Saturday, September 11, 2004

In Memorium


Friday, September 10, 2004

How Hate Kills

Your Right Hand Thief has the find of the day--a letter to the Pic regarding the hate-gays-and-lesbians amendment that Louisiana proposes to add to its constitution. Check out his post, and link to the letter itself. Sobering.


Had a busy morning off and on, and I hope nobody minds that I took the time to wander through a fascinating set of posts on the history of modern typewriters, etc.

As the brother of a professional graphic designer, I've been exposed to enough stuff of that nature to have an amateur's interest (which includes a visit a couple of years back to the Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design in New York City).

Anyway, Jeffrey at Library Chronicles had pretty much the best link--to Hunter at DailyKos.

However, while debate rages as to whether or not you could add a superscript "th" to a document typed in the early 1970's (and whether there is discernable Kerning, or proportional fonts, etc. etc. etc.), well, there are plenty of folks in places like Iraq who couldn't give a shit as to what sort of typewriters TANG used.

For instance--the boatload of Iraqis who discovered that it didn't make a damn bit of difference who was in charge there, they were going to be secretly detained with lord knows what happening to them behind closed doors. The hairsplitting at DOJ, DOD, and the other executive branch offices would be comical, if it wasn't so sad. Hell, I can easily picture the same sort of arguing over the minutiae of torture coming from the mouths of the Baathist officials we overthrew. And, use of the term overthrew is apparently quite accurate--turns out that a number of ex-officials of Saddam's regime have found new employment as present officials of the American regime. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Makes you wonder just what Bush meant when he barked about "democracy" in Iraq.

On other fronts, Dick Cheney seems to have discovered the power of Ebay--you know, I was wonder what he did to pass the time in the various undisclosed locations he calls home. Must get awfully lonely, and we know Dick's no soft shoe. In response, John Edwards noted that Dick hasn't yet factored in other sources of income like bake sales or lemonade stands. Jeez--if only the data had been compiled accurately...who knows? Maybe we HAVEN'T been in recession since MARCH of 2001.

No word on when the data will also factor in income derived from babysitting, yard sales, car washes, pancake breakfasts, and other examples of entrepenurial spirit.

Speaking of faulty data: despite the sometimes desperate efforts by Rethuglicans to suggest that somehow Saddam might have transported or his his Weapons of Mass Destruction, cooler heads have carefully analyzed the information available and concluded what pretty much any rational person could've told you in March 2003--the weapons didn't exist. Now, the wingnuts will wail, gnash their teeth, bark, and even bray about how "the Democrat party believed they were there, too," to which I'll say fine. Anyone who's ever read more than a post or two on this blog knows I'm not a blue-believer (I'm a lesser of evils). No defense on the failure of Democratic leadership to challenge the Bush spin. But there WERE people out there noting the logic--finite shelf life, sanctions preventing imports of any "dual-use" chemical (including chlorine, a MAJOR component of both chemical weapons and water treatment facilities. The fact that impure water was being consumed in Iraq as a result was a big factor in the high rate of infant mortality during the 90's)--also, manufacture of chemicals in sufficient quantity to provide a genuine threat could easily be detected by satellites or reconnisance jets, both of which were trained in abundance on the nation.

The idea that we've done anything of lasting good in Afghanistan is a joke. While I'm skeptical as to what the Taliban can and can't do, the fact is that we've lost focus there, while Bush, displaying the A.D.D. type behavior so manifest in his early life, has basically forgotten about the follow up to the fun "blowing up the rubble and making it gravel" part. If he wanted to truly do a number on terrorism, he should have devoted several tens of billions of dollars THERE, instead of diverting most over to Iraq at the first chance he had to divert the public. But instead, we seem to be hanging on just long enough to really put the country out of Americans' minds before pulling the rug out from under Karzai, who truly is wearing a target.

Finally, Dick "Graveheart" Cheney "clarified" his remark the other day to the effect that a Kerry win meant duck-and-cover or at least run for the bomb shelters. I dunno. Maybe what Dick meant to say was "oh my god I'm having chest pains! Where the hell are my nitro pills? Scooter, get over here--open the goddamn child proof cap--NOW!" Yesterday I was reading the James Wolcott blog which had a post comparing Cheney to a tired Ed McMahon (and Dubya to Johnny Carson). Wolcott closed the post with apologies--to Carson.

That's about right.

One more thing: since I began this post on the subject of typewriters, it's only fitting to end with a link to--a giant typewriter eraser. If you never had to use one of these things, well, consider yourself lucky.
Curry Favor

Curries may help to combat cancer according to The Telegraph UK (citing a London medical conference).

I don't food-blog a whole lot, but an enterprising archive hunter could find a recipe for South Indian Curry in one of my posts a while back (I think it was around January or February). If I feel like it, maybe I'll post an update. It's not a bad recipe.

Back to normal posts in a bit. Am once again a little busy here.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Censorship--or Bullsh*t (Bushit?) Redux

From a newsgroup to which I subscribe, I've come across more information regarding WAFB "television"'s snuffing out of Bush criticism.

Apparently, they decided last night to air the St. Jude's telethon at 7 o'clock, thereby engaging in a little preemptive action of their own. When asked initially, the response (including someone writing under the name of News Director Nick Simonette) apologized, claiming that the telethon had been scheduled months in advance. CBS supposedly told the station that 60 Minutes was to be a rerun...

So, some of the newsgroup's members contacted St. Jude (I couldn't glean from the messages just how high up the chain of command they made it, but apparently they got ahold of someone familiar with the telethon). Apparently, St. Jude does NOT specify run dates with television stations. Now, I'm surmising here, but I guess that the organization either pays a minimal fee, or no fee for the airing (which amounts essentially to charity), but, under the circumstances, they take what they get as far as times/dates.

As Ricky Prado (and some in the newsgroup) noticed, the channel guide made no mention of this special broadcast--which, under the circumstances, begins to smell just a bit. A taped program such as this would provide plenty of time for the guide to insert the appropriate program name.

So--if it looks like a duck...well, it's certainly not a prairie dog. But Channel 9 most certainly dogged it on this one, and their lame excuses were no match for a number of dedicated people who called them on this ridiculous attempt to hide the truth about one George W. Bush, who's actions as Chickenhawk in Chief become a lot easier to understand in light of his formative years, where apparently drugs, booze, and lord knows what were more important to a young rich kid than serving even a minimal amount of time in a Champagne Brigade of weekend warriors. If young George hadn't been a Bush, life would have been a hell of a lot more difficult.

Now, I have a letter to write and a phone call to make--to WAFB at (225) 383-9999.
In Repost

My self-edited post (deleted before seeing the light of blogger, which might have eaten it anyway) was a judgement on the BushCheney insistance that they are "fighting a global war on terror."

Hmmm. Propagandists and spin doctors know there's nothing like using the war metaphor to light fires of affirmation among the voting masses. It works on so many levels: there's war fever itself, which seems to inflict especially young males, there's the call to duty and sense of obligation--and, of course, this being Bush, there's the chance to tar and feather anyone questioning the wisdom of a "war" with the label of enemy-lover, or perhaps even traitor.

However, I will grant BushCheney one thing: terrorism IS a global issue. In that sense, the attack on the Australian embassy in Jakarta can be seen in the context of BushCheney's "war" on terror. And, if we look at it that way, we beging to see some disturbing trends. Like the fact that we're LOSING.

Now, I don't place any faith in pronoucements of the kind uttered by Ayman al-Zawahiri, who suggests that the Taliban (and, by extension, Al Qaeda) are ready to retake major parts of Afghanistan. In fact, the announcement is significant only for the timing--Oyster has posted to the effect that the grapevine has been stirring with the possibility of bin Laden on a leash--a US leash. Perhaps Zawahiri is trying to soften the blow among the fundamentalist loonies if/when Osama does the Frog March.

On the other hand, there is no doubt that Afghanistan is not at all the place it was supposed to be when we went on a terrorist butt kickin' mission. Let's see: the place is now more or less Heroin House, where you buy in volume and save. I'm sure Karzai has a nice place in what's left of Kabul, but to even speak of a single nation is awfully optimistic.

Iraq, as noted here often, is a mess. Once again, I'll link to Today in Iraq for anyone wanting details. In particular, here are two articles of interest--one on the loss of territory within the country to rebel forces--the very definition of losing--and the other a pogniant article in Navy Times focusing on the wounded. I'm constantly amazed at the lack of attention this story receives--one can hardly read this article and not feel empty, angry, disheartened, and sad simultaneously as a young man and his wife discuss the life-altering aspects of his injury.

But I digress, even as I strongly encourage anyone with the time to take a look at the link immediately above.

When BushCheney use the paradigm of a global struggle, I think it's appropriate to consider any action that qualifies as countering their rhetoric to be worth analysis. The bombing in Indonesia is example front and center. To ignore it invites the same in the event of another terrorist attack here.

Unfortunately, we as a country have more or less ignored terrorist actions in all kinds of places since 9/11, even as Al Qaeda jerks our chain over and over as they "chatter"--knowing that right now we're adopting an overcautious response (and, sadly, at times a political respose, like when we heard this summer about warnings in New York and DC that turned out to be from the summer of 2001). In fact, we've not only ignored some events, we've also castigated the Spanish for their actions following a catastrophic attack on their soil. Lord only knows how the world will respond to a subsequent attack here in the United States.

Then we have the specter of the evil Dick rattling the bars of the cage in his cranium as he threatens the United States with attack in the event of a Kerry victory come November. This after railing about Kerry's correct use of the term "sensitive," which to old Dick means something similar to "girlie man" these days (once he scrubbed the collective brain cell of the SCLM, who otherwise might have caught the evil one or his mad stepchild president using the exact same term).

But the fact is that we'd better start thinking about a more sensitive, nuanced approach, because the Cheyenne Shyster and his Texas Souffle have proven beyond a doubt that the one-trick dog and pony policy of all-war, only-war, DOESN'T WORK. Duh. Freelancers like nutcase Osama don't need countries as partners. And, by invading Iraq, we haven't "taken the battle to their location" by a longshot. We've simply added a training target for some of the lunatics, while native Iraqi resistance pecks away at our skeleton force.

Hell, if you think about it, the invasion itself was a tremendous blunder. Sure, the dash to Baghdad was exciting, but in retrospect, it was like watching a football team which planned all week for a single quarter of action. Now it's the second half (to continue the metaphor) and the coach has nothing more in the playbook. I mean, gee, it was nice to move faster than any army ever--but wouldn't it have been better to, say, slow down a bit and secure the ammo and weapons dumps. I mean, jeez, what the hell were they thinking?

But again, I digress. My point is simply that the "terrorists" find themselves in relatively good position. And, quite honestly, BushCheney is too stupid to come up with a solution that will change this.

It's time that we DID take a more nuanced approach. If you have a problem with termites in your house, for instance, you could solve it with gasoline, matches, and several hours of combustion. However, I don't think most folks would willingly destroy their domicile to get rid of a problem like this. And that's what we need to do if we want to "win" the war.

The first step towards that goal, by the way, is getting out of Iraq. I know Kerry can't call for that right now. But, if he wins in November, here's hoping the anti-war movement is granted an audience...
Snoping Around

Been a little busy here today, and then there was a longish post I was writing that just didn't feel right--containing mostly links to stories already referenced on other blogs.

I just got out of yet another meeting, and took a quick look at link to this page from the Independent UK that offers Dubya by the numbers.

Here are some that fall under the "Zero" category:

Number of times Bush mentioned Osama bin Laden in his three State of the Union addresses.

Number of times Bush mentioned Saudi Arabia in his three State of the Union addresses.

Number of guardsmen from that period who came forward with information about Bush's guard service (i.e., providing proof he did Guard Service in Alabama).

Number of minutes that President Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney, the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, the assistant Defence Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, the former chairman of the Defence Policy Board, Richard Perle, and the White House Chief of Staff, Karl Rove ­ the main proponents of the war in Iraq ­served in combat (combined).

Number of principal civilian or Pentagon staff members who planned the war who have immediate family members serving in uniform in Iraq.

Number of coffins of dead soldiers returning home that the Bush administration has permitted to be photographed.

Number of memorial services for the returned dead that Bush has attended since the beginning of the war.

Amount Bush allocated for port security in 2003.

Number of new drugs or vaccines against "priority pathogens" listed by the Centres for Disease Control that have been developed and introduced since 11 September 2001.

You'd think Bush was a total zero. But, I guess in the interest of balance, the Independent has some numbers from the other side:

$10.9m Average wealth of the members of Bush's original 16-person cabinet.

75 Percentage of Americans unaffected by Bush's sweeping 2003 cuts in capital gains and dividends taxes.

$42,000 Average savings members of Bush's cabinet received in 2003 as a result of cuts in capital gains and dividends taxes.

10 Number of fellow members from the Yale secret society Skull and Bones that Bush has named to important positions (including the Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum Jr. and SEC chief Bill Donaldson).

79 Number of Bush's initial 189 appointees who also served in his father's administration

Then, to balance the balance, let's go back to Bush's zeros:

Number of times Bush mentioned global warming, clean air, clean water, pollution or environment in his 2004 State of the Union speech. His father was the last president to go through an entire State of the Union address without mentioning the environment.

Number of environmentalists asked to attend Cheney's Energy Task Force meetings.

Number of endangered species voluntarily added by the Bush administration since taking office.

Take the time to look over the whole list if you can. In the end, though, I think you'll agree that George W. Bush is truly the Zero of the United States of America.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


Leave it to my local CBS affiliate to make a mockery of public trust. According to their 10 o'clock news, they didn't run the 60 Minutes segment on pResident AWOL due to "contractual obligations." Right.

Apparently enough folks called to inquire about this, so, in the interest of "fairness," WAFB will run the show--at 2:35 am.

Now, I'll admit, I made the decision to forego the airing anyway, as I had things I had to do, and it's not like I don't know the story. But, regardless of the gutting of the fairness doctrine (thanks to the Reagan administration, which, as Richard Viguerie pointed out the other day on C-Span, allowed fat drug addicts like Rush Limbaugh to bloviate without a counterpoint), this is a prime example of how Bush relies on local television to carry his water and bear his rifle. Never a contrary word is offered by local media to Bush's simplistic, arrogantly ignorant world-view. And that's how Bush (and Rove) want it.

I will shout out thanks to those "numerous" viewers, in the words of the idiot anchor George Sells, who requested that the broadcast be aired. Unfortunately, 2:35 am is their reward.


For those who feel like testing their bandwidth, here are a couple of files, this one a rendition of Sunday, Bloody Sunday, featuring George Dubya taking Bono's place on the vocals--courtesy of Timshel.

If your tastes are more inclined towards the movies, you can witness the Dubya channeling Chaplin's famous scene from The Great Dictator--Scarmouche from Oaksterdam, CA provides the link.
Score One for Irony

While Dick Cheney plays Pollyanna by announcing that he's FINALLY figured out how to prevent terrorist attacks from happening on US soil--namely, reelect elect him and his evil stepchild (funny, but it didn't seem to work in 2001), we have the following items:

Vlad Putin, when asked about the possibility of negotiating with Chechen rebels, suggests that Bush do the same with bin Laden. Great--notwithstanding the fact that the Chechen rebels engaged in what can only be described as ugly, wanton behavior that will set their cause back by years, now we've got the specter of every would be Dubya branding their enemies as "bin Ladens." Talk about making the world safer...

Bush of course will snort, no pun intended, at the suggestion, but Bob Graham suggests something even more sinister--that Bush has been playing footsie with Saudi Arabia when there's evidence suggesting that the Saudi government was playing footsie with the 9/11 hijackers. Aside: a Democratic president would already have been impeached, convicted, and likely indicted under regular US Criminal and Civil Code had they engaged in similar actions.

Speaking of Bush: more records have suddenly appeared in regards to his, um, service in the National Guard, or lack thereof. Seems as if the Dauphin walked away from flying just as his TANG unit was assigned a genuine task. As Swopa over at Needlenose noted, Bush set the bar early on.

Patrick Cockburn has a few words about the two front war being fought in Iraq--on one side, the US faces the Sunni Triangle (which keeps getting larger and larger, now encompassing most of the western part of the country), on the other side, there's the Mahdi Army of Moqtada Al-Sadr. You know, Germany fought two two-front wars last century, and, if my memory is correct, didn't come out all that well in either.

Then, via Atrios, there's the New York Review of Books piece on the 9/11 Commission's Report. I've got a .pdf copy of the whole thing, but I'll admit to being a little slow on getting to it--sort of like how Blogger has been slooooow to the post today. Also, hey, it's not like I haven't been reading anything this summer.

Finally, at least Kerry is trying to land a blow or two against the pathetic little man who is nominally running the country. No, not Dick Cheney--the other guy. You know, $200 billion dollars could get a lot more than an occupation and snipe hunt for non-existent WMD--and some of the things it could buy would actually make the country safer. I mean, can anyone tell me, for instance, just what Saddam Hussein was going to do--and I want REAL EVIDENCE, not Chicken Little handwringing--just what he was going to do to us. The aforementioned Atrios is offering to donate $100 dollars to the RNC if anyone can prove that Cliff May--or anyone--agressively made the point that Bill Clinton should have invaded Afghanistan. Well, I'm willing to match that offer if anyone can PROVE--with REAL EVIDENCE--that Saddam Hussein was threatening the United States. Real evidence means that we have documented proof that Hussein was either threatening an invasion of the US, or otherwise arming and equipping people who were.

I think my money's safe.
Just Plain Nuts

Alan Keyes is proving that he's easily the most bizarre candidate for US Senate this century--and he's strong in the running for most bizarre US Senate candidate of any century. Seems that he's channeling voting trends and habits of the Christian deity--well, maybe not the entire godhead, but a good third of it.

Link via TalkingPointsMemo.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

A Sad Milestone

Fubar, posting at Needlenose, notes that US combat deaths in Iraq now number more than a thousand. For context, he notes that the thousandth combat death in Vietnam didn't occur until our eighth year of involvement.

Timshel and Ian McGibboney both write about local soldiers killed in recent fighting. In Ian's case, one young man was apparently an acquaintance and classmate.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families--but I'm also quite angry at the people who put these young men in harm's way for NO REASON. Listening to the GOP speak glowingly about the Iraq war--while having the nerve to wear Purple Heart band-aids--is a horrible insult to our soldiers. The young men and women who are fighting and dying in Iraq deserve better than such crass cynicism.

Whether the wingnuts like to admit it or not, the war in Iraq was pushed upon us on by a pack of lies. Anyone questioning this need only go back and look at the record. Thanks to the "Find" function of Internet Exploder, I was able to find twenty six references to "weapons" in Bush's final press conference prior to the invasion--but not a SINGLE instance of him referring to human rights (to be fair, there are roughly ten or so references to the "Iraqi people," but only two that specifically refer to their suffering under the Hussein regime). The war was sold on the THREAT posed by Saddam Hussein, namely, his cache of WMD that he was allegedly ready to hurl at us. Which was a lie, pure and simple.

Now over a thousand young men and women are dead as a result. Add to this the "non-combat" fatalities, and the horrific injuries that modern weaponry is capable of causing, and you have a monster sized mess that can't be cleaned up anytime soon.

And don't forget the thousands of Iraqis killed--forever nameless and faceless in our media, even though they too have sons, daughters, wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, and friends...

Before too long, there will be two thousand US combat deaths--then three thousand, and perhaps even more. Who knows how many Iraqis will be killed before it's all over--which will happen when, like the French in Algeria, like the French and the US in Vietnam, like the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, and like the Israelis in Lebanon (to name four instances) we pull out of a country we've devasted in the name of "freedom."

What a waste...

Pumping Gasoline

USA Today and The Washington Post weigh in on progress:

Los Angeles for years has had the nation's worst traffic jams, but these days even the streets and highways in small and medium cities from Brownsville, Texas, to Anchorage, to Honolulu, Hawaii, are giving rush-hour drivers fits.

Snarled traffic is costing travelers in the 85 biggest U.S. cities a whopping 3.5 billion hours a year, up from 700 million two decades ago.

The problem worsened over the past two decades in small, medium and large cities, according to the Texas Transportation Institute's annual Urban Mobility Report released Tuesday. The institute, part of Texas A&M University, looked at data from 1982 to 2002.


Washingtonians are spending an increasing amount of their lives stuck in ever-worsening traffic, according to a national study released this morning that also found that the region maintained its ignominious status as having the nation's third most crowded roads.

Washington area drivers spent an average of 67 hours a year stuck in traffic in 2002, according to the study by the Texas Transportation Institute -- 21 hours more than the national average of 46. That is up an hour from 2001, a rise of 19 hours since 1992, and 46 hours more than in 1982. Only motorists in the Los Angeles and San Francisco-Oakland regions endured worse traffic than local drivers.

USA Today manages to put a pro-Bush spin on things, noting that traffic problems have declined in some areas thanks to a piss-poor economy:

Traffic in some cities has actually gotten better — but that's because their economies have done poorly.

"In a lot of the places in the past we've seen success in cities suffering job declines — Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Cleveland," [Alan] Pisarski said. "Unemployment is a great solution."

But the real solution is exactly what this country spent the last fifty or so years obliterating--public transit:

The biggest time-saver, according to the report, is public transit, which shaves 32% off the time drivers spend sitting bumper-to-bumper.

"If public transportation service was discontinued and the riders traveled in private vehicles, the 85 urban areas would have suffered an additional 1.1 billion hours of delay in 2002," the report said.

Lomax said the benefits to transit systems are in cities that are already too congested to handle more vehicles.

"Typically you're in a situation where you can't handle any more transit on the roads, so public transit becomes the way you support economic development," he said.

No shit. Having spent the last week of August in New York, which has extremely effective, if not always aesthetically pleasing mass transit, I can attest to its ease of use. There's no way I'd want to actually deal with a car anywhere close to Manhattan, when for the economical price of $21 dollars, I get unlimited rides on trains and buses for seven days. And, if you know what you're doing (or, like me, sort of know what you're doing) you rarely have to walk more than, say, half a dozen blocks or so.

Now, if I lived up in the city, I could see times where recourse to a taxi would be necessary--by way of example, my last Saturday found me dripping with perspiration after dealing with a combination of heat and humidity that rivals anything here in the Gret Stet AND you had the added issue of being underground and not always close to circulating air. But private cars are still more of a hinderance than a benefit in a major urban area--indeed, some suggest that cars literally suck the life out of cities themselves.

I say this even though lately I've been spending a fair amount of time looking to replace my aging fossil burner--which has tansmission problems, turbocharger problems, stalling issues, etc. Nothing three thousand dollars or so couldn't fix, but given that the bluebook value of the car is about six hundred and fifty bucks, I'm looking at it more as something to trade in...

Still, if there was even halfway decent public transit in this, um, "city," I'd be trying to scrounge out another 30,000 miles or so on the car before giving it up--while using said public transit a lot...
Sobering Thoughts

Temperance has never ranked high (no pun intended) on my list of personal qualities--so consider "Sobering" to be more of a figure of speech here.

Anyway, after reading the headlines over the long weekend, along with analysis that broke down both the GOP hatefest and the pathetic candidacy of George W. Bush (who, scarily, is competitive in a race that he should rightfully be losing by a large margin), I took the time to catch up on my summer reading project, a lengthy tome about Algeria.

I managed to knock out roughly another third of the volume, getting to the point where de Gaulle dissolved the Fourth Republic. While I've got a general understanding of what eventually happened, Horne is providing a level of detail that is interesting, even if difficult to recall at times. However, in spite of my limitations when it comes to sponging it all up, here is a very simplified summation of what I've gleaned to this point:

Algeria was a unique situation, of course--very unique. That said, there are things one can learn from studying the conflict, and these things can be applied to the folly in Iraq. And, if history is a guide, it doesn't look good.

The French had far greater success in suppressing the rebellion in Algeria, yet they still came up on the short end of the stick. Now, the wingnuts will simply roll their eyes and smirk about "the French," but the lesson here is unmistakable: a native population in revolt against an outside power (even as the outside power had a degree of tepid support at times among the Algerians of European descent, known as pied noirs)--anyway, a native population stands a good chance of winning--even if the outside power has extraordinarily good intelligence, a large advantage in numbers, a good understanding of the terrain and conditions, and so on. The F.L.N. succeeded (now I'm getting a little ahead of my reading, but the historical record is there) in spite of internicene purges, a lack of support at times among the Arab/Muslim majority, downright hostility from the pied noirs (a good parallel to the pied noirs would be the white population in Rhodesia), etc., etc. And, remember, France had much closer ties to Algeria than we've ever had in Iraq.

If the F.L.N. can succeed in Algeria, in spite of French successes in suppressing the rebellion (one thing the French were far less successful in stopping were acts of terrorism, which should give anyone who knows anything about our situation in Iraq pause), then I'd suggest the Iraqi resistance is in extremely good shape. Consider: in Iraq, the resistance controls entire cities. The best the F.L.N. could do was harass the French in the countryside, and explode bombs in Algiers.

No amount of sidestepping around Iraq--or Afghanistan--during last week's show in New York can change the situation in the Middle East. Whether or not Bush manages to slither his way into a second term, his losses in the two countries will define his presidency--if his economic screw ups don't.