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5.4.03
 
HOO-AH!

Troops in downtown Baghdad. Wow. So quick that I haven't even had time to post my thoughts on today's episode of "Saddam or Not?".

I keep flipping channels monitoring the BaghdadCam, looking for an Abrams, a Bradley, or, best of all, a Marine crew, to roll right up in front of that phallic minaret.

Peace, absolutely. But only after victory.

4.4.03
 
"A bit different from the one we war-gamed against"


Great piece in today's WSJ on how MSNBC and Fox have eclipsed CNN in the cable news war.

Very insightful, even though he doesn't mention the blonde factor directly.

And speaking of the rise of MSNBC, extremely diligent reader VegasChris writes in to inform us that nighttime anchor Bianca Solorzano is single. Thanks for the tip and the compliments, but she's in New York, dude. Still, you do have to have a dream.


 
Boys and their toys


The feminist take on the war/porn connection, from the Guardian. Hat tip: Reverse Cowgirl.

 
"What are you going to do, bleed on me?"


Jonah Goldberg has a great take on the current state of things and Saddam's favorite stand-up comedian, the Minister for Information, referring to him as a "Muslim Michael Moore on the Atkins Diet" and a couple of Python characters:
"It's as if he's borrowing from both the Dead Parrot sketch and the Black Knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. We say the Medina division has been degraded by 70 percent, he insists: ''Tis but a flesh wound.' We say the Baghdad division has been destroyed, he says: 'We have Coalition forces exactly where we want them.' We say there's no fight left in the enemy, he says: 'We're just resting.' Terry McAuliffe should offer this guy a job."
I'd love to see the Special Forces break in on one of this guy's monologues. We have the capability.

UPDATE
Jonah even beat me to the SF thought. Great minds think alike, I guess.

 
That's just my opinion, I could be wrong

So consumed with the war last night that it turns out I missed Dennis Miller on Leno. At least the NRO bloggers fed us some of his best lines:
On the Dixie Chicks: They might as well open world tour in Basra with "Walk Like an Egyptian".

On the protestors: Bush is Hitler, Ashcroft is Hitler, Rumsfeld is Hitler. The only one who isn't Hitler is the foreign guy with a mustache who drops you if you disagree with him.

On Peter Arnett: How can I trust a guy with a combover like that? Dude, we know you're bald.

On Michael Moore: How can such a big guy be such a small man? It is that stupid moron's right to be utterly, completely, WRONG.


 
Best of Show


The Miller Lite "Catfight" spot won the Advertising Women of New York's Grand Ugly award for the ad that portrayed women in the most offensive manner in the past year.

Somewhere in Manhattan, an account executive is pleading on the phone with Milwaukee, "but they're not the target market!" Gotta love this business.

 
Honneur, en France!

Dissident Frogman, with the best response to the anti-Americanism and desecrated American and British war memorials in France. Read the whole thing.

Like the Frenchmen I actually know, a great guy. Just that his government n'a pas un clue.

 
Texas S&M

Not only did this guy keep his wife chained on a leash, he also made her mow the yard.

What is the deal with Texans and failed relationships?

 
Hearts and minds

Winning the "Arab street", from a guy on the ground.

 
Hearts and minds, The Sequel

Royal Marines lose a battle, but are winning the war.

 
Superhero watch

This is no time for Captain America to go wobbly.
15:27

 

What do you have to say?


Apparently Info-Boy has gone multimedia. Let's hope he crashes like a dot-com.

 

I love the smell of Baghdad in the morning.

 
Heavy delays at SDA; flights resuming shortly


A tough battle for Saddam International in Baghdad. Wow. Our forces are closer to the center of Baghdad than I am from Texas Stadium here in Dallas--heck, this is pretty much the distance from my house to Love Field.

For the NC crew, that's the distance from Washington Park to the Country Club. Or from Franklin Street in Chapel Hill to I-40. Virginians, that's the distance from I-95 to Regency Mall. Californians, from Santa Monica to the 405.

Short commute, but not an easy one. Pray for the troops.

It amazes me that we took it so quickly, too. When I lived in Detroit, it took me longer to get from parking my car to takeoff. Of course, the Army isn't flying Northwest. And the Army has artillery.

Did make me wonder, though. I definitely wouldn't mind having an M1A2 Abrams tank the next time I fly out of Terminal B at DFW. You can ALWAYS find a spot with an Abrams.

What do we call the new airport, though? An embed report says that the Army is renaming Saddam International (SDA) Baghdad International. Two thoughts.

First, the guys are showing some subtlety about dealing with civilians. Not only is Bush International taken as a title (Houston), but it wouldn't have been the most politically correct move if we're going to win hearts and minds.

Second, Saddam's arrogance is amazing. His statues are everywhere. His smilin' mug adorns every wall (Young Saddam! Dad Saddam! Saddam in an Arab headdress! Saddam with that Sopranos-style hat firing a shotgun! Golfer Saddam! Teenage Saddam! Saddam Smurf!). Even the airport CODE is named for him, SDA. I can understand renaming the airport, but the three-letter code? That shows thoroughness. Nothing is too small to suit this guy's vanity.

I can't imagine us letting the same code remain, but what do we do? A quick check of airport codes shows that all the options for Baghdad (BGH, BGD, BDH, BDA, etc.) are already taken. I'm not sure exactly how to mpve forward, but Lileks has one to better represent Saddam and his fate: FCKD.

 
The fog of war


Always easier to watch on Fox News.

Of COURSE I'm watching Laurie Dhue on the late-night feed. Tonight, she's perched on that stool, wearing a short skirt and a pair of those LA-style long black boots. And also doing a great job with the news as well, thank you very much.

3.4.03
 
Man bites dog

Al-Jazeera got tossed out of Iraq. How do you get thrown out of the country for too much butt-kissing?

Of course, Info-Boy may have felt his job was in jeopardy. When you're the only government official in Iraq who doesn't sport a moustache, you learn to play office politics pretty hard. And he does need a new podium...


In other news of the weird, Germany now backs the Coalition. Since you were late, you have to bring the beer.

 
Quote of the day


"D'oh!"
-- Homer Simpson
Certainly appropriate today:
-- Matt Doherty
-- Me on Doherty (evidently he was that big a butthead; thanks for the inside info, WigMasterDL!)
-- Peter Arnett
-- Geraldo (finally booted)
-- Naysayers and anti-war protesters

 
The Baywatch effect

"Democracy, whiskey, sexy," chants one jubilant Iraqi as Our Boys (and Girls) liberate Najaf.

EIther he doesn't know America at all... or he knows us a bit too well. Welcome to freedom, sir!

 
Anchors aweigh


New Navy poster, courtesy of StrategyPage.com. Good maps there, too.

 
It's on the way home


 
Man bites dog, maybe

Lots of UNC coaching rumors out there, most of them the usual suspects, Roy Williams, Larry Brown, etc. The most intriguing possibility, though, is Rick Barnes. It would never happen, but it would be a blast. And he can coach. And he loves the ACC.

I respect any man who can prompt Dean Smith to shout the F-word for three minutes straight during the ACC Tournament. Forget about D'Oh attacking assistant coaches; I'd love to see this guy go head-to-head with Krzyzewski on our behalf.

PS: Eastern Europe needs vowels. Give generously.

 
Required reading

They get them in America.

 
Pocari sweat

If you've ever wondered where you can purchase Hello Kitty-themed sex toys from Japan, look no further.

 
Geography lesson

Iraq is not Vietnam. No matter how much some on the Left wish it were.

 
Can you hear me now?

A number of stories say that the Iraqi government is asking Baghdad residents to give their satellite phones and cellphones to the authorities, fearful of their use by saboteurs calling in air strikes. Saddam and Info-Boy assure Baghdad locals that their phones will be returned after victory.

I wouldn't count on them making good on that promise, but not to worry. Cingular and Verizon should be offering free phones in Baghdad real soon now (with a one-year commitment, of course, and plans starting at $29.99 a month with 300 anytime minutes and 5000 night and weekend minutes, certain restrictions may apply).

2.4.03
 
Stop, Hammer time

Alert reader FootballBatJim forwarded along the best summary of yesterday's events in Chapel Hill that I've seen so far. Check it out; you will have a good laugh.

And thanks for reading, Jim. I enjoy Miller Lite as well, especially with a couple of friends.

 
Red-zone offense


Another written statement from "Saddam Hussein" on Iraqi TV this morning, with our troops 19 miles from Baghdad:
"Fight them. Victory is at hand, God willing, although we have only utilized a third or less of our army while the criminals have used everything they brought in."
Maybe he's not physically dead, but he certainly has lost touch with reality.

I'm no military strategist or anything, but wouldn't it have been a bit wiser to use the other two thirds of your army EARLIER, and nipped things in the bud, Mr. Room-Temperature Beret Boy? We've been sniping about OUR military strategy for the last two days, so it's only fair that we snipe about yours. Or drop MOABs on it.

 
Lots of news, and lots of posts tonight since Blogspot is working again (some pics aren't loading, but otherwise it's OK). If one topic isn't your favorite (basketball, war, culture, media, politics), just scroll to the next piece or the one after that.

 
Humpty-Dumpty was pushed
Readers outside North Carolina, please feel free to scroll to the next essay; this post is a very parochial, very long rant about my alma mater's basketball program.


The war will end, but Carolina basketball will endure. Even through this BS.

"Resignation." Yeah, right. For the first time in my life, I am ashamed to be a Tar Heel.

This is not a proud moment for my University or the team I love. Yes, in 2002, we had the worst season ever. For the first time since before I was born, we had a losing season, didn't finish in the top three of the ACC, and didn't go to the NCAAs for the first time since I was an infant. And despite some great wins over some good teams this season, we crashed during the regular season, didn't go to the Big Dance, and didn't win 20 games.

Big freaking deal. Even Dean Smith had trouble his first three years (was hung in effigy on campus once, I recall). We were on our way back. We beat Dook and Maryland the same week (Duke at Duke, even), beat some quality teams like Kansas and UConn along the way, with a team of freshmen and sophomores AND having lost our best player, Sean May, to injury. We even had (hopefully still have) a great recruiting class coming in. 2002 showed that he could coach with very little.

Doherty could coach, too; the 2001 team showed what he could do with a talented, deep, experienced team.

He represented everything we, the fans, wanted in a coach after Guthridge's sleepwalking (and secretly wanted during the years of Dean Smith's sanctimonious cold fish routine): actual passion for the team's success and the University's honor. So much passion that he even cried after one loss, it hurt so badly. He bled Carolina Blue. He knew what it meant to face your Carolina-hating friends the morning after a loss.

Unlike Dean, he gave a damn about the students and the fans, to the point where the Dean Dome was re-engineered to bring fans onto the floor. He WANTED a loud arena.

I'm in Texas now, so I don't know all the ins and outs like I used to, but I know the main reason why this happened. He alienated almost everyone who really mattered to the program. Dean Smith and his coaches. The administration bureaucrats. The big alumni. A lot of the fans who look only at the short term win-loss record and flame each other in chat rooms. The players, to the point where their parents openly complained to the media and several threatened to quit. The players matter; the other folks shouldn't, not this early in Doherty's tenure.

He deserved another year. Instead, he was pushed.

Now that it's done, we search for another coach. Again. Probably Roy Williams, Rick Majerus, or Phil Ford (he's had three years to live down that DUI).

Personally, I blame the AD, Dick Baddour, for dragging Carolina's sterling name through a pile of manure deeper and thicker than any hog farm's. The operant letters in his name are B-A-D. He bungled the departures of Mack Brown and Dean Smith. He gave us the fiasco of Carl Torbush (a good man, but not the right coach). He exposed us to shame and ridicule with the circus atmosphere when Roy Williams and Frank Beamer walked away from coaching jobs in 2000. If Matt Doherty had these personality problems, he should have either not hired Coach in the first place or addressed it with Matt in private years earlier. Making Doherty "resign" after three years and demonstrated improvement is shameful.

Chancellor Moeser is standing behind you in this decision, though, so I guess we have to give you the benefit of the doubt for now, Dickie.

But foul up the hiring of the next coach, and Tarheel Nation will take care of you the same way the 1st Marine Expeditionary Unit is taking care of Saddam and the RG's. With extreme prejudice.

 
HOO-AH!


Late night is the best time to watch the war news, even if it means missing Letterman. Most of the commentary has had time to settle and gain perspective, and the unfiltered reports from the field start to roll in. It doesn't hurt that Laurie Dhue is anchoring Fox News' West Coast primetime, either.

And some very good news tonight.

First, of course, is the rescue of one of the POWs captured the other day. Lots of prayers answered.

And then, just on TV, too soon for a link, was a live report from the battefield on MSNBC that 3ID had crushed the Medina division of the "elite" Republican Guard and 1MEF had crushed the Baghdad division and was across the Tigris.

I think it was the George Peppard character on the A-Team who used to say, "I love it when a plan comes together." More to follow on the lunchtime Rummy and Myers show; look for it during the monologue before they go into the always-popular "Taunt the Reporter" segment.

UPDATE
While the war seems to be going well, I think it's still a bit too early for MSNBC to start airing ads for NBC's 2004 Olympic coverage. I'm OK with most advertising (hey, we have to carry on as well), but using your own network's war coverage as a promotional tool is a bit unseemly. Plus, I'm superstitious, and this sort of thing just tempts fate.

 
Quote of the day
From a Marine in 1MEF, across the Tigris, quoted on MSNBC:
"The Marine Corps took Iwo Jima; Baghdad ain't s***


 
Careerbuilder.com really works!

Peter Arnett had better luck with his job search than any of us back here; he got a job with the Daily Mirror in London, a newspaper so far to the left and so biased against America that it ought to be called Pravda London.

Arnett fans will also be happy to note that he didn't really mean it and still doesn't have a clue when he apologized for playing Iraqi propaganda monkey-boy to Today show male model Matt Lauer Monday:
""Overnight my successful NBC reporting career was turned to ashes. And why? Because I stated the obvious to Iraqi television; that the US war timetable has fallen by the wayside."
Clueless and anti-American; you have definitely found a real home at the Mirror.

It's also pretty good that Petey found a home with a newspaper. Now that fembots are colonizing cable news (not that this is a bad thing), maybe Petey saw the writing on the wall. Peter may be an experienced war correspondent with a jaunty Aussie accent, but he is burdened with what we in the media biz call "a face made for radio." There's that combover, of course, and his turkey neck.

Left: Peter Arnett's neck. Right: Fox backup anchors.

If you want to get back on TV, Pete, consider plastic surgery. It worked for Greta van Susteren and Jerry Jones.

 
Help wanted: correspondents, travel required

Of course, Petey's not the only correspondent covering the war wondering what his COBRA coverage will cost. There's Geraldo, of course, but it isn't quite clear if he's gone or not (so no link, sorry). Fox hasn't pulled him yet, but maybe they're waiting for him to self-destruct, as he always does.

Sort of a shame, though, because Geraldo's buddy-buddy reports with his embed unit, the 101st Airborne (the unit from "Band of Brothers"), were always kind of fun.

And then there's this report from Africa, about Swaziland Radio's own "Baghdad correspondent" who turned out to be broadcasting from a broom closet while watching CNN. No word yet on whether he was making cool bomb noises sotto voce to make his reports sound more realistic.

Of course, war correspondent might not be the best career option; word is that Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes are cranking up production at the fembot factory. We know they have the capability.

 
Papa don't preach


Worried about being pulled from her reservist job with the top-secret Special Forces Bondage and Pipeworks unit, Master Sergeant Madonna Ciccone has chosen to hold back on airing her controversial video, "American Life", in the US until the war ends.

Restraint from Madonna. Now that's shocking.

 
Saddam or not

Not everyone is having trouble on TV, though. Iraq TV's new surprise hit reality show "Saddam or Not?" was back on the air with a new episode today. First, they tell everyone to tune in for a special live show. Then, Saddam, toying with his viewers, sends on Info-Boy to read a note with the same old stuff about jihad, infidels, etc.; almost everything in the wacky Jihadi rhetorical phrasebook except for a reference to the 72 virgins.

And just like the folks who did Joe Millionaire, they're drawing out the inevitable conclusion longer than it should.

I mean, the only question left to answer is, who will take him out? The Delta Force? A henchman who has finally enough of having to wear a beret and a moustache? Or dark-horse candidate Zora, who really didn't seem that deadly except for that episode where she and Saddam went horseback riding and they played the sappy music?


 
Movin' on up


And if you watched closely, you'll notice that Info-Boy replaced the podium with a something much better suited to his diminutive size, namely, a coffee table.

Wonder what he had to do to get a new desk to replace that podium, though. Was he remembering to bring a venti latte back from Starbucks to the bunker for Saddam when he went out for his? Mooning about how he wanted to grow a moustache like Saddam's when he grows up? Or did he just make sure he got to the office before Saddam got there and didn't leave until after, to convince Saddam that he simply cared about evil more than any of the other henchmen?

 
Why we will win

World peace through shared popular culture. And the real reason the islamofascists hate us.

 
Psyops

The Baghdad rumor mill has it that Saddam has already sent his family to Syria and is planning to head into exile himself.


If true, maybe Saddam was spooked by the aftermath of Michigan State's loss to UT. I mean, if this is what we do when we lose a basketball game, imagine what we're going to do to you when we get to Baghdad, beret boy.

 
Crazy like a fox

James Lileks has a different theory about the recent success of Fox News:
"I have to hand it to Fox: their main war logo is designed to make some people pitch an absolute fit. They use the name of the campaign - Operation Iraqi Freedom - without scare quotes, and as it turns and shines to the sound of horns and snares, a jet flies into the picture AND TURNS INTO AN EAGLE. I imagine they mocked up a few logos, but this one seemed to contain the most Foxitude. Still, the person who signed off on these things wasn't satisfied. He thought for a moment, then said: the eagle needs to scream at the end.

Slapped foreheads all around. Of course! And so the eagle now screams as he leaves the frame. End result: one third of the audience doesn't notice the screaming eagle. One third of the audience LOVES that screaming eagle. One third of the audience is quietly gratified by the knowledge that the screaming eagle just drives some people nuts. Or would, if they watched Fox.

Fox News! “We're the network whose anchors can report American combat victories without sounding as if they soaked their underwear in cold water and filled them with sand. Now with thirty percent more predatory birdsong!"
See, I don't ignore and/or mock views other than my own ALL the time (just most of the time).

And even if you aren't into commentary, Lileks also has a great website, with some very fun (and funny) looks at popular culture, art and architecture. Worth wasting a few minutes of office head-clearing web-surfing time.

 
Jealousy

The Brits are calling their part of the war Operation James, as in 007, and code-naming their targets after Bond villains, like "Blofeld". Cool.

All we have are wimpy strategy-on-screen Buick commercial-type names like "Operation Iraqi Freedom". Why can't we start naming things after OUR movies? We have the capability.

Or maybe I'm just dying to hear the briefers refer to Baghdad as "the Death Star" or "Dr. Evil's secret volcano lair."

 
Local heroes

Watch MSNBC for a little while, and you'll realize that half of their embedded correspondents are local reporters for Channel 5 here in Dallas (KXAS).

The likely reason? Channel 5's reporters, like most DFW journos, already have experience that most of the media don't have, covering the quest to remove on an evil dictator consumed with his own vanity, who ignores, abuses and terrorizes his population for personal gain, avoids the righteous consequences of his evil by frequently switching and exiling his underlings, tends to hide in his protected bunker, makes bizarre appearances on television, and deposed his beloved predecessor in a particularly brutal way. The dictator? Jerry Jones, the butcher of Valley Ranch, of course.

 
Overkill

Ollie North should stick to reporting from the battlefield. If he tries to get another Marine coming off the battlefield to yell "Fox Rocks" one more time, I am going to scream.

Leave the promotion to us professionals, Shredder-Boy. Disney has been doing this for years.

Actually, that would be a fun commercial for the end of the war:
VO: Corporal, now that you've beaten Saddam and made the world safe for democracy, what are you going to do next?

Corporal (happiness shining through the camo face paint, grime and weariness of battle): I'm going to Disneyland!
Actually, that's what we all hope for: victory, peace, and happy times again, courtesy of the U.S. Marines.

 
Strategery

I haven't said it as often as I should: Thanks, Tad, and all of your comrades standing in harm's way for the rest of us. What you're doing is having an impact beyond Iraq. This is getting buried in some of the war news, but the war (or, as I call it, the Battle of Iraq) is also helping us with the larger War on Terror.

First, you have Palestinian radicals and Iranian mullahs backtracking on their support for suicide bombers.

And on the other side of Asia, China is finally helping us deal with the man who truly personfies the term enfant terrible, Kim Jong Il, even going so far to cut off his oil. Even more remarkable is the reason the Chinese gave:
"When the administration started this war in Iraq, they sent a message to countries who have or have had conflicts with the U.S., a clear message: The U.S. is not a paper tiger, it's a real tiger. And also that as a major power, the U.S.'s voice and principles should be listened to closely. If the U.S. quickly finishes this war successfully, the North Koreans will be more cautious in the future."


 
Psyops, the sequel

A story in the San Francisco Examiner (link not working) noted that the CIA has halted its program of sending Iraqi generals e-mails and phone calls trying to get them to surrender.

That's right, we were SPAMMING the Republican guard. I think that's a violation of the Geneva Convention. We're not just fighting them; we're aggravating the hell out of them!

Don't think too badly of the CIA for trying it, though. First of all, they probably have supersecret e-mail addresses and phone numbers, so they probably don't have to start their business day by deleting all the solicitations for Viagra, porn sites, and home mortgage loans like the rest of us. So it probably sounded like a good idea around a conference room table in Langley. Second, you WANT the CIA trying goofy things like this and the exploding cigar/eyeglasses they tried to plant on Castro, just as long as they only try it on creepy foreign supervillains who want to kill us. Remember how Ted Turner described his job: "I try to come up with 10 crazy ideas a day. 9 of them are absolutely stupid, of course... but the tenth is CNN."

 
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water

Like Dracula rising from the grave, the Democrats are back, and, surprise, surprise, they say that not only is the President exploiting the war for personal advantage, he also--wait for it--has a "risky tax scheme". Ooooooooh, scary.

Memo to Terry McAuliffe--the Gore lines ALMOST worked for you in 2000. But ALMOST means they didn't, and in case you haven't noticed, a number of folks have bonded to W after 9/11. It may be productive to use your party's time of silence during this conflict to actually get a clue and come up with something constructive rather than the same tired BS from three years ago. Actually, as a Republican, I rather hope you don't, but I'm tired of hearing the same old idiocy and would prefer to hear some new idiocy, just to keep things fresh. Don't make me do this again, or I will be forced to bill you.

31.3.03
 
Arnett gone

That was a fast turnaround. Now we can watch MSNBC with a clear conscience again. And that Bianca Solorzano is a cutie.

At least this will now give the media something new to talk about. The six-year-old-on-a-car-trip "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?" line of questioning has grown tiresome.

 
O'Reilly... Bill O'Reilly

Alert reader DressageSarah wrote in to ask my opinion of Rebecca Gomez, newsreader on Fox today now that Shepard Smith seems to have finally flipped out (48 references to Pentagon reporter Brett Baier going on a date last night while Shep was trapped in the studio). Stay brave, stay alert, and stay with Fox, Shep; Jillian Barberie is still in lust with you.

While researching Rebecca for one, maybe two minutes on Google, I came across something truly important: The Essential Field Guide to Fox Blondes (hat tip: NRO's The Corner). Yes, I'm not the only one captivated by the lovely ladies of the Most Powerful Name in Cable News (I do, however, think it's time they held an agency review; that line needs help).

And I stumbled across the true reason for the success of Fox News. It's not Bill O'Reilly, a conservative bias, or even the short-skirt dress code.

The true reason? All their female newsreaders are Bond Girls. See if you can tell the difference between the Bond Girls and the Fox anchorwomen:

1.2.3.
4.5.6.
7.8.9.

Harder than you thought, wasn't it?

Here are the answers:
1. Pussy Galore, Goldfinger; 2. Page Hopkins, Fox; 3. Holly Goodhead, Moonraker; 4. Heather Nauert, Fox; 5. Honeychile Ryder, Dr. No; 6. Terry Keenan, Fox; 7. Tatiana Romanova, From Russia With Love; 8. you know who; 9. Fembot, Austin Powers.

But to answer DressageSarah directly, I don't think Rebecca is wearing a wig. I think she just has a bad case of poofy anchorhair. And she's new, just give her time. She will be assimilated. Resistance is futile. We report, you decide.

U P D A T E
You don't have to be blonde, or even a girl, to get a groovy Bond Girl name. Just click here, enter your name, and find out. It's fun! DressageSarah's name would be Selinda Honeytip, and ace anchor Laurie Dhue's name would be Selinda Clarissa (what's with the Selindas?). Chipstah would be Shira Bodaysha. If he were a girl. And blonde. And if he didn't have a beard. But that's not going to happen.

 
T R E A S O N


What the %^&*#?!?!? No, no, not the fact that Peter is standing in front of the phallic minaret on the corner of Maple and Hegemony in downtown Baghdad that has taunted me for the past 11 days, there's more to it...

I come home from the conveniently timed Sundays at Seven (a.k.a. casual dress "Last Chance Mass"), flip on Fox to catch up on the war I missed, only to see... Pat Buchanan, dinosaur conservative/noted anti-Semite/failed Presidential candidate/failed CNN host/MSNBC host. On Fox News, the network for us neocons, the last place you would expect him after he was excommunicated from our ranks (happily), bloviating about something with Greta van Susteren (Blonde? Check. Brain? Check. Legs? Check. OK, you can come on Fox, but stop by the plastic surgeon first; CNN has aged you prematurely).

The ruckus? Peter Arnett, giving aid and comfort to the enemy on state-run Iraqi TV. Yes, the same channel that alternates between "Best of Saddam" reruns from last year and news updates from the vertically-challenged information minister. Info-boy is easy to remember; he's the only person in Saddam's inner circle who doesn't have a moustache (I wonder if they zing him for that when Saddam does his annual henchman performance review, but I digress).

Essentially, Peter said the same things lots of critics were saying on the Sunday talk shows this morning--the plan failed, "heroic" (evil) resistance of the Fedayeen had stopped us cold and forced us to go back to the drawing board, etc. Lots of us beg to differ, Pete, but it's a free country. At least America is.

Which brings me to my problem with this whole affair. Peter, you gave your "interview" on a propaganda organ of the enemy government at a time when Americans are dying to overthrow that foul regime. You bolstered Saddam's case all over Al-Jazeera, and on the only network most Iraqis can receive. Well, they could receive, if the Fedayeen hasn't dragged them out of their houses and prodded them into battle at gunpoint. When the one thing holding many Iraqis back from rising up is fear that Saddam might actually make it through this thing.

Most Iraqis can't watch "Meet the Press", but they can watch Saddam TV. You gave the dictator's arguments immense credibility by your appearance and your comments.

What you did gave aid and comfort to America's enemy in a time of war. Which is treason. Whether intentional or not, you stood shoulder-to-shoulder with this guy in Saddam's battle to keep the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people under his iron thumb.


Up until now, you had almost redeemed yourself for the Tailwind and "Baby Milk Factory" BS. Your reporting in this war on MSNBC and your portrayal in the HBO movie "Live From Baghdad" helped. I was beginning to think you were a just another fair dinkum Aussie just trying to make the best of things over a drink or twelve, with a smile and a dry joke or three always at the ready, like ever other Aussie I have met in my life, great people all (even if you can't understand their accent and slang after the fifth drink).

But no, you're not even an Aussie, you're a Kiwi. And a traitor to the country whose readers and viewers have funded your adult life.

I doubt your green card will work too well when this is all over, Petey, and if MSNBC has half a brain, I doubt you'll be working for them much longer, either. I mean, they couldn't very well stand by the "America's Bravest" wall while intro'ing your dispatches, could they?

But with the way we're bombing the Ministry of Information, there should be an opening or two coming up with Al-Jazeera. You were made for each other.

Oh, and nice combover, Homer.


U P D A T E
It's worse than I thought. Here's the full transcript. Decide for yourself. That sounded more like collaboration than trying to stay alive.

 
Fatwa on MSNBC

I also apologize for the nice things I had to say about MSNBC the other day. They had nothing to do with Peter Arnett, but his conduct disgraces them and NBC.

And just to rub salt into the wound, MSNBC's idea of info-babes?

Chris Jansing and Ashleigh Banfield. I'm sure they're smart, and they're mildly attractive in that corporate shrink-wrapped blow-dried local anchor/flight attendant's union kind of way, but they're not exactly Fox News material, now, are they? I bet MSNBC even made Ashleigh dye the blonde out of her hair and wear those silly glasses instead of wearing contacts like a good newsreader should.

 
The flames of Allah will consume MSNBC's degenerate lifestyle!

This MSNBC mess is sad, because we bombed the Information Ministry AGAIN today, which meant more photo fun with the BaghdadCam perched on the corner of Maple and Hegemony. After 10 days of looking at the only view of Baghdad that never had any violence or mayhem, you start wishing something, anything, would happen.

Anyway, another bomb hit, this time near the 28th of April shopping mall (Saddam's birthday, that shrinking violet). Probably just clearing things out to make way for the Starbucks food court and the Baghdad Galleria, opening date TBD (no matter how many times we pester Rummy for a timetable). Or just revenge for the Kuwaiti mall Saddam's steely-eyed missilemen bravely nicked Friday night.

The best part wasn't the fire, though, it was the commentary on MSNBC, which was quite inane, even by US small-market-local-news standards:
Lester in NY: Sorry to cut in, but this looks like a pretty big fire here in Baghdad.

Pentagon guy: Yes, it sure does.

Lester in NY: That thing looks like it's out of control.

Pentagon guy: Yes, and it's black smoke, which means something's burning in there.

Lester in NY: Yep, it's big.

Pentagon guy: Lester, what's that coming into frame there?

Lester: It looks like a fire engine, they may be trying to put out the fire, we know they have the capability...

Pentagon guy: I think you're right, Lester, there's a big plume of something coming from the hose on the truck, which looks like water...
Now you know why the media is so hot for us to slam into Baghdad, ready or not... they're bored.

And, sadly, despite CENTCOM's best efforts, the phallic minaret still stands. Baghdad's answer to St. Paul's during the Blitz, I guess.

 
A suggestion

Instead of the BaghdadCam, why don't you put a webcam out in the Baghdad suburbs (al-Plano, bin-Midlothian, al-Cary, whatever they're called) by the Republican Guard? That's what I'd like to see. Tanks. Burn-out tanks. Rows and rows of burn-out tanks. Burn-out tanks galore and more. 1991 Highway of Death style. It's just burnt machinery; the lesson the Iraqis learned in '91 was that when you hear a plane, you get as far away from your vehicle as possible, so they'll be OK.

Or don't show it, but make sure the Air Force takes care of the RGs before the troops go in, 1991-style. Nirvana soundtrack optional.

 
Mental notes/non sequiturs

Number one: remind future generations, no matter how much of a crusty old fart that I will appear to be, that when 9/11 supplants Labor Day as the end-of-summer holiday/excuse for a long weekend (you know this is going to happen), that it will never, ever, under any circumstances, be acceptable for a car dealer or other merchant to use the date as an excuse to "declare jihad on high prices".

Number two: from the coverage, I've learned that Saddam's birthday is the 28th of this month. Taurus. Taurus ("the bull") is the stubborn sign. I've dated Tauri. Now I understand.

 
Know your enemy

IMAO brings us a few "fun facts" about the "elite" Republican Guard to help the troops who will be taking them on. Funny, and worth reading. A couple of my favorites, for those of you in a hurry:
* The Republican Guard were a replacement for the less successful Iraqi Democratic Guard, who would try to whine and tax their enemies into submission. Eventually Saddam became too annoyed with them and had them executed.

* The Republican Guard's only natural predator is the camel. It will spit in the eyes of a Republican Guard to blind him and then swallow him whole. The shark would be another natural predator--if only Aquaman were somehow able to trick the Republican Guard into following him into the sea.

* Though many Republican Guards dress up in burkas in the privacy of their own tents, that doesn't make them gay.

* In the first Gulf War, a confused group of Republican Guards accidentally surrendered to some monkeys. The monkeys then bit them (violating the Geneva Convention rules on handling P.O.W.'s) and stole their vehicles and weapons. Legend has it that they still roam the deserts today, wreaking havoc as only monkeys do.


 
How to win friends and influence people
hat tip: Command Post

Palestinians in the West Bank have named a town square after the Iraqi suicide bomber who took out four of our troops yesterday.

You know, the Palestinians. The guys who want us to shake down Israel on their behalf after the Iraq war is over. Yes, the same guys who backed Saddam in the last war. Yes, the guys who danced for joy in the streets after 9/11. Those guys.

 
IronyFest2003 update

With the Final Four looming, it looks like the Palestinians are the Cinderella team to watch as IronyFest2003 draws to a close sometime in the near future above the ruins of Saddam's bunker (just quit pestering Rummy about exactly WHEN; he's getting testy).

This year's Final Four?

From the West, there's France, the odds-on favorite, always there with the prime-time play, no matter the time, place, or propriety.

In the MidEast region, you have Iraq, which overcame injuries in the regionals largely due to heavy amounts of intentional fouling and strong play off the bench by their Information Minister, whose snappy quips and diminutive height remind everyone of 5'3" Wake Forest point guard Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues.

In the South, Palestine (see above) has made the cut. They've been hurt by years of bruising play in the Judean league, but tournaments like this always bring out their ironic best.

In the East, there's Russia, another surprise based on their seeding coming in, but their denunciations of our war compared with theirs in Chechnya, combined with their lest-minute arms trading with Iraq, propelled them past a higher-seeded North Korean team coached by Kim "Elvis Hair" Jong Il, whose bluster and team's strength on paper did not prevent the club from simply being ignored. The North Koreans' strange training table diet of bark and twigs also hurt them when games got down to the wire.