What WMD? What Weapons Violations?

How many more stories like this before the left stops with the incessant “Bush lied to us” chorus that is reaching a crescendo:

British military officers have uncovered an attempt by Saddam Hussein to build a missile capable of hitting targets throughout the Middle East, including Israel, The Telegraph can reveal.

Plans for the surface-to-surface missile were one of the regime’s most closely-guarded secrets and were unknown to United Nations weapons inspectors. Its range of 600 miles would have been far greater than that of the al-Samoud rocket – which already breached the 93-mile limit imposed by the UN on any Iraqi missiles.

Oh- that smoking gun.

Unhinged Liberals, Pt. 3 in an Unending Series

Apparently, if Democrats do not win the next election, and some Democrats did do everything they could to win, it will be as bad as the Germans who stood idly by and let the Jews be slaughtered in Nazi Germany. At least, that is what Janot Reno thinks:

Joanne Goldfarb, of Delray Beach, said she needed just such a pep talk, just such a push to make her feel she can make a difference. That’s why she was in the audience. She’s taking small steps toward becoming an activist.

One part of Reno’s speech, which touched upon issues such as classroom sizes, health care and the criminal justice system, seemed to speak directly to Goldfarb. Reno spoke about visiting the Dachau concentration camp in Germany as a child and learning what had happened.

“I went back and asked my adult German friends, ‘How could you let that happen?’ ” Reno said. “They said, ‘We just stood by.’ ”

She looked right into the the audience and told them that’s why she was there. She had no intention of just standing by.

“And don’t you just stand by,” Reno said.


I Don’t Get It

I am essentially pro-choice- it is the law of the land, and I think it should stay the law of the land. I am however, personally opposed to abortion, and I would never support having one. I do not think that is a moral contradiction (and I refuse to debate the issue- so don’t even try to start with me in the comments)- I am willing to allow people to make the best decisions for themselves.

However, one thing that does frost me is the attitude of NARAL and other Abortion Rights Activists, who seem to think that there should be no restrictions on abortion whatsoever. Yesterday, the New Hampshire legislature passed a consent bill that requires the following:

Under the bill, at least one parent or legal guardian of a girl under 18 must be notified 48 hours before she has an abortion. They do not have veto power over her decision, however, and she may bypass the parental notification requirement by seeking a judge’s permission or a medical determination that her life in jeopardy.

“We ask children to get their parents’ permission to get their ears pierced, to take an aspirin at school,” Benson told the Associated Press after the vote. “I think this law finally puts all parental notification on the same footing.” Supporters applauded passage of the measure, saying it protects parental rights and could lead to fewer unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

Which led to the predictable apocalyptic rhetoric from the NARAL crowd:

Abortion rights supporters, however, argue it deprives young women of their right to privacy and compromises their freedom of choice. The opponents say the measure also could discourage young women from seeking other reproductive health services, such as contraception, and result in unsafe, illegal abortions.

“This is clearly a very troubling time for New Hampshire,” said Laura Thibault, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice America’s local affiliate. “We certainly hope it does not signify the beginning of a trend.”

What is so awful about parents knowing that their child is about to undertake a medical procedure? Why does this strike me as simply common sense to the point that not notifying parents seems almost criminal? There is nothing in this bill that is even an absolute- a judge can ignore the consent depending on the circumstances, and in no case can the parents veto the decision. Why is this such a bad law?

Biden’s Baby

President Bush apparently signed into effect Joe Biden’s baby, the hideous Reducing Americans’ Vulnerability to Ecstasy (RAVE) bill. Jacob Sullum comments.

Why I Don’t Trust Government, Part 1228236

My advisor in grad school once told me that you “can give a monkey a hammer, but you can’t be sure he’ll use it on nails.” So it seems with our Justice Department:

The Justice Department has begun using its expanded counterterrorism powers to seize millions of dollars from foreign banks that do business in the United States, creating tensions with the State Department and some allies.

Law enforcement officials say the tool has proven invaluable in seizing ill-gotten money that criminals hide overseas and that was once out of the government’s reach. Under the counterterrorism measures approved by Congress after the Sept. 11 attacks, prosecutors are not even required to trace the money back to the target of an investigation.

Officials at the State Department, however, have raised concerns over the practice in part because most of the seizures have involved fraud and money-laundering investigations that are unrelated to terrorism.

Whenever the government wants to expand its powers again, whether it be Clinton after Oklahoma (you remember that power grab) or Ashcroft after 9/11, keep this in mind. Stupid bastards.

Daily Congo Update

It appears that the French contingent of 1200 troops will be in place as soon as next week:

The French commitment to lead a force of more than 1,000 international troops could become a reality by next week, if the Security Council adopts a resolution authorising France to “take all necessary means” – including the use of force.

“We have been asked to lead a multinational force in Ituri, and France has accepted to lead such a force”, French UN ambassador, Jean Marc de La Sabliere told journalists in New York after briefing the UN Security Council on Thursday on his government’s plans.

Yesterday, I described this as a good first step, and I should probably retract that statement in light of what Gary Farber has written about the issue, in which he states that this woefully inadequate force is worse than doing nothing because people are just happy something is being done:

Because then they, you know, think something good is being done. And relax a bit. When, in this case, nothing whatever good is being done by sending 1,200 infantry troops with only small arms. The “Democratic Republic” of Congo is, according to the CIA Factbook, 2,345,410 sq km. Its land boundaries: total: 10,730 km border countries: Angola 2,511 km (of which 225 km is the boundary of Angola’s discontiguous Cabinda Province), Burundi 233 km, Central African Republic 1,577 km, Republic of the Congo 2,410 km, Rwanda 217 km, Sudan 628 km, Tanzania 459 km, Uganda 765 km, Zambia 1,930 km

So, let’s see, that makes about one trooper for every two thousand square miles. I’m sure they’ll have no trouble each securing that amount of territory. What, exactly, other than guard a single airport, or a few square miles, do you think 1200 troops, from two separate armies, with only small arms, can do in Congo? What is the point of securing a single village, when there are tens of thousands of foreign troops and militia troops running around?

Besides PR. Which appears to be more successful than I would have anticipated.

He is right. The perception that something, anything, is being done may make people complacent, and this force is decidedly inadequate. On a more positive note, both Kaus and Sullivan have now written about the issue, so perhaps this is starting to get some attention.

Matt Yglesias points to this New Yorker article by Philip Gourevitch (via the Filibuster), which has the following to state about US policy:

Speaking on Al Jazeera television, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice dismissed the U.N.s opposition to the invasion of Iraq by reminding her interviewer, The U.N. Security Council could not act when in Rwanda there was a genocide that cost almost a million lives. There was a very poignant statement by the President of Rwanda recently when he said sometimes the Security Council is not right when it does not act. President Bush believes that, too. And, lest the mantle of the memory of Rwandas dead be wasted on only Arab audiences, the White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, struck the same note: From a moral point of view, as the world witnessed in Rwanda . . . the U.N. Security Council will have failed to act once again. The disingenuousness of these remarks lies, of course, in the fact that it was the United States that prevented the Security Council from acting during the Rwandan genocide, even though no American troops were ever involved or required for the U.N. force there.

As to what is actually happening on the ground, the wholesale slaughter is being accompanied by war’s handmaiden, disease. Ebola, malnutrition, malaria, HIV/Aids, hunger, dissentery, and a variety of other health crises loom large over the region, aand little help seems to be on the way.

The most horrifying stories of the conflict have still failed to catch the attention of the mainstream media in the United States, but stories are available in the European press (just go to google news and do a search for Congo- then brace yourself). The Telegraph (which is not normally a source I choose to cite) has this harrowing description:

From her hiding place in the woods outside the Congolese town of Bunia, Ruta Bonabingi watched as militiamen roasted and then ate the severed arms of her dying daughters. It was the horrifying finale to 48 hours of terror for Ruta and her family.

Three weeks after ethnic violence engulfed Bunia and the surrounding Ituri province, crazed gunmen stormed Shar, five miles outside the town. Shooting or hacking to death anyone they came across, they torched every home in the village.

Ruta managed to escape with most of her family, although two of her brothers were killed before they reached safety in the nearby forest.

After pressing deeper into the woods for two days without food and water, she thought she had finally reached safety when out of nowhere the militiamen, from the Lendu tribe, struck again.

With bullets flying everywhere in the hail of gunfire that ensued Ruta became separated from two of her daughters, Mateso, aged 12, and Michelle, who had just turned two.

After securing the rest of her family in another hiding place, Ruta crept back to the clearing to try to rescue the girls.

“There were many people wounded from bullets lying on the ground,” she said.

“The Lendu were going about with machetes, chopping off one arm from the shoulder and then the other. Some people were screaming but most were silent. Then I saw them. Their arms had already been cut off.”

The militiamen calmly cooked the flesh over an open fire before throwing their victims, some of whom were still alive, into the flames. “They were both moving, although very weakly,” Ruta said. It is accounts like this that have galvanised the horrified world into action.

This has not yet reached the level of the mid-90’s disaster in Rwanda, and we shouldn’t let it. We know what is going on, and we should be doing something to stop it. Write your congressman. Blog about this. Send letters to your newspaper. Do something.

Recession? What Recession?

Romulus at Judicious Asininity analyzed today’s GDP report and has this to say:

P.S. 1.9% growth is not a recession. So the next time you hear a politician or anyone else say that the country is in recession tell them they are full of it. Granted, 1.9% isn’t exactly setting the economy on fire but considering what this economy has been through during the Clinton “Boom” and subsequent events such as 9/11 and war it is a tribute to someone that we are not in a depression. We still need to see stronger growth in order to create jobs but that may be coming with some help with the money supply and tax relief. I’m guessing that by Nov ’04 things will be moving along at a very nice clip. That’s right Dems, just in time for GW’s re-election.