October 24, 2003


Now, that there's what you call a Fisking.

Posted by BruceR at 04:20 PM


Little Green Footballs and the Weekly Standard are now after Bill Arkin, the reporter who broke the Boykin story. Because he previously worked for Greenpeace, he's a "far-left anti-military activist."

Never mind that no aspect of Arkin's actual work on Boykin has been discredited.* Never mind that his previous work could never be described as "anti-military." (Arkin's last big scoop, you'll recall, was on the U.S. high command exercises pre-Iraq which showed vulnerabilities to Iraqi non-conventional warfare... he was widely praised for his work on realistic estimates of the civilian casualties in Kosovo and Iraq due to aerial bombing previous to that.) Never mind that he's an army vet and a distinguished military academic. It's just another case of attacking the messenger. If you write or say anything that could hurt the Bush administration, you are now to be cast out as objectively anti-American. Just like Joe Wilson. And the entire CIA. And a large number of soldiers and ex-soldiers. And me.

Hewitt links to Arkin's speech where he admits his first response on Sept. 11 was anger at the Bush government for screwing up, and suggests, Rumsfeld-like, that America may still be losing the war on terror. I urge you to read Arkin's whole speech... a finer example of patriotic dissent would be hard to find.

*UPDATE: With the exception of the stupid use in one piece of quotes around the word "jihad," when it was Arkin's own word, which was clear journalistic malpractice on Arkin's part.

I've also changed "air force vet" to "army vet," and removed a reference to Arkin working for Greenpeace in the 70s (he actually worked for them much later than that). Errors on my part.

Posted by BruceR at 10:11 AM


An El Al jet was diverted on approach to Pearson Airport in Toronto, allegedly because of a missile threat against the plane.

We've been down this road here before. Against most weapons that could reasonably be in the arms of terrorists, departure is a better time for an attack than approach. And because the optimal potential launch locations for a missile coming in to land at a metropolitan airport are limited to a relatively small space that could be put under effective observation reasonably quickly, a warning in advance would almost certainly seriously limit the chances of downing the target aircraft. So it's safe to say this was a hoax.

That doesn't mean authorities weren't right to divert the plane to the next airport over. Better safe than sorry. All I'm saying is that, when the day of a successful terrorist missile attack on an airliner comes, it won't come this way.

Posted by BruceR at 09:47 AM


(See entry below.) I'm pleased Steven Den Beste noticed the 15,000 non English-speaking troops in Iraq, don't get me wrong... we've been talking about it here for months, of course, but it's important to get the word out. (SdB blames the American media for not telling their stories, because it would reflect well on Bush if they did... Occam's razor would seem to have suggested just run-of-the-mill American nativist chauvinism, but I'm sure I'm wrong about that.)

TM jokes below about the Canadian "holdouts," and Den Beste says Australia and New Zealand are holding up the Anglosphere's reputation for us, etc. etc.. That, however, is somewhat dependent on the metric (to steal Rumsfeld's word) that you use. Den Beste uses forces in Iraq at the moment (with a bye for the Australians because they served and went home). Here's another one: total military fatalities by country in the "wars on terror" thus far, as near as I have been able to keep count:

1. United States: over 400 fatalities (combat and non-combat, 343 in Iraq and over 60 in Afghanistan.)
2. Spain: 64 (62 Afghanistan, 2 Iraq)
3. Britain: 52 (51 Iraq, 1 Afghanistan)
4. Germany: 13 (Afghanistan)
5. Canada: 6 (Afghanistan)
6. Denmark: 4 (3 Iraq, 1 Afghanistan)
7. Ukraine, Australia: 1 each.

I'm sure I missed a few, for which I apologize. I wouldn't want any other country to be rivalling our place on this list. Nor would I mind if we dropped in the standings. But if you want to talk about which countries have been paying their share, it's not a statistic to gloss over so casually.

This is Kristopher Beerenfenger. I don't think Steven Den Beste's opinion of how much weight Canada's pulling is going to matter to him. I'm not sure it matters to me either, actually.

Posted by BruceR at 01:33 AM