Thursday, March 07, 2002


HOYA METER: No More Drama! No More Drama!
There Goes Old Georgetown! Straight for a Rebound! See how they gain ground!! Lie Down Forever Lie Down! Lie Down Forever Lie Down! RAH RAH RAH Hurrah for GEORGETOWN, cheer for victory today!
Freshman point guard Drew Hall is the wooly-haired zen ninja master of the hardcourt, ably dribbling past Providence's John Linehan to feed center Wesley Wilson for an epic dunk with 3 seconds left that secured the Hoyas' 68-67 win over the Friars. Georgetown overcame 27 turnovers and ghastly free-throw shooting to clinch a Quarterfinals matchup with the Miami Hurricanes at 2:30 today. The Hoya Nation saw a dramatic game, a fall from ahead/come from behind thriller that echoed the Hoya teams of the 1980s. You know, the ones with stifling defense and rebounding but no offense? The Hurricanes start the largest lineup in the Big East, but the Hoyas have seen the fires. And practiced their free throws.

The Battle of Gardez
The U.S. decision to change tactics at Gardez after the escape of al-Qaeda and Taliban forces at Tora Bora in December triggered the use of American regular ground troops. The introduction of conventional forces in a frontal attack on the enemy positions is allegedly generating some heat because of the casualties sustained during the opening phase of the attack. A particularly disgusting situation occurred when a Navy SEAL was executed when he fell off a Chinook helicopter by al Qaeda forces. And to think we got so much flack for the DOWs at Guantanamo.
The battle continues, as American and coalition forces begin to exert their sheer leverage on the remaining pockets of resistance. Is this a replay of the Black Hawk Down disaster in Mogadishu back in 1993? In a way, yes, you can see that dynamic play out during the initial al Qaeda ambush on Saturday. I think though that you could also see a Khafji-like situation developing, too. The force structures and players involved are different, but the coalition use of airpower figures prominently in Gardez 2002 as it did in Khafji 1991.

To Inspect, Or Not To Inspect?
To play with a cliché that is popular these days, where is the daylight? More specifically, where do Iraq hawks and doves part ways in regards as to what to do with Saddam Hussein? In a general sense, doves seem intent mainly on using the threat of force as a wedge to drive open the shady Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program to United Nations (UN) inspectors. They are more intent on depriving Hussein of the capability to launch another Gulf War than they are by removing him entirely -- the rationale being that if we were to go into Iraq to "finish the job," we would lose the support of our nominally moderate Arab partners.
On the other hand, hawks generally speaking want to remove Saddam from Iraq and destroy his arsenal. Their thinking is that the Arab states will line up behind a winner and that the European allies are too docile to support the necessary action. They support a DESERT STORM 2.0 of sorts, coupled with help from the disparate Iraqi opposition movements in a replay of the help our Special Forces operators gave to the Afghan opposition to the Taliban.
The current Administration may want to be careful here, because the UN wants inspections more than it wants to remove Hussein entirely. In fact, American national security is hurt more by an Iraqi decision to allow inspections than it is if he defies the UN. Why? Saddam could conceal and disperse his program, burrowing away nuclear/bio/chemical weapons when the inspectors show up. That is why some are pushing for an outright invasion of Iraq, one that will smash the Republican Guard and remove Saddam from power.

"A win by 1 is the same value as a win by 50"

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

ZoNotes: Strong enough for a man, pH balanced for a woman

BIG EAST Tournament
1st Round ---
#3W Georgetown Hoyas vs. #6E Providence Friars,
1400 hrs, Madison Square Garden,
6 March 2002.
Perhaps the most comforting thing about a disappointing season is that it clarifies what the responsibilities are come postseason. The Hoyas at 19-10, (9-7 Big East) must advance all the way to the Big East Championship game on Saturday night at MSG. This afternoon's game with Providence therefore means everything and nothing at the same time. It means so much that because without a win, Georgetown will be consigned to the NIT. It means so little because even with a win GU must propel itself farther than the Big East Quarterfinals. Keep an eye out for the Hoyas' 1-2 punch, senior point guard Kevin Braswelland sophomore power forward Michael Sweetney (The Next Georgetown Big Man). Providence guard John Linehan is tremendously skilled (Daniel Alvarez (F'00) is concerned that Linehan can break down Braswell off the dribble, as he did in last year's rout at Providence.) Georgetown's fate is a bit murky -- some experts say that the Hoyas need to win only 3 games in the B.East Tournament, others think it must win the Final, but who knows? Syracuse's 2 losses to GU may have cost the Orangemen an at-large bid. How many at-larges do you think are left for the Tournament? 8? 6?
GU: 72
PC: 67

Buffy Recap: Down the Aisle to Hell
Were Buffy creator Joss Whedon and head writer Marti Noxon spurned lovers or something? Angst was the word of the day last night on the "wedding" episode of Buffy, as the Xander/Anya wedding sent the show careening on a train wreck pace. Damn, this season is dark and pessimistic.

What comes first...
...the carrot or the horse? Such is the dilemma for the current administration, which gently shoved aside the Egyptian request to help mediate between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The American position at this point in the conflict is that it cannot talk about a settlement as long as violence between the two sides continue. As Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has been either unwilling or unable to control the latest rash of suicide bombings and reprisals, it seems unseemly for Israeli PM Ariel Sharon to sit down and talk. Conversely, the misdirected Israeli strike on a Hamas leader earlier this week that instead incinerated his family also served to sour any sort of hopes of talks. I do also think, however, that the Hamas leader in question knew that the Israelis were going to get him, and perhaps he decided to let someone else take the bullet for him. Take note of a couple of trends that are developing that make this war a little more distressing.
1) -- The Qassam. The Palestinians are using these quick and easy homemade rockets to strike Israeli territory. As simple and crude as the weapon is, it fills a gap between, say, throwing rocks and using heavy artillery to shell Israel. One could conceivably nickname the Qassam the "baby SCUD" given its rather sporadic accuracy and its brute destructive capability.
2) Misapplication of Force. As robust as the Israeli Defense Force is, the grinding pace of the 17-month old intifada may be hurting it in ways that massed Arab armies couldn't.
Besides, this isn't a Palestinian problem as much as it is a Golan Heights issue -- because Israel could, I suppose, theoretically piece together an existence if a docile and toothless Palestinian state existed. If the Israelis gave back the strategically vital Golan back to the Syrians, it would be comitting national suicide.

"Dissatisfaction with what you're saying does not constitute censorship."

Tuesday, March 05, 2002

ZoNotes: Rising up to the challenge of our rival.

Hoops Note
ZoNotes will be your home for hopefully will be a run to the Big East title this week in New York for my beloved Hoyas. Many a legendary Hoya athlete has played on the hardcourt of Madison Square Garden -- Patrick Ewing (C'85), Alonzo Mourning (C'92), Dikembe Mutombo (SLL'91), Allen Iverson (C'98--departed Spring 96) -- all contributing to basketball classics. On Wednesday at 3 PM EST, the Hoyas, seeded #3 in the Big East, will play #6 Providence, renewing a storied rivalry.
ZoNotes will be hosting a special brackets section next week after the field of 65 is announced. But, I will preview who I think will get the #1 Seeds for the NCAAs:

#1 EAST -- Maryland Terrapins
#1 SOUTH -- Duke Blue Devils
#1 MIDWEST -- Kansas Jayhawks
#1 WEST -- Oklahoma Sooners

Texas Loves All Peoples
Last night as I was watching Angel on the WB, one of the characters mentions "Texas loves the black man!"

If You Want It Done Right...
The fighting in eastern Afghanistan -- Operation Anaconda -- that resulted in the death of 7 Americans in the last couple of days is so intense primarily because the U.S. decided to move on its own. During the December siege of the Tora Bora mountain complex, the Americans allowed Afghan forces to take the facility. Unfortunately, the Afghan "allies" proved either unwilling or unable to capture the al-Qaeda hierarchy; they were either militarily unable to take the area or bribed by al-Qaeda operatives. The direct involvement of coalition troops in the new offensive marks that indeed the U.S. is serious about using the troops it has in the theatre, and that if it plans on crushing the holdovers in Gardez, they will have to do it themselves. The fighting is more conventional in nature, with organized formations and the use of regular, SpecOps, and airborne assault troops from a couple of NATO countries.

Venezuela's FARC Connection
A major official in Venezuela's government resigned amidst accusations that President Hugo Chavez is backing the leftist FARC narcoguerrillas by providing safe havens for them. I have always suspected that the leftist thug President had sympathy for the FARC, especially the history Chavez has with Cuban thug dicator Fidel Castro, who in the past supported the FARC in its long, bitter civil war with the democratically elected government.

"The farther from Texas you are, the more Texan you act."

Monday, March 04, 2002

ZoNotes: Together, forever, ZoNotes will be here forever. They'll be there and you'll be here, and that's the deal my dear.

They Were Afghan Fighting
This weekend's combat with isolated al-Qaeda fighters demonstrates the continued unpredicability of the situation after the fall of the Taliban. Interestingly, the large attack was essentially the "first" NATO out-of-area deployment, given the participation of the Danes, Norwegians, Germans, Canadians, and French along with the Afghan allies. Encouraging to see them in action, and the fighting is fierce. After reading about the initial difficulties of the assault, I thought, well, if they had a couple of M-1s...or even some LAVs or Bradley IFVs, would there have been as much trouble? If you know where this is going, then you're right. How long before a significant armored presence hits the ground to cover our SpecOps and airborne assault troops? And with the shootdown of an Army helicopter today, how many more troops will we need?

HOYA METER: On a gray, cool day in Washington, the Hoyas continued their destiny run, and the tides of 3-point shots and slam dunks swayed the Hoyas' way. Simon Torres (F'00), Daniel Alvarez (F'00) and Pete Renz (C'00) invited me to the GU-Rutgers game, and a good time was had by all, as the Hoyas thumped the Scarlet Knights 88-66 at MCI Center. The Hoyas go into this week's Big East Tournament playing some good basketball. The pundits think that the Hoyas need to advance to the Tournament Final this weekend to clinch an NCAA at-large birth. Of course, if Braswell and company win the tourney, then the bid is automatic.

Reactions to the Eurowhining
ZoNotes got some juicy responses to the New York Observer article that I posted last week. Here is a sampling from the masses:
Aaron Ammerman (F'00):
"In 1991, there was only one superpower. Eleven
years later, there's still only one. Not another
competitor anywhere in sight. Sounds reasonable to me.
in fact, keeping down the Enemy is generally the
number one goal of a superpower (a word coined in the
early 40s. Over the course of human history there
have only been 3 superpowers. total.) If a new
superpower had sprung up out of nowhere in the last 12
years, I'd have to give the administrations
involved a failing grade. Accompanied by expulsion."

Rich Bisso (F'99) chips in his comments:
"That Von Hoffman article was ridiculous. He
laments the loss of the "second scorpion in the bottle" and
then basically says that the world needs a second
superpower. But for what? Not to be antagonistic. Not to be a
competitor for "power, influence and advantage".
Not, apparently, to do anything. He says that
competition between the powers would be a "fool's game". Well,
what good is your freakin second superpower going
to be? Maybe he just wants to show that big ole meany the
US how someone else can be a Superpower, too!!! Nyah
nyah! And then the unified white people of the
European Union will make things right. Just like
they did the last time Europe was a major world power.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Translations
The Democrats' little intramural scrimmage between Dan Morales and Tony Sanchez went bilingual this past weekend, with both candidates hemming and hawing in English and Spanish. Well, in Morales' case, he did it in Spanglish.

"The warmer it gets the more you worry about how you look."