December 2003 Archives

December 30, 2003

Poll: American troops support Iraq war

Contrary to the beliefs of some, the American military supports the Iraq war and President Bush. That's the finding of a Military Times poll conducted from Nov. 3 to Dec. 17, putting aside the political rhetoric for the true beliefs of our service men and women.

The poll found solid support for the president’s Iraq policy. Fifty-six percent of those in the Military Times Poll approved of Bush’s handling of Iraq.[...]

Sixty-five percent of those in the Military Times Poll said the situation in Iraq was worth going to war over[...]

» Continue reading "Poll: American troops support Iraq war"

Christmas Wishes

I hope that everyone had a great Christmas, and is having a great holiday season. This is one of the most special times of the year, and I hope that you all are having a great time, and that you have a safe and happy New Year's as well.

Christmas, during a time of war, has always been especially significant in our nation's history. This is the first Christmas since our War on Terrorism began during which our troops have been active in wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq. There are many serious problems that have been occurring in these very tense situations.

» Continue reading "Christmas Wishes"

Posted by Aakash at 1:47 AM

December 27, 2003

Khilafah: the new Evil Empire

Some time ago, I wrote a short essay which is related to and, in my opinion, clarifies the Bush Doctrine. Here is an excerpt from the introduction:

An evil ideology is violently spreading throughout the world. Its adherents inflict countless death, suffering, and destruction. Many countries have already fallen to it: from Mauritania and Sudan to Malaysia and Pakistan. The ideology's influence is spreading quickly into the Free World, particularly Europe. Its goal is the establishment of a worldwide totalitarian state that will crush all human freedom and decency. By attaching itself to religion, the ideology has become more virulent than even Communism and Nazism.

» Continue reading "Khilafah: the new Evil Empire"

Posted by Alex at 7:22 PM

December 22, 2003

Voter News Survey 2002 mid-term exit polls

Voter News Service had to cancel the publication of exit polls after the 2002 elections due to computer glitches. Now they're out with cleansed data.

The highlights:

  • The Republicans won the vote for House seats 51% to 46%.
  • Conservative voters up to 34% from 30%.
  • Number of liberals dips to 17% -- the lowest in the last four elections.
  • Moderates account for 49%.

Posted by Vivek at 3:44 PM

December 19, 2003

Today in History

I did a blog entry last year on December 19th, with regard to a historic event that happened on this date a few years ago. Today is the fifth anniversary of a very significant and historic occurrence - one of the most historical political occurrences in many of our lives, in fact. It was a very exciting time to be a high school student following politics and current affairs. In the exciting and educational time period prior to what happened on this date in '98, I had been volunteering in the office of my Congressman. Last year, I wrote that, "It will be hard to forget the news, views, and debate which went on during this period" in our nation's history, but now, looking at what has happened since then, it seems that the much of the public has formed many strong opinions about the current administration... We have been witnessing the same types of sentiments - anger, frustration, outrage, doubt, disappointment, skepticism, betrayal, admiration, praise, pride, amity, respect, and reverence - being strongly expressed, on both ends of the ideological and political spectrum, and everywhere in between. I am definitely not trying to compare different leaders, just noting that whoever is in charge, strong emotions, enthusiasms, passions, and anxieties are going to be present.

» Continue reading "Today in History"

Posted by Aakash at 11:56 PM

The Domino Effect

... is starting. Tony Blair is announcing: Libya's Gaddafi has voluntarily agreed to dismantle the nation's WMDs and limit the range of its missiles to 300 km.

"This proves that this kind of action can be taken voluntarily and non-violently", said Blair. He also said "this would have been unthinkable a few years ago." (No link since I'm watching this live on CNN).

Wow! Long tenured dictators are beginning to cower. I wonder why.

PS: the peaceniks should still carry placards saying "Not in my name".

Update: story here.

Update: William Safire weighs in:

» Continue reading "The Domino Effect"

Posted by Vivek at 5:36 PM

Saddam video sends wrong message

After watching the videotape of her father's physical by U.S. troops, Saddam Hussein's daughter said the tape was intended to "break the spirit of Arabs." Last Wednesday, a senior official to the pope said he felt pity for the deposed dictator after viewing the same video played the world over. These two have something in common: they agree that the tape showed by the U.S. Defense Department was not the best of ideas. I agree.

Showing the tyrant in a humble and menial light may have been what he deserved, but as far as convincing anyone of anything it does very little except show that we had him, a task easily accomplished through other means. Although most did not sympathize with Hussein during his moment of capture, it showed him in a very human way. You could see the fear in his eyes, and the tape associates human characteristics with a most unhuman beast. Better would have been to show video of Saddam's torture victims, not images that give the anti-Bushies out there reason to criticize.

Personally, I have no problems with the video. But for those that do, it's too easy a criticism of the administration, and something that could have been easily avoided.

December 15, 2003

Actions and Words in Foreign Policy

One of the most frustrating things about political discourse is the disparity between words and actions. Just as irritating is mistaking words for actions. There are times when speaking the truth can be an action in itself, typically when speaking is dangerous. But in reality this is a fairly rare occurrence. In politics and diplomacy, much is made of the words which are said, but the actions are what is important.

A key area of current concern is about Bush's publicly stated short-term goal of bringing democracy to Iraq. This, coupled with his long-term goal of bringing democracy to the Middle East, offers a powerful vision for the hope of an end to the War on Terrorism. This is a worthy vision, but it remains to be seen if he and the American public have the will and stamina to bring it to fruition with positive action. In a democracy, one way of keeping the actions from straying too far from the words is by holding politicians accountable for doing what they say they will do. By the time of the 2004 election, we will hopefully be able to see if Bush's actions are leading in the direction of his stated goals.

» Continue reading "Actions and Words in Foreign Policy"

December 14, 2003

Expect Dem silence

The Iraqi National Congress is absolutely sure that former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has been captured by U.S. troops in Tikrit wearing a beard. (It was reported early on that his beard was fake, but that later proved to be untrue.)

The political ramifications are absolutely huge. Gone are the days of chastising Bush for not getting it done in Iraq. Now that we've achieved one of the most important objectives in Iraq--capturing Hussein--Bush has achieved a large political victory.

Democrats have yet to discuss the economy following its success of late. This capture means the war's off limits as well. The Democrats just took a major blow today, and what's good for the Iraqi nation and for the United States continues to be bad for the Dems. I believe they'll be uncharacteristically silent for the next few days/weeks, at least until they figure out what to do about the good news.

December 13, 2003

Arnold scores political victory

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger scored a huge political victory yesterday as the California legislature voted in favor of his new budget bill.

The bill is the result of compromise by Schwarzenegger and legislative Republicans, who had pushed for tougher economic measures, after Democrats who control both houses blocked their attempts last week.

One large downfall is the $15 billion bond deal. However, there are some bright spots. My favorite provision is the one that stipulates California cannot outspend revenues in any given year.

» Continue reading "Arnold scores political victory"

Posted by Deleted Author at 10:25 AM

December 12, 2003

Cutting out the weasels

Not to beat a dead horse, but about the Iraq contracts:

  • It is the US's prerogative to spend spend its tax dollars as it sees fit.
  • It is absurd to reason that those countries that tried their best to derail the US should now be able to siphon off that money.
  • Equally rewarding those opposed to the war is tantamount to penalizing those that did support the war --- with their money, political capital, and lives.
  • Those cut out say that this discourages them to help --- but they weren't helping anyway. All they gave were empty promises.
  • Isn't it duplicitous for anti-war countries to now be clamoring over the spoils of a war they opposed tooth and nail?
  • A real incentive is now in place for countries that decide to change their position.

I'm sorry -- but this is so blindingly obvious that the whole debate seems a bit funny to me.

Posted by Vivek at 5:55 PM

December 10, 2003

Born Blond

political satire

I would like to take a moment to talk about racism in this country and the trauma it causes the victim. I am a Blonde-American. For the purpose of this article I will draw a difference between 'blonde' with a small 'b' and Blonde with a capital 'B'. Blonde, with a small 'b' (unless, as in this case, it's at the beginning of a sentence) is to refer to the color. Blonde with a capital 'B' (also in this case at the beginning of a sentence) will refer to the culture of natural blondes or Blondes as the case may present itself.

Half of the world's population is Asian. An eighth of the world population is white. Only a very small fraction of them are blonde after infancy. Isn't it obvious, you might think, that we are a minority? The answer is a resounding yes. However we have no minority rights, nor holiday, not even a meager parade once in a while.

» Continue reading "Born Blond"

Posted by at 7:33 PM

December 7, 2003

Bush repeals steel tariffs -- finally!

Bush has finally repealed the steel tariffs he had imposed on imported steel twenty-one months ago.

These tariffs were a mistake from the very start. Protecting a dying, inefficient industry had a cost that was too high -- for consumers of steel here in the US, and for myriad other export based industries which would have been hit by retaliatory tariffs. What's more, the tariffs were largely ineffective.

For the umpteenth time, we've learnt that protectionism doesn't work.

Posted by Vivek at 12:55 PM

December 6, 2003

To those calling for revolution

David R. Remer is calling for a revolution at the ballot box, but that stirred commenter Son of Liberty to say, "It's almost time to get the guns out. 2005, regardless of who's elected." This is incitement to violence. Remer's response to this extremely threatening comment is simply, "Unlike Son of Liberty, I will continue to use the ballot box instead of insurrection as the means of bringing this about. But, I am hearing more and more folks, on the internet and even a few friends, speak in support of Son of Liberty's point of view." V. Edward Martin quotes the Declaration of Independence and concludes his article with, "I maintain that it is past time for revolution."

But let's not operate under the illusion that this is some kind of democratic revolution that we are talking about. When Son of Liberty gets his guns out, who will be slain? Will I be slain because of my vote in 2000 or 2004? Will I be slain for publicly supporting the current administration? Or will I be slain because I am enjoying a latte at Starbucks while the WTO is in town? None of these sound like particularly democratic acts to me.

» Continue reading "To those calling for revolution"

Posted by at 3:25 PM

December 1, 2003

Winning the War on Terror

Since the terrorists in Iraq have been knocking off American troops one by one for months now, it's about time we struck back in a big way. And what better way to do it than by taking out 46 Saddam Hussein loyalists in the largest battle since the end of major combat operations in Iraq.

The Boston Globe reported that the Iraqi attack was very well orchestrated but was not much of a match for American forces, wounding only five U.S. soldiers.

» Continue reading "Winning the War on Terror"

Sunshine Laws

I see that Schwarzenegger is putting quite a bit of his weight behind government Sunshine Laws to mandate more transparency in government decision making. (See also here.) This really isn't much of a partisan issue because both Democrats and Republicans seem to dislike broad sunshine laws. With respect to national government, I can think of quite a few secrets (mostly dealing with military or foreign policy issues) that need to be kept, but I can't think of too many things which need to be secret in state decision-making. Both articles suggest that the legislature really wants to exempt itself from the laws, but that seems silly. What is the purpose in keeping their negotiations and such behind closed doors? I have yet to hear a really good argument against sunshine laws for state governments. Does anybody have one? It seems to me that accountability on the part of public servants is something which should be encouraged.

I also note that apparently California has fairly good sunshine laws on the books, but activist judges have made broad exemptions which have taken the teeth out of them.