New Link:

I've just added a new link, Bad Eagle. I salute a fellow patriot.

What's the bravest thing you've ever seen?

I've seen, and done, a lot of reckless things, the kind of stuff Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics condemned as a vice that consisted in an excess of bravery. I've been witness to a fair amount of real bravery. At length, though, I think this is it:

My father was a Captain of our county's Volunteer Fire Department. I remember once when one of their men fell through a floor into a basement and had his leg pinned. They tried to get him out, tried hard, but he burned alive. His radio worked until the end, so they all got to hear it. Then, on top of that, the state didn't pay his pension--he was a professional firefighter in another county, but since he was acting there as a volunteer, his kids and wife got nothing. All those firefighters saw all that. They heard the radio, they saw the State saving money on the backs of his kids.

The next fire, they were back on the line. That, I think, is the bravest thing I've ever seen or known.

French perfidy:

The Polish government is pressuring its military to keep quiet about those missiles, while issuing a statement through its civilian leadership that their military officers were mistaken. Well, that's a relief. Who would believe the French would sell top weapons to our enemies?

The Federation of American Scientists believes it. FAS was founded by scientists who had worked on the Manhattan project, and wanted to make sure their work was not misused or allowed to proliferate wildly. Here's what they have to say on the subject of the Syrian biological weapons program:

France has played the key role in building up Syria's very well developed pharmaceuticals industry. With the active encouragement of the French embassy in Damascus and French government export credits, the biggest names in the French pharmaceuticals industry flocked to Damascus in the 1980s. Many of them opened branch offices and built production facilities in Syria, to make French pharmaceuticals under license. As a result, the French increased their share from 13.11% of Syria's pharmaceuticals imports in 1982 to 23% by 1986. This was all the more unusual since Syria was expanding its domestic production and therefore importing less during this same period.
The French government screens exports to determine whether goods proposed for sale to Syria, Iran, Libya (and other countries) merit review because of proliferation concerns. While France has been applying the guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime for several years, she only began applying controls on production equipment that could go into a chemical weapons plant in early 1992. "Only in the past six months has there been a universal will to impose this type of controls," a senior French foreign ministry official said in May 1992. "Before then, CW production equipment was freely available."
Like Britain and Italy, France has been unwilling to impose unilateral export controls on CW production equipment without an internationally-accepted control regime, so French companies could not accuse the government of putting them at a disadvantage on lucrative Third World markets. The Australia Group, which oversees the control of CW precursors, only finalized a list of production equipment that should also be subjected to international controls in late 1991. It was only adopted (after stiff opposition from France and Great Britain) in June 1992.
"Every day I sign off on export licenses," another senior French licensing official present at the same forum said, "and I wonder whether I have not just signed my resignation. In the area of chemical weapons manufacturing equipment, it is totally impossible to distinguish between civilian and military end-use," he admitted. "The equipment is strictly identical."
How about the Egyptian ballistic missile program?
Egypt is believed to have produced the Scud-B indigenously - perhaps modifying them to extend their range - with some North Korean assistance. An enhanced Scud-C (called "Project T"), with range/payload of 450 km/985 kg, is reported to have been developed and may be in service. In cooperation with the French Soci�t� Nationale des Poudres et Explosifs (SNPE), Egypt has developed, produced, and deployed the Sakr-80 rocket as a replacement for the aging Frog missiles. The Sakr factory is responsible for producing the warheads, launchers and fire control systems for the Sakr-80.
Perhaps you'd like to know who helped to design China's premier attack helicopter?
The new WZ-9 helicopter gunship, the WZ-9 [export model code-named Z-9G] is a gunship converted from the French-designed Z-9 helicopter produced under license in China.
The Chinese military considers its mission the ability to defeat the U.S. military. That implies that they are at least a potential enemy, and certainly there have been high tensions over Taiwan. If the U.S. Navy has to fight for Taiwan, it will do so in the face of a few goodies China bought from France:
China has used French helicopters to reinforce its weak antisubmarine
warfare capabilities. According to open sources, China has imported or built under license between 65 and 105 modern French turbine-powered helicopters, including about 40 after 1989.
According to experts, China's only effective ship-to-air missile is the French Crotale missile system. China has deployed the Crotale on four ships, including its two most modern destroyers. Also, China has reverse-engineered the Crotale--reducing China's dependence on foreign suppliers.
Other French equipment on the Luhu destroyers includes the Sea Tiger naval surveillance radar, the Dauphin-2 (Z-9) helicopter (described later), and the TAVITAC combat data system (which is used to integrate the Luhus' various onboard systems).
Those Chinese helicopters, by the way, were delivered to China after a 1990 embargo on giving the Chinese such technology; and of course the Syrian program is playing fast and loose with import/export controls on biochemical weapons.
National Ammo Day:

This sounds like a great idea, from Mr. Du Toit: National Ammo Day. The folk of Grim's Hall will certainly participate.
Rule of Law:

There are those among you, my old friends, who are wondering where I of all people get off defending the Rule of Law. It's a fair complaint.

I am an outlaw at heart, and all of you know it. I believe that a free man has, by right, a final appeal:

An appeal to arms, and to the God of hosts!
But we are not talking about the rights of men. We are talking here about two governments--ours (breaking its own laws, in the Plame case) and the French (breaking international laws, about which I normally care nothing, but of which France is the prime exponent).

A government ought to be bound by its laws, even if men may at the last extremity set them aside. By the same token, men who choose to bind themselves to the service of the state, whether from patriotism or for power, have an extra duty to the rule of law that lies not upon the rest.

This is the proper understanding of liberty. Governments are not people. They are our creatures. Men have freedoms, but governments are created by the yielding up of certain enumerated freedoms. Those liberties--those powers--are all that the government has. We have others, which we reserve.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
Because the Government's freedom is a freedom we lay down, freedom for Government from the law can only come by stealing liberties that we did not gladly give. If freedom for men is to be preserved, Law must bind the state.
The French Reply:

Well, we have a French response, now:
France strongly denied having sold any such missiles to Iraq for nearly two decades, and said it was impossible that its newest missiles should turn up in Iraq.
There we are. It's impossible. Case closed. :)

It'll be fun to track these, eh? By the way, take a look at the stats on the Roland. This isn't a shoulder-fired job--it's part of a full scale antiaircraft battery. It's NATO standard issue--as good as anything in the French or German arsenal, and probably roughly on the same order as the British Rapier or the American Avenger system.

Moving into the Negative Range:

Since my last ounce of sympathy for Novak died yesterday, The Agonist's report of today pushes us into the negative range of sympathy:
ed: i was teetering on the fence about novak before this article. note the following sentences, and note them good.

The name of the CIA front company was broadcast yesterday by Novak, the syndicated journalist who originally identified Plame. Novak, highlighting Wilson's ties to Democrats, said on CNN that Wilson's "wife, the CIA employee, gave $1,000 to Gore and she listed herself as an employee of Brewster-Jennings & Associates. There is no such firm, I'm convinced," he continued. "CIA people are not supposed to list themselves with fictitious firms if they're under a deep cover -- they're supposed to be real firms, or so I'm told. Sort of adds to the little mystery."
Another mystery: why aren't you in court, Bob?
French Weapons:

Polish troops have found brand-new French antiaircraft missiles in Iraq. Year of manufacture: 2003.

UPDATE: Could these weapons have been bought elsewhere and then shipped to Iraq in violation of end-user license? It's possible, but these weapons are pretty new to have made much of a turnaround--they will have had to have been manufactured not earlier than January 1st to have a 2003 date, and of course the war was over by April. Still, I'm sure there will be a good explanation.

There had better be, as the sale of weapons to Iraq is illegal and prosecuted as a war crime under UNSC resolutions.

...and, of course, as several EU countries sent aircraft and pilots to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Their complaint against France, should a good explanation not be forthcoming, will be far angrier than ours. France to the US is a separate power with whom we're theoretically allied; but to EU nations, this would be a stab in the back from a sworn brother.

Still, as I said, I'm sure an excellent explanation is forthcoming.


The last, tiny bit of sympathy I have had for Novak just evaporated. Get him in court today, please? It's time to put an end to the slander that's being tossed at everyone in the White House, and time to put an end to the career of the guilty.

Burnt Njal said of a worse case:

"That is no breach of settlement," says Njal, "that any man should take the law against another; for with law shall our land be built up and settled, and with lawlessness wasted and spoiled."
I have been considering this case this morning, and I fear it is another example of the failure of law--that is, of lawlessness--in our country. This has been brewing for a long time. The Constitution is no longer routinely considered when writing a law; in addition to the example Del gives, we have "Campaign Finance Reform," which was approved in spite of the fact that the parties to it admitted it was unconstitutional. Nor were these lawless men merely the usual suspects:
�President Bush acknowledged the measure had �flaws� when he signed the bill into law,� said Sekulow. �He admitted that certain provisions �present serious constitutional concerns� and we are committed to ensuring that those provisions never see the light of day.�
We remember that the 2nd Amendment is ignored by every branch of government, state, Federal, and local. The 4th Amendment is suffering not much better a fate, with government "property seizure" laws that require you to prove you are not a criminal to recover your property--the burden of proof, usually on the accuser, is reversed because your right to your things is not as great as your right to freedom. You are guilty until you can prove yourself innocent.

We remember, but will not bother to rehearse, the dealings of the Janet Reno DOJ, and the Clinton administration. We remember the O.J. Simpson trial, which is but emblematic of a thousand such cases, when the rich and the powerful are excepted from the law.

We remember that the courts have allowed themselves to become havens for lawsuits designed to prevent people from executing their rights. There are lawsuits designed to punish people for selling you something in good faith. There are laws designed for an express purpose intentionally misused by public officials in pursuit of other goals.

It is time for a broad retrenchment. Here is the address to reach the DOJ. Here you can find a link to your Senators' web pages. Here is one for your representatives in the House. Your state representatives I leave to you. I propose the following as a joint plan of action:

1) For the DOJ: that Novak be brought before a magistrate immediately and forced to testify.

2) For Legislators: That they form a committee in every lawmaking body whose sole purpose shall be to seek out and revoke unconstitutional legislation. There is no reason to leave this to the courts: it is the responsibility of everyone in government, and every citizen, to see that the Constitution is respected.

3) That certain acts--RICO, Patriot, and so forth--which have been passed to address a particular evil (organized crime, terrorism) be amended to require that the government prove it is addressing that particular evil in order to use the powers thereby granted.

4) That tort reform becomes a priority of all legislators.

What say you?
New Links:

I've added two new halls to the links section, CommieWatch, and Anticipatory Retaliation. You might enjoy either or both.
More on Plame:

Cold Fury's Light of Reason has some thoughts on the Plame business, and more here. As a couple of days have passed, a few people have become willing to stand up and put their names on the line. When we were dealing with unnamed accusers and secret sources, I was willing to write this off as an unknowable business that was obviously being played by both sides.

Now, though, we have a few people brave enough to stand up and say what they know. OK--it's time to start taking depositions. Volokh speaks to why the DOJ hasn't done what I'd like them to do, which is send a US Deputy Marshal to haul Novak into court. Internal guidelines, indeed. We could know the truth about this business tomorrow if they would set these things aside and require Novak, under oath, to testify.

Meanwhile, the push seems to be for an independent "special prosecutor." No doubt as to why certain people want that--it would take time to hire one, and time to hire his staff, apportion money for his investigation, get papers in order, and start. By then, election season would be on us... how convenient.

What is needed is not an independent counsel. What is needed is a US Attorney to do his job. Send the Marshals. Let's find out who did what today, not in six or nine months, and get whoever it was safely behind bars.

It would be satisfying, would it not, to see the law enforced on the powerful for a change? Whoever they are?

The Scottish Enlightenment:

Southern Appeal has a roundup of recent stories and commentary on this most important of times.
More Letters to a Communist:

The Debate continues, afresh, for those interested. It makes an interesting counterpoint to the new Whittle essay, I think.

There's a new essay on B. Whittle's blog. Don't miss POWER.

Glory to old Georgia! I happened today across the University of Georgia: Points of Pride webpage. Oddly, it leaves out what I considered to be two of the key points of pride: the alumni status of Little Alec Stevens, and Doc Holliday.

More damned unnamed sources, but this time there's something important at stake. The Kuwaiti press is reporting the seizure of biological and chemical weapons being smuggled from Iraq.
The Bush League:

So the first installment of the much awaited Bush League is up. I can't help but notice that a certain Dr. Rice is portrayed as reacting to scandal by hiding under her desk "again." Would that be because she's black, Sovay, or because she's a woman? Looks like the rest of your, ah, heroes are able to deal with the stress.