Patterico's Pontifications


Eleven WMD Shipments Stopped In The Past Nine Months

Filed under: General,International — See Dubya @ 11:49 pm

Iran’s short a load of ballistic missile parts today, and maybe some nuclear program material as well. Don’t you wanna know why? It’s because of a thing called the Proliferation Security Initiative. It’s something that ought to be commonplace in the Immedia’s* discussions of WMD proliferation. Needless to say, it ought to get some ink in the MSM as well. And it also ought to be discussed in any undergraduate International Relations course that deals with security issues.

But it’s mainly Bryan Preston at Junkyard Blog who I see flogging this issue. That’s a shame. We don’t know exactly how successful it’s been, but according to the Rice speech linked above, we’re on to something.

See, this isn’t really a treaty so much as an agreement about how and when interested countries are going to cooperate and stop shipments of WMD’s to (or from) rogue states. That’s exactly what we’ve done at least eleven times in the last nine months–once to Iran, whch is the only country we’re certain of. These were interceptions of some bad stuff–in one other case, definitely equipment for producing rocket propellant. What else have these cooperating nations stopped–maybe uranium centrifuges, yellowcake, plutonium, missile guidance systems, a little vial of smallpox, maybe some scavenged cesium ready to be packed around some dynamite for a dirty bomb, who knows–but nothing Iran or Al Qaeda needs more of, right?

And let me just point out that the PSI is, unlike the NPT, designed to keep WMD technology out of the hands of countries that don’t really care for international law. The NPT is fine if you are worried about non-rogue states. If Iceland decided it might need a nuclear arsenal, it might be stopped by the fact that it had signed the NPT (I assume they have; I’m too lazy to check) and made a commitment to the international community not to go nuclear. But if it didn’t, well, it’s still frickin’ Iceland. I’d rather they didn’t have H-bombs riding on their ICBM’s, but even if they do, if there’s (God forbid) a bright flash where Times Square used to be, the first place I look for the culprit is not going to be Iceland.

But rogue states–“states of concern” in the PSI’s parlance–are states that either never joined the NPT regime, left it (like the DPRK), or are cheating on it like a Kennedy on a blind wife (Iran). They don’t care about international law except insofar as it legitimizes and protects their regimes. Iran’s signature on the NPT does not reassure me. And subnational groups–e.g., Al Qaeda, the Russian Mob, aren’t reached by the NPT at all. The PSI, however, demands that states take action in intercepting their efforts to acquire WMDs.

In other words, the PSI has actually, provably, on eleven occasions in the last nine months, kept WMD’s out of the hands of either rogue states or subnational criminal or terrorist groups who were trying to acquire them. Which is a hell of a lot more than the much-vaunted NPT has done.

The other really interesting thing is that the sixty or so other parties to the PSI aren’t really public knowledge (though I’ll bet we could guess a few of them). Believe it or not, there are some countries out there that don’t want to be seen working too closely with the United States. But these countries also don’t necessarily want certain rogue nations getting ahold of a nuclear program. So we’ve come up with a remarkably subtle arrangement here that permits states not to get their name in the paper, and not to make some drastic permanent allegiance of fealty to the NPT regime. In other words, the blundering, bull-in-a-china-shop Bush administration has found a way to accommodate our allies’ interests in stopping proliferation while respecting their delicate domestic political situations. Countries that wouldn’t be caught dead supporting our policies…are supporting our policies.

And when I say the Bush administration has arranged this masterpiece, I’m especially referring to the one person usually dubbed the “architect” of the PSI: John Bolton.

Confirm him, and damn George Voinovich’s tears. “…we need friends all over the world, we need somebody up there who’s gonna be able to get the job done.” I couldn’t agree more, George.

h/t to Little Green Footballs.

* “Immedia” is my word for all the fast-acting electronic media–blogs, aggregators like Fark or Drudge, magazines like NRO or Slate, and big tribal watchamacallits like Freep and DU, as opposed to the MSM.

UPDATE: More at JYB (with another initiative) and Garfield Ridge (with some more reasons this system works, while big showy initiatives might not.)

Commissar Has Lost It

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 8:22 pm

I’ve been quite busy lately and hadn’t had the time to check in with the Commissar in some time. Imagine my disappointment to see this:



Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:53 pm

Ronald Reagan pardoned Deep Throat for authorizing illegal break-ins. Really.

Identity of Deep Throat Revealed

Filed under: Humor,Politics — Patterico @ 10:35 am

Turns out it was Lloyd Bridges.

UPDATE: It has been confirmed by Woodward and Bernstein. Normally when the mainstream media confirms something, it makes me doubt it — but I’ll make an exception here.

Tongue in Cheek?

Filed under: Scum — Patterico @ 10:32 am

Instapundit says:

MICKEY KAUS expects a McCain third-party run in 2008. I doubt McCain would do that: It would be shameless grandstanding, putting himself and his pique above the welfare of his party. Unless, like Kaus, he thought he could win. . . .

I thought “shameless grandstanding, putting himself and his pique above the welfare of his party” was what John McCain was all about . . .

Asymmetrical Votefare

Filed under: Accepted Wisdom,Politics — Dafydd @ 4:33 am

Accepted wisdom: the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination is Hers for the asking.

But what if it isn’t? Why should it be? What magic quality would She have to raise herself above all those who have hewed more wood and hauled more water than She, for many more years than She, and to much greater effect?

In other words — why Hillary?


Scurvy Gallowag

Filed under: Current Events,General,International,Scum — See Dubya @ 2:10 am

The Norse Workhorse at continues methodically nailing down George Galloway’s lie before the Senate subcommittee the other day–as Ace would say, “Like a Viking”! But with all this talk over the weekend of George Galloway lying under oath before Sen. Coleman’s committee about his relationship with Oil-for-Food magnate Fawaz Zureikat, we need to keep a few things in mind:

First, Galloway’s organization, Mariam Appeal, was never a “charity”. It was a political organization. How do I know? Well, George Galloway said so, on the BBC in 2003:

Two mistakes there. First of all, it isn’t a charity. It’s a political campaign and always has been. Secondly, it isn’t mine. I founded it, but long ago gave up day-to-day control of it. Indeed the chairman of it for some considerable time has been Mr Fawaz Zureikat.

It’s nice that he admits that. So let’s stop calling it his “charity” and refer to it as it was: a lobbying group for lifting the sanctions against Iraq, paid for by Iraq. It’s like an Iraq PAC. Except in the USA, PAC’s can’t suddenly start representing a foreign government for pay, without their staffers registering as lobbyists. Otherwise, you’re not a lobbyist, but a spy. Had Mariam Appeal operated under American law, Galloway would be in the same sinking boat as Susan Lindauer.

Second: Galloway looked the other way about where the money was coming from. He admitted as much in his testimony:

SEN. COLEMAN: I’m asking you specifically, In 2001 were you aware he was doing oil deals with Iraq?

GALLOWAY: I was aware that he was doing extensive business with Iraq. I did not know the details of it. It was not my business.

Later on he said “I took the view–I can be criticized for it, have been criticized for it–that I would fundraise from the kings of Arabia whose political systems I have opposed all my life in order to raise funds for what I thought was an emergency, facing a disaster.”

But back in 2003, withthe memo just discovered and a fire newly lit under his nattily-tailored bottom, Fawaz’s doings were his business. Gorgeous George told the BBC he was busy searching for the real killers the truth about his oppressin’ buddy, Fawaz:

Haven’t you asked him?

Well, I’m trying to reach him to ask him if he’s ever been involved in oil deals because I don’t know the answer to that.

Apparently Zureikat’s difficult to reach with the e-mail. Galloway had two years–from April 23rd 2003, the date of this BBC interview and shortly after the first allegations were made, and the date of his hearing, May 17 2005–to get an answer from Fawaz, and I guess he just never got around to it…

Either that, or Galloway’s role in this is either “willful ignorance” or “complicity up to his armpits”. Which brings me to

Third: Galloway was involved in a leadership role in a corrupt political organization and looked the other way while money from the Saddam regime–money that the Saddam regime was stealing from the Oil-for-Fraud program– poured in to the organization’s coffers. Money that should have gone in the first place to feed the very starving Iraqis that Galloway claimed to want to help. And he just didn’t care. Did he stop to worry that he was doing PR for a Kurd-gassing monster? Why, man, [he] did make love to this employment!

So my question for the Gorgeous George fans out there: Explain to me in the comments below why Enron is an exploitative abomination, but Mariam Appeal’s founder and front man ought to be nominated for sainthood. Please give a reason besides the fact that Galloway hates America.


The 18½ Minute Gap

Filed under: International,Terrorism,War — Dafydd @ 6:07 pm

If you enjoy arguing with Democrats about the validity of the Iraq War (do you also like to dart in front of a bull wearing long, red, flannel underwear?), you will discover that every such discussion always ends the same way: because we didn’t find pyramids of carefully labeled nuclear missiles from the Acme WMD Warehouse, the whole war was a “complete fraud”… we had “no reason at all” for going into Iraq; consequently, the exercise was utterly “futile” and a “miserable failure.”

(And how did that bull get into red, flannel underwear in the first place?)

It does little good to point out what nobody now denies: that Hussein had many ongoing programs to develop such chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons; they just weren’t as advanced as we were afraid they were. Given how little intelligence we had about that secretive country, the choice was to trust in Saddam Hussein’s restraint and good judgment, or trust in the United States military. “You should have just waited a few more months,” the lib invariably intones; “maybe a year. Then we would have known for sure.”

In other words, they wanted us to wait until two minutes to midnight. Then we could have moved… unless it turned out our watch was slow.

But now we know that it was not just on WMD that the clock was ticking. As Claudia Rosett, George Russell, and others pointed out, the oil-for-fraud program was already starting to produce the nightmare scenario of terrorist groups with their own revenue streams, independent of individual donors and fundraisers. Articles written for Fox News and National Review Online revealed that at least one company linked to al-Qaeda was already involved in kickback schemes to make millions in profits from the U.N. program — money that would be directly available to fund al-Qaeda operations, now that Osama bin Laden’s personal fortune is long since spent. And it was not just al-Qaeda; several other terrorist organizations also wound up with oil leases, right under the noses of Benon Sevan, Executive Director of the Iraq Programme (Oil for Food), Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and his spawn-of-the-devil Kojo (or is that Cujo?)

Had we waited just a few more months — waited until two minutes before midnight — even more high officials in Security-Council governments would have been corrupted; it’s entirely possible that, in the end, even Britain would have bowed to international pressure and pulled out of the Operation Iraqi Freedom. Would we still have gone to war, then? I don’t think anyone can really say for sure.

So the Left is actually right, for a change: we miserably failed to wait until two minutes to midnight to strike against the tyrant. We struck at twenty till, instead. Maybe even twenty and a half minutes before the witching hour.

Which would make it the second time in history that an 18½ minute gap saved the presidency… and this time, possibly the entire Global War on Terrorism as well.

Teen Logic

Filed under: Judiciary,Law,Politics — Dafydd @ 1:04 am

Everything I know, I learned from the Brady Bunch.

In one episode, teenaged Greg is grounded from driving the car (because he was reading a record album cover while driving on the freeway… a strange coincidence, as I was watching the episode while driving on the same freeway). Later, his father, Mike, discovers he drove somewhere. “But you said I couldn’t drive the car,” Greg frantically explains; “our car. But I didn’t. I borrowed a friend’s car!”

Teen logic.

Teen logic is also the only thing that explains the glee with which Sen. Harry Reid (D-The Strip) exhorted his democratic colleagues, including the Seven Serpents, to filibuster judicial nominees Brett Kavanaugh and William Haynes, who haven’t even been vilified yet. Talk about getting ahead of yourself!

One imagines the dialog between Harry-Greg and Harry-Dad:

HD: Now Greg, you just gave your word you wouldn’t filibuster.

HG: No, my exact words were that I wouldn’t lead a filibuster except for “extraordinary circumstances.” I go by my exact words!

HD: What’s so extraordinary about Kavanaugh and Haynes?

HG: Well, I — I borrowed the car from — well, isn’t it extraordinary that a guy could steal the 2000 election, steal Ohio in 2004, and then turn around and nominate judges to the Circuit Court? I call that pretty extraordinary circumstances!

So now that we know what Sen. Reid meant by “extraordinary circumstances,” what would he think if a couple of the Seven Dwarfs — say Lindsay Graham and Mike DeWine — and maybe even the two “compromised” Democrats who turned him down (Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu), were to decide that since he was breaking the spirit, if not the “exact words,” of the Memorandum of Misunderstanding, they would cross the aisle and vote for the constitutional option?

Somehow, I suspect he would argue as a few of the lawyerly types in Blogworld have: that the “agreement” they signed prohibits them from doing so, because it allowed each senator to decide for himself whether the circumstances were extraordinary.

HG: So, like, I can lead a filibuster if I decide myself that it’s extraordinary circumstances… but you can’t quit and vote for the nucular option because, like, you promised you wouldn’t, no matter what! Hah, burn!

Teen logic.

Well, that’s what you get for imagining any point of intersection between the real world and that strange Twilight Zone of “lawyer-space.” The reality is that any of the Gang of Fourteen, Republican or Democrat, can leave any time he wants… and the only people he would owe an explanation to are his constituents. None of whom hail from Nevada.

UPDATE FROM PATTERICO: Thanks to John Hinderaker for linking this post, and welcome to Power Line readers. As the comedians say, Dafydd is “here all week!” — along with a couple of other great guest bloggers: the Angry Clam and See Dubya. I hope everyone will continue to check back.

Magic 8-Ball: Media Critic

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 1:02 am

Does the New York Times know how to spell the name of Bush nominee Brett Kavanaugh?

My Sources Say No.

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