TMLutas' blog posts can now be found at Flit(tm)

October 10, 2003

Palestine Now!

Posted by TMLutas

Palestinians don't have a state because they kill Israelis especially with suicide bombings. So asserts Israel, and they've got a decent case. But not all palestinians support, or even condone suicide bombings. Most importantly, and easily identifiably, palestinian christians do not tolerate suicide bombing.

So why don't they get a state?

It's a very simple question, but it's got no good answer, as far as I can tell. Why don't the 2% of worldwide Palestinians who are christians and living in the territories get their own state? Why don't the 18% of worldwide palestinians who are christian and have been driven out by the horrible conditions of occupation go back home as Iraqi exiles are doing so today? If suicide bombing and Israeli security is the problem, why wouldn't a christian dominated republic that isn't sending suicide bombers into Israel be a solution? The borders could be flexible, giving palestinian arabs the choice of living under occupation and continuing to blow themselves up or cleaning up their act, driving out the violent, and petitioning for admittance to free Palestine?

I'm just asking.

Is Media Cluelessness on Afghanistan Partially Based on Bad Cartography?

Posted by TMLutas

Strategypage has an article on the fact that Afghanistan has never really controlled the southern tribal areas.

The "national" government in Kabul has never controlled the southern tribes in any sense that Western nations understand it. There have often been understandings between the central government and the tribes, quite similar to treaties between separate nations. The central government understands this, the American military leadership understands this, the US government understands this, but the media, in general, is pretty clueless on this subject. This is a largely self-inflicted wound, as the reality of the situation in Afghanistan does not make for good (that is, exciting and easily sold) stories. But portraying the situation as one of national disintegration and constant rebellion does sell. And that's what gets shipped out of the country by most journalists.

I've never actually seen one but I think that maps that draw territory boundaries of these autonomous/limited central influence zones would be highly educational and not just for Afghanistan. While you can fault the journalists to a great degree, it wouldn't be right to ignore the role of the cartographers. If they aren't drawing politically, economically, and legally relevant lines on their map everybody who's not a local or a specialist will be misled. We all deserve better.

The UNSC is not a principal office of the UN

Posted by TMLutas

Sad but true, following this link leads you to an odd sort of official UN map entitled "Principal United Nations Offices Around the World". What's odd about it is that the UN Security Council is not listed on it.

Now, it could be argued that only websites with their own domain name are included (the link to get to the map is titled "world map of UN websites") but that wouldn't be true. Just in the listing for agencies based in NY is an entry for the "Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States" which, exactly like the UNSC is hosted under the un.org domain name. There are other examples on the map but the NY one is egregious.

Somebody "forgot" the Security Council but remembered the much less important High Comissioner. This is just plain bizarre.

Taking up a challenge

Posted by TMLutas

First a technical note. It's 2003. Can somebody please tell the UN that gopher is dead.

UNSC resolution 687 (yes, if your browser doesn't support gopher, you're kind of stuck) marks out the basic requirements for Iraqi disarmament.

8. Decides that Iraq shall unconditionally accept the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless, under international supervision, of:

(a) All chemical and biological weapons and all stocks of agents and all
related subsystems and components and all research, development, support and
manufacturing facilities;

(b) All ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometres and
related major parts, and repair and production facilities;

Since there were secret labs under the Iraqi secret police undergoing research and development, it seems like Dr. Rice isn't too far out of bounds to say that Iraq never complied with the disarmament requirements of UNSC 687 (and every other subsequent resolution incorporates the requirements of 687 by reference). Iraq was also in violation of articles 9, 10, and 12 on the face of them and likely other sections as well (it's late and art. 8 is sufficient to prove the point). Now given 1441 announced that this was Saddam's last chance and Iraq's full and final declaration did not include many R&D facilities banned by 687 I think it's pretty fair to say that Saddam didn't comply with 1441.

If the secret labs, the centrifuge parts and plans and all the rest were made available at the time, it would have been hard to maintain the anti-war line successfully. This might have led to another resolution or a wider coalition of the willing. That's alternative history and I'll let it end there.

Personally, I think that the Iraqis have been coached at hiding weapons since at least the mid to late 70s and it was part of Soviet doctrine to do so. The evidence on that point is clear.

I think that Pacepa is, as usual, grandstanding a bit in his public declarations but has grasped the heart of the matter and is sharing with us an important truth. Soviet doctrine, which Iraq was steeped in, called for WMD destruction. They had plenty of time to do it and very good and old friends from the USSR days to oversee the execution of the WMD destruction plan right before the war.

Did Iraq fulfill its obligations under UNSC resolutions? From the text and the interim Kay findings, it's clear that they did not. There has been a great deal of historical revisionism going on with regard to Iraq. It's easy to forget what exactly Iraq was supposed to do in order to be considered disarmed. The actual text of the resolutions is important. Every once in awhile it would do us all a little good to go back and read them.

UPDATE: BruceR responds: Nowhere near good enough, TM, I'm afraid. Leaving aside the fact that a US government that thwarted the will of the UN in going to war, along with its defenders, can hardly cite chapter and verse on UN resolutions now without a couple heaping spoonfuls of hypocrisy, your argument is not on-point here.

I asked the assemblage for any evidence that Iraq had actually pretended to have arms that it did not. There is no doubt Iraq was not in full compliance with the resolutions you state, in any quarter: that was a dead issue before the war, and did not require Kay's investigation to prove. The Iraq argument was that compliance was an onerous burden on a country that, they said officially, had already destroyed all its extant weapons. So why do people now say that Iraq was "bluffing" about their possession of actual weapons? When, exactly was this bluff?


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