rightfully executed on a base that was under the provisions of that SOF agreement. Transfer of custody occurred the day of the execution; a transfer of custody occurs ONLY when there is a SOF agreement in effect between the US and the host government.

I believe that settled Nathan's hash; if you want to play blog thread revisionist and whine like a child who cannot grasp the obvious, be my guest, but I believe Scotian already praised my take-down of Nathan, which was done in concert with (shudder) cmdicely.

Jealousy is so unbecoming a liberal. And, please--do not curse. The moderator may not appreciate your potty mouth, sir.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Funny how Hitchens stirs people up.

Hitchens has admitted before that he had misjudged how much damage Saddam + sanctions had done to the Iraqi populace, (mostly Shia) who lived under Saddam's boot during the golden Clinton years.

As he writes in the Slate piece: "I think that there is a reason the Kurdish reaction is somewhat different from the Shiite one. Iraqi Kurdistan escaped from Saddam's rule in 1992, and its citizens have since been engaged in patiently building up their autonomy. They did not have to endure the appalling humiliation of sanctions plus Saddam, and they have not since been so much engaged in a foul civil war begun by Sunni extremists desecrating shrines and slaughtering civilians. Their attitude to their former despot and murderer is somewhat more detached and judicious. If they feel a thirst for vengeance, they do not make a tribal fiesta of it. The moral difference here is not negligible."

At his blog, Juan Cole points to a New York Times piece by Sanger, Burns and Gordon, where NSA advisor Hadley admits of 2006:
"We did not bring the moderate Sunnis off the fence, as we had hoped. The Shia lost patience, and began to see the militias as their protectors."

Bush didn't want direct elections (remember the purple fingers?) but Sistani demanded them and this cell phone camera snuff film is partly a result of that, Maliki trying to keep the anti-American Sadrists in the tent. Like Hitchens, I blame the diplomats who did nothing to prevent it. The American's trump card is the threat to leave, they could have threaned that.

Meanwhile you have the Saudis threatening to come in, fully, on the Sunni side if the Americans leave, to counter the Iranians (who are, by the way, going nuclear.)

Posted by: Peter K. on January 3, 2007 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

"Norman":

You can attempt to deflect all you'd like, too.

Making up stuff and sticking it in the Constitution only makes you look ... ham-fisted at the very best. Satire? Norman ... it would have to be *funny* to be satire. Yeah, I know -- some people consider Faces of Death to be the height of comic hilarity, I know, so I suppose there's no accounting for taste.

You hardly need legal training to have spotted that a mile away. Too bad we never got Nathan's reaction ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: "The idea of Int'l justice has never be accepted as relevent inside the US."

As the November 2006 mid-term elections prove, you and your baseless, vapid, right-wing extremist pontifications about what Americans "accept as relevant" are not accepted as relevant inside the US.

You are an irrelevant member of an irrelevant lunatic fringe.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 3, 2007 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

Bob:

Sorry, no I stand by the complete statements I have made regarding Rogers. I have seen him from time to time use decent reasoning tools to make his argument and present them, not often granted but a few times. The fact that the underlying precepts and assumptions he was manipulating in the use of those reasoning skills though were as flawed as ever resulting in his usual complete inability to actual make much sense nor demonstrate any understanding of the realities he is discussing does not change the fact he has on rare occasion demonstrated such ability, which is more than I have ever seen from Nathan. Remember, I am only comparing those two, and given that I find Rogers a far bigger buffoon overall than Nathan does not change my evaluation of this.

I know there is not much more going on than what you have said, yet watching Norman slapping Nathan (Chuckles) down so heavily was an amusing sight to see, and since of the two of them I actually do prefer Roger's contributions to Nathan's I chucked in my two cents worth. I can well understand why many including you might find my views on this a bit odd but they are my views for better and for worse. So I am sorry if I have surprised/disappointed you in this but I still stand by what I said. None of which changes my overall view that Rogers is not worth taking any more seriously than Nathan, just that he at least provides a bit more effort in his work product and I can respect that even while finding it totally moronic in content.

Norman Rogers:

I love how you used the ellipses to try and make what I said look better for you than it actually does. Classic example of your dishonesty in action. This is of course while I might from time to time still read your work I don’t as a rule ever comment on it or to you. However, in this case where Nathan is concerned I have to admit I find you preferable here and your contributions (as wrongheaded as I find them to be notwithstanding) at least more than the simplistic talking points I find to be Nathan's stock in trade. That is not to say I find either of you credible nor worthy of trying to engage in any serious discussion over issues as you have both demonstrated time and again you complete lack of interest in anything resembling intellectually honest disagreement and debate.

Posted by: Scotian on January 3, 2007 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

This thread stopped being about "The Execution of Saddam" many comments ago.

Now it is a thread about "The Ego Of Norman Rogers".

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 3, 2007 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

GWB has wreaked upon America, her power and place in the world, and for the rest of the world especially her traditional western allies

They are not our allies. French treachery of long standing has been well documented. These people are not our allies. Even during the 90's the French voted against the US on 55% of Security Council votes.

Nations have permanent interests not permanent friends. The nations of Old Europe have not been our friends for quite some time and we obviously have very different interest and attitudes. GWBs leadership, decisiveness and political acumen in this regard has been peerless. If for example you predicted in 2001 by 2003 ALL US combat personnel, over 100k plus families and other support personnel, no one would believe it. If only for economic reasons.

GWB not only did that he returned all of the associated leases. The US military no longer have access to the facilities.

Given the political climate, support for Old Europe in the USA is in the toilet, there's no chance those bases will never be re-opened.

95% of the American public is totally unaware this has happened.

GWB has also mandated significant transfers in the State Dept. Why do we need a large presence in Western Europe? Intel now gets 4x's as many sales from Asia as from Europe. All of the European posts are being downsized or closed while operations are shifting to the Middle East and Asia. They also changed the list of desired languages. As you might imagine French ain't top ten.

BTW: As far as power. US GDP is up $2T the last 5 years. We spend 4% of GDP on Defense. That's an additional $80B PER YEAR on defense. That's double what France spends in one year and that's just the US increase in Defense spending.

We are picking a part Al Qaeda in Afghansitan. It's target practice. The kill ratio is over 50 to 1.

The Europeans could not take out that little spit milosovich and he's European what can they do? Nothing!

The USA stands alone at the pinnacle of military power with the most complete dominance since Rome.

Posted by: rdw on January 3, 2007 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Damn Iraqis, can't even be tactful when executing a dictator. Such poor winners, executing the murder before, during, or after the holidays. My word.

Bathists don't like it, they can go to Syria.

Posted by: aaron on January 3, 2007 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

No, Nathan, like a tragically deluded transsexual, you don't "pass" nearly as well as you think you do.

This is one for the quote file.

Posted by: Disputo on January 3, 2007 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

Traditional allies, even traditional western allies, is not just Europe you know, but then that would take actually having some real understanding of the global community something you have demonstrated a clear distain for in the past. Bush has honked off most of the world population with this and even within the bulk (if not all by this point) of the original members of the COW there is a majority opposition to the Iraq war and how it has been executed by America and clearly endorsed by Americans by returning Bushco to power in 2004. Governments in democracies cannot keep going against the wishes/views of the majority of their populations without losing power, a pattern I believe also shown in the changes of governments in the original COW membership until this date. What Bushco has done is not only made American policy unpopular (which is nothing new and has happened many times before over the last half century or so) but the American PEOPLE unpopular which *IS* something new and something which should worry any American that actually cares about their security and safety from terrorism.

You have really got to stop working from talking points and from conservative approved only sources of information; it is leaving you incredibly ignorant of reality. Which is one reason why the American people overwhelmingly rejected Bush and the agenda/beliefs of the GOP in the 2006 midterms, a truly historic election given that no incumbent Dem lost at the federal level, nor lost any Governorships while picking up six to hold the majority of those and further increased their holds in the various legislatures. The mantras and premises you have followed so faithfully are now to quote another famous GOP crook no longer operative and show you even more clearly as the partisan hack that you are. Thanks for playing, you (and your fellow Trolletariat members, the GOP leadership and indeed the core of modern American conservatism) are the weakest link and the American people said so quite loudly and clearly last November.

Posted by: Scotian on January 3, 2007 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

rdw, please enumerate without commentary the permanent interests of the U.S. For extra credit, supply how long they will be permanent. Thanks

Posted by: curious on January 3, 2007 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

mackdaddy,

You hardly need legal training to have spotted that a mile away.

As I said, Master of the Bleeding Obvious ("Oooh! Oooh! I caught him with his pants down!), no one but you would have seriously tried to argue that the "Constitution doesn't say anything about graduating from college!" Does your sharp literalism hurt when you sit down on it, son? When as a young lad you approached the other boys, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and suggested play, did they mumble something about having chores to do and hasten away, their laughter drifting back to you?

Meanwhile, Nathan, your intellectual equal, is busily thumbing through the Constitution looking for references to Ivy League universities! BA HA HA HA HA HA!

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

According to an interview on NPR with one of the Iraqi gvmt officials in attendance at the execution, the US military searched everyone going into the room. I'm afraid that is more evidence suggesting that this may have turned out exactly the way the US gvmt planned.

Posted by: Disputo on January 3, 2007 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe "Nathan" is another "not Charlie."

I started thinking the same thing when "Nathan" claimed to be a "moderate", which is one of Charlie/Thomas' MOs.

I had suspected that after Tommie-boy's exile, he tried to slip in from time to time as a body snatcher. Perhaps I owe the real Nathan an apology?

Posted by: Disputo on January 3, 2007 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist,

Check out todays markets? Oil is down 4.5% on shop drops due to warm weather and over supply. At $58 Oil is 13% below the averge of 2006 and this will factor into lower inflation as well as lower interest rates.

Moreover, manufacturing activity rebounded led by new orders and falling raw material prices.

The markets are liking it. Economists are loving it.

The weather forecast for the NorthEast USA is terrific. We're going to hit 62 this week and average in the high 50's. Last week showed the lowest drawdown of natural gas for the period in over 20 years and it stayed warm. The oil people have reason to be bearish.

Also cool for 2007 is the US expects one large ethanol plant to open each week for an increase in production of over 45% over 2006. That's an amazing increase with every new gallon of ethanol a gallon less from OPEC. They are losing control.

Posted by: rdw on January 3, 2007 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian:

Well, you and I have different views (which is, you know, perectly fine; we're quite capable of agreeing to disagree). Here's what I base mine on:

First, Nathan is very much your typical pompous lawyer, with many of the mannerisms that makes Shakespeare's famous quote about first killing all the lawers resonant with so many people. I very much enjoy watching him go around with cmdicely and Stefan; he tends to bring their own lawyerly instincts to the fore, so the debate can be bracing. Nathan usually gets the hindmost in these exchanges, granted.

But other than that, Nathan gives me every indication to believe he is who he says he is -- including being a self-described "moderate" who feels he's ideologically above the rest of us flamin' lefties on this site -- and this is part of the pompousness armamentarium, surely.

"Norman," OTOH, has given me every indication to believe that he is *not* who he says he is -- some old fart New England stockbroker. Rather, he appears to be a leftie, perhaps a regular here, who enjoys slumming as this character for shits 'n' giggles. Absolutely nothing he says you can or should take at face value; that he thinks its the height of hilarity to misquote the Constitution indicates his belief that the truth is subordinate to what he thinks is clever.

Personally, I have much more respect for Nathan than I do for "Norman." I also tend to think that at times, Nathan gets unfairly gangbanged -- though I often don't chime in to his defense because of the sharks-in-the-water quality of a roundhouse Nathan roast. But I have agreed with him on things and had perfectly civil exchanges.

Who I think "Norman" is I absolutely will not speculate on and furthermore, don't feel it would be appropriate to do so. I do think he tipped his hand, though, when the good lefty inside "Norman" saw cmdicely skewering Nathan, and so dropped his persona for a microsecond to join in the weenie roast. Because "Norman" is much more about colorful flamewars than he is about genuine debate.

And that's why I hold the views I do about the two of them.

YMMV, of course.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Only a fool would applaud the increasing competition for *food* coming from the *energy* sector.

Of course, it goes without saying that only a fool would applaud global warming because his winter fuel bill is down.

Posted by: Disputo on January 3, 2007 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo:

Nahhh ... Nathan is definitely not the C-man. Nathan smells like your typical long-ensconsed NYC lawyer. Very much the brashness and casual arrogance of a born-and-bred New Yorker.

Mainly -- Nathan gets sick of it after a while and splits, something that Charlie never did.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

David Kaspar points out that despite the headlines in the European press ("Bush vs. Europe"), a majority of British, French, Spanish, and German citizens support the execution of Saddam.

Posted by: rdw on January 3, 2007 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Bob - I don't think Norman is who I think you think Norman is because that person was commenting on my site while Norman was commenting here.

Just sayin'...

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 3, 2007 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Globe:

I have no clue who "Norman" might actually be, and am truthfully not all that interested in playing sleuth -- which would kind of verge on offending that person's privacy rights.

People have a right to hide their identities in cyberspace.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

curious,

A new permanent interest? How about our new customer for nuclear fuel and technology?

That would be the largest Democracy in the world. India.

How about our new partner in the development of Star Wars technology? That would be the worlds 2nd richest democracy and worlds 2nd most innovatve country. Japan.

Seems the Japanese are not going to accept UN protection against North Korea. Seems the Japanese are going to defend themselves. Seems the Japanese are going to trash article 9 of their constitution and start spending as much as they want on defense where-ever the want to spend it. If you know anything about Japanese history you know they are not inclined to sit passively while others threaten them.

Can the French help us? How could they possibly help us? Can we trust them? No friggin way.

Posted by: rdw on January 3, 2007 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Personally, I have much more respect for Nathan than I do for "Norman."

Because Norman stomped your ass like the bitch you are?

Posted by: Just sayin' on January 3, 2007 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers: "The vision is mine; the blizzard of paperwork is yours. And which one of us is getting things done in this country?"

If the current situation in Iraq constitutes your vision, the only logical explanation is that you're a psychotic on acid.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 3, 2007 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Just sayin':

Anybody can "stomp" anybody's "ass," provided they have a bottomless capacity to use the sort of subterfuge it's off the scale for decent people to even consider.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

justsquealin:

Because Norman stomped your ass like the bitch you are?

"Bitch"? Are you implying, sir or madam, that, like Nathan, mackdaddy can add unconvincing transsexualism to his long list of social challenges? While I can't say I'm surprised, exactly, I have to confess that I'm repelled. Yes. Freshly revolted.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

Only a fool would applaud the increasing competition for *food* coming from the *energy* sector.

We have excess food AND excess farmland. This is a perfect match for American capitalism. The farmers and producers will find the best way to allocate resources between corn for ethanol and corn and other crops for food.

There will be some price increases for food but they will be more than offset by drops in energy costs.

In the best of all worlds we get some serious breakthroughs in fermentation technology such that more of the corn crop can be used or other crops substituted. In this case all breakthroughs apply globally. If the US can grow a gallon of ethanol for $1.00 then Brazil might be able to do it for $.075.

At that rate much of the poor equatorial world will be able to produce and possibly export ethanol. This is an important alternative to oil and natural gas. This is a great developmen and will only get better.

Posted by: rdw on January 3, 2007 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

"Norman":

An unconvincing transsexual. Quite an image, that :)

"Listen, you unconvincing transsexual ... " LOL !

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

We have excess food

Like I said, only a fool....

There will be some price increases for food but they will be more than offset by drops in energy costs.

LMAO. A fool who has never had an econ course.

Posted by: Disputo on January 3, 2007 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

The problem with corn-produced ethanol is that it takes a rather large quanitity of petroleum-based fertilizer and pesticides to raise corn the way we do here, as a monoculture in gigantic fields. Entirely different situation than Brazil, where you can chop down all the sugar cane and it pops right back up next week without doing a thing to it.

The real breakthrough will be with cellulosic ethanol from ready-grown roadside weeds like switchgrass.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Can you say Hemp.The worlds wonder plant,And hardly used,What a shame.

Posted by: Thomas3.6 1/2 on January 3, 2007 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas 3.6 1/2:

Hear, hear. And you can breed hemp to make it non-psychoactive -- though you have to keep it away from smokable plants, else they'll cross-pollinate.

But hemp is truly an amazing plant. Grows anywhere with little required cultivation. Can make paper, cord, clothing, tire belts ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

Can you say Hemp.The worlds wonder plant,

Pathetic hippies...one toke over the line as usual.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian wrote to rdw: "You have really got to stop working from talking points and from conservative approved only sources of information; it is leaving you incredibly ignorant of reality."

That's exactly the way rdw wants to be: incredibly ignorant of reality. It's a choice he's made. He deliberately restricts himself to so-called "conservative" media with its "America the Exceptional" triumphalist bullshit, because that's the dungeons & dragons fantasy world in which he has chosen to exist. He is not only "incredibly" ignorant, he is willfully, gleefully, enthusiastically ignorant.

He is a senile, delusional crank, living in a fake, phony dream world manufactured by Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Fox News, Sun Myung Moon's Washington Times, the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, and the rest of the bought-and-paid-for right-wing corporate shills, for the "benefit" of weak-minded, ignorant, gullible, neo-brownshirt mental slave dittoheads like him.

They tell him to despise "liberals" and he obediently despises "liberals". They tell him to sneer at the French, and he obediently sneers at the French.

They tell him "Ronald Reagan Single-Handedly Defeated Communism In Hand-To-Hand Nukular Combat With Gorbachev" and he believes it. They tell him "Jimmy Carter Is History's Greatest Monster" and he believes it. They tell him "George W. Bush Is The World's Greatest Political Strategic Genius Who Bestrides The World Like A Collossus", and he believes it.

They tell him that 65 degree temperatures in the Northeast USA in January are just wonderful, that global warming is a Communist Hoax, and the Kyoto Protocol is created by "idiots" for the purpose of crippling the US economy, and he believes it.

They tell him any damned fool bullshit that gets ignorant people to vote for Republicans, and he believes it.

But when all is said and done, he is a very sad case. He exemplifies the mental deterioration that results from constant exposure to right-wing media.

And the sad irony of his pontifications about what "Americans" think is that he has no idea what the vast majority of Americans think. I don't think it has really registered on him yet that the overwhelming majority of Americans in November 2006 overwhelmingly rejected the corruption, criminality and right-wing extremism of the corporate-fascist Republican Party that he still cheerleads for.

He and the rest of the pathetic propaganda-regurgitating dittoheads who post comments here are nothing more -- and really, never have been anything more -- than irrelevant members of an irrelevant lunatic fringe cult. They were a sort of cultural cannon fodder for the furthest right-wing of the Republican Party. Now that that "army" has been ignominiously defeated, they are nothing.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 3, 2007 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

"Norman":

There are huge lobbies in agricultural states to make hemp growing legal again. And none of these guys are exactly hippies, nor do they wish to increase the amount of the smokable stuff.

It's very easy to breed out hemp's psychoactive qualities.

Not only can you process hemp fiber in innumerable ways (it's thought that the nascent DEA recieved support from Du Pont, who wanted to shut down hemp growing because they had just synthesized Nylon), but its cellulosic content is sky-high, making it an ideal crop for ethanol production.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

The classsical idea of a just war demands that aim is moral;
Classical scholars defined war as an ethically appropriate use of mass political violence. Many credit Augustine with the founding of just war theory but this is incomplete. As Johnson notes, in its origins just war theory is a synthesis of classical thought .Many would accredit to Aristotle, Cicero and Augustine this refined and redefined validation of war – The Just War Tradition- Many of the rules developed by the just war tradition have since been codified into contemporary international laws governing armed conflict, such as The United Nations Charter and The Hague and Geneva Conventions. The tradition has thus been doubly influential, dominating both moral and legal discourse surrounding war. It sets the tone, and the parameters, for the great debate.
Just war theory can be meaningfully divided into three parts, which in the literature are referred to, for the sake of convenience, in Latin. These parts are: 1) jus ad bellum, which concerns the justice of resorting to war in the first place; 2) jus in bello, which concerns the justice of conduct within war, after it has begun; and 3) jus post bellum, which concerns the justice of peace agreements and the termination phase of war.
That the likelyhood of success is positive, that the means are proportionate towards that end.

The invasion of Iraq fails on each of these tenets. An outraged US President desperately seeking a perpetrator for the attacks on the Twin Towers declared it. When an obvious target in the form of an obvious aggressor could not be found, the State of Terror was invented, and later Iraq was dressed up to be the manifestation of that State. The US invaded without the mandate of the UN.
The Shock and awe strategy to bomb a city into submission prior to the land invasion was brutal, barbarous and yes murderous. It was indiscriminate and slaughtered thousands of civilians. It was on a scale of carnage and in equal ignominy to the bombing of Dresden in WW2 .
The leadership was topppled and the regeimen changed .The Americans used a con man (Chabli) to usurp / install a favourable leader. They succeed in installing a leadership as crass and fundamentalist as the one they deposed. The despot was tried in a courtroom where his protestations could be switched off and his remonstrations be screened off at the touch of a button by an unconcealed vengeful judge. He could have pleaded that the Anthrax which he used against the Kurds was supplied by the US, he might have referred to his former relations with Rumsfield, and the US support in his was against Iran but the charges against him were selective in that they had no material basis for US or UK collusion. These were Saddams own killings in revenge for the attempt on his life.
And so after a hearing which appeared at times like some slapstick judicial romp; a farce of truly theatrical proportions he was not surprisingly sentenced to die. He pleaded to be shot as a soldier (which he was not); this was denied
And so he was hanged by a taunting jeering mob as he prayed for the deliverance of Iraq from the Persians and their allies. And this was filmed on cell phone to give us the grisly reminder of the macabre horrorof an18 centaury execution. I have watched this with some sense of, loathing revulsion and disgust.
These last recorded moments of Saddams life as recorded on this cell phone are chilling and one feels a voyeur for looking at it.

If in his last moments Saddam showed contrition, or remorse or asked forgiveness we can never know ;only a knowing God can know and adjudicate. But what can one say of his executioners – if they believed in a hell need they have taunted and goaded him – he was in their urgings going there anyway but and if they believed in deliverance through a Devine mercy by any deity ; Allah ; God – any supreme being – how could they torment him even as the trapdoor opened.


Now consider the paradox that would surely have been if the British had captured Saddam and he immediately sought asylum in the UK because of his perceived fears of a trial culminating in the death sentence - a system which is not countenanced in the UK, I believe in these circumstances Saddam would have argued for such protection and have succeeded as did Pinochet.
The problem is that now are exposed the fault lines between the allies in the ethics of warfare and its sequellae. There is already an evidential wish for the British to distance themselves from what was a dark, brutal, gruesome and unseeingly hasty execution.
A new hatred between Arab cultures has been fomented by the invasion of Iraq – that between Sunni and Sheite ; it has been exacerbated by this trial and execution to an untold degree.
As the Bush administration seek to justify a new surge of troops in a country already in a state of civil war, where the Houses on record at least should oppose such a venture Bush seems destined to sink to depths of unpopularity not even known to Nixon.

Posted by donkylemore at 4:20 PM 0 comments

Posted by: donkylemore on January 3, 2007 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1 wrote: "you can breed hemp to make it non-psychoactive"

This is what's known as "industrial hemp", which is grown commercially in Canada as well as Europe. Not only does it have only miniscule, trace or sub-trace amounts of THC, but it is almost all stalk -- for high yields of fiber -- with relatively little growth of flowers, which is where the THC in marijuana is concentrated.

rmck1 wrote: "though you have to keep it away from smokable plants, else they'll cross-pollinate."

Which, of course, anyone growing either industrial hemp or marijuana would certainly want to avoid, since either crop would be damaged if not ruined by cross-pollination with the other.

Moreover, it is my understanding (from a New York Times Magazine article of several years ago) that the state of the art in cultivating marijuana is specially-bred hybrids of cannabis sativa and cannabis indica, which are grown from cuttings (clones) of female plants, not from seed, resulting in a crop that is all female plants (which have much higher THC content than male plants). So these crops are never actually "pollinated" at all, let alone cross-pollinated with industrial hemp or wild-growing "ditch weed" such as is found throughout the American southeast (descended from hemp grown in Colonial days).

I don't know anything about this first-hand, only what I read in the NYT magazine article.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 3, 2007 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Fine, fine, SemenAnalyst. Next time you get some information that's not from High Times, share it with us, won't you?

Meanwhile, are those barbecued Fritos I see over there? Far out! Shoo!

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

Secular:

Come. On. You're a bass player, a Jefferson Airplane fanatic and enough of a rock 'n' roller to have played Gitmo -- and you "don't know anything about this first-hand."

Sure, Secular. And Bill Clinton didn't inhale, either :)

*affectionate tweak*

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

There is a supplication inscribed in the Palace of Walli Jumblatts palace - now the peolples palace in the Shouf mountains above Beirut which says
- '' one days justice is worth a thousand days prayer ''

Posted by: donkykemore on January 3, 2007 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1 wrote: "Not only can you process hemp fiber in innumerable ways (it's thought that the nascent DEA recieved support from Du Pont, who wanted to shut down hemp growing because they had just synthesized Nylon), but its cellulosic content is sky-high, making it an ideal crop for ethanol production."

The cotton industry and the wood pulp industry were key groups that pushed to get cultivation of hemp / marijuana banned.

I'm sure you remember from grade school that Eli Whitney invented the "cotton gin" in 1794. This mechanized harvesting of cotton and turned cotton into a truly "industrial" product. Prior to that, hemp was a competitive crop with cotton for many of the same uses. However the cotton gin and the high-volume, low-labor industrial production of cotton fiber that it enabled gave cotton a huge advantage, since there was no comparable device for mechanically harvesting and extracting the useful fibers from hemp, a much more challenging task than pulling cotton fibers from the plants.

Until 1917, that is, when George W. Schlicten patented the "hemp decorticator", a mechanical device for harvesting hemp and separating the hemp fiber from the stalk. Newspaper accounts at the time predicted that Schlicten's invention would lead to a huge resurgence of hemp cultivation, and that "industrial hemp" would challenge the dominance of not only cotton, but wood pulp, as a fiber crop.

William Randolph Hearst and Lammont DuPont (who were partners in multi-million dollar wood-pulp papermaking venture) led the demonization of hemp / marijuana, leading to its eventual criminalization -- and the death of the burgeoning hemp industry -- in the 1930s, just as Popular Mechanics magazine was publishing an article entitled "New Billion-Dollar Crop" -- industrial hemp -- about the by then fully developed hemp decorticator, and its potential to compete with paper pulp and cotton.

There was a brief re-legalization of industrial hemp cultivation during World War II. Hemp had remained essential for certain uses, such as rope, particularly military uses, but the US had relied on imported hemp from the Phillipines. When this supply was cut off by the Japanese, the US government ran a "hemp for victory" propaganda campaign and actually offered farmers exemption from active duty military service if they would grow hemp. Hemp cultivation was once again banned in 1955.

None of this had anything at all to do with marijuana, i.e. cannabis sativa and/or cannabis indica grown as an ingestible psychoactive herb for recreational, spiritual, or medicinal purposes, regarding which the Drug Enforcement Administration's own Chief Administrative Law Judge, Francis L. Young, ruled in 1988: "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known."

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 3, 2007 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, Kevin Drum--this is a fabulous post. Truly on the mark. It astounded me in its concise perfection of thought.

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 3, 2007 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1 wrote: Come. On. You're a bass player, a Jefferson Airplane fanatic and enough of a rock 'n' roller to have played Gitmo -- and you "don't know anything about this first-hand."

I don't know anything about modern marijuana cultivation techniques first hand.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 3, 2007 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1 the stalker wrote:

Come. On. You're a bass player, a Jefferson Airplane fanatic and enough of a rock 'n' roller to have played Gitmo -- and you "don't know anything about this first-hand."

Certainly, get another person to admit to a felony so you can titter like a school girl.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

*APPLAUSE*

I only have one quibble with what you wrote at the end, while they have certainly suffered a significant defeat as of last Nov they are still far from nothing in terms of threat potential. Nov was a good start, but a single event does not a trend/wave define. You know as well as I do that the right will use every and all means and chances they can find and manufacture (given their history more of the latter than the former but still) to make Nov an isolated event and until the momentum is such because their own actions over the last several years are finally in the public consciousness thanks to the oversight hearings they are still quite dangerous. After what I have watched since 1994 and most especially since the beginning of 2001 I will not assume they are incapable of any real further harm. The damage done already to not just America but the entire global community on so many different levels over the past six years of Bush's arrogant unilateralist approach to foreign policy in what he is interested in and complete disinterest in that which he is not has done incalculable damage to long term global stability in multiple respects.

Bob:

My views on Normal were formed before you first started here as I recall and I do not share your underlying suspicion that this is a liberal/lefty poster in disguise although since I do not know for sure I cannot say you are wrong either. I tend to take people's aliases and their online personas as they appear to project them and in terms of their consistency over time in both substance and style. Norman for all his many many many faults does on rare occasion actually have a valid point (if he is oft times arguing it in a terribly awkward manner) and for me that elevates him however slightly in terms of preference between them. As I said though before this is in terms only of the two of them, I would much prefer the honest conservative type which used to occasionally grace this blog and have grown ever quieter over the past couple of years. Norman is clearly anything but as neither is Nathan, but while Norman has taken pot shots at me for my length and in his view pomposity in the past he has not descended to the same degree of utterly irrelevant smear approaches that Nathan has in the past. So that also makes him a slightly more tolerable case for me.

As you said though we are quite able to have an honest and respectful disagreement about this, which also illustrates the point about the difference between intellectually honest disagreement and respect for an opposing view while disagreeing with it and the need to utterly destroy any opposing view which alas has been the preference of the right in America and in particular our Trolletariat brethren here. I just find Norman at least puts more effort into his work and as I said before I can respect that while completely opposing the work itself. Nathan though just lacks any real sense of that for me. For me he doesn't feel as real a person as he does for you as Norman doesn't for you yet does (to an extent) to me. For a long time I have been of the view that it is a reasonable probability he is Chuckles in yet another in a loooooooooong series of sockpuppets but I do not know for sure. Like you I really do not care enough to expend the effort required to even seriously consider it let alone actually seriously try to find out. There are enough sock puppets here and elsewhere online and have been for many years that I stopped making the effort to out them without a really pressing reason to back in my bbsing days.

General:

Back to the topic for a sec, it is important to recognize just how inflammatory the unauthorized video of Saddam's death is likely to be. As others have already noted the timing in terms of a Sunni holiday and the old law about no executions of such holy days having been a cultural norm for long enough to make this feel quite wrong and insulting combined with the clear show of force by the Shia Iraqis almost guaranteed some backlash. However having the executioners look basically like terrorist thugs wearing masks while taunting their soon to be executed person leaves this with the visual and audio feel of a standard terrorist tape of one of their executions sends a powerful subconscious signal all on its own. Combine that with Saddam's ability to meet his death with far more dignity than those putting him to death and this makes him far easier to transform into not just a martyr but one worth following than he ever should have been. The implications within Iraq I fear are going to be far more negative than positive, and the fact he was tried and executed only for his early crimes against the Shia instead of for any of the wider atrocities he committed throughout Iraq during his tenure also underscores the dominance of the Shia in the current power structure further accelerating the imbalance there as fewer Iraqis have any faith in it being anything other than an American/Shia operation exclusively.

There are so many clear and obvious reasons for having even a short tactical delay of a day or two for his execution that this is completely unfathomable as anything other than the result of ignorance/indifference to such concerns. There are also some fairly ugly implications for not having Saddam held at all accountable for his major crimes against humanity and his own people before he was executed that were equally as obvious but given the GOP's and especially the exposure of the current President's father in such a trial one can see why they would move quickly regardless of the costs to American and Iraqi lives in the process. I also have problems with the idea that the American Administration didn't have any significant say in all of this despite the reports to the contrary and I would bet almost anything that this will also be the common view in Iraq, the ME and quite possibly the entire planet. That is how little credibility anything this American government has to say regarding Iraq these days, indeed over pretty much anything. This was an act of utter stupidity and will like so many other decisions by Bushco end up having strong negative repercussions for America and Americans to have to suffer from in the future. The backlash from this invasion will make the backlash from the first GW seem insignificant by comparison even if it takes a few more years before it really starts being felt outside the ME region.

Posted by: Scotian on January 3, 2007 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

When this supply was cut off by the Japanese, the US government ran a "hemp for victory" propaganda campaign and actually offered farmers exemption from active duty military service if they would grow hemp.

To be fair, most farmers were exempted from military service, for obvious reasons (ie, an army marches on its stomach).

Posted by: Disputo on January 3, 2007 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian:

Norman for all his many many many faults does on rare occasion actually have a valid point (if he is oft times arguing it in a terribly awkward manner) and for me that elevates him however slightly in terms of preference between them. As I said though before this is in terms only of the two of them, I would much prefer the honest conservative type which used to occasionally grace this blog and have grown ever quieter over the past couple of years. Norman is clearly anything but as neither is Nathan, but while Norman has taken pot shots at me for my length and in his view pomposity in the past he has not descended to the same degree of utterly irrelevant smear approaches that Nathan has in the past. So that also makes him a slightly more tolerable case for me.

Kind words, from one gentleman to me; in return, I have kind words for you as well.

Abandon these howling liberals and join me. Join me in a war on the blog thread against the forces of evil and together we will find moderation and style and eloquence to be our weapons of mass destruction against the wooly headed liberals and the religious fundamentalist pseudo-conservatives who have ruined my party.

Join me, sir. We will operate in tandem with one another, and when a loony lefty gets out of hand, I will dispatch him or her with a verbal karate chop; when one of these Jesus freaks gets out of hand, you will bulldoze them like the horrid pretenders they are.

Join me...together, we will rule the Washington Monthly, depose of Kevin Drum, ban the spoofers and the profane little brats, and wage an intellectual war against ignorance, blasphemy, and lunkheadedness that has never been seen before. The confused and the buffoonish will collapse before us as we run through them like sh*t through a goose.

I extend my hand, knowing full well the history between us, in order to build a more perfect union...

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

Norman--you are still such a goof

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 3, 2007 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

I want to see Norman in drag.

Posted by: Disputo on January 3, 2007 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

"Norman":

Barack Obama admitted to it (and cocaine use, for that matter), and he's being seriously considered as a contender for a presidential nomination.

The humorous tweaking (surely you know something about, umm, humorous tweaking) I did to Secular relied on the ambiguity of the word "this."

Secular meant it to mean what he specifically described, I took it to mean the whole bale of, umm, hemp.

I just thought it amusing since the categorical denial I thought I read seemd to clash with the Secular who is very self-consciously someone who'd be open to that. And lo and behold -- his penultimate post seems to state rather plainly that he is. As am I, for that matter.

Who'd a thunk it, eh :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian:

See? This is where you would swoop in and dispatch these two interlopers, "considered a wiseass" and "Disgusto" with your usual seven paragraph analysis, single spaced.

Join me, sir.

We will destroy them all...

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian:

I think it would be best if both of us just left "rmck1" alone to his own devices; he seems rather unstable and foolish.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo:

"Norman" is *perpetually* in drag.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian:

Norman's supremely ridiculous offer to you to become SuperFriends with him and "destroy" opponents should no more clearly illustrate my thesis that the guy writes nothing without tongue so firmly planted in cheek that he's about to need major dental work.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian:

He appears to have sexual issues; nothing I'd want to deal with, and I'm certain you would just as soon avoid such a person as well.

There are also some fairly ugly implications for not having Saddam held at all accountable for his major crimes against humanity and his own people before he was executed that were equally as obvious but given the GOP's and especially the exposure of the current President's father in such a trial one can see why they would move quickly regardless of the costs to American and Iraqi lives in the process.

I think you can rightly put such things at the feet of the Elliot Abrams slice of my party; they grew into this neo-conservative nightmare which threatens the thing I care most about, which is our economy.

I notice none of the liberals are lamenting this fine economy; the invention of the gift card seems to be a bane to the retail sector during the holidays.

What say you, liberals? Five years of safety and a good economy not enough for you? Especially since a trillion dollars went up in smoke on 9/11?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

"Norman":

I take it you haven't been on the CEO compensation thread above this one yet :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1:

I take it you haven't been on the CEO compensation thread above this one yet :)

Shhh. The intellectual people are talking. You are a pest. Please go away. I am done with you, sir.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

"Norman":

I dunno, "Norman." Truthfully it's kinda fun -- in an extremely cheap and unedifying sort of way -- being your worst enemy :)

At least while all the other threads have died down for the moment ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

F&*O*ck Hitchens.

Oh, did Bush did the Karla Faye cackle again when Hussein was hung?

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on January 3, 2007 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

Socratic:

I dunno. A lot of good commentary on this thread seems to indicate much support for ol' Hitch on this one ...

The execution was botched in every possible way it could have been, and appears to have caused a strong spike in Sunni hostility.

I haven't seen anything like an argument to dispute a single point Hitchens made in that piece.

Which isn't to say, of course, that Hitchens isn't a drunken Trotskyite ass. Just that on this particular issue, like the proverbial stopped clock, he's nailed it.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

Norman,

You're still my hero - Anyone who can wear the Princeton Tiger orange and black mascot suit and type with occasional, albeit infrequent, lucidity is simply amazing. But, when I told Uncle Paul that I wanted to grow up and be like you, he made me stand in the corner.

Posted by: stupid git on January 3, 2007 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

just checked several news outlets.

What's changed? There's been no spike in violence. Other than the Palestinians being depressed has there been any fallout? We can at least agree the Palestinians have no shortage of things to be depressed about like this really matters.

Posted by: rdw on January 3, 2007 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

The execution was botched in every possible way it could have been

So Saddam didn't die?

Posted by: rdw on January 3, 2007 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

Doubtless you didn't read the NYT today.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

But, when I told Uncle Paul that I wanted to grow up and be like you, he made me stand in the corner.

Your uncle Paul is a wise man.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

Bob:

Oh don't worry, I've always known Norman for exactly what he is and what to expect from him. He thinks he is witty and urbane while in truth he is far from such, he thinks he sits at the lofty peak of wisdom watching all we lesser mortals flounder about in our foolishness while in truth he shows his own need for attention by his antics such as this one. Believe me, after this thread I will go back to my usual tendency of ignoring him, but every once in a while I too succumb to the temptation of dealing with one of the Trolletariat. Besides, as I said of the two I have far more annoyance factor from Nathan than I do from Norman despite his own issues and he does at least put some work effort into much of his work, at least when he is not acting the fool as he currently is over my deciding to agree with him regarding Nathan. Remember Bob I'm an old hand here myself and have come to know all our various representatives of the Trolletariat and what to expect from each.

Besides, I find it amusing to watch Norman twist around a very backhanded compliment (and one only by comparison to a worse example and not for any actual merit) into somehow my singing his praises. It is one of the classic examples of conservative dishonesty in action, although at least he actually used ellipses when he tried the first time to twist my words to his advantage. As I said though do not worry, this is not something I see any chance of my making a habit out of.

Posted by: Scotian on January 3, 2007 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

What's changed? There's been no spike in violence.

One thing that hasn't changed is the braying and the whining of the left (I've yet to see anyone refute my point that liberals complain about the HOW more than they acknowledge the WHY of Saddam's execution) and their tacit refusal to see that the world is a better place sans Hussein the butcher of Baghdad.

Why, liberals would just as soon see all of the world's dictators in power; the better to force all of us to live in a world of porn, abortion and free love with drugs.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK
... Five years of safety and a good economy not enough for you? ... Norman Rogers at 8:05 PM
There was no safety for Americans on Bush watch on 9-11 since he decided to ignore all warnings, then use that tragedic event to stampede Americans to support an invasion of a country that had nothing to do with it. You should worry about the 4 trillions dollars with Bush will have added to the national debt by the time we get rid of the fool. Strange the "good economy" is a pile of chicken manure compared to the Clinton economy.

By the way, remember this?
Today I begin working to suppress the vote--I will don workman's clothing...Then I shall spread around a little cash and get every off duty cop that I can find to harass people outside of polling places on Tuesday....
On Wednesday, I shall rejoice at the defeat of the Dumbocrats. And you wonder why you can't win an election!

How did that work out for ya? in your case was "workman's clothing" a strait-jacket and a porta-potty?

...like this really matters. rightist dim wit at 8:39 PM

It's good that you are happy that Bush and the US taking the side of Islamist Shiite extremists.

Posted by: Mike on January 3, 2007 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

smckble:

At least while all the other threads have died down for the moment ...

There is life outside this blog, young man. During my time here, I manage to monitor my investments online, play Grand Master-level bridge and accept the ministrations of an escort service that makes house calls. When I'm not here, I'm leading a rich social life and hitting the lecture circuit with my advanced knowledge of alternative tax theory. But you, sir! You do nothing but pollute this already filthy den of liberals with your constant blathering.

Consider obtaining a job. Consider getting a date. Consider going back to volunteer for screaming Communist doctors or creepy governors with bad facial hair. Consider reading a book. Consider taking a walk. Consider shaving your tranny legs a little more often!

And you housebound liberals wonder why your sheets look like Ignatius Reilly's!

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

Here is the article.

Angry Protests in Iraq Suggest Sunni Arab Shift to Militants

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: January 2, 2007

BAGHDAD, Jan. 1 (AP) Enraged crowds protested the hanging of Saddam
Hussein across Iraqs Sunni heartland on Monday, as a mob in Samarra
broke the locks off a bomb-damaged Shiite shrine and marched through
carrying a mock coffin and a photo of the executed dictator.

The demonstration at the Golden Dome shrine, shattered in a bombing by
Sunni extremists 10 months ago, suggests that many Sunni Arabs may now
more actively support the small number of Sunni militants fighting the
countrys Shiite-dominated government. The Feb. 22 bombing of the
shrine set off the current cycle of retaliatory attacks between Sunnis
and Shiites.

The Sunni protests, which appeared to be building, could signal a
spreading militancy. Sunnis were outraged by Mr. Husseins hurried
hanging on Saturday, just four days after an appeals court upheld his
conviction and sentence, and many were incensed by the unruly scene in
the execution chamber, captured on a cellphone, in which Mr. Hussein
was taunted with chants of Moktada! Moktada! Moktada! the name of the
Shiite cleric who runs one of Iraqs most violent militias.

Many Sunnis are also upset that Mr. Hussein was put to death during
the Id al-Adha holiday.

[...]

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 3, 2007 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian:

Glad to have you aboard, except for the parts where you did not adequately praise me. Nevertheless, I welcome you as a worthy friend or opponent, my demonstrably satirical remonstrations aside. As if there could really be a "partnership" between myself and yourself. I understand the nature of a backhanded complement, my father being the deliverer of many such complements in my lifetime.

I bow to you sir, and say with chivalry, to the battle we are joined, but today we are gentlemen to one another. In another age, we would shake hands, have a drink together, and then ride into a flat plain and bash each other wish swords and shields.

Remember Bob I'm an old hand here myself and have come to know all our various representatives of the Trolletariat and what to expect from each.

I have attempted to explain to rmck1 that I have several years of history here, and except for a brief period where I was relentlessly spoofed during my hospitalization and absence, I have been a regular contributor to Drum's little freakshow.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

Norman:

Bob has demonstrated quite the intellect himself and the ability to articulate quite intellectual issues in a very understandable manner. You would do well to remember that I do not debate anything of substance with you because of your proven track record of dishonest debate and I do not waste my time in serious discourse with the intellectually dishonest. Once this thread has passed I will go back to completely ignoring you so do not waste you time trying to get my attention, you know it hasn't worked in the past and is not going to start anytime soon for that matter ever.


General:

Since it appears this thread's main topic is done I think this will likely be my last post to it. It's been amusing for the entertainment value and incidentally I hope all had a good New Year's Eve and Day and have a good 2007.

Posted by: Scotian on January 3, 2007 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Mike:

By the way, remember this?
Today I begin working to suppress the vote--I will don workman's clothing...Then I shall spread around a little cash and get every off duty cop that I can find to harass people outside of polling places on Tuesday....
On Wednesday, I shall rejoice at the defeat of the Dumbocrats. And you wonder why you can't win an election!

That is the type of thing of which I just spoke--a spoof and a hoax perpetrated by someone else. I did not write those words, nor did I post that or engage in that activity. Sorry, that was not me and I disavow that post in its entirety.

I do not use the term "Dumbocrats" nor have I ever used it in MY posts. I do use the term "Democrat" party as a homage to Robert Dole.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK
my hospitalization and absence... Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 8:59 PM
Obviously, your psychiatrists weren't able to help. Don't apologize for your absence, your "contributions" are completely nugatory. Posted by: Mike on January 3, 2007 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian:

You would do well to remember that I do not debate anything of substance with you because of your proven track record of dishonest debate and I do not waste my time in serious discourse with the intellectually dishonest.

Aside from a satirical change to Article II of the Constitution to flick away that pesky Nathan, you've no evidence of that from me this evening.

Now that the blog is moderated, I have "moderated" my previous ways. I am old and tired, most days, and this is good fun for me. A pity you think I am some monster.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK
...a spoof and a hoax perpetrated by someone else. ..Noman Rogers at 9:01 PM
You don't seriously think that your denials have any more credibility than anything else you say. After all, you don't show up here despite you boasting. Posted by: Mike on January 3, 2007 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

obsessionbycalvinklein:

Hopefully I'll be bored silly well before that point.

My money's on your sticking it out to the bitter end, Goober. You can't help yourself.

My God, but Omar is a knucklehead. Where he got a name for this sort of thing I'll never understand.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 3, 2007 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

Bob,

Checkout Ethanol.org. They collect information on developments especially congressional and state activity.

You are of course aware no one loves ethanol more than a politician and as our pols are wont to do they are throwing money at it. This is now a very heavily subsidized industry.

There is a mind-boggling array of incentives from super swift depreciation to $.50 credits at the pump. Growth in production is almost uncontrolled. Every day it seems some Governor is announcing the plans for construction of a new plant. We are going to get to 14B gallons of ethanol production (10% of annual gasoline demand) by 2012 whether it's profitable or not.

Although I normally detest govt incursion into the business sector I am actually OK with this. The various decisions to build and how to invest in efficiency are still in private hands and we are competing with a cartel. There's a solid chance govt funding of $10B for ethanol will result in lower oil prices saving more than $10B for consumers

Like it or not it's happening. This train has left the station and theres's no stopping it.

Posted by: rdw on January 3, 2007 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

Angry Protests in Iraq Suggest Sunni Arab Shift to Militants

You are kidding. This is it? There are angry muslim protest every day. These people don't work. They protest.

You can't be serious.

Posted by: rdw on January 3, 2007 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

I have had enough. Grow up or go elsewhere

Posted by: on January 3, 2007 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

Literary Postscript (John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces):

Myrna Minkoff is indeed her name, but "Myrna minx" is Ignatius'
affectionate / exasperated nickname for his old college girl friend
from the teeming Gomorrah of New York City. While Myrna's quite the
caracature of a beatnik, Ignatius defines himself in stark opposition:
as an arch-conservative medievalist in open revolt against a "lack of
proper theology and geometry" in the modern world. The irony -- and
comedy -- comes because Toole wants us to see these two at the end
of the book as peas in a pod -- potentially soul-mates, even. A
love story? Not really. One can only imagine sadly what Myrna's
pretentiously bohemian friends make of this enormous, shambling
agoraphobic shut-in from the rowhouse Irish slums of New Orleans.
Myrna's not exactly acting on a grand passion, either -- just down
on another of her "Southern tours" trying to save the world from
injustice, her old college chum happening to be her latest target.

Ignatius spends the book scoffing at Myrna's epistolary entreaties
-- all based on solid 50s psychology -- to flee from the suffocating
orbit of his mother. He resists because of his unshakable self-image
-- which is, of course, at complete odds with who he really is. This
arch-critic of everything modern and slatternly ("Turkey In The Straw?
Teachers are always chanting it at schoolchildren like sorcerers!"),
this paragon of Thomistic virtue, cultivating a Rich Inner Life --
is actually a repository of every Deadly Sin there is, with special
emphasis on Gluttony, Soth and Vanity (and possibly Lust, too, but
Toole's quite coy about that). This is the novel's comic mainspring.

As Ignatius makes his belated middle-aged way in the world, through an
unmatched series of picaresque encounters with everyday New Orleans
culminating in some accidental and misunderstood heroism, we watch as
this titanic self-delusion collides with reality. To the point where
Mom finally listens to her neighbor Santa and calls the funny farm ...

... and Myrna mynx swoops in and rescues him (and his yellow Big Chief
tablets scrawled full of brillant invective) just in the nick of time.

Whew! A "happy ending."

Or no.

The book is very poignant, and not just, as Walker Percy points
out in his introduction, because of Toole's pre-publication suicide.
That such a Swiftian farce, the satire never overbearing or stylishly
black-humorous, at the end holds out such a slim hope of redemption.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 4, 2007 at 1:38 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, shut up.

The plot has gone walkies...

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 4, 2007 at 6:00 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with myself above, old man. In fact, I'm amazed once again at my own prescience.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 4, 2007 at 7:08 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with me too, old men. Well said once again.

Ignatius isn't an agoraphobic, you illiterate. He isn't even a dedicated medievalist or arch-conservative, despite his yowling catechisms presented largely to feed his own love of drama and for the purpose of demonstrating his mental superiority. He is, more than anything, a bombastic, graceless geek, prone to repeat the same few cherished lines and phrases ad nauseam, dreaming of early glories when he was the smartest kid in the class, using his own delusions of intellectual greatness to mask his own awareness that he's now a totally non-functional adult, believing that his ham-handed social interactions are accepted and inspire gratitude, devoted to short-term gratifications that briefly plug the gaping hole of real achievement, friendless except for another square peg or two, dependent on the kindness of others for his basic needs, spending every day of his life shut into his tiny room congratulating himself on the pathetic contents of his blog entries...er, his Big Chief tablet...and, of course, shivering his timber.

Hmmm. Something is niggling at my brain, sir. I cannot quite put my finger on it.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 4, 2007 at 7:31 AM | PERMALINK

Taking a chance on saying too much--but can I really ever say too much?--I'm going to have to agree with myself again, with qualifications.

While my post of 7:31 was largely brilliant, and everyone here but the person in question has spotted the elephant in that Garden State room (speaking of which, northern cities have rowhouses, New Orleans has shotgun houses, and the Reillys lived in a lower middle class neighborhood, not a "slum"), I believe I went too far in calling Mr. Reilly's antimodernity largely a put on. While his displays of outraged sensibilities are fanned by his own love of theater, not to mention boredom, his passions are legitimately held, the cry of a soul unable to find a place in today's world and flailing about him in impotent and hilarious revenge.

However, my point about self delusions at odd with personal realities, for both fictional and non fictional characters, was, of course, remarkably far seeing. One cannot make up the sort of irony displayed above. I thank myself.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 4, 2007 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

The problem with corn-produced ethanol is that it takes a rather large quanitity of petroleum-based fertilizer and pesticides to raise corn the way we do here, as a monoculture in gigantic fields. Entirely different situation than Brazil, where you can chop down all the sugar cane and it pops right back up next week without doing a thing to it.

Why does everyone think the USA is the only country with bugs and pesticides? The cost of all of these input factors are reflected in the price of corn. Ethanal is either competitive with gasoline or it isn't. If you think Brazil or any other developing country has better ecological safeguards you are out of your mind.

The real breakthrough will be with cellulosic ethanol from ready-grown roadside weeds like switchgrass.

I ageee this would be a major breakthrough and research is bing funded. That does not mean there will be a breakthrough. The most likely result will be a long, steady series of incremental advances such that costs drop over time.

The 50-yr record of farm productivity is 1.5% per year. That's very healthy. All things being equal that's 4.5% every three years. That's big time after a decade.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2007 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

I was quite brilliant at 8:25PM as well.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 4, 2007 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, who bothers with novels anymore? The novel is dead. Long live video games and the Wall Street Journal.

Confederacy of Dunces is actually overwritten garbage masquerading as eloquence, if I do say so myself.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 4, 2007 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

a.m.! I meant 8:25 a.m.! Readers, have patience with an old man whose lumbago is distracting him.

I concur in my 8:25 brilliance, however. I take my point and am glad to have brought it to my own attention.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 4, 2007 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

Am I being erudite enough? I believe so.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 4, 2007 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

The real breakthrough will be with cellulosic ethanol from ready-grown roadside weeds like switchgrass.

Sir, please do not advocate the widespread use of ditchweed. Between that and trucker speed, is our kids learning too much about drugs?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 4, 2007 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

I find some beauty and truth in each of the views I presented at 7:31, 8:25 and 8:46, although I am surprised at myself for sometimes not grasping the brilliance that is A Confederacy of Dunces Occasionally, I can be a little thick.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 4, 2007 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

Also, if I lived on the West Coast, I can't believe I'd be up at this hour.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 4, 2007 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

I note that Busta Rhymes is now in jail--I believe he is an East Coast rapper and my man Biggie Smalls was a West Coast rapper. Why are there no Mountain Time Rappers? No one in Colorado raps?

This is obviously a liberal conspiracy to keep my homies down.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 4, 2007 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

But wait. I just recalled that there are some Colorado Springs rappers for Christ. Ignore my last, foolish post.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 4, 2007 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

We do have excess food and the main causes of starvation in the world are 1)inadequate distribution 2)mental illness . The causes of inadequate distribution or generally political, but both lack of infastructure and energy costs contribute.

Posted by: aaron on January 4, 2007 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

"The most important thing to keep in mind, this is a guy who killed hundreds of thousands of people and received justice," White House press secretary Tony Snow said. "He got justice."

Saddam wasn't executed for killing hundreds of thousands of people. He was executed for killing less than 200.

Saddam wasn't tried for killing hundreds of thousands of people. He was tried for killing less than 200.

Saddam didn't "receive justice" for killing hundreds of thousands of people, as that would have required that he be tried and executed for this, which never happened.

Snow essentially lied, and at the very least has belitted the legal process and misrepresented what it stood for in this instance, which is no less than what we've come to expect from this administration: lies, misrepresentations, a lack of focus, and an utter disrespect for the law.

In other words, the Bush administration is simply a lesser version of Saddam and the terrorists.

Norman: Ignore my last, foolish post.

All of your posts are foolish.

Posted by: Google_This on January 4, 2007 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

rdw: The USA stands alone at the pinnacle of military power with the most complete dominance since Rome.

And yet they cannot defeat the insurgency in Iraq.

Just like Rome, due to corruption and weakness in its leadership, lost all its dominance.

Bush is that corrupt and weak leader and it is leading to defeat in Iraq.

Thanks for providing the perfect analogy for the Bush-fed rot that is infesting American just like it did Rome.

Posted by: Google_This on January 4, 2007 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

All of your posts are foolish.

Pardon? I can't hear you over Grace Slick's wailing, sir.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 4, 2007 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK
Why does everyone think the USA is the only country with bugs and pesticides? The cost of all of these input factors are reflected in the price of corn. Ethanal is either competitive with gasoline or it isn't. If you think Brazil or any other developing country has better ecological safeguards you are out of your mind.

Er, no. Look, ethanol can be made from different crops. In the US, its made out of corn. In Brazil, its made from sugarcane, which is considerably different from corn, and doesn't grow well, if it all, in most of the US, and certainly not the parts that grow corn.

Surprisingly enough, different crops grown in different conditions in different parts of the world require different kinds and quantities of fertilizers, pesticides, and other inputs.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 4, 2007 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Er, Hitchens is criticizing the government as a journalist. It's a time-honored tradition. To analyze whether or not he's really surprised that this happened... may provide interesting insight, but seems disingenuous. Or rather, represents the new journalistic tradition in which bloggers expect only one type of writing: the soul-baring pure integrity of the blogger.

Posted by: John on January 4, 2007 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Either Norman's medications have taken effect or they have worn off.

However, sure a whole lot of sucking sounds supra. Lots of new borns, some of the erudite type - Barnum would have been proud.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 4, 2007 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Surprisingly enough, different crops grown in different conditions in different parts of the world require different kinds and quantities of fertilizers, pesticides, and other inputs.

Thanks for that great insight. I could have gotten that from a 4th grader.

Sugar Cane is not grown in Brazil as if it's a weed. Like Corn it is cultivated. Meaning farmers use whatever edge they can get to maximize their product and profits. Just as there are bugs that eat corn there are bugs that eat sugan cane. Pesticides are used all over the world on all crops when producers can afford the investment. Environmental restrictions in the USA are far higher than in the developing world.

It absolutely makes sense that equatorial nations have an edge over the USA regarding growing seasons for many products but they often lose that edge when productivity is measured. And it's not true for all products.

One of the potential advantages of this mad rush to throw money at Ethanol is a great deal of research is being done to find ways to improve the yield of ethanol from corn or better yet use switch grass or other woodier plants to significantly lower the costs, financial cost a well as environmental costs. It's almost certain any process breakthrough that allows increased yields from corn or substitutions will work just as well outside the USA as inside.

Thus if the USA is able to make ethanol competitive with Gasoline at $1.50 a gallon it would be even more competitive in Brazil and most of the rest of the globe.

If the goal is to break OPEC and find more environmentally superior ways to power cars US advances are more powerful when they apply globally.

It could even work so well even the morons in Cuba could make a buck.

BTW: If you are watching the action you are aware the ethanol industry is experiencing explosive growth already loaded down by incentives. They're going to get many more. There is a point where more would be counter-productive. I don't know where that point is but 50% annual expansion has to be in the vicinity.

BTW2: The $.50 tariff on ethanol imports was extended into 2009 with bipatisan support. It's a farm state issue not a party issue. Normally I am against such tariffs. The justification it would harm the ethanol industry is absurd. But there is an environmental consideration. Kyoto is a disaster because it mandates the transfer of manufacturing, especially chemical and refinery items, to the 3rd world. The USA is sitting on ANWR while Canada digs in the Tar Sands. It's an ecological disaster. Encouraging Brazil to tear down more rain forests to grow sugar cane might be Kyoto strength stupid.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Saddam wasn't executed for killing hundreds of thousands of people. He was executed for killing less than 200.

There's a great saying Larry Kudlow uses often that applies here. "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good". The fact the butcher is dead is very good thing. Sometimes you just need to stop and smell the roses and just enjoy the moment.

After all, no level of angst is not going to being him back. Forget the little details.
He's so over. Let's move on.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2007 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

My good friend rdw:

After all, no level of angst is not going to being him back. Forget the little details.
He's so over. Let's move on.

Did you see me explain to the liberals that this was an example of them kvetching over the HOW and not the WHY?

I've yet to be challenged or refuted on that point.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 4, 2007 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Just like Rome, due to corruption and weakness in its leadership, lost all its dominance.

Actually we'e nothing like Rome but if you insist on the comparison it's not 4th Century Rome but 350 - 450 years earlier.

We remain by far the worlds dominant power. We didn't just spend the Socialists into obvilion but we also spent Western Europe into obvilion. Remember, 10 years ago they were powerless against milosovich and have only grown weaker.

Go back and check the tapes of the incredible Tsumami relief efforts. Not a single French, German, Swedish, Spanish ship in sight. You saw the USA doing amazing things assisted by Japan and Australia but no EU and NO UN.

China is trying but had no idea how to innovate. If we learned anything last century it's that socialist can steal and kill but they haven't had an original thought ever.

Western Europe isn't anything near what it once was.

That's why that although we spend 80% of the world molitary R&D we are very close with Japan and Israel and are developing resources with India.

It's the technology stupid!

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

I've yet to be challenged or refuted on that point

You won't be. This is pure BDS.

I love the angst over the angry 'arab street'.

As if there was ever a time the arab street wasn't angry.

It's so quitessentially liberal they're scared out of their panties about the Arab Street when the fact is violence has been LOWER.

Reading tip: I'm about 90% through America Alone by Mark Steyn and it's terrific. The man is a brilliant and funny writer.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2007 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

rdw,

Well, I am a bit biased--my father had French blood and French ties in him. My father essentially lived in Nice until his death in 1987 from a heart attack at one of the casinos.

The arrogance of the French does not extend to their conservative class, which is just as virulently anti-outsider as what we find in this country. And they are stern and solid supply siders. Problem is, there are too few of them to make siginificant strides in France right now.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 4, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, when I say "my father," I refer to the man who raised me, the man who was married to my mother when I was conceived during a 1943 weekend furlough. It wasn't until 20 years ago that I discovered--oh, it's a long story involving a hysterical young woman's demand that I submit to DNA testing--that in fact my father was in Villefranche at the time, while my mother was in Montauk with the aforementioned furloughed soldier.

I admit that this gave me a bit of a start and all that, and my mother showed remarkable spunk when I confronted her with this at the nursing home where I dutifully visited her biennially, but I came to believe that it was no matter. Norman T. Rogers Sr. may not have left me his genes, but he did pass on his estate, and that's what matters in the end, isn't it? Isn't it?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 4, 2007 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

I think that Larry KRUDlow said, "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good" when Tony Montana's boys couldn't score the purest of the pure white stuff for him.
By then, Larry was willing to take anything up his nose.

But, keep shilling for ADM.

Be back later to use my calculator and count the number of Kyotos.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 4, 2007 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Be back later to use my calculator and count the number of Kyotos

Don't we lead the interesting life.


Oil down $2.75 to $55,65. That's the lowest since 06/2005 and a 15.7% drop from 2006. Look for very, very low inflation.

Moreover, imports of Oil are running down 7% from last year. Look for a dramatic drop in the up-coming trade reports.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2007 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Problem is, there are too few of them to make siginificant strides in France right now.


I understand and was aware of the plight of true European conservatives, now all but an extinct species. France really does have a true ruling elite in every sense of the word and they are blindly liberal.

A very interesting poll in Europe showed majority support for hanging Saddam. Yet every government and most papers acted as if it were an outrage beneath the dignity of Europeans.

What I find most remarkable is that between the elites in government and the elites in the media they really have no clue as to what is to come. They of course have to know the welfare state is unsustainable but seem to drive it our of their minds so as not to deal with it. Ditto for what is a horrific demographic dilemma.

We live in such different realities. I get the biggest kick out of reading how Euopeans are so spitting mad over our oversized homes, cars, TV's etc. This is while we beam with pride at the same. They're mindset is such that they are 100% certain we are destroying the planet. Our is confidence there's nothing we can't make better and we're doing it.

It's hard to conceive two cultures with theoretically the same 'heritage' could be so radically different.

If I were to be invited to a dinner party in Paris with 20 people at least 19 would want to poke my eyes out in 3 minutes. I expect we would not find a single think we agree about. The problem is they'd recognize immediately that as an American I'm not even remotely interested in their opinion.

It is a shame but they are no longer our allies. Mark Steyn had an interesting stat that during the 90's the French voted against the USA 54.7% of the time in Security Council Votes. This is during the reign of the great and good William Jefferson Clinton.

Another interesting Steyn stat is there were 4.7M 20-yr old italians in 1970. Today there are 2.6M. They've been having fewer babies for 40 years. Now it compounds. There are many fewer ladies having many fewer babies. Italy, Spain and Greece are just 3 nations with almost no shot at surviving as they are today past 2050.

It's sad but there's nothing we can do except minimize our exposure.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2007 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

"Norman":

In the interest of pursuing a literary discussion, which the both of us seem to find interesting.

Thanks for the small corrections, although I'll quibble with a few of them. The Reillys were lower-middle-class, so "slum" might be in the eye of the beholder (Norman Rogers would probably not hesitate to use such an appellation). In "row house" I was thinking of the Irish enclaves in postwar Philadelphia where my dad grew up. Toole himself notes the similarities between the Irish working-class sections of coastal cities, even down to the peculiar accent -- and this was one of the sharp observations that first caught Walker Percy's eye as he perused the smeared manuscript that his mother insisted he read.

Not agoraphobic? I'd strongly disagree. Ignatius was mortally terrified of being away from home. Recall his abortive grad school interview; he panicked and fled. Maybe not the precise diagnosis, but there's decidedly something clinical about Ignatius that transends the quirks in his personality and lends his character a deep pathos.

I'm glad you wrote your second post, but you don't go far enough in redeeming Ignatius as a sympathetic character and not merely a buffoon. Toole, apparently much like Ignatius in his own life, wrote a one-off -- a small masterpiece of sharply-observed local color -- decidedly not in the black humor tradition that was blossoming at the time. Ignatius is no Yossarian or Benny Profane, beset by forces he hasn't a prayer of understanding or coming to terms with. He is no anti-hero, nor is the satire global -- trying to say something big about Amrica's dysfunctions. Nor is there anything remotely proto-postmodern about the narrative; a clear firewall exists between what's real and what's going on inside Ignatius' head. The template is, rather, Swiftian, and as farcical as are his misadventures, as accidental as is his heroism, Ignatius is a conventional hero who saves the day and is offered a chance at redemption. That the chance is so tenuous helps to redeem this template from sentimental cliche.

I'd argue further that there is a stubborn, logical integrity to Ignatius' delusions. As you say, they are deeply felt and nourished by his love of the theatrical. If he were an active dissembler he'd be quite insufferable as the sympathetic protagonist of Tool's novel.

Ignatius, therefore, couldn't exist in a postmodern Internet age. The temptations to the ego are too great, the respect for truth virtually (heh) nonexistent. All is "satire" and if you show a shred of good faith, you're a fool. The acid bath of cynicism would turn Ignatius into a monster -- a bullying flamewar artiste who selects personas as if from a wardrobe, the means of his delusional rhetoric subordinated to "winning" what can't be won. The reality check that serves to drive Toole's comedy as Ignatius sallies forth into the world is entirely absent. A bittersweet Boethius fan would make a truly rotten nihilist.

So yes, "Norman," I'd agree with you that the irony here reverberates like Sensurround in a 70s disaster movie.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 4, 2007 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you're routinely at your worst when you've just returned from vacation.

Your indifference to a gang lynching, your lack of comprehension of the difference between justice and vengeance... I'd have harsher words but I started at the top and read the sad news about Jasmine.

Just read Josh Marshall on the execution when you're feeling up to it, and reflect on the message your casual 'so what' attitude about the execution sends about the sincerity of your commitment to actual liberal values.

Posted by: Nell on January 4, 2007 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

Nell:

Totally agreed.

Hitchens is rarely right -- but when he is (and his sources aren't questionable) he tends to make a pretty compelling argument.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 4, 2007 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

So yes, "Norman," I'd agree with you that the irony here reverberates like Sensurround in a 70s disaster movie.

Yes, but I'm a "parody." Why are still talking to me, dumbass?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 4, 2007 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

"Norman":

I'm not talking to "you," "Norman."

I'm addressing *text*.

Welcome to the postmodern age :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 4, 2007 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

rmck wrote: "I'm not talking to "you" 'Norman'. I'm addressing text. Welcome to the postmodern age

On another thread initially regarding Bill Safire, but ultimately devoted to "Norman Rogers", I wrote:

"Norman Rogers does hyperbolic-patrician-hawk-closet-gay-republican-parody-schtick as comprehensively as anyone plowing that very particular but infertile plot...It's a complexly imagined but one joke solipsism in which all threads lead to N.Rogers. And that's the real shame. It's not that Norman isn't real. (He isn't.)It's not that Norman isn't funny.(He is.) It's that any subject worth discussing becomes too often eclipsed by the vaudeville of the plum-voiced elephant in the corner."

Eerily, Secular Animist, 3 days later, comments here: "This thread stopped being about "The Execution of Saddam" many comments ago. Now it's a thread about "The Ego of Norman Rogers".

Later, rmck1 commented that "Absolutely nothing (Norman) says should be taken at face value; that he thinks it's the height of hilarity to misquote the Constitution indicates his belief that the truth is subordinate to what he thinks is clever."

Scotian, in a rare lapse of judgement, damned 'Norman' with faint praise. This predictably prompted 'Norman's histrionic proposal: "Join me sir. We will destroy them all." By this stage, the thread had departed from "The Ego of Norman Rogers" & transmogrified into "Norman's Romantic Nova Scotian Death Pact".

The trend toward solipsist-snuff was thankfully abandoned in favour of ever-familiar NR vaudeville, when Disputo expressed a desire to see Norman in drag.

To confirm that shift, rmck1 commented:" ('Norman')writes nothing without tongue so firmly in cheek that he's about to need dental work."

And so it continues, including here & now in my post, this returning like a dog to its' vomit, to "the one-joke solipsism in which all threads lead to N.Rogers."

Still, it beats talking about Kevin Drum's dead cat.

Posted by: DanJoaquinOz on January 5, 2007 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK
Boy, you're a real pissy pants, aren't you?

Well, I'm not pointing any fingers, but it was Pale Rider who long ago branded Don P as "Don Pissy Pants"...

At any rate, "Norman Rogers" is a satire, dull & malicious. The original Norman Rogers hailed from the Darien, CT, region and most likely worked for a defense contractor. He was belligerent and not very bright.

"Norman", I wish you would drop the whole thing.

Posted by: obscure on January 5, 2007 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

The original Norman Rogers hailed from the Darien, CT, region and most likely worked for a defense contractor. He was belligerent and not very bright.

Right. Still have that property. Prefer Manchester right now. Father owned the defense company, I made my fortune in investment banking. What part of that don't you understand?

Do you have a point? I don't expect liberals to like me, but goodness--are you all convinced of one thing because you can't think for yourselves?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 5, 2007 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Er, Bob, I can't imagine you haven't figured this out yet, but poking Norman doesn't make him go away.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 5, 2007 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely:

Point taken, guilty plea entered, on the way to talk to the prosecutor :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 5, 2007 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

'Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybodys face but their own. - Jonathan Swift

Posted by: MsNThrope on January 6, 2007 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

It's Bob's blog from now on, kids.

I'm outta here. It ain't fun anymore.

Fucking little bitch...

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 6, 2007 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Way to go *Bob* you fucking loser.

Whining like a little bitch tattle-tale. you got the piss beat out of you every day after school, didn't you?

Good way to avoid a flame-war, Dickhead, is to not start one. Just so you know.

Now stamp you wittle foot and demand I be moderated away, you fucking loser.

Posted by: Geology Rocks on January 6, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Geology Rocks:

I did, in fact. That's why I don't suffer it in my adult life. If I'm menaced by somebody, I don't menace them back -- I call the cops.

If you can't seem to win a game because you foul too much, maybe the problem isn't either the refs or the other team.

MsNThrope:

Perfect quote, and a worthy coda to this thread.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 6, 2007 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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