At one point actor Billy Bob Thornton was the luckiest man in civilization as we knew it, the husband of Angelina Jolie. Indeed, now he must be the gutsiest, bravest, or least appreciative man in civilization as we know it, for Ms. Jolie has filed for divorce.
The Longest 2 Hours
Iberian Notes breaks down the Spanish decision to wrest back Perejil Island from the clutches of the Moroccan occupation force. Apparently the leadership in Rabat was preparing to implement the diplomatic equivalent of rubbing it in the Spaniards' faces -- inviting foreign media to the small island. Using a combination of aviation, sea, and special operations forces elements, the Spaniards recovered the island without even firing a shot. There is a taste of Chinese strategist Sun Tzu here. The Spaniards, by locking down firm European Union support and securing U.S. noninterference, were able to make a demonstrated and focused application of force to nullify the minor Moroccan presence before the killing phase began. The quick and bloodless occupation by Spanish elite troops also helped Madrid in another way -- its decisive use of its own forces prevented any deterioration in Brussels, which, given the EU's appeasement-slanted diplomatic stance would have taken place if the dispute had dragged on.
The Island of Mr. Moussaoui
He may have dismissed formal legal representation, but alleged 9.11 plotter Zacarias Moussaoui is a cynically effective gambler. His "stunning" admission that he is a member of Al Qaeda and his doubly "eye-popping" attempt to enter a guilty plea to avoid the death penalty illustrates a few things in my opinion. First, I think even the doubters have to understand that Moussaoui is a member of Al Qaeda. Following the terrorist organization's instruction manual in textbook fashion, the 20th hijacker is exploiting the benevolence of the American justice system by engaging in seemingly nonsensical fashion. Secondly, the Moussaoui rambunction helps us understand why we should make use of secret military tribunals. It would deprive terrorists like Moussaoui of a platform to air his outrageous assertions. Plus, the gambit has ensured Moussaoui another week to stall and perhaps even implement a deal with government prosecutors. Judge Leonie M. Brinkema is engaged in a chess match with Moussaoui, but he is deliberately not using his game pieces -- defense attorneys, and not employing a competent legal strategy -- pleading not guilty. This extra week should be interesting, not only from the standpoint of the maniac-as-lawyer, but for the Feds. What do they do now?
"The last thing one hears before war is silence."