March 31, 2003
Sigh. I miss Bob. (scroll
Sigh. I miss Bob. (scroll to More From The Desk Of Me.)
Yes, that is a true story. I seem to think it happened shortly before I decided to start my comic. Speaking of which, there's another similar undertaking in the works. Can't tell you too much about it yet. But lo, it approacheth.
Posted by Matt at 9:58 PM
BREAKING NEWS: Pakistan to Declare
BREAKING NEWS: Pakistan to Declare Al Qaeda Terrorist Group.
No, that isn't in the "Do you have anything to declare?" sense...
Posted by Matt at 4:27 PM
Bob sends along this thoughtful
Bob sends along this thoughtful essay from Bill Whittle, about just how important this war in Iraq could be. It's long, but it's well-written and thought-provoking in an imaginative way that will encourage you to think beyond the short-term of our actions, and the real horror of what might have been had we not decided to act. It's got all sorts of interesting history tie-ins, too.
But of one thing I am absolutely certain. Despite all the switches in the rail yard, there is a flow and a direction to history that cannot and will not be denied.
It is the slow, uneven, grasping climb toward freedom. There are markers on Little Round Top, on the beaches at Normandy, and in the sands of Nasiriyah that show us where men have fought and laid down their lives, and willingly left their wives without husbands and their children without fathers, all for this idea. It is an idea bigger than they are, bigger than self-centered movie stars, bigger than cynical and bitter journalists, bigger than Presidents and Dictators, bigger, in fact than all human failure and miscalculation.
It is the idea that people – all people – deserve to live their lives in freedom.
Posted by Matt at 3:46 PM
Hey, if this is the
Hey, if this is the new breed of suicide-bomber, bring 'em on.
Posted by Matt at 2:41 PM
Iraq Pummeling the US, says
Iraqi forces have killed 43 Coalition soldiers over the past 36 hours and will fight "day and night" to repel the invaders, Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf told reporters.Every time this guy's gums start flapping about the stunning victories his armies have inflicted upon the coalition forces, I smile. Why? Two reasons.
He said Iraqi forces had also destroyed four Apache helicopters, two unmanned US drones and 28 armoured vehicles and tanks.
First, statements like this provide opportunities for the Coalition of the Shrilling (the communist/socialist/anarchist/anti-globalist/anti-captialist/environmentalist bloc in America and elsewhere) to expose themselves for who they really are. They're not against war, they're against American power. They're against the American way of life, and they pretty much spend all their time having meetings and rallies to discuss how to bring down the free republic we live in. (Did anyone else find it odd that A.N.S.W.E.R. was founded on the Saturday after 9/11? They saw the writing on the wall -- that the attack on New York and Washington would only make us stronger.)
But back to the relevant point, you're bound to hear someone repeat Aziz's words as if the man were delivering 100% UN-certified truth -- but in the next breath dismiss the reports from CENTCOM as if they were Nazi propaganda. I understand skepticism; that's healthy and necessary. But the one-sided adherence to Iraq's party line isn't thoughtful or reasoned. It's mindless. And it gives further credence to the theory that they just, quite simply, hate this country and everything that it stands for.
Second, all this blustering is gleefully reminiscent of the rantings and ravings of Mullah Omar and bin Laden. It smacks of desperation and overconfidence. The Iraqi leadership must know in some part of their hearts that they're screwed. And the more that fear starts to set in, the more they'll inflate their paper victories. And I hate to say this, but if this stuff gives the die-hard Saddamites more will to fight, the more the better. We need these guys to fight hard because we need to finish them off. It would not be a good thing if the Republican Guard surrenders. We'd be obligated to allow them to live -- and sooner or later, that would cause far more problems down the road in post-Saddam Iraq. Thus: the more of them we destroy, the more complete our victory, the more secure the future state of Iraq will be.
Posted by Matt at 1:42 PM
Good news on the North
The pipeline shutdown, officially ascribed to a technical problem, followed an unusually blunt message delivered by China to its longtime ally in a high-level meeting in Beijing last month, the sources said. Stop your provocations about the possible development of nuclear weapons, China warned its neighbor, or face Chinese support for economic sanctions against the regime. [...]
"We can't afford to shield North Korea any longer," Zhu Feng, an international security expert at Beijing University, said in an interview last month. "There is increasing recognition here if North Korea is finally armed with nuclear weapons, it will be a big threat to China."
Posted by Matt at 1:06 PM
You've probably seen this commercial:
You've probably seen this commercial: You see two guys fishing, listening to the radio. You hear the news guy finishing up his report, and then passing it off to the weather guy for a quick rundown of the day's forecast. Then "Chopper Dave" breaks in with the morning traffic report, from high above town in the SkyOne chopper. "I love Chopper Dave," says one of the guys fishing.
Little do they know that Chopper Dave -- and all the other voices -- are just some twentysomething guy sitting in a drab cinderblock studio with no windows, doing voices into the mike and reading the information provided to him by his SuperTel Wireless phone (or whatever the company is). Technology! Huzzah!
And now, after that lengthy but necessary setup: Life imitates art. Or, rather, a commercial.
Posted by Matt at 12:57 PM
March 30, 2003
Stephen Den Beste has discovered
Stephen Den Beste has discovered a perfect analogy that describes how the press has been handling its war coverage: point spreads. No, seriously, it really makes a lot of sense:
But the reporters are also engaging in the same kind of phony handicapping that goes on in coverage of the primaries. Yeah, the Americans are moving their columns and only facing minor harassment, and the Iraqis are getting their columns destroyed, but the point is that the Americans were supposed to do even better than that. Irrespective of the absolute situation, they didn't beat the point spread. They didn't do as well as they should have.Imagine a football game. And Texas is supposed to beat Baylor by 56 points. But for whatever reason, Texas doesn't beat the spread. Maybe they were up 35-0 at the half, and Mack Brown decided to give the starters a break. The second and third strings muster only another two touchdowns in the second half. Or, even if the first string stays in, maybe they hold back because they don't want to expose themselves to unnecessary injury. So they only score 49 points. You can come up with about a dozen or so reasons why Texas might not beat the spread, but still completely defeat the inferior Baylor football team. But if they don't win by at least 56 points, the win will still feel like a loss to some people.
The gist seems to be that the pre-game expectations are, to some degree, arbitrary and only relevant in terms of how the outcome is perceived. While I don't think Bush/Rumsfeld/&Co ever said this war would be a cakewalk, I think it's safe to say that they didn't adequately prepare the expectations battlefield before launching the war (and I'm guessing that there was a large part of them that hoped it would be a cakewalk, so I can understand why they didn't sufficiently talk down the expectations for this war). Anyway, these expectations are important. I'd rather see us play down the possibilities of easy victory, and then sock it to 'em, than the other way around.
Posted by Matt at 9:18 PM
Holy God. Now, investigators believe
Now, investigators believe that the hospital was a den of horror rather than healing and was used by the fanatical Feyidah militia as a staging area and headquarters. Inside, the leathernecks found one room that was equipped with a bed and a car battery, indicating that it was used to electrically torture prisoners.No comment would be appropriate.
Posted by Matt at 11:09 AM
And still more: When we
When we finally made it to Safwan, Iraq, what we saw was utter chaos. Iraqi men, women and children were playing it up for the TV cameras, chanting: “With our blood, with our souls, we will die for you Saddam.”
I took a young Iraqi man, 19, away from the cameras and asked him why they were all chanting that particular slogan, especially when humanitarian aid trucks marked with the insignia of the Kuwaiti Red Crescent Society, were distributing some much-needed food.
His answer shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did.
He said: “There are people from Baath here reporting everything that goes on. There are cameras here reco