Love Thy Enemy:

Truly practiced at Link via OxBlog.
So Mao Had the Giant Bed...

And Saddam had mirrored walls and shag carpet.
More Songs from Ireland:

Here is a piece of an old Orangeman song that speaks properly of certain fighters in Iraq:
United in blood to the country�s disgrace,
They secretly shoot those they dare not to face;
But whenever we catch the sly rogues in the field,
A handful of soldiers makes hundreds to yield;
The cowards collect but to raise our renown,
For as soon as we fire the croppies lie down.
The song is called "Croppies Lie Down," where a "croppie" is one of the United Irishmen of 1798, who wore their hair short, rather than long in the manner of the old aristocracy. This page is a friend to the United Irishmen, who advocated and upheld the principles of classical liberalism. Most of the founders were educated in Scotland, where David Hume and others had created the philosophical movement that gave us our American constitution. Rather than being a sectarian group, the United Irishmen were a group of Protestants from Ulster who united--thus the name--with Catholic Irishmen who also believed in the classical liberal principles of the Scottish Enlightenment.

"Croppies Lie Down" is thus not a song I've often sung, but I can't help reflect on how appropriate it is to the current moment. Why, there's even this line:
Should France e�er attempt, by fraud or by guile...
Democracy and Tolerance, II:

The London Spectator has an excellent article by Roger Scruton this week on different views of the function of law. He discusses the degradation of tolerance in Britian, one of the two healthiest democracies:
Law, in a liberal democracy, is concerned not to impose moral conformity but to maintain peace, order and goodwill between people, all of whom are free to pursue their own conception of the good life, to the extent that they can do so without harming others. The main contours of this view � tellingly argued by Mill in On Liberty � were until recently accepted among educated people, most of whom would concur in the judgment that it is both reasonable to regard adultery as immoral, and oppressive to make it a crime. . . .

The reason why the case of hunting is important, even for those who disapprove of hunting and would like to see it banned, is that it is the cornerstone of an indigenous way of life. To ban hunting is to criminalise a large and generally law-abiding minority. To justify a ban therefore requires some other argument besides the mere fact of moral disapproval: we need a clear conception of the benefits not only to animals but also to people. But the parliamentary opponents of hunting have refused to enter the argument about these complex matters, having seen that it is an argument that they might lose. Morality seems to them like a better resource, since of its very nature it is absolute and irrebuttable. Invoking morality is a way of saying, with Luther, �Here I stand; I can do no other� � in other words, a way of refusing to engage with your opponent.

ParaPundit has a strong article on North Korea today.

Christopher Lowe, who is a staff writer for Army Times Publishing, has a piece in the Daily Standard. It's a bit late and says nothing substantive that hasn't been said on, or linked-to from, this page before. He does, though, give some specifics on equipment used, particularly UAVs, that hasn't appeared here before, as well as some military jargon that is in current use.
Democracy and Tolerance:

The Foreign Policy journal which suggests that Muslim attitudes towards women and homosexuality may make them unsuitable as potential democrac polities. Citing large-scale intolerance of homosexuality, as well as what is commonly known as "women's liberation," the piece concludes:
The United States cannot expect to foster democracy in the Muslim world simply by getting countries to adopt the trappings of democratic governance, such as holding elections and having a parliament. Nor is it realistic to expect that nascent democracies in the Middle East will inspire a wave of reforms reminiscent of the velvet revolutions that swept Eastern Europe in the final days of the Cold War. A real commitment to democratic reform will be measured by the willingness to commit the resources necessary to foster human development in the Muslim world. Culture has a lasting impact on how societies evolve. But culture does not have to be destiny.
Well, what about the Republic of Ireland, in which divorce and abortion were both quite illegal until recently? Democracy came first, though it was largely at first the "trappings" of democarcy--the Fianna Fail, for example, could not take their elected seats in the Dail for years because they refused to take a loyalty oath. It took some time before democracy's trappings became democracy, which in turn did eventually yield to the social reforms that the Foreign Policy piece seems to want in place before democracy.

Indeed, the FP piece includes this paragraph:
But economic development generates changed attitudes in virtually any society. In particular, modernization compels systematic, predictable changes in gender roles: Industrialization brings women into the paid work force and dramatically reduces fertility rates. Women become literate and begin to participate in representative government but still have far less power than men. Then, the postindustrial phase brings a shift toward greater gender equality as women move into higher-status economic roles in management and gain political influence within elected and appointed bodies. Thus, relatively industrialized Muslim societies such as Turkey share the same views on gender equality and sexual liberalization as other new democracies.
Well, then, it sounds like democracy is JUST the way to liberalize the Middle East, doesn't it? Turkey has long been a "democracy" in name only, with the army in real power. Only lately has "democracy" been giving way to real democracy. But already the social reforms the author desires are beginning. There is more:
In every stable democracy, a majority of the public disagrees with the statement that �men make better political leaders than women.� None of the societies in which less than 30 percent of the public rejects this statement (such as Jordan, Nigeria, and Belarus) is a true democracy. In China, one of the world�s least democratic countries, a majority of the public agrees that men make better political leaders than women, despite a party line that has long emphasized gender equality (Mao Zedong once declared, �women hold up half the sky�).
So why the conclusion? All the evidence they cite points the other way. Even partial democracy--early Irish Republic, or Turkey--seems to start the "modernizing" transformation that is linked to sexual liberation. Lacking partial democracy, even strenuous attempts by the government to enforce ideas of gender equality fail.
But on the Same Page:

Mr. Marshall says this about the Marine who wrapped the 9/11 flag over the statue of Hussein:
It's also one of those gives-you-faith-in-America moments to find out that the Marine who hoisted the flag -- Cpl. Edward Chin -- is apparently Chinese-American.
What? How could it be reprehensible to suggest that blacks are presumptive drug users, but perfectly fine to imply that finding a patriotic Chinese-American is cause for celebration? This is racism too, but the sort that is apparently acceptable to reform liberals of Mr. Marshall's stripe. Neither view is welcome on this page, which asserts--as the Marine Corps does itself--that there are no black Marines, and no white Marines (nor Chinese-American Marines either): there are only Marines. The same is true of Americans generally. Semper Fi.
Marshall and I Agree On Something:

From Talking Points Memo:
"My sons are 25 and 30," Representative Barbara Cubin (R-Wyoming) said on the House floor a few days ago. "They are blond-haired and blue-eyed. One amendment today said we could not sell guns to anybody under drug treatment. So does that mean if you go into a black community, you cannot sell a gun to any black person, or does that mean because my ... "

At this point, Representative Mel Watt (D-North Carolina) cut Cubin off and demanded her remarks be stricken from the record for implying that blacks are presumptive drug addicts.
Where's the Outrage, John Marshall asks. Here, sir. But, it's good to see Southern Democrats on the right side of the race question these days.
Tautology watch:

This story, from, is titled Fighting in East Hinders Disarmament. That is something like saying "Continued War Hinders Peace," isn't it?

Actually, it neatly captures my reasons for thinking peacekeepers would be wasted in Afghanistan. Advocates of "peackeeping" don't always seem to recognize that you have to have a peace first. If you don't want to see headlines like "Continued War Hinders Peackeeping," you need to accept that soldiers must first make a peace before peacekeepers can keep it. That can be done through a negotiated settlement, certainly, rather than conquest--but it has to be DONE, if peacekeeping is to work.
But they said the border was closed!

Or perhaps these are humanitarian assassins coming from Syria.
Nuclear Baghdad:

Mansoor Ijaz, from today's "Corner" at National Review Online:
Whatever the Marines found there, and none of us know for sure until CentCom confirms what it was, it was dangerous beyond the limits Iraq was compelled to remain within by the United Nations and the IAEA. Saddam's last acts have always been formulated by the "if I can't have it, you can't have it either..." thesis. Let us hope he didn't break the seals at Tuwaitha, and in a last ditch act of terror, decide to take enough uranium to make multiple dirty bombs, deploy them in Iraqi cities for later detonation once civilian life returns to normal.
Lance Corporal Ian Malone:

Toward the end of the article, John Derbyshire cites a remarkable young man: Lance Corporal Ian Malone, KIA in Basra. I've sat through some several renditions of "Kevin Barry," whose young innocent life was ended by British tyrants merely because he shot a policeman in the back. Here's a martyr worth the poetry, if poets live who will stand to the tale. I am myself a poor poet, and will try:

Sandstorms settled in the south
of that sour place,
and terror-men opened wide a mouth
etched in a hate-filled face.

The rifle-spit struck down Malone
and he in a moment gave
a life well-lived, alone,
to set men free of the grave.

In later days men drew down
statues from on high;
they struck Iraqi ground
so dust and cheer could fly.

What, one Irish fighting man
to free millions from cold chains?
Not noble words, not gracious plan
could make real such gains.

Or--Is our time so coy,
so wild and free a thing?
Not Harvey nor Kelly, boy
of Killarn, not the Brian King

Freedom bought at such a cost,
where glory's priced so steep:
Where the name of each good man lost
Can memory's Herald keep.
But They've Always Said They Had No Control...

Sinn Fein's control over the Provisional IRA is brought into question by current events. Sinn Fein has always denied that they were, as they are always said to be, the "political wing of the IRA." Just patriots, so they'll tell you. Pass the half-and-half (we won't call them Black and Tans here), and that little coin-box with the white cap.
I'll Take a Hit:

This deck of cards is the best idea I've seen out of the war, and it's been a war of good ideas. Now my only question is--where can I get one?

The Voice of America reports that Syria is closing its Iraqi border to all but humanitarian traffic. Meanwhile, on that border, US airstrikes and Special forces troops are engaged in continuing operations against fleeing members of the former Iraqi government and anyone trying to slip in to help them:
Syrian fighters have turned up on the Iraqi battlefield--one was found hiding in a Baghdad refrigerator on Wednesday--and other Arab fighters have crossed into Iraq via Syria to attack the U.S.-led coalition.

On Thursday, after Saddam's regime collapsed in Baghdad and the northern city of Kirkuk, it appeared some were returning the way they came: A correspondent for Al-Jazeera at the Syria-Iraq border said he had met Palestinian and Syrian volunteer fighters at the border who had abandoned their positions in Mosul and were returning home.
Meanwhile, the good people in San Francisco are convinced that Damascus is next.
Nuclear Baghdad:

Jed Babbin doubts it, at least not at this location.
Nuclear Baghdad:

More on the nuclear complex the Marines have located. The IAEA has apparently inspected the above-ground site numerous times, and had done some examination of some undergound facilities; but an underground complex is something they had never discovered, "despite persistent rumors." Interesting read.

Meanwhile, the Scotsman is reporting that we may have found plutonium. PittsburghLIVE has a more up to date and complete version of the story.
"The Onion a trouv� la solution"

Le Figaro discovers America's Finest News Source. At least the French knew it was satire.
So what are we doing with Syria?

I'm still unsure myself. We're obviously not worried about provoking them, having cut their oil, taken a town right on their border, had Rumsfeld warn them twice on military cooperation with the former government of Iraq, and even hinted that Syria might be next if they didn't behave according to our wishes. That last article mentions an unnamed military source who claims that we are drawing up plans to invade Syria--indeed, we almost certainly are, if we haven't already. As I said recently about Pakistan:
If Pakistan falls, you can bet we have a plan for dealing with it--one that likely involves Navy SEALs. In fact, we probably have ten plans, and the resources to carry them out. The president--whoever he might be on the occasion--need only choose among them if the time comes.
We have lots of people who make their careers on drawing up contingency plans; it doesn't mean we're going to do anything about them. I wouldn't be surprised to find that we had drawn up plans to invade parts of Europe under certain circumstances. Sure reads nastily in the press, though.

Actually, I suspect we are going to invade Syria, though only informally. Jed Babbin suggested it today in his warblog on National Review Online, with regard to assassinating/capturing leaders of the former Iraqi government. I think we'll see a cross-border situation like we have with Afghanistan and Pakistan right now: militants, terrorists, and other groups are likely to try to hide on the other side of the Syrian border. We will hunt and kill them, and we will officially deny doing so "except in hot pursuit." In fact, though, we'll do it gladly. But will there be a formal war with Syria?

I honestly don't know. Watch Rumsfeld, though, for the answer--if he actually says so, rather than merely hinting at it, then we're going.
Al Jazeera:

"Objective and balanced global news coverage," indeed. Today's headlines include a story about Rumsfeld and Syria, whose subhead is: "Emboldened by US military action in Iraq, hawks have turned their sights on Iran and Syria." Which hawks? Well, if you go and read the story, you find out that it's really just one guy: Michael Ledeen. But Ledeen, though a member of the American Enterprise institute, is mostly a journalist who writes for the Jewish World Review. He's not a member of the administration. All the quotes from actual government officials explicitly deny military action against Syria or Iran. The only counterexample al Jazeera could find was this:
It was widely believed that Vice President Dick Cheney was referring to Syria and Iran when he said in a speech that Washington would �do whatever it takes� to defeat terrorism and must confront nations that sponsor it.
More on the Syrian oil pipeline:

Syrian oil exports are dropping by half following the US destruction of the Iraq-Syria oil pipeline. It's only a coincidence, say the Syrians, who deny that they were ever illegally importing oil from Iraq. (NB: That is, "illegally" according only to several UN resolutions. Since the UN has demonstrated disinterest in enforcing its mandates, as far as I can tell, it's not really illegal at all.)
War Has Gamblers Folding:

So says ABC News in this report. Well, not me. Those of you who have lost bets can post your forfeits to my PO box; email if you need it. I wrote to the one of you who may have won one earlier, and as discussed, we'll wait for better evidence before deciding.

New war bets welcome. I'll consider anything, but you may have to take odds if you want to lay really strange bets.
Nuclear Baghdad?

The wife's nightmare scenario is not something I am particularly concerned about, given the apparent collapse of what little command and control remained with enemy forces. The collapse of the former government of Iraq today should preclude the use of weapons of mass destruction, including nukes if they existed. Someone's got to carry out the orders, after all.

Still, this report that the 1st Marine Division has captured an undeclared nuclear site in Iraq is interesting.
Afghan situation:

The Post also has its lead editorial on the Afghan situation.
Seen from a complacent Washington, Afghanistan still may look better than it did before the U.S. intervention. But experts following the country say they worry about a steady unraveling, much like that which preceded the Taliban's seizure of power in the mid-1990s. The symptoms are similar: Outside the capital, warlords and bandits rule the country, sometimes battling each other and regularly robbing their fellow citizens at highway checkpoints. At the borders, aid shipments and "customs collections" on imported goods are diverted to the warlords, depriving the central government of resources and revenue. The opium trade is booming. In some places, the Taliban's extreme practices, including the persecution of women, have been reimposed.

All of these phenomena have flourished in a vacuum knowingly created by the Bush administration, which refused to support the deployment of peacekeeping forces outside Kabul. Rather than disarm and disable the warlords, U.S. commanders continue to depend on them and even to finance some of them.
We need Afghanistan as a floursing, stable state. We aren't going to get there with peacekeepers, though--as demonstrated in the Bosnian conflict, peacekeepers' rules of engagement quickly turn them into "armed hostages," as my professor Tom Pearce used to say. Securing the borders in a rugged country, and pacifying rival clans at war, that isn't the work of peacekeepers. Let's be of a serious mind about this. Peacekeepers have their place, but this isn't it.

Disarming the Afghans isn't the solution either. For one thing, it will create a tremendous amount of hostility. All of the various cultures in Afghanistan have strong traditions that bearing arms is part of manhood. There can be no faster way to turn the country against us than to try to enforce the Washington Post's ideals of gun control. Those ideas don't even fly in the American South, whose citizens get a vote in any such laws. If I had a dollar for every time I've heard a Southerner say he'd take up arms against the government rather than let them seize his guns, I'd be a rich man. Such ideas are definitely not going to fly in Afghanistan, where they would be imposed by an outside force, on a culture with at least as strong a tradition of arms-bearing.

In the short term, we can carry on fighting opposition forces with the 82nd Airborne and Special Forces. In the long term, though, we need to found an organization like the Texas Rangers. That link is to a site on the history of the Rangers, who began in conditions not unlike those of modern Afghanistan. The Rangers began as a military force, and have evolved over 180 years to become a police force. We are, hopefully, looking at a shorter span of evolution for the Afghan situation, but the Texas Rangers are the best model. Small companies of rangers, with what amounts to martial-law authority but with backing from the central government, can act as a military force in the early days, to secure the borders and destroy the bands of warlords hostile to the government. They need to be skilled, trained in mountain warfare, and capable of moving quickly and acting on independent authority.

In time, as the Texas Rangers, they can evolve into a police force, once the situation on the ground changes. To start with, a mixed American-Afghan company would be ideal, trained by the US Army's 75th Rangers (who are closer in form and function to the early Texas Rangers than the modern Texas Rangers). As the methods and the ideals of the Rangers become ingrained, we can move to an all-Afghan regiment. Such a force, highly mobile and well trained, loyal to the government and able to enforce its will, would be just what is needed for a wild and difficult frontier.
The Metro:

The Washington Post reports this morning on a possible al Qaeda threat to the Washington, D.C. Metro. It sounds dubious to me, but mass panic in tightly constrained areas gets ugly, quickly.
I would be remiss...

... as a proud citizen of the Great State of Georgia, which gave the world Sir James Edward Oglethorpe, Lachlan McIntosh, (especially) James Jackson, and Doc Holliday; and as a brother to a UGA alumnus; if I did not include a link to this picture of a UGA flag flying over a Saddamite palace in Baghdad.

Go, Mighty Dawgs.
Alas, John, that I can't agree:

John Derbyshire is my second favorite conservative columnist, after Mark Steyn. John, whose occasional correspondance I consider an honor, has this to say about Iraq:
"This may, of course, be premature. I am writing this on Monday afternoon. It is well-nigh certain that brave young troopers from the Coalition forces - aye, and brave young Iraqis, and poor helpless noncombatants too - will be maimed and killed before the business is wrapped up and done. It is possible something large and ghastly will happen. I hope you will forgive me for setting these things aside and saying: Even so, we have won. There is nothing so large and ghastly it could change that."
I wish I could agree. One possibility remains, the one that has been bothering my wife all along. The Iraqi information minister said today that our soldiers must surrender or be "burned in their tanks." His statements have been delusional all along, and there is no special reason to think this is more than bravado. Yet... there is a chance that there are atomic "doomsday devices" in Baghdad. That the Iraqi government might have these is possible, and indeed, such weapons do not need to be tested. Detonation of such weapons could take out a division or more of forces inside Baghdad, which would be a loss of such magnitude as to raise the cost of victory beyond what we would readily pay again. Hopefully, though, if such weapons exist at all they are known to our intelligence people, and have been priorities of all those Special Operations gentlemen in country.

It strikes me as highly unlikely. Still--it is not impossible.
Massacre in the Congo:

The Daily Telegraph has the story. I just heard an NPR interview with an official from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (rule of thumb: any state whose name includes the word "Democratic" is a brutal hellhole) which seemed to suggest that this might be a tribal thing, as women and children were doing some of the killing.

This follows an incident earlier this year involving cannibalism, as well as the more usual killing and raping.
So why am I confident of victory?

Well, also from the MOUT manual:
The attacker won all urban battles where the defender was totally isolated. Even the partial isolation of the defenders resulted in attackers enjoying a success rate of 80 percent. Conversely, attackers won only 50 percent of the battles in which defenders were not significantly isolated, and those victories came at great cost.
It's hard to get much more isolated than the Iraqi government is just now. There is no government in the world that will openly ally with them in the war. The roads in and out of the city of Baghdad are controlled by the United States. Soon the surface streets will be owned by us as well, and they'll be fighting out of buildings and tunnels. We'll control the buildings soon enough, though the tunnels will be a sticking point. There is nowhere they can go, and no help is coming except in the form of terrorists, who can't offer a standup fight to professional soldiers and Marines.

No, the danger is in the long term, when we find our occupation forces under occasional assault by terrorist groups. However, we've shown a great deal of success at fighting such forces (see yesterday's entries), and our techniques have only improved of late. Special Operations forces are ideal for antiterrorist operations of this type. Furthermore, if the postwar period is handled carefully, it should be easy to deny the terrorists the allegiance of the population of Iraq. Without that, they can't operate with long term success.

If we operate with decency and fairness--as we ought to do anyway--and if our troops behave in the long term with a devotion to chivalry and honor, as they doubtlessly will, victory is certain.

The cost is not. Raise a glass to the honor of the soldiers and Marines who will pay it. If the human destiny is according to a vision of liberty, rather than tyranny, it is their blood that will buy it.
How much longer will the war last?

Well, that really depends on what you are ready to consider "the war." If you include terrorist actions and fights against terrorist groups--probably a long time yet, likely years. I won't be surprised if we end up moving a large number of our troops who have been garrisoning Germany to garrison Iraq in the postwar period--really, it would be wise to do so, to provide stability to the new government during the first years.

But, if you mean the war against Hussein's government... well, that won't be as long. Still, there are several reasons to think that it will be a while yet before Baghdad is secure, and Tikrit is still to come. Rumsfeld thinks the war isn't yet at the 'tipping point,' which is a pretty good indication that we may see some serious fighting yet. Furthermore, there are those underground fortresses, which may require weeks or months to clear. And, last, there is this admonition from the MOUT manual cited below:
In most cases, successful conclusion of an urban battle took two to three times longer than the initial estimates. This often had adverse affects on the overall campaign. Well-planned urban defense, even if the defender is isolated or lacking in aviation, armor, or artillery weapons, can be time consuming to the attacker. Time can allow the defender to reorganize, re-deploy, or marshal resources in other areas.
Ah, Reuters:

One wonders why they even asked:
A travel ban imposed on Baghdad by Iraqi authorities would have no impact on the activities of U.S.-led military forces attacking the city, a Pentagon spokesman said on Sunday.
"We will go wherever and whenever we want," the spokesman told Reuters.

InstaPundit, sage of the University of Tennessee, links today to an good article on city fighting. It's interesting to compare to the USMC MOUT manual for NCOs.

The National Review on the Arab warriors coming to fight the Jihad against Americans in Iraq. Outraged by our destruction of an Arab state, these men are swarming by the hundreds to join the war against America.

This was the anti-war argument fielded by the most intelligent doves. It was unfairly scorned by some hawks, who scoffed that doves were simultaneously arguing that Saddam had nothing to do with terrorists, but also that we daren't fight him because it would inflame terrorists. But the hawks who stopped with such scoffing were not playing fair, as they were themselves arguing that Saddam -was- in league with terrorists, but dismissing the danger of enhanced terrorist recruitment for war in Iraq.

The proper hawkish response was, and is, this: The time has come for fighting terrorists. We need to break these terror groups now, before weapons of mass destruction--particularly radiological/nuclear weapons--become more commonly available. It is therefore a benefit of the Iraq war that it will bring those who are ideologically disposed to terrorism into the fight now, while they are fighting at a disadvantage, so that they will be dead later, when weapons of mass destruction might be ready to hand. This is the proper time for the conflict. If we are to remake the Middle East, eliminating the subset of the population that is willing to commit terrorist acts is necessary.

Yes, it greatly increases the danger of the struggle to our soldiers in the field. They understand about danger. It is time for this fight. We cannot go on like we have, treating terrorists as criminals, and limiting our responses to law enforcement. By all means, let's call up the enemy to his fullest, and fight him down. We have thousands of special-operations qualified troops in the region. Breaking these terrorists is part of making America safe--the most important part, in fact. Anyone who wants to fight, let's fight now.

The Daily Telegraph on the fall of Basra. Registration may be required, but it's free. The Telegraph reminds us of one way in which the offensive is very different from Medieval battles:
In medieval and early modern times, cities that resisted siege could expect havoc and slaughter when they fell.

Even today, armies are sometimes prepared to raze urban areas rather than risk house-to-house combat, Grozny being the most recent example. Yet British troops managed to fight their way to the centre of Basra with miraculously few casualties, either to themselves or to the civilian population.
The Economist on DPRK:

The Economist's latest take on the situation with North Korea.
From William Raspberry:

William Raspberry is my favorite liberal columnist. (My favorite conservative columnist, if you are curious, is Mark Steyn). Raspberry's piece today is on affirmative action. He and I do not agree, but his take is, as always, thoughtful.
Interservice humor:

Q: How do you know when a soldier is about to say something brilliant?
A: He starts by saying, "A Marine once told me..."
Maybe if you ask them nicely:

Some additional business for the war summit in Northern Ireland. Since he's going to be there anyway, the BBC asks, couldn't Bush devote a little energy to getting the IRA under control?
North Korea:

The DPRK has tested an antiship missile this week, the third such test of the KN-01 system. Meanwhile, the BBC is having some fun with Bush administration officials, who can't seem to decide whether the DPRK or Iraq has the worse human rights record. The DPRK has suggested that, actually, it's the US who is the worst. But certainly one can't fault the US for being insufficiently interested in human rights... almost over-interested, really...
Elements of the State Department report have been viewed with some derision by commentators - in particular its 16-page exposition of human rights in largely trouble-free Canada, and its noting that the Palestinian Authority has failed to install ramps at public building entrances to allow disability access.
War's Finest Weapon:

The Black Watch took Basra today, devoting their Challenger tanks. Those tanks are rated by some experts as the best in the world, better even than our M1A1 Abrams, though personally I suspect the Abrams is more likely to survive a battle. Air support was provided by US Marine Air, using Super Cobra attack helicopters that, excepting updated munitions and avionics, date to Vietnam. It's hard to imagine a more irresistable force than the Scots and the Marines fighting together. The Scotsman provides here a very thorough account of the battle.

This battle also saw, for the first time in the war, the British army using its most feared and awesome weapon.
As he began to play, the sound of Scotland the Brave drifted across the bridge towards the city, competing with the clatter of rotor blades as four Cobra helicopters raced in to join the attack.
The Highland pipes were declared weapons of war after 1746, when Bonnie Prince Charlie's last Jacobite uprising was defeated by an army of Lowland Scots and a few British gentlemen. The prohibition didn't take: soon the Highlander regiments carried those pipes around the world in service to the Crown. These regiments included the Black Watch, also known as the "Gallant Forty-Twa," or 42nd Regiment--they had been the 43rd, but one of the older regiments was "reduced." The Highlanders made the sound of the pipes feared by Britian's foes, from Napoleon's Eurpoe to India and China. They'd had the same effect upon the English in their day:
"There are those who when the woollen bagpipe sings i'th nose/ cannot contain their urine."
William Shakespeare, "Merchant of Venice"
Vive les chevauchees!

More "war rides" along the perimeter, provoking enthusiastic but uncoordinated resistance. Via the W. Post. If you don't know what a chevauchee is, page down to yesterday's entries.
Two from the Post:

Today's Washington Post has two good articles on the use of American power in the war: one on ground forces, and one on the use of air assets.
DPRK News:

From the Washington Post. The DPRK says it plans to rely upon a "tremendous military deterrent force," and will regard any sanctions as an act of war. I wonder if that applies to a PRC oil embargo? The Chinese Army on one side, and the US Military on the other--that's not a vice I'd want to put myself in.

Still, the language today is worrisome. It's not really new--the DPRK has been saying for a while that preconditions for negotiations with the US would be that we (a) sign a nonagression pact, and (b) accept them becoming a nuclear power. Today's language says the same thing, but in uglier terms:
"Even the signing of a non-aggression treaty with the United States would not help avert a war," said the statement, distributed by the official Korean Central News Agency.

"Only the physical deterrent force, tremendous military deterrent force powerful enough to decisively beat back an attack supported by any ultra-modern weapons, can avert a war and protect the security of the country and the nation," the statement said.
"Experts" seem to be divided on whether or not the DPRK is "pushing to become a recognized nuclear power[.]" Well, you've read their statement: what do -you- think?
Wrong Again, General:

From Al Jazeera:
"The occupation of the airport is not of major military value. The advancing forces cannot use this airport, which is 15-20 kilometres off Baghdad unless they occupy the capital. The victory is more a political or media success than a military one," said General Mohammed Bilal, commander of Egyptian forces during the 1991 Gulf War.
From CNN:
The first U.S. military planes landed at Baghdad's international airport Sunday night as U.S. forces tightened their control over the Iraqi capital, U.S. military officials said.

Army officials told CNN's Walter Rodgers that two C-130s and a C-117 cargo planes were flying into the city under the cover of darkness, two days after U.S. troops captured the facility.
Political Correctness:

That USMC manual I cited in the last post has an amusing bit of PC garbage toward the end.
(3) Wetting Down. After a promotion, it is customary to
celebrate by spending your first pay raise on your fellow Marines
at your favorite tavern. Tradition has it that the new grade
insignia was placed in the bottom of a glass of spirits, and the
Marine drank the glass dry. Remember... alcoholic beverages must
be consumed with moderation.
One suspects a civilian editor.
Not All Outlaws Are Merry Men:

InstaPundit today links to an article from the Jerusalem Post on U.S. successes against guerrillas. Not convinced? Did you know that the United States Marines fought guerrillas every year from 1898 to 1934, excepting only 1905? Well, there's a reason it's not commonly taught in schools--it wasn't, really, a big deal. The Marines even had forces to spare for the First World War, when they earned their epiteth "Devil Dogs".
To Dwell in the Greenwood with a Butt of March Beer:

The Daily Telegraph reports on the balmy weather of the Early and High Middle Ages. For the Telegraph, it's about global warming:
According to Prof Stott, the evidence also undermines doom-laden predictions about the effect of higher global temperatures. "During the Medieval Warm Period, the world was warmer even than today, and history shows that it was a wonderful period of plenty for everyone."
Well, of course. This makes sense of something I have wondered about since my boyhood. How could Robin Hood and his Merry Men live such fine lives with no better shelter than the Greenwood and a skin of March beer?
So Little John gave Arthur the money, and the others stepped to the thicket, there to await the return of the Tanner.
After a time he came back, bearing with him a great brown loaf of bread, and a fair, round cheese, and a goatskin full of stout March beer, slung over his shoulders. Then Will Scarlet took his sword and divided the loaf and the cheese into four fair portions, and each man helped himself. Then Robin Hood took a deep pull at the beer. "Aha!" said he, drawing in his breath, "never have I tasted sweeter drink than this."
Now I know.