Assume the Position

Friday, October 17, 2003
So That's Who Should Get The Blame

I had a hard time getting through Michael Moran's analysis of Bush's woes with "rust belt" voters, "Will 'Regan Democrats' Revolt?" I kept scrolling back to the opening two lines and laughing:

LINDEN, N.J., Oct. 14 — In this gritty Jersey town, home to chemical plants, two major oil refineries and a General Motors assembly line, no one ever breathes easy. When Franklin Roosevelt visited in the mid-1930s and promised to turn the skies “black with progress,” he was true to his word.

What Happens When Bush Gets The Resolution He Wanted From The UN?

The left (in this case, just a simple word meant to include leftists, socialists, communists, progressives, Democrats, isolationists of all stripes, the EU, etc.) move the goalposts as in this post from The Talking Dog [original italics]:

After reading this text of UN Security Resolution 1511,, which passed the Security Council by a 15-0 vote, I am somewhat confused as to what, beyond giving George Bush some desperately needed political cover for his domestic purposes, was actually accomplished. The Iraqi provisional interim puppet government was duly recognized as the government of Iraq by the UN, and is supposed to report a timetable on a constitution and yada yada yada everything else by December 15th, and other nations are "urged" to participate in military matters under a unified command. But, big deal. This sort of thing was going to happen with or without a UN resolution (kind of like the war itself, eh?) So-- Bush can point to another UN resolution-- but to what avail?

That was almost straight from Fred Kaplan's "A Toothless Resolution" in Slate the day before the resolution passed—except Kaplan says "the vote will probably be close." Yup, 15-0, no vetoes, no abstentions is real close. [No implication that TD plagiarized from Kaplan, the sentiment simply had to be the left's obvious reaction when it looked like the final resolution, if it passed, would give Bush everything he demanded: UN authorization and US control.]

To accomplish their revision of history as it is being made, the left will ignore that for months France, Germany, Russia and other nations:

  • have said they can not/will not send military to Iraq because the foreign military intervention is illegal without an authorizing UN resolution. That excuse is now gone.

  • have demanded that the UN be in charge of reconstruction. They lost.

  • have demanded a ridiculously quick turnover of power to Iraqi civil authority. They lost.

  • have resisted recognizing the interim "puppet government." They lost.
The left will also ignore that in the weeks leading up to this resolution they've said Bush would have to back down on most (or all) of those issues or there would be no resolution and possibly no donors' conference. They were wrong.

The only thing the left was correct about is what everyone has known all along—this UN resolution will not release a flood of additional troops and funds for Iraq. But now the holdouts will have to give their (possibly quite legitimate) reasons for not sending troops and funds, reasons that deal with their domestic political, economic and military situations, instead of blaming their recalcitrance on the lack of a UN authorization that they were obstructing.

Donor fatigue and other military obligations may be valid reasons for a nation to be unable to significantly support the rehabilitation of Iraq. But those reasons exist regardless of whether UNSCR 1511 passed or not. And when the reasons for sparse financial and military support in the wake of the resolution become clear, they will show that the entire immediately-turn-Iraq-over-to-the-Iraqis-and-reconstruction-over-to-the-UN stance in both Europe and the Democratic candidate pool is a farce.

From September 7, 2003, when he addressed the nation to announce the $87 billion budget request and that he was going to have Powell introduce another UNSCR, Bush never indicated that he expected a large outpouring of either military forces or aid [emphasis added]:

Our strategy in Iraq has three objectives: destroying the terrorists, enlisting the support of other nations for a free Iraq and helping Iraqis assume responsibility for their own defense and their own future.

Second, we are committed to expanding international cooperation in the reconstruction and security of Iraq, just as we are in Afghanistan. Our military commanders in Iraq advise me that the current number of American troops -- nearly 130,000 -- is appropriate to their mission. They are joined by over 20,000 service members from 29 other countries. Two multinational divisions, led by the British and the Poles, are serving alongside our forces -- and in order to share the burden more broadly, our commanders have requested a third multinational division to serve in Iraq.

Some countries have requested an explicit authorization of the United Nations Security Council before committing troops to Iraq. I have directed Secretary of State Colin Powell to introduce a new Security Council resolution, which would authorize the creation of a multinational force in Iraq, to be led by America.

I recognize that not all of our friends agreed with our decision to enforce the Security Council resolutions and remove Saddam Hussein from power. Yet we cannot let past differences interfere with present duties. Terrorists in Iraq have attacked representatives of the civilized world, and opposing them must be the cause of the civilized world. Members of the United Nations now have an opportunity -- and the responsibility -- to assume a broader role in assuring that Iraq becomes a free and democratic nation.

Four days later, September 11, 2003 when the he took questions from the travel pool during a visit to Walter Reed [emphasis added]:

Q Sir, are we any closer to getting a U.N. resolution?

THE PRESIDENT: Colin is going to be overseas starting tomorrow and over the weekend, and we'll see when he comes back. But the key thing for the United Nations resolution is that it will hopefully encourage other nations to participate. And I think other nations have an obligation to participate. A free Iraq will be in their nation's benefit. It will make the world more peaceful and more secure. And a free Iraq in the heart of the Middle East will make it more easy for us to not only secure America and other free nations, but will make it easier for there to be peace in the long run.

And, therefore, I would hope that nations would participate, and to the extent that some nations need an additional United Nations resolution, this could be helpful in encouraging international participation. But Colin is sitting down with other foreign ministers from the Perm 5, as well as Kofi Annan, starting tomorrow.

Again, no indication that he expects the resolution to produce major support.

September 18, 2003 after his meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah:

Q Thank you. Do you think you can count on Europeans to provide financial contributions for Iraq? And what happens if they don't?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Do I think we can count on the Europeans to provide? Yes, I think we're getting help, and I would remind you that there is two multinational divisions led by -- one led by Britain, one led by Poland -- full of other European countries. And I -- that's help. In terms of reconstruction, A, we're getting help, and -- because Colin Powell will continue to ask for help.

One of the things I must do and will continue to do is make the case that a peaceful and secure Iraq is not only in the interests of the neighborhood -- certainly in Jordan's interest, that there be a nation that is peaceful and prosperous -- but it's in Europe's interest, as well, and the American's interest. You see, freedom in Iraq will change the nature of the neighborhood in a positive way. A free Iraq will mean this good man will have a partner in peace, somebody with whom he can work -- to not only establish good trade, but to work for additional peace. And it's in Europe's interest that that happen.

And so we will continue to make the case that reconstruction aid is necessary. And we'll also remind our European friends that we're making good progress there, that businesses are beginning to flourish; hospitals are open; pregnant women are receiving medicines; young children are getting vaccinated. I mean, there's case after case after case where life is improving for the average Iraqi citizen. And we would hope that they would participate in this momentum that is taking place on a daily basis.

It is -- and I can't -- we'll see, I will have a much better feel for attitude after next week. As you know, I'll be at the United Nations General Assembly. We'll be giving an address there Tuesday morning and then we'll be meeting with a variety of world leaders. His Majesty and I, he will be giving me a report on what he knows. He's got pretty good antennae. He's well plugged-in, and he knows what's going on in the world, and he also is -- he has got good friends in Europe and he will -- part of our discussions will center on how best to broaden the coalition of participants.

Q Do you expect you'll have a U.N. resolution by the time you get to New York?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Probably not. We're still working it. The question was, will we have a U.N. resolution by the time I get to New York. No, I don't think so, but it could be. We'll continue to work it, though. And the whole purpose, of course, is to make sure that the nations feel -- if they need a U.N. resolution, they'll have one, in order to justify participation.

The other thing, of course, is that the U.N. resolution must promote an orderly transfer of sovereignty to what will be a freely elected government, based upon a constitution. So in other words, we must have -- the constitution must be written, and there will be free elections, and then sovereignty will occur once the Iraqi people are able to express their opinions. And so we'll be working on that, as well

And then a very blunt statement to the travel pool by a senior administration official when Bush went to the UN on September 23, 2003 [emphasis added]:

Q Ahmed Chalabi is now asking for a faster transition, as well. Any response to that? What -- how do you deal with that?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: The Iraqi Governing Council, as important a step as it is for Iraq, is not an elected representative body. And the President and Ambassador Bremer and the entire administration is committed to a process that is orderly; a process that affirms for the Iraqi people that this is a different day, not with appointed leaders or leaders who come to power through other means, but a democratic process. And a democratic process starts with a constitution which establishes institutions that do things like protect minority rights. You need an institutional framework in which then hold elections and then transfer of sovereignty makes sense.

But I can guarantee you that the American people, the President of the United States, most of the allies who are on the ground with us are not prepared to transfer sovereignty to 25 unelected people. It's just not going to happen.

Q But Bush in his speech today said that that was a representative body, though, for the first time in their history.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I said, a very important first step. And they're representative in the sense that the 25 looks like Iraq, to use a phrase that we sometimes use in America. But this is a country that has not had a national dialogue in almost -- in, well, more than 30 years, but certainly not under Saddam Hussein; that has undergone tremendous trauma under this terrible regime; that needs now to establish institutions that can mitigate against differences among ethnic groups, that can establish the rightful place of women in this society, that can do all of the things that constitutions do.

You just think about how important the constitution is to the United States, and how it's allowed the evolution of democracy over time. You cannot short-circuit that process. And I can also be very clear that the President is not going to ask the Congress to transfer $20 billion of American taxpayer's money to an unelected body of people.

What we are -- the resolution that we're working on with the U.N. has to maintain two very clear principles. One is that there will be an orderly transfer to sovereignty, and we're ready to do that. The Iraqi people need a political horizon, they need to know that there is a process to get to sovereignty. Jerry Bremer has laid out that process in his seven-point plan. And that is -- that has to be preserved in any resolution.

The second point is that, just like we have unity of command on the military side, we're going to have to maintain unity of direction on the reconstruction side. There is an important role for the U.N. to play, but the Coalition Provisional Authority has to get the job done. And so, the U.N. resolution will also acknowledge what really are facts on the ground.

And 24 days later, that was the resolution passed 15-0 by the UNSCR.

Of course, France, Germany and Russia said immediately before and after voting for the resolution that it doesn't go far enough. But, it does eliminate their "no UNSCR multinational force authorization" excuse for not participating in Iraq—which is exactly what Bush wanted.

Thursday, October 16, 2003
Say What?

Colby Cosh turns up a couple of links to add to your favorites/bookmarks: the Voice of America pronunciation guides with audio. The short list contains currently hot news names. The full pronunciation guide has dropdown listings by name or country, and is searchable for exact matches or for phonetically near matches.

China's Military Posture, Including Space Related Efforts

The Pentagon's annual report to Congress on China's military was submitted in July 2003. The 725kb PDF file is available from the DOD (here) and the Federation of American Scientists (here).

The report contains quite a bit of information on US perceptions of China's near and mid range goals for military uses of space related systems: upgraded ICBMs; space-based ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) "including electro-optical, synthetic aperture radar, and other satellite reconnaissance systems;" and the potential for counterspace systems development such as ground launched anti-satellite interceptors or ground-based laser systems to damage satellite optics. It also briefly addresses the role of China's manned space program:

China continues to make progress with its manned space program. Thus far, there have been four unmanned Shenzhou (SZ) test launches (SZ-1 in November 1999, SZ-2 in January 2001, SZ-3 in March 2002, and SZ-4 in December 2002). China may launch its first manned space mission sometime in 2003. China also has long-term plans to launch its own space station, and possibly a reusable space plane as well. While one of the strongest immediate motivations for this program appears to be political prestige, China's manned space efforts almost certainly will contribute to improved military space systems in the 2010-2020 timeframe.

Yang Liwei's orbital adventure wasn't a suprise, and China has been able to drop a nuke from the DF-5 launch vehicle on anybody in the world except South America and Northwest Africa since 1981.

Ben Kepple worries a bit and says (via Dean Esmay):

Now, obviously, one space launch is not a sign we ought to panic any time soon. However, we should be prepared for Communist China to advance quickly in developing its nascent space program. We should further be prepared to counter the inevitable military uses for that program, which its armed forces will almost certainly develop. That's not to say we should address this issue itching for a fight, but merely to say that it might be a good idea to have the infrastructure in place to combat any potential threats.

A fair assessment.

I Bet They Didn't Pay For Product Placement

Catepillar sues Disney over "George of the Jungle 2."

Japan Announces $1.5B Grant Aid For Iraq Reconstruction

Here is the press release of President Bush's statement. Indications (AFP and FT) are that Japan will announce an additional $3.5 to $5 billion in loans through 2007.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003
Good Luck, Yang

China has launched its first "taikonaut" on a 20 hour mission of 14 orbits around the Earth. Lt. Col. Yang Liwei, 38, a fighter pilot in the People's Liberation Army, blasted-off the pad at the at the Jiuquan launch site in a Shenzhou V capsule atop a Long March 2-F rocket around 9 AM local time Wednesday morning (0100 GMT/9 PM EDT Tuesday) .

CNN      —      AP      —      Reuters

UPDATE: Mission Successful      —      CNN      —      AP      —      Reuters

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