January 26, 2004


I find it remarkable that Reynolds and many others continue to give credence to Telegraph reporter Con Coughlin's breathy scoops, when as Henley pointed out some time ago, the guy has been a funnel for British intelligence trial balloons for years, apparently, and his post-Iraq war work seems calculated to bolster Bush and make the case for a new Syrian war.

Sure enough, Coughlin is the only reporter to play up David Kay's alleged statements that Iraqi WMDs are now in Syria... statements Kay goes out of his way to disavow in other interviews with Reuters and the Times. And, of course, that is the only version of the Kay story you will see on numerous pro-war websites today.

Posted by BruceR at 06:21 PM


Ontario universities are getting plastered at the moment by the Novarg.A. I haven't seen an attack this bad since the August attacks around the time of the big blackout. Seeing as some have posited that those attacks were partly responsible for the initial electrical grid failures in the States, and given that we're in the middle of a heavy snowstorm in Toronto, that's not comforting.

UPDATE: Symantec's rated this one up a notch to Category 4 (out of 5).

Posted by BruceR at 05:30 PM


In a remarkable entry, over 100 discussion posts to a Charles Johnson anti-Dean item go by without anyone noticing that Charles (and presumably all the posters) did not understand what Dean actually said.

Posted by BruceR at 04:29 PM


Reynolds also completely misunderstands the recent Juliet O'Neill search here in Canada. O'Neill was a reporter being used by a mole within the RCMP who wanted to JUSTIFY the government's involvement in the persecution of Maher Arar. The RCMP's searching of O'Neill's house, regardless of its appropriateness, was a move that in its own way served to defend Arar's rights, and his claim of innocence, and was clearly not in the interest of anyone in the government who still believes the government's actions here were just.

The proper analogy in American parlance is to the Robert Novak, pro-Administration leaks that led to the outing of Valerie Plame. If the FBI had executed a legal search warrant on Novak's home for material about who in the U.S. security apparatus had "outed" Plame as part of their investigation, that would have been criticized in some quarters as an overreach, sure. But Reynolds, who has previously called on Novak to be subpoenaed, surely wouldn't have been completely opposed to that.

UPDATE: Just to be clear, I don't think the RCMP raided O'Neill's house out of any concern for Arar, per se. More likely they are trying to stop all leaks from inside the security apparatus, both pro-government and anti-government, and this was just the whiffle bat they had at hand. I'm saying it's simplistic to argue that this is somehow the latest step in the government's persecution of Arar, who no doubt would have preferred his hometown paper did not reprint more facts about his dealings that make the government's putting him on a "watchlist" more prudent.

Posted by BruceR at 11:28 AM


(First in what will certainly be a continuing series.)

"The last thing America is, is an empire. My counter example is; we very badly needed and expected to have Turkish support in the war on Iraq. The Turks didn't give it and that put a spanner in some of our planning. Now, imagine if this were the Romans. Imagine if the emperor Trajan were planning an operation in Mesopotamia and the Cappadocians told him he couldn't use their territory. He would have lined the highways with crucified Cappadocians. That's what empires do, they do not say, "Oh, we'll respect what your parliament says and come from another direction"."

Glenn Reynolds feels this is somehow valuable. It's ironic, of course, that Frum compares the U.S. to the Romans, a people who descended into dictatorship from freedom (just call me Cicero), but the whole thing's just a ludicrous statement for a Canadian to make. Yes, I freely concede, George Bush is a better world ruler than the Emperor Trajan would be.

Hey, David, remember your history class? We were in an empire, too. It was called the British Empire. And us rude colonials did all sorts of stuff that pissed the center off, yet they didn't hardly crucify anybody. I could cite, oh, about a hundred examples from Canadian history, but why bother? Surely anyone could.

A combination of omnipotence and wanton cruelty is not a necessary condition for empire. The British would make peaceful accommodation with all kinds of people in their time, whenever it was in the best interest of their Empire to do so... Rajputs, Sikhs, Afghans, Gurkhas, the Maori, the Afrikaners, the Zulus, les Quebecois, the Mohawk, the Zionists, etc. etc. etc. Yes, cruelty was an option as it is any time another controls your fate, but the British Empire used it, compared to, say, the Conquistador Spanish or the Belgians in Africa, in a relatively judicious, sometimes even surgical fashion. And yet they were still, inarguably, an empire.

Those who say "America is an empire" are really saying "America is becoming like Britain/France/Holland once were," a possibility, of course, that its founding fathers and its great 19th century writers (Melville, Cooper, Twain, Thoreau) would have been all equally appalled by. That is a point that is at least arguable, and certainly rational. Frum's comparison with Classical Age, pre-mercantilist imperialism, by contrast, is ignorant nonsense. Hell, why not use the Aztecs or Assyrians while you're at it?

UPDATE: More on empire here.

Posted by BruceR at 10:49 AM


"...according to the WP, a riverboat capsized while on patrol, and one out of the 4 US soldiers on board went missing, in the north near Mosul early on Sunday. The US military then sent a helicopter out to look for the lost soldier, and the helicopter went down with its two crewmen (the cause of the crash is unknown). Then an Iraqi police team secured the region for a search for the helicopter and one of them was killed at a makeshift checkpoint in a drive-by shooting."
--Juan Cole, today.

Posted by BruceR at 09:54 AM