Wednesday, December 11, 2002

ZoNotes: Let It Sleet?

The Hoax Wrapped Inside a Ruse

Throughout the post-Gulf War inspection regime, trust has not been the underlying concept guiding the process. In fact, the construct the inspections were based on was suspicion. If we trusted Iraq, trusted Hussein, then we wouldn’t have to burrow inspectors into Iraq in the first place.

The Iraqi document dump, therefore, is a steel-plated, pre-guaranteed denial. But it doesn’t alter the basic mistrust the U.S. and its political leadership harbors. Only the people most likely willing to trust Iraq – the anti-war Left, the European press, the United Nations – would see this as a heralded breakthrough.

It is a semantic wordplay to think that “war” waits in 2003 when indeed the West has been waging a continuing war against Iraq via the no-fly zones and the air strikes against Saddam’s air defense systems. An expanded war, designed to remove Saddam Hussein and finally settle the question of the weapons of mass destruction, is surely a difficult step, but it represents a real step nonetheless.

What the inspectors reveal, or do not reveal, won’t change the mindset of the people involved. Interestingly, USA Today made an analogy to 1962, when during the Cuban Missile Crisis, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Adlai Stevenson, during a meeting of the Security Council, confronted his Soviet counterpart with photographic proof exposing the presence of Soviet nuclear weapons based in Cuba. Surely, this was one of the most theatrical moments of the Cold War, bundling together drama and consequences.

However, what if Ambassador Stevenson had not made his display of proof? What if President Kennedy had given his fateful speech to the American public absent the evidence? Would America, gripped in one of the hottest phases of the Cold War, paused in anticipation of clear evidence? Would they have withheld support as our forces marshaled for a global showdown with the Soviets?

Gripping moment as it was, Stevenson’s picture show in New York also bordered on the careless for the infamously maverick Kennedy Administration. It revealed the success of the U-2 spy plane, which already had been shot down before over the Soviet Union. Beyond catching the Soviets red-handed, did the demonstration help?

In retrospect, these are interesting questions – questions I should have explored when I took the Cuban Missile Crisis course back in 1999 when I was a junior at Georgetown.

Eastern liberals who paint Bush’s cowboy with the six-shooter caricature would be well advised to study the brazen panache of the Kennedy team – having the nerve to pull air support support for the failed Bay of Pigs attack against Castro in 1961, the placement of tanks in Berlin during the construction of the Berlin Wall, and the assassination of South Vietnamese leader Ngo Dinh Diem in 1963. Custodians of the Camelot legacy, the outsized Kennedy hagiography, either ignore the evidence or point out Kennedy restrained himself during the delicate faceoff with Moscow. Still, Kennedy’s actions – the institution of the “quarantine” on Cuba, for example, has us closer to war than you would believe in your history book.

Given the circumstances – Iraq’s previous use of chemical weapons, its invasion of Kuwait, its recalcitrance in the face of the inspectors – the U.S. has acted with tremendous restraint. The 12,000-page sermon only allays people who were inclined to believe Iraq in the first place, people who are suspicious and virulent against American power anyway.

Remember the implicit, contradictory threat the Left makes whenever an advocate of military action raises his/her voice. First, the Left says Iraq doesn’t have weapons of mass destruction, then in the same sentence, claims Iraq will use the weapons of mass destruction they don’t have against an American ally like Israel if the U.S. does attack?

So you have to move a step beyond this 12,000-page denial. What happens when “real” proof of an ongoing WMD program emerges? What then? That is when the naysayers and the Cassandras will have to choose, really choose, between the U.S. and Iraq. No on the one-hand-but-on-the-other bit.

Do you believe Hussein in 2002? Would you have believed Khruschev in 1962?

To Blog, Or Not to Blog?
It looks like one of the envelope-pushers of the phenomenon, Andrew Sullivan, is facing a crisis of finances. I’m lucky that at this juncture ZoNotes is purely a means of entertainment and recreation. If I had to rely on this to put food on the table, or anything on the table for that matter, I don’t think I could manage.
Eventually, down the line, ZoNotes is going to be a cash engine for me. In what format, and in what venue, I just don’t know yet. Blogging is nothing more than picking the lock on the diary. All the stuff that is on my mind ends up in the infinities of cyberspace.

"I have always imagined Paradise will be a kind of library." -- Jorge Luis Borges

Monday, December 09, 2002

ZoNotes: From This Day To That...

The Iraqi "statement" declaring it has no weapons of mass destruction is a hoax. More on this tomorrow.

Thanks to Daniel Alvarez (F'00), Hoya alum and current GU Law student, for sending me this:Copy (not forward) this entire e-mail by scrolling
down through it and
paste it onto a new e-mail (compose) that you will
send. Change all of the
answers so that they apply to you. Then, send this
to a whole bunch of
people you know INCLUDING the person who sent it to
you. The theory is that
you will learn a lot of little known facts about
those who know
you. Remember to send it back to the person who
sent it to you.

1) What time is it right now? 0734 hrs., Monday, 9 Dec.

2) Name as it appears on your birth certificate:
Lorenzo Renee Cortes

3) Nickname's: "Zo", "Lo", "Hey, you"

4) Parents name: Renee and Victoria

5) Number of candles that appeared on your last
birthday cake: 24

6) Date that you regularly blow them out: Sept. 1

7) Companion Animals: None

8) Eye color: Brown

9) Hair color: Brown.

10) Piercing: Ouch!

11) Tattoos: Double Ouch!

12) How much do you love your job? I am Defense Procurement Guy!

13) Favorite color: Metallic blue, accented with silver/gray hues. How 'Bout Dem Cowboys!

14) Hometown born in: Laredo, TX

15) Current Residence: Alexandria, VA

16) Been to Europe: Have you?

17) Have you ever toilet papered anything? I am not a crook.

18) Loved somebody so much it made you cry? How about loving somebody so much you break high-priced foreign imports?

19) Been in a car accident?: Once, when I banged my car against a pillar in the parking lot of my apt. complex.

20) On salad, do you want Croutons or bacon bits?
Anchovies. Anchovies. Anchovies.

21) Sprite or 7UP? Ginger Ale. Think outside the lemon-flavored carbonated drinks.

22) Favorite Movie: Casablanca.

23) Favorite Holiday: Christmas/New Year's

24) Favorite day of the week? Friday

25) Favorite word or phrase: "ZoNotes..."

26) Favorite tooth paste: Crest.

27) Favorite Restaurant: Here in DC? Cactus Cantina. In Laredo? Tacolare

28) Favorite Flower: I have to agree with Daniel -- Bluebonnets.

29) Favorite Drink: Cranberry juice, orange-carrot Sobe, and Dr. Pepper

30) Favorite sport to watch: in person? Football.
on TV? Football.

31) Preferred type of ice cream: Bluebell Strawberries and Cream

32) Favorite Sesame Street Character: Cookie Monster. Vivacious appetite. Had lots of soul. Ate like he gave a hoot.

33) Disney or Warner Bros? Hoot tootin' varmints.

34) Favorite Fast Food Restaurant: Taco Palenque, Laredo, TX. Whataburger

35) When was your last hospital stay? December 2000, when I broke my foot when I dropped the 35-pound weight on it.

36) What color is your bedroom carpet? Earthy-like.

37) How many times did you fail your driver's test?

38) Have you ever been convicted of a crime? Nope.

39) Who sent this to you?: Daniel Alvarez (F'00)

40) Which store would you choose to max out your
credit card?: IKEA, Borders

41) What do you do most often when you are bored?
Read. Lots.

42) Name the person that you are friends with that
lives the furthest away:
All the Laredoans.

43) Most annoying things people ask you: "How much do you pay for your long distance?"

44) Bedtime: Between 11 and midnight.

45) Who will respond the quickest? He who answers quickest will have done so quickly.

46) Who is the person you sent this to that is
least likely to respond:
He or she who is not reading will not respond.

47) Favorite all time TV show(s): Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alias, Angel, Monday Night Football, Saturday Night ESPN College Football

48) Who was the last person you had lunch with? Mom and I had sandwiches from Wisemiller's. Can you handle the Burger Madness?

49) Last Movie you went to? Um, Austin Powers: Goldmember. I'm lame like that.

50) Time when you finished this ? 0740 hrs.

51) What were you doing while filling this out?
Listening to 103.5 FM, the classical music station. I'm cultured like that.

"It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark." -- Howard Ruff