Wednesday, October 02, 2002

ZoNotes: The Revolution Will Not Be Blogged...

Buffy Recap: All the Same, Yet Different
Last night's Buffy episode did a good job of exposing the potential for multiple prongs of conflict over the course of the new season. Spike's mental instability triggered by the return of his soul figures to be both a blessing and a thorn in the side for Buffy. Plus, with Anya back in the vengeance demon business full-time, Buffy and friends will have to clean up the messes she creates. Last night was a start, with Buffy having to defeat the worm demon that Anya made of someone's boyfriend. Plus, the episode kicked off with the now-requisite globe trotting -- this time, a girl in Frankfurt gets killed by the mysterious black-robed assassins. The two opening chapters of Season 7 take us in a new direction by reasserting the old principles of the mythos -- feisty combat with unruly evil.

No Dice
I really can't say much about the alleged "deal" that United Nations negotiatiors struck with Iraqi representatives for continued inspections into the latter's WMD program. As the agreement precludes invasive inspections into the presidential palaces Saddam maintains, it is nothing more than a rehashed return to the see-no-weapons-of-mass-destruction, hear-no-weapons-of-mass-destruction routine that the pliant UN has engaged in since inspectors departed Iraq in 1998.

So What Do We Want, Then?
Conversely, there isn't a single move that anyone can make to solve the conundrum. Opting for an invasion of Iraq is a start, but that sets in motion a different course of action. Essentially, an inspection regime of the type that Washington and London seek requires a muscular backbone -- armed force. If we chose to make this an airpower war as we did over Kosovo in 1999, we are already well situated. While I estimate that we are absent about a corps and a half of men and weaponry for a ground war, we already control a large portion of Iraq's airspace thanks to the no-fly zones. Allied pilots already have a "feel" for the Iraqis' integrated air defense network. One could say that the "opening phase" of a new Iraqi attack has been in play since the no-fly zones were established in the 1990s.

"Diplomacy is the Art of letting someone else have your way..."

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

ZoNotes: Your Father Did Business with Hyman Roth, Your Father Respected Hyman Roth, but Your Father Didn't Trust Hyman Roth...

The 100 Who Would Be President
Today's opening round of Iraq debate in the Senate comes at a particularly busy time for the Nation's upper chamber. The sudden resignation of Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) after his ethical troubles consumed his erstwhile invincible reelection campaign is casting an interesting shadow over whether or not the Senate will green-light the use of force against Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Plus, each Senator is angling to be the "thoughtful" one -- Chuck Hagel (R-NE) is pushing for caution, Ted Kennedy (D-MA) is preaching restraint, etc. What I do in these situations is to try and figure out what these senators would do if he or she was the Commander in Chief.

The reality is that the Iraq debate has less to do with partisan political alignment than it does with the maintenance and execution of political power. Presidents across the political spectrum -- Clinton, Bush 1.0 -- all implemented their power to unilaterally start and finish wars. Even in 1991, if the Senate had denied force to the President, would Bush really have not launched the operation? Bush 1.0 already had a UN resolution green-lighting force and had forces in place in SW Asia. Clinton in 1999 before Kosovo had less political backing -- the NATO allies were somewhat onboard and he had no UN resolution -- and he still opted to begin Operation ALLIED FORCE.

In the age of precision-guided munitions, rapid deployment forces, and globe-spanning strategic reach, the President (whoever he or she might be) has a definitive advantage over Congress in setting the agenda in an era of conflict. Even FDR, when asking Congress for a declaration of war against Japan in 1941, argued that a state of war already existed after Pearl Harbor.

"Parents are not interested in justice, they are interested in quiet." --
Bill Cosby