Media Casualties Mount
Administration Split On Europe Invasion
Administration In Crisis Over Burgeoning Quagmire
Congress Concerned About Diversion From War On Japan
Pot, Kettle On Line Two...
Allies Seize Paris
Gore Book Sales Tank, Supporters Claim Unfair Tactics
Satan Files Lack Of Defamation Suit
Why This Blog Bores People With Space Stuff
A New Beginning
My Hit Parade
Instapundit (Glenn Reynolds)
James Lileks Bleats
Winds Of Change (Joe Katzman)
Little Green Footballs (Charles Johnson)
Eject Eject Eject (Bill Whittle)
Alan Boyle (MSNBC)
Space Politics (Jeff Foust)
Space Transport News (Clark Lindsey)
NASA Space Flight
A Voyage To Arcturus (Jay Manifold)
Dispatches From The Final Frontier (Michael Belfiore)
Personal Spaceflight (Jeff Foust)
The Flame Trench (Florida Today)
Rocket Forge (Michael Mealing)
COTS Watch (Michael Mealing)
Curmudgeon's Corner (Mark Whittington)
Tales of the Heliosphere
Out Of The Cradle
Space For Commerce (Brian Dunbar)
The Speculist (Phil Bowermaster)
Spacecraft (Chris Hall)
Space Pragmatism (Dan Schrimpsher)
Eternal Golden Braid (Fred Kiesche)
Carried Away (Dan Schmelzer)
Laughing Wolf (C. Blake Powers)
Chair Force Engineer (Air Force Procurement)
JesusPhreaks (Scott Bell)
Nanobot (Howard Lovy)
Lagniappe (Derek Lowe)
Geek Press (Paul Hsieh)
Redwood Dragon (Dave Trowbridge)
Turned Up To Eleven (Paul Orwin)
Cowlix (Wes Cowley)
Quark Soup (Dave Appell)
Assymetrical Information (Jane Galt and Mindles H. Dreck)
Marginal Revolution (Tyler Cowen et al)
Man Without Qualities (Robert Musil)
Knowledge Problem (Lynne Kiesling)
Cut On The Bias (Susanna Cornett)
The Funny Pages
Cox & Forkum
Day By Day
Happy Fun Pundit
Amish Tech Support (Lawrence Simon)
Scrapple Face (Scott Ott)
Quasipundit (Adragna & Vehrs)
England's Sword (Iain Murray)
Daily Pundit (Bill Quick)
Daimnation! (Damian Penny)
Z+ Blog (Andrew Zolli)
The Kolkata Libertarian
Midwest Conservative Journal
Protein Wisdom (Jeff Goldstein et al)
Dean's World (Dean Esmay)
Yippee-Ki-Yay (Kevin McGehee)
Spleenville (Andrea Harris)
Random Jottings (John Weidner)
On the Third Hand (Kathy Kinsley, Bellicose Woman)
Inappropriate Response (Moira Breen)
Inadvertent Comic Relief
Warblogger Watcher (Cowardly Anonymous Idiotarians)
Other Worthy Weblogs
Ain't No Bad Dude (Brian Linse)
A libertarian reads the papers
Anna Franco Review
Ben Kepple's Daily Rant
Dropscan (Shiloh Bucher)
End the War on Freedom
Insolvent Republic of Blogistan
James Reuben Haney
Mind over what matters
Page Fault Interrupt
Sand In The Gears(Anthony Woodlief)
The Blogs of War
The Fly Bottle
The Illuminated Donkey
What she really thinks
Where HipHop & Libertarianism Meet
Zem : blog
Space Policy Links
The Space Review
The Space Show
Space Frontier Foundation
Space Policy Digest BBS
USS Clueless (Steven Den Beste)
Unremitting Verse (Will Warren)
World View (Brink Lindsay)
The Last Page
More Than Zero (Andrew Hofer)
Pathetic Earthlings (Andrew Lloyd)
Spaceship Summer (Derek Lyons)
The New Space Age (Rob Wilson)
Rocketman (Mark Oakley)
Site designed by
Repairing The Damage Of Socialism
Iain Murray has some good news on the environmental front--the restoration of the Aral Sea. And as Iain points out, this was unquestionably a tragedy caused by man--not by global warming, but by a Stalinist command economy. And it reminds me of the fatuousness of the Pope's comments the other day, that "no good came out of the war in Iraq." (Michael Novak has his own thoughts on that.)
One could probably write a book on the many good things that have come out of removing Saddam from power, but just one is the reversal of another environmental catastrophe, also caused by oppression and a Stalinist-style government--the draining of the Euphrates marshes. With Saddam's removal, plans to restore them began almost immediately, and the progress has been impressive, if not perfect:
The restoration of southern Iraq's Mesopotamian marshes is now a giant ecosystem-level experiment. Uncontrolled release of water in many areas is resulting in the return of native plants and animals, including rare and endangered species of birds, mammals, and plants. The rate of restoration is remarkable, considering that reflooding occurred only about two years ago. Although recovery is not so pronounced in some areas because of elevated salinity and toxicity, many locations seem to be functioning at levels close to those of the natural Al-Hawizeh marsh, and even at historic levels in some areas.
Nothing good from the Iraq war? Ask a Marsh Arab.Posted by Rand Simberg at April 10, 2007 09:01 AM
You might want to look at what the Pope actually said:
In the Middle East, besides some signs of hope in the dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian authority, nothing positive comes from Iraq, torn apart by continual slaughter as the civil population flees. In Lebanon the paralysis of the country's political institutions threatens the role that the country is called to play in the Middle East and puts its future seriously in jeopardy.
I interpret it as saying nothing good is coming from the current sectarian fighting. I don't think he's referring to the invasion at all.Posted by Eric J at April 10, 2007 09:52 AM
That's a parody right? Or has the situation become so untenable that you're left with the restoration of the Euphrates Marshlands as the justification our ill-advised adventure in Iraq?
Why don't you look up the genocidal campaign by Saddam and the Baath against the Marsh Arabs while you're at it? That's the reason why these marshes were drained in the first place, to destroy them.Posted by JonBuck at April 10, 2007 01:18 PM
I've written several times about the restoration of the Iraqi Marshes. You're not supposed to praise it, you know, because nothing good can come of anything tainted by a Bush-association. I'm so pleased to see you writing about it.Posted by TheAnchoress at April 10, 2007 01:22 PM
I'm sure that if the US invasion had caused the draining of these marshes, nycnick would include it in the bill of particulars against Bush. I recall many howls of outrage about the damage to delicate desert habitats during both the wars with Hussein.
So why not count the restoration on the other side of the ledger?Posted by R C Dean at April 10, 2007 01:31 PM
Beautiful on so may levels. The marshes of the Euphrates were once an ecological treasure and the root of an ancient culture nearly destroyed by Saddam. Beautiful also in that it drew from one of your commenters the absolutely suffocating nihilism that has become what passes for liberal thought in America. Don't be surprised if nycnick shows up and tosses a marmot into your bathwater.Posted by Gunga at April 10, 2007 01:31 PM
"You should send this off to the families of our soldiers who have paid the ultimate price in Iraq and get their take on whether or not our efforts to give the Marsh Arabs a restored wetland was worth their sacrifice."
Most of them approve - they keep saying so to our congresspeople, in letters. petitions, visits. They are very frustrated that good news doesn't get out. They know their relatives have not died in vain and they hope you will know that too.Posted by Yehudit at April 10, 2007 01:35 PM
...you're left with the restoration of the Euphrates Marshlands as the justification our ill-advised adventure in Iraq?
...is kind of brainless, considering that I wrote, "One could probably write a book on the many good things that have come out of removing Saddam from power, but just one is the reversal of another environmental catastrophe..." In other words, it's exactly the kind of thing we'd expect you to write.Posted by Rand Simberg at April 10, 2007 02:07 PM
The papacy is political and in my opinon has always been so from its very inception, as a result they will drift into populism from time to time (both good and bad).
The last pope was extraordinary and the current one isn't as bad as I had feared (I'm neither Catholic nor Christian btw -I'm a nondenominational believer) but they're as human as anyone else and I disagree with both when it comes to Iraq.
Another and perhaps the greatest example of the environmental ravages of Stalinism or Marxism or anything similar is simply China as a whole (although they've somewhat changed course recently). Then again I guess those that do believe in such ideologies might point out that just about nothing beats the "communist glory" of Cambodia when it comes to environmentalism: "removing" humans... (Chernobyl is a strong contender too for the "Most Environmentally Friendly Communism Award" with its current thriving wildlife).Posted by Habitat Hermit at April 10, 2007 02:08 PM
You should send this off to the families of our soldiers who have paid the ultimate price in Iraq and get their take on whether or not our efforts to give the Marsh Arabs a restored wetland was worth their sacrifice.
Since you mock even the possibility that large-scale ecological restoration and the rescue of a whole way of life isn't worth the sacrifice of any number of soldiers' lives, I'd be quite interested to know what you think is worth real sacrifice. Go on, enlighten us. Try to be constructive instead of merely spiteful.
If you're like most of your ilk, the answer will be nothing that can actually be achieved with fallible human institutions. You know, some fatuous meaninglessness like "justice for all" or "universal happiness and freedom" or "all the children above average." Or perhaps it will be one of those time-machine 20/20 hindsight futile fantasies, along the lines of "I would have done X four or fifty or two hundred years ago, so we'd be living in wonderful alternate reality Y right now."
Which means, really, your position is that nothing is worth true sacrifice, except that which is impossible anyway. Given such breathtaking narcissism, it's a wonder the rest of us labor to see that your home is safe and you can get enough calories to survive without having to acquire the skills of farming or hunting with a pointed stick.Posted by Carl Pham at April 10, 2007 03:40 PM
good things good things good things good things "Although recovery is not so pronounced in some areas because of elevated salinity and toxicity..."
And our enterprising reporter gives us the headline: NEOCONS ADMIT THAT ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE IN IRAQ MAY BE IRREPARABLEPosted by DensityDuck at April 10, 2007 03:52 PM
You and your friends on the right would have had a very difficult time convincing the public that we needed to invade and occupy Iraq because of some impending environmental catastrophe. I'm not going to argue that NOTHING good could possibly come from this adventure, but that shouldn't be the standard on which we make decisions about going to war. For instance, can there be any doubt at this stage, that Iran is the big winner in this? Is a stronger Iran, with a bigger reach of influence both within the broader middle east and beyond, in our best interest? Especially given the animus that has been created by this administration around the world? We have made Iran into something they could only have dreamed of becoming before our invasion. They, not us, have the best opportunity to shape the outcome in Iraq. We have made a strategic blunder. Not recognizing that is detrimental to finding a way forward. Measured against that backdrop, the wetlands along the Euphrates are the least of our concerns.
Posted by nynick at April 10, 2007 04:04 PM
"You and your friends on the right would have had a very difficult time convincing the public that we needed to invade and occupy Iraq because of some impending environmental catastrophe." Yeah, the only problem with that is nobody is arguing that here. Learn how to read you stupid prick.Posted by Rez at April 10, 2007 04:11 PM
"Which means, really, your position is that nothing is worth true sacrifice, except that which is impossible anyway. Given such breathtaking narcissism, it's a wonder the rest of us labor to see that your home is safe and you can get enough calories to survive without having to acquire the skills of farming or hunting with a pointed stick."
Is it your contention that the military is made up of right-leaning Republicans only? What keeps my home safe and secure is the same thing that keeps your home safe and secure. It's not the neocon elites and their offspring that volunteers to fight and die in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. It's the sons and daughters of real people from every corner of this country who choose to join the service. My family has had at least one member serving in the military continuously for over four decades. That isn't the point. We live in dangerous times and the blunders we make now will have consequences beyond our limited time here. In otherwords, policy is not some game where one of us wins and one of us loses. It's that sort of me=good, you=bad thinking that got us into this mess. We should be thinking of ways to fix it rather than making excuses and justifications.Posted by nynick at April 10, 2007 04:20 PM
If one could write a book about all the good that has come from removing Saddam from power but leave out all the negative unintended consequences, would you not see that endeavor as incomplete? It's a bit like saying to Ms. Lincoln, "other than that assassination thing, how did you enjoy the play?"Posted by nynick at April 10, 2007 04:31 PM
Another good thing to come out of "Iraq" is the US Marines are poised on Iran's land-borders and ready to put Tehran into a neck-hold while our Navy hits them where it hurts.
Just waiting for the UN Security Council to give us the go-ahead.
Hey, we've got to enforce the Non-Proliferation Treaty, don't we?Posted by steveaz at April 10, 2007 04:33 PM
nynick, I notice you didn't answer my question. Don't have an answer, do you? You know how to criticize, to mock, to tear down. But you have no ability to construct, to move forward (however haltingly), to do something positive. You're a sidewalk supervisor next to those in the construction pit trying to build a better future. Yep, we make mistakes. The only person who doesn't is the guy who doesn't try anything at all.
We live in dangerous times and the blunders we make now will have consequences beyond our limited time here.
And this is different from any other time in history...how? You figure your parents in, say, October of 1962 were a lot more relaxed about their decisions? What's different, perhaps, about today is the astonishing number of people who feel their role is to comment and criticize rather than, you know, get down in the trenches and help out. More than half of Congress, for example.
We should be thinking of ways to fix it rather than making excuses and justifications.
Yeah, except I don't think there's anything to "fix," other than possibly suppress the hysterical vaporings of narcissists who are just pissed because they're not calling the shots. Nor does anything come to mind for which "excuses and justifications" are necessary. Really, I'm not offering to debate your points -- which I see as little more than timeless cliches -- so much as expressing contempt for your apparent existential philosophy.Posted by Carl Pham at April 10, 2007 06:16 PM
One could indeed write a book on the many good things
This draining was unquestionably a manmade tragedy,
Industrial agriculture uses vast quantities of water
It wouldn't come as a great surprise to see the Iraqi
Posted by Carl Pham at April 10, 2007 03:40 PM
The ONLY reason to sacrifice the lives of The Republics armed forces is to benefit The Republic...and the nation should never be lied to on a war of choice.
It was at least "mislead" about why we were going into Iraq.
I wouldnt risk one American to fix the environment in Iraq...
RobertPosted by Robert G. Oler at April 10, 2007 09:49 PM
Mark it's true that one doesn't have to believe in communism to make mistakes or do extensive environmental damage, yet (and I don't believe this applies to you) I would tell those that believe it makes no difference to look at the environmental state of East Germany when it folded and compare it to West Germany.
Those two points of comparison are just about equal except for 40 plus years of different rule on each side. The tendency is very clear; East Germany along with almost all (if not all) former Warsaw Pact countries had far higher levels of pollution and environmental damage than their neighbours.
The cause for this can be witnessed in as seemingly unrelated things as the difference in renting a flat and owning it. The ones who at least feel like they own and are personally responsible for "something" take much better care of it. Of course it gets even worse when complaints are unwanted and unheeded as is usually the case in totalitarian societies (communist or not).Posted by Habitat Hermit at April 10, 2007 10:34 PM
The ONLY reason to sacrifice the lives of The Republics armed forces is to benefit The Republic.
Robert, you sound like an old-school Henry Cabot Lodge Republican, the kind who scorned Truman's grubby little "police action" and Kennedy's boyish adventures in Indochina as imperialist overreach. I'd suggest you rethink your political affiliation if I thought you were serious -- that is, if I didn't think you'd turn on a dime, philosophically speaking, as soon as one of your guys was sounding the klaxon call for force in the service of peace and justice and endangered species.
However, let me just note that reasonable minds can differ on what, exactly, is "good for The Republic". Al Gore, for example, thinks binding international agreement on limiting CO2 emissions is absolutely necessary for the future of The Republic. Bill Clinton thought bombing the f** out of Serbia was. Nancy Pelosi apparently thinks currying favor with Syrian dictators is. You never know, the "good of the Republic" being such an amazingly flexible term.
the nation should never be lied to on a war of choice.
Geez, why should a war call forth such unusual honesty among politicians, who routinely mislead the country in peacetime about even relatively trivial matters? Your Congress routinely promises to cure bad luck and the high price of expensive goods every day. Why should they behave differently during war? Is war some kind of purifying event that turns grubby ordinary ambitious lawyers into honest men?
Really, Robert, if you're astonished about being misled by your political leaders, you haven't been paying attention throughout most of the 20th century. Or longer. After all, the Founders two hundred years ago expected political leaders to fall routinely into the temptation of bullshitting the citizenry, and that's why they gave us checks and balances, a separation of powers, representative government, and all that other very expensive paraphernalia we use to keep a close and suspicious eye on 'em.Posted by Carl Pham at April 11, 2007 12:18 AM
"I wouldnt risk one American to fix the environment in Iraq..."
Risk comes with the job the moment a soldier ties on those boots. Whether its clearing out a IED strewn road or on a training exercise in the field. A soldier accepts that responsibility the moment they sign the dotted line. Not many people in this world get to pick the ending of their choosing. I'm certain a great many of us would like a grand and glorious death that goes down in the annuls of history. Then, there is reality...
Playing the ostrich with its head in the ground will make one none the safer.Posted by Josh Reiter at April 11, 2007 12:34 AM
I have no brief for Stalin or Saddam, but they responded to the same economic imperatives that led the Bureau of Reclamation to dry out the Colorado Delta, not to some will to power.
Umm..no, Saddam drained the marsh as a deliberate way to destroy the marsh arabs for the post GW1 uprisings. See here.Posted by monkeyboy at April 11, 2007 05:28 AM
I have no brief for Stalin or Saddam, but they responded to the same economic imperatives that led the Bureau of Reclamation to dry out the Colorado Delta, not to some will to power.
Concur. FDR did grasp at many forms of socialism as an ill-advised way to bring the US out of the depression. Therefore, Rand's title still holds true. However, as was stated above, Saddam didn't drain the marsh for any economic value. He did it to kill of political opposition.Posted by Leland at April 11, 2007 07:24 AM
nynick and his friends on the left never cease to underestimate the rate of political murder by Saddam and HIS friends on the left. Still, it takes a lot of nerve to pretend to have the interests of the troops at heart while your doing everything in your power to undermine their mission, their morale and their lives.Posted by Gunga at April 11, 2007 08:27 AM
Robert said: I wouldnt risk one American to fix the environment in Iraq...
No, you'd have them all over here, in their homes, drinking beer and watching TV, knowing we're the best country on earth. We're there, we can help, why shouldn't we? I assume then that restoring electricity to levels above what Saddam had was too risky as well? Isolationism is a truly liberal trait right now. Democrat presidents tend to focus more on what's happening here and Republican presidents have a large focus on foreign relations. It sounds like you want Americans to stay at home and leave everyone else alone.Posted by Mac at April 11, 2007 09:17 AM
Let me see if I have this right.
"it takes a lot of nerve to pretend to have the interests of the troops at heart while your doing everything in your power to undermine their mission, their morale and their lives."
So, it's all my fault. There is no cupability on those who actually planned and executed this war. If only people like me would behave more like the lemmings you all have become, everything would have turned out perfect. I am so sorry. I had no idea that actually thinking for ones self could put the troops lives in danger. My bad.
"I don't think there's anything to "fix," other than possibly suppress the hysterical vaporings of narcissists who are just pissed because they're not calling the shots. Nor does anything come to mind for which "excuses and justifications" are necessary. Really, I'm not offering to debate your points -- which I see as little more than timeless cliches -- so much as expressing contempt for your apparent existential philosophy."
Obviously you're right. The war is going swimmingly. We should be proud of the job we've done in Iraq. A textbook operation. It's a good thing you're not offering to debate my points. You would have to study for weeks just to be stupid.
Seriously, in what world do you all live in? You guys are rushing to defend a policy that is indefensible. What that says to me is that it isn't about the troops or the Marsh Arabs, it's all about you. Your priority is win the argument.
No, you'd have them all over here, in their homes, drinking beer and watching TV, knowing we're the best country on earth.
Posted by Mac at April 11, 2007 09:17 AM
no "MAC" you are incorect. GONG
RobertPosted by Robert G. Oler at April 11, 2007 09:45 PM
nycnick: "has the situation become so untenable that you're left with the restoration of the Euphrates Marshlands as the justification our ill-advised adventure in Iraq?"
He never said it was THE justification - but is prevented genocide such a little thing?
(1) Whatever happens, Saddam won't be back: an object lesson to hostile dictators that our patience has limits.
1. Saddam is gone and will in all likelihood remain dead for the forseeable future.
2. Libya's decision to abandon it's nuclear program was largely due to the intelligence agencies you say are "horribly inadequate". Libya was caught up in the AQ Khan scandal and forced to abandon their program. Khadafi simply made the best of a bad situation. He knew the Bush Administration would care more about the appearance than the substance and he was right.
3. Elections do not a democracy make. Whatever they have in Iraq, let's not confuse it with Democracy. The country is still occupied, don't forget that. The real test comes when we leave.
4. Kurdistan was protected by the US under the no fly zone for many years before the invasion/occupation. How willing the Kurds are to share power and wealth with the Sunnis and Shia is still an open question. So far, they seem a lot more interested in their own survival than in the greater good for Iraq as a whole.
5. Our military has been established? Our military has been bogged down is a better description. Yes, the military will incorporate the lessons they have learned here just as they have with every other war both large and small throughout our history. But the price tag far outweighs the benefits. Not just in terms of blood and treasure but also in terms of our position in the world.
6. See above
7. It never fails. Righties are always looking for someone else to blame for their failures. Cheney and Rumsfeld established the OSP because they didn't like the intelligence they got from the professionals. They ignored every bit of intelligence that didn't conform to their preferred policy and when it all goes bad, they blame the failures on the intelligence. Let's agree once and for all, the Bush Administration is responsible for this war whatever the outcome, not the CIA.
8. 9/11. The last hiding place for every neocon fantasy. Yes, we have not had another 9/11. But that doesn't mean we won't tomorrow or the next day or the next. We as a country, were sleeping before 9/11, we are not sleeping now. That being said, Al Qaeda waited 10 years between the first WTC bombing and 9/11. We would be foolish to believe that every terrorist suddenly flocked to Iraq to fight us. They are still out there, planning, and training and they are probably still being funded and supported by our good friends the Saudis. I worked in the buiding across the street from the twin towers. I was there when the buildings came down, covered in dust and scared out of my wits. We are under no illusions here in NYC that what happened on 9/11 couldn't happen again. Iraq is tangential to that.Posted by nynick at April 12, 2007 12:26 PM
Post a comment