Sunday, August 31, 2003
We're losing one or two American soldiers every day. Saddam and Osama are still lurking and scheming � the "darkness which may be felt."
After a car bomb exploded outside a Najaf mosque on Friday, killing scores of people, including the most prominent pro-American Shiite cleric, we may have to interject our troops into an internecine Shiite dispute � which Saddam's Baathist guerrillas are no doubt stoking.
With Iraqis in Najaf screaming, "There is no order! There is no government! We'd rather have Saddam than this!," we had one more ominous illustration that the Bush team is out of its depth and divided against itself.
You know, folks, I never ceased to be amazed that the New York Times actually pays this woman to write. Calling al-Hakim a "pro-American" cleric is not just stupidity, but reveals Dowd's passing understanding of the issue at hand. This is a person who actually believes what she sees on CNN or the CBS Evening News. That's just damn unforgivable. It's almost as bad as a six-pack of Billy Beer.
Mo ain't quite this bad...
Indeed, television outtakes showed Iraqis swearing revenge and carrying signs denouncing the "Ba'athist Criminals". Yes, they were upset with the Americans for allowing this to happen on our watch, but every story I have read in the aftermath of the Al-Hakim assassination indicates that the Iraqi Shi'as are not only angry with the Ba'athists, but are violently angry with the Wahabist infiltrators who pulled this crime off. Now, in the aftermath of the affair, Iraqis and Americans are looking to reform the army and police to allow the Iraqis to go after the local jihadi (something that should have been done months ago...). This will allow Americans to recede into the background and pull heavy units out of the major cities and out into the sticks. There, they become less vulnerable to ambush and able to act more like infantry. As a result, the Iraqi government will gain more credibility. Our casualties, such as the are, will go down. And the prospects for President Bush's reelection will go up.
Which is what Dowd is really upset about, by the way. I wouldn't want anyone to think that this stylist gives a rat's fingernail about a bunch of dead Iraqis.
Dowd, by the way, declares that Karl Rove "must be getting nervous". God I hate clairvoyants.
Meanwhile, Matt Drudge has a story about Arnold making some untoward remarks about Africans driving South Africa into the ground once they took it over (which they did). It's up there with bell's on at Drudge's page. By the way, given the fact that it is one of Drudge's teaser headlines, I doubt it will be up front with Second Coming Type by the time you read this. Meanwhile, Dan Weintraub of the Sacramento Bee has another excellent column that tends to confirm my suspicions that the California Recall election is about something far greater than a Vast Buffalo Wing Conspiracy or even Gray or Arnold.
One of the things that I don't think is understood by us folks back east is just how misgoverned that state has been. A lot of assumptions were made by the Davis Regime back in the Dot Com days, and they turned out to have become as ash in the mouth. Californians as a whole are not ones to easily flock to a recall. Something about Davis has made most of the voters in that state rather upset. But it is a larger unease which is driving the Davis recall, and I strongly suspect that the state Democratic Party has no idea what it is really dealing with. It's always much more comfortable, and intellectually less challenging, to spin the conspiracy yarn.
The citizens want their California back. I'm not sure that either party has figured that out.
Finally, our old friend Kim Jong Il has broken off negotiations. I'm not sure that the young man has realized that the Chinese and the Russians have put a lot of stock in this negotiation's success. The North Koreans are jumping up and down, swearing that they will test a weapon "any day now" and already have ICBM's capable or reaching the West Coast.
I always make it my practice to conclude that the man who speaks too much or brags too loudly is the man who is holding a very, very weak hand.
Our alternatives aren't pleasant, as the logical conclusion of America's demands leads to a war with Korea, but there you have it. The five powers who buffaloed North Korea to the table now have to sit through an interminable circus as Kim plays musical chairs with the issue.
Time to stop the music.