Minutiae
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"Chuck Norris doesn't read books; he stares them down until he gets the information he wants out of them."
- ChuckNorrisFactsdotcom

Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Who lives in the east 'neath the willow tree?
Sexual Harassment Panda.
Who explains sexual harassment to you and me?
Sexual Harassment Panda.
"Don't say that! Don't touch there!
Don't be nasty!" says the silly bear.
He's come to tell you what's right and wrong.
Sexual Harassment...
Panda.

posted by Rachel 3/16/2004
. . .
Sounds like there are widespread riots in Syria and Iran. Oh these are
good signs. Rise up! Seize your freedom!

posted by Rachel 3/16/2004
. . .
It
works.
"Four events were critical to convincing Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi to get rid of his previously secret nuclear-weapons program, according to U.S. and British officials, Western diplomats in Tripoli and a key adviser to Col. Qaddafi.

It was not patient diplomacy, although that helped. Nor was it a U.S. or British desire to rehabilitate Qaddafi. Instead, it was a combination of implied threats and U.S. and British actions on the high seas and in Iraq that convinced Qaddafi he had not a moment to lose before his government became the next Axis of Evil regime in U.S. gun sights. The story of how the Bush administration achieved a bloodless victory in Libya demonstrates how force and the credible threat of force are needed for the tools of intelligence and diplomacy to work.

"Until Sept. 11, Qaddafi was hoping he could carry on with a clandestine nuclear-weapons program and get away with it," a Western diplomat in Tripoli tells Insight. But when he saw the response of the Bush administration in Afghanistan, "he realized he couldn't keep going as before."

After defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan, President George W. Bush stepped up his war of words against Saddam Hussein, warning that weapons of mass destruction in the hands of regimes known to sponsor terror presented an unacceptable threat to the United States. "Qaddafi heard those words and recognized himself," a U.S. official said. "He believed the president's words were aimed at him."

In a September 2002 letter, British Prime Minister Tony Blair hectored Qaddafi about Libyan support for Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe and about the weapons programs. Two months later, Qaddafi sent an 11-page reply, "essentially saying, 'Why are you picking on me?'" a British official says. The established nuclear powers had 30,000 warheads, while Israel had perhaps 80. "Anything Libya might have would be a drop in the bucket," Qaddafi wrote.

Diplomacy alone was failing to lead Qaddafi to break from the past. It wasn't until U.S. and British troops crossed into Iraq on March 19, 2003, that Qaddafi detailed Foreign Minister Mohammed Abderrahmane Chalgam to begin talks with British and U.S. officials in London. "The Iraq war made it clear that the U.S. and the U.K. were serious about going after countries with WMD [weapons of mass destruction]," the British official adds. Even so, during the first meeting in March, "the Libyans were not candid. We had to show them that we knew more than they thought we knew before they opened up."

Behind the scenes, advisers to Qaddafi were arguing that Libya's security would be enhanced, not reduced, by giving up the nuclear program. "We had no delivery system," a top Qaddafi adviser tells Insight at the Libyan leader's office outside of Sirte. "I told the guide, 'If Libya were to start a nuclear war, our missiles won't even reach Malta. If the U.S. starts it, Libya will be erased from the map.'" He said he told Qaddafi as the meetings with the United States and the United Kingdom got under way in London last spring that it was better to get rid of the weapons and redirect the resources toward improving the economy than to risk an American attack.

Officials involved in the talks acknowledge that the Libyans remained divided over which course to pursue. "While they carried on negotiations with us, they continued with their WMD programs," a British official said. During the summer of 2003, Libyan nuclear-weapons scientists rushed to fill outstanding orders for equipment they needed for their secret bomb program.

In October 2003, with the help of Italian customs, a massive shipment of centrifuge components from Malaysia was seized in the Mediterranean en route to Libya. "It was a big shipment - the guts of what he needed," a U.S. official says. "That seizure broke the back of his program. Without it, he would have had to go back to square one."

The centrifuge parts were manufactured at Scomi Precision Engineering in Malaysia, according to specifications provided by Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdel Qader Khan. Shipped to Dubai, they were transferred onto a German-owned freighter, the BBC China, and labeled as "used machinery."

Democrats, including Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, have argued that the Libyan case shows that diplomacy works better in the war on terror than force. "If diplomacy was so effective," a Bush official involved in the interdiction effort tells Insight, "why did Col. Qaddafi continue to procure equipment at the same time our diplomats were talking?" After the seizure, the Libyans began to come clean. Only then were U.S. and British intelligence teams allowed to visit previously closed nuclear sites and to begin mapping out the true scope of the Libyan program.

Qaddafi now sought counsel from an unusual source, which Insight can reveal here for the first time. One month before Qaddafi's historic announcement on Dec. 19, 2003, he met in Tripoli with visiting Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma. "During their private meeting, Qaddafi asked Kuchma how America had treated him when he gave up his nuclear weapons after the fall of the Soviet Union," says Weldon, who heard the story directly from Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Hryshchenko. Kuchma suggested that Qaddafi broaden his ties beyond the administration and work with members of the U.S. Congress, as well.

The final event that sealed the fate of Qaddafi's nuclear-weapons program took place in early December 2003 along the borders of the Tigris River near Tikrit, when U.S. soldiers pulled former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein out of a spider hole."When Qaddafi watched a U.S. medic probe Saddam's hair for lice and poke around his mouth, he was stunned," several sources tell Insight. Western diplomats in Tripoli agree that Saddam's capture "traumatized" the Libyan leader. "What happened is very clear," an administration official says. "Things happened, and immediately afterward the Libyans did things in response."

Until Saddam's capture, "we were still negotiating. Both sides were sparring back and forth," a British official involved in the talks says. "Things radically changed course after that." Just 10 days later, Qaddafi made his official announcement that Libya was giving up its WMD programs and had invited U.S. and British experts into the country to verify the dismantling of his weapons plants.

Ultimately, the credit for the dramatic change in direction goes to Qaddafi, a Western ambassador in Tripoli believes: "He understood that his revolution could not continue unless he delivered more prosperity to Libyans, and the only way to do that was by renewing relations with the West." Now it's up to the United States to deliver its side of the bargain, he adds, by lifting sanctions and resuming normal trade with Libya."

posted by Rachel 3/16/2004
. . .
Yes. Yes absolutely. Will someone please ask him on camera. Will others keep asking until he answers.
"Now Spain will be ruled by socialists. The economic miracle of the past eight years will stagnate. Spain will rejoin the Old Europe of Chirac and Schroeder. Spanish troops will be withdrawn from Iraq. The American-led coalition will be weakened.

And most important of all, no election in the world is now safe from violent disruption by the terrorists. Having tasted success, the Osamites are sure to repeat their tactics again, perhaps even in America.

Since September 11, 2001, the United States has pursued a policy based on the proposition that the world is either going to capitulate to terrorism or extirpate it root and branch. But the forces of appeasement have captured the Democratic Party here as surely as they captured the now-victorious Socialist Party in Spain.

John Kerry has refused to identify the "international leaders" he says support his election to the presidency, thereby opening the door to speculation that they consist of those who seek an end to President Bush's foreign policy, the central tenet of which is an aggressive prosecution of the War on Terrorism.

It would be unfair to accuse Senator Kerry of being soft on al-Qaeda. But the Spanish disaster shows clearly that unless Kerry comes out forthrightly and serves notice on the terrorists that they have nothing to gain by his election, they will assume that they do, and the result could be a pre-election tragedy here that could dwarf what happened in Madrid.

American administrations of both parties resolutely, if not always effectively, maintained a strong anti-Communist policy during the long decades of the Cold War. If we are not similarly united for the duration of the War on Terrorism, we are asking for trouble."

posted by Rachel 3/16/2004
. . .
While I will never say that they deserve it, I will say that France
brought this on themselves. It was a stupid idea before anyone started making death threats. It remains a stupid idea. Now those making death threats have a legitimate gripe. (Not that the death threats are legitimate.)

posted by Rachel 3/16/2004
. . .
It amazes me that these loony lefty anti-war Bush=Hitler people can dare hold their faces up in public. They've been proven wrong so many times.

Afghanistan: not a quagmire, not vietnam, the dreaded "Afghan winter" and "Afghan summer" failed to materialize, the oil pipeline that was the whole reason for the war has also failed to materialize, millions did not starve, etc. etc. etc.

Iraq: not a quagmire, not vietnam, less than 1000 soldiers dead in the invasion and year long occupation, infrastructure being restored, massive resistance never materialized, interim constitution in place, Iraqis feel that their
lives are better, etc. etc. etc. [We won't even get into the mass graves and torture and corruption that the anti-war folks wanted to leave in place...]

Libya is disarming, in the words of Qaddafi "I will do whatever the Americans want, because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid."

The "Axis of Evil" that was so simplistic and provocative has been entirely substantiated.

Why on earth are intelligent people still listening to people with this kind of track record?

posted by Rachel 3/16/2004
. . .
Ugh. Doesn't it make you angry that there are people out there planning to manipulate our political processes through
random violence targeted at civilians?
"MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- A document published months before national elections reveals al Qaeda planned to separate Spain from its allies by carrying out terror attacks.

A December posting on a Internet message board used by al Qaeda and its sympathizers and obtained by CNN, spells out a plan to topple the pro-U.S. government.

"We think the Spanish government will not stand more than two blows, or three at the most, before it will be forced to withdraw because of the public pressure on it," the al Qaeda document says.

"If its forces remain after these blows, the victory of the Socialist Party will be almost guaranteed -- and the withdrawal of Spanish forces will be on its campaign manifesto."

That prediction came to fruition in elections Sunday, with the Socialists unseating the Popular Party three days after near-simultaneous bombings of four trains killed 200 and shocked the nation."
Link via Andrew Sullivan who sums it up this way:
"Some readers have written me to criticize my argument that al Qaeda is striking back at our allies in Iraq because they see how dangerous to them the transition to democracy in Iraq could be. Some argue that the war against Saddam has nothing to do with the war on terror and that al Qaeda is using it as a new way to win recruits and divide the West. But this misunderstands al Qaeda's basic philosophy. What they object to is any Western or infidel influence in traditionally Muslim lands. They want those lands not just Judenrein but purged of any non-Muslims and even those Muslims who dissent from Wahhabist orthodoxy. They do not and have never needed the war in Iraq to justify their terror in pursuit of these aims. They killed long before the Iraq war. Their objection is to our intervention at all. And part of that agenda is our intervention in Afghanistan. After all, that was their safe harbor. Those who blame the war in Iraq for this counter-attack must also logically blame the war in Afghanistan. Should we not have waged that, since it would only embolden the enemy? In other words, all of Europe was at risk long before the Iraq war. And the Germans and Brits and Italians and many others now in Afghanistan are reason enough for more attacks in Europe. Al Qaeda not only resents any impurity in their homelands, they also long for more Lebensraum. They long to regain Andalusia, something bin Laden himself referred to not long after 9/11. What the Europeans refuse to understand is that there is no proximate cause for this violence. It is structural; it is aimed at the very existence of other faiths; it wishes to purge the entire Muslim world of infidels (which means the annihilation of the Jews), and eventually to reconquer Europe. You can no more negotiate with these people than you could negotiate with Hitler. And by negotiation, I don't just mean direct talks. I mean attempts to placate by occasional withdrawal of troops from, say, Iraq or Afghanistan, or withdrawal of troops from Saudi Arabia or abandonment of Israel. All such tactical shifts are regarded purely as weakness. They are invitations for more massacres. How many more will die in London and Rome and Berlin and Paris before the old continent fights to defend itself?"

posted by Rachel 3/16/2004
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