The Better Rhetor

Wednesday, March 12, 2003
On Hiatus!

I’ll be on the road for a couple of weeks, and so the Better Rhetor is closing up shop for awhile. We’ll be open for business again on April 1.

In the meantime, if I might make a few suggestions:

Encourage him (whatever his shortcomings, he’s a better president than the one we’ve got):

Eat these (and for God’s sake call them by their right name. And while you’re at it, e-mail the two idiots, this one and that one, who are wasting everybody's time and tax dollars renaming deep-fried food items):

Watch this (although it is permissible to root for Lance Armstrong and not a French cyclist, none of whom can win anyway):

[Note: An alert reader has just reminded me that the Tour is not until July, and so there is no reason to be recommending it just now. True. Well, watch it in July then. It's a magnificent spectacle whenever you see it.]

Visit her (the monument, museum, crown, and observation decks are all closed for security reasons, but it will still remind you of how great this country was, and what we used to stand for):

And finally, have a belt of this (It's not French, I know, but the way things are going you may need a stiff one from time to time):

That's it for now. Thanks for stopping by, and hope to see you again on April 1.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003
Not Yet Down The Memory Hole:
Why Has It Taken Iraq 12 Years to Disarm?

From The Institute for Public Accuracy:
In his presentation before the Security Council on Friday, Hans Blix claimed: "If Iraq had provided the necessary cooperation in 1991, the phase of disarmament -- under resolution 687 -- could have been short and a decade of sanctions could have been avoided."

However, an examination of U.S. policy indicates that for the last 12 years the U.S. government has maintained the economic sanctions regardless of Iraqi actions towards the weapons inspectors, creating a disincentive for compliance -- and helping to explain why Iraq has taken so long to comply:

April 3, 1991: U.N. Security Council passes Resolution 687, the "cease fire" resolution. It includes many demands but states that once Iraq complies with the weapons inspection regime, the economic sanctions "shall have no further force or effect."

May 20, 1991: President George Bush: "At this juncture, my view is we don't want to lift these sanctions as long as Saddam Hussein is in power."

March 26, 1997: Madeleine Albright, in her first major foreign policy address as Secretary of State: "We do not agree with the nations who argue that if Iraq complies with its obligations concerning weapons of mass destruction, sanctions should be lifted."

Mid-Dec., 1998: A widely-criticized report is issued by UNSCOM head Richard Butler who, under U.S. pressure, withdraws UNSCOM inspectors, and the U.S. begins the Desert Fox bombing campaign on the eve of President Clinton's scheduled impeachment vote.

Jan. 1999: U.S. media report that, contrary to U.S. denials, UNSCOM was used for espionage.

Oct. 1, 2002: Just as Iraq is deciding whether or not to let inspectors have total access to presidential palaces, Ari Fleischer talks of "the cost of one bullet" being less than the cost of invasion.

Early March, 2003: As Iraq is destroying Al-Samoud missiles, U.S. escalates its bombing of "no-fly" zones.

March 3, 2003: Richard Boucher, State Department spokesperson, claims: "We have made clear all along that the goal was disarmament."

March 6, 2003: President George W. Bush: "We will be changing the regime of Iraq."

Monday, March 10, 2003
Didn’t You Used to Be a Journalist?
Another Wolf Blitzer Poll

You’ve got to love these things:
Who has more credibility on the issue Iraq's weapons of mass destruction?

President George W. Bush 33% 3040 votes

Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix 67% 6264 votes
Total: 9304 votes

Personally, I think Atrios must be doing a number on this guy’s head.

For a Good Anti-War Blog

Go here.

Acts of Conscience

From CNN:
U.S. diplomat resigns over Iraq war plans

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- A U.S. diplomat resigned from government service Monday in protest at President Bush's preparations to attack Iraq, the second to do so in less than a month.

John H. Brown, who joined the U.S. diplomatic corps in 1981 and served in London, Prague, Krakow, Kiev, Belgrade and Moscow, said in a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell made available to the media: "I cannot in good conscience support President Bush's war plans against Iraq.

"Throughout the globe the United States is becoming associated with the unjustified use of force. The president's disregard for views in other nations, borne out by his neglect of public diplomacy, is giving birth to an anti-American century," the diplomat added.

Brown has recently been attached to the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University in Washington. Immediately before that, he was cultural attache at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

A senior U.S. diplomat based in Athens, political counselor John Brady Kiesling, 45, resigned in protest at the Bush administration's policy on Iraq last month.

Howdy, Neighbor!

From CNN:
DALLAS, Texas (Reuters) -- President Bush has a new neighbor in Crawford, Texas -- a peace activist who plans to use his house near the president's ranch as a springboard to speak out on issues such as a war with Iraq.

John Wolf, a peace activist from the Dallas area, recently completed paperwork to buy a home in Crawford, a town of less than 1,000 people. He plans to use the facility as an interfaith peace house that can serve as a base to launch peace protests near the ranch Bush calls the Western White House.

"I wish the peace house was already up and running," Wolf said.

The house, near city hall, is one of the first structures that visitors to Crawford see after passing along a sign on the highway that welcomes people to town and reminds them it is the "Home of President George W. Bush". (sic)

Crawford Mayor Robert Campbell told the Dallas Morning News the town will keep a close eye on the peace house. Campbell was not immediately available for comment.

"We're not going to let them turn the town into a three-ring circus," Campbell told the paper. "If they want to protest, let them go to Washington."

If they want to protest, let them go to Washington? Why, is it illegal in Texas?