Bush Suggests War on Terror Cannot Be Won .
Aug 31st, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Bush Suggests War on Terror Cannot Be Won. Bush Suggests War on Terror Cannot Be Won

By SCOTT LINDLAW, Associated Press Writer

NASHUA, N.H. – President Bush (news – web sites) ignited a Democratic inferno of criticism on Monday by suggesting the war on terrorism could not be won, forcing his aides to scramble to defend his remarks just as he had hoped to bask in convention accolades.

Bush sought to emphasize the economy – New Hampshire’s appears to be on a rebound – but his comments on terrorism dominated national attention.

In an interview on NBC-TV’s “Today” show, Bush vowed to stay the course in the war on terror, saying perseverance in the battle would make the world safer for future generations. But he suggested an all-out victory against terrorism might not be possible.

Asked “Can we win?” Bush said, “I don’t think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that the – those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world.”
[…] Read more! [Michael Badnarik’s Operation American Freedom]

Of course it’s been obvious all along to anyone with the least bit of sense that the “war on terror” was just a con, not a real war that could be won. So naturally the response to Bush’s comment by the Democrats is a loud chorus of “it can too be won.” Just more proof that anyone who wants the US to stop trying to pick fights with the entire world will be wasting their vote if they vote for Kerry.

I’m testing CityDesk from Fog Creek Software.
Aug 29th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

I’m testing CityDesk from Fog Creek Software. It’s a content management system for small to medium websites, and sells for a reasonable price (unlike the bloated systems used by big corporations). I’ve used “Frontier” extensively in the past, and it’s interesting to compare the two. They both store all the website content in a single database file, have templates, and a scripting language. The interface of CityDesk is much better, but its scripting language is relatively primitive.

Election 2004: Alien vs.
Aug 28th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Election 2004: Alien vs. Predator []

Someone else has picked up on my comparison.

And How About This Other Shirt? The One That Says You Go to Grayson “High” School? .
Aug 26th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

And How About This Other Shirt? The One That Says You Go to Grayson “High” School?. Reader “Zorel” points us to the story of a Georgia teenager who got into trouble for wearing a t-shirt to school that said “Hempstead, NY 516.” An administrator thought it was a pot reference.

According to the Associated Press, the student “was allowed to return to class after convincing school officials to do an Internet search, which confirmed that Hempstead was a real town.” [Hit & Run]

I wonder if those public school morons would hassle a student for reading a historical novel with a setting where hemp was common (such as the many novels about 18th century sailing warships).

Bad day in Najaf .
Aug 26th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Bad day in Najaf. NAJAF — I don’t know what the news is from the rest of Iraq or even what’s going on with the governor of Najaf. I do know what’s happening with the police department, however. They’re raiding the Sea of Najaf hotel and rounding the 100 or so journalists at gunpoint and subjecting them to mass arrest. [Back to Iraq 3.0]

I find it interesting that members of the supposedly evil Mahdi Army are protecting journalists, including Americans, from Fed snipers, while the Feds are sending their sepoys to threaten journalists.

Libertarians and War .
Aug 26th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Libertarians and War. Once upon a time, the U.S. overthrew a democratic government in Iran
run by a prime minister named Mohammed Mossadeq. Our replacement was
absolute rule by a guy named Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who styled himself
the king of kings, and we spent a lot of effort keeping him in
power. Eventually, people in Iran got fed up with him doing things
like running torture chambers and operating the country as his own
private piggy bank, and they overthrew him. Sadly they replaced him
with a nutty theocracy run by a guy named Ruhollah Khomeini, but you
couldn’t really blame them — desperate people rarely pick the
right revolution to fight for.

Did the U.S. say “hey, we understand that they’re upset with
us, we’ve got a long history of screwing them, lets leave them alone?”

Of course not, because we didn’t even remember that they had a reason
to be pissed off at us. The U.S. has about zero national memory of all
the times we’ve screwed various third world populations to the wall in
the name of “Realpolitik”. We
then act puzzled about why they might dislike us — the
know-nothings in the White House go so far as claiming that the
problem is that various people around the world “hate
, as though the murderous thugs in third world countries
who torture their citizens with our funding were a form
“freedom”. (None of the 9/11 hijackers came from “free” countries as
we understand the term, but they all came from countries that could
claim to be strong allies of the U.S., and in many cases these
countries are the recipients of lots of U.S. aid which funds the local
dictatorship. I suppose that is how we show our support for

Anyway, back to our narrative. After the Iranian Revolution, we
decided that one of Iran’s neighbors, Iraq, was a great proxy for our
war on them, so we handed that country’s brand new dictator, a fellow
named Saddam Hussein, lots of help. Hell, we sent Donald
Rumsfeld to go and shake his hand
, and tell him that it was okay
if he went off and killed a bunch of his own people for good measure,
so long as he attacked Iran. We knew he was a murderous thug, but it
seemed like a good idea at the time. Later he turned around and
invaded one of our even more special friends, Kuwait, and we were
forced to break off our good working relationship with him.
Eventually, of course, we ended up deciding to get rid of him —
why we picked the particular time we did is unclear, but the public
excuse was that he had biological or chemical weapons, and that he’d
been involved with terrorism against the U.S., although it turned out
that neither was the case. Who have we paid off and propped up this
time to help us meet our goal? Everyone in sight.

Meanwhile, recall that the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in the late
1970s. We could think of no better solution at the time than to hand
lots of money, weapons and training to various “freedom fighters”,
such as a fellow named Osama bin Laden, who
we hoped would take care of the Soviets for us. Eventually, of course,
this lead to little problems like the Taliban taking over Afghanistan,
and giving shelter to bin Laden and company, who turned out not to
really be our friends. We decided to invade, but we didn’t have any
nearby bases. Did that stop us? No! Following our usual pattern, we
found dictators in nearby countries like Turkmenistan who were willing
to give us use of their military bases in exchange for our looking the
other way and handing them a bunch of money.

Why has all this stupidity happened? Because the U.S. is run by a
government, and governments pretty much always end up behaving
stupidly. When a business acts stupid (and they all do eventually),
the market punishes it by taking away its money and power. When a
government acts stupid, there is no market mechanism to punish it, and
no competing government to womp it in the marketplace, so it almost
always perpetuates the stupidity instead of getting rid of it.

What I want to know, though, is not why governments act stupid —
thanks to lots of good research over the years I think that’s now
fully understood. I’m not even asking why most people trust their
governments — that just strikes me as a subset of the general
question of why so many people believe utterly unbelievable things,
such as the idea that the Bible is the perfectly accurate message of a
supernatural being.

What I want to know is why so many seemingly rational people who claim
to be libertarians are out supporting this madness. Take, for example,
the folks over at Samizdata. Most of the time
they seem to be perfectly reasonable folks, but for the last couple of
years they’ve been seized by the notion that the war in Iraq is not
merely justifiable but indeed laudable. I’ve seen this same disease
afflicting many libertarians around the world. They ignore the
hundreds of billions in forcible taxation needed to pay for the war,
they ignore that the excuses for the war proved ultimately false, and
they ignore all the innocents killed, all on the basis of various
vague justifications like “fighting terrorism” (though there is no
evidence that the war in Iraq has done anything at all to reduce the
threat of terrorism) or the fact that Saddam Hussein was a ruthless
dictator (fully ignoring all the other ruthless dictators we’re
actively supporting worldwide with money taken by force from
U.S. taxpayers.)

Worse, these “libertarians” even forget straightforward libertarian
principles about the use of force in acquiring resources. Sure, a
person can decide he wants to support some “good cause” like cancer
research or knocking off a third world murderer — but to a
libertarian, no amount of “good” to be done by supporting a cause
justifies taking money by force to pay for it. If a large number of
Samizdata contributors (or anyone else) wanted to personally support
efforts to depose third world dictators, that would be one thing, but
what they advocate instead is that my money be used to
achieve their goal, and that it be taken from me by force if
I won’t agree. Individuals can do whatever they want with their own
resources, but they can’t decide to commit other people’s
resources. That violates the Non-Coercion Principle.

So, at last getting to my question of the day, does anyone have a good
explanation for what has gotten into these “libertarians” who are out
cheering for the war? I’d be very curious to hear people’s
explanations. No, I don’t want to hear more of their rationale for the
war — I’m familiar with their arguments and I don’t need them
repeated. I’m interested into some sort of insight into their mental
state. What takes a person who distrusts all uses of government to the
point where they’ll support something as indefensible to a libertarian
as the Iraq war, and parrot obviously false claims like “this will
stop terrorism”? (Some might say this happened because 9/11 deranged
a lot of people, enraging them so much that they can’t think clearly,
but that seems like a poor explanation to me — I watched the
Trade Center towers fall live and in person, with people I knew
inside, and I’m not out arguing that we should invade randomly
selected third world countries.) [Diminished Capacity]

I would say the answer is simple–the “libertarians” cheering for the war were never really libertarians at all. They’re actually either conservatives, who are in favor of small government except for all their favorite government programs, or else Republican partisans.

Inside the Imam Ali Shrine .
Aug 24th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Inside the Imam Ali Shrine. A day in the Shrine [Back to Iraq 3.0]

This is the best on-the-spot report I’ve seen.

CNet .  Next generation Push-to-Talk (PTT) phones are running into trouble with the government.  As with most new forms of decentralized comm
Aug 24th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

CNet.  Next generation Push-to-Talk (PTT) phones are running into trouble with the government.  As with most new forms of decentralized communications technology, there isn’t a clean way to monitor their usage. [John Robb’s Weblog]

Naturally there’s nothing in the article to even suggest that there might be anything wrong with the government spying on people using these phones. Nor is there any mention that all of the alphabet soup of Federal agencies that have taken an interest are illegal under the US Constitution.

CyberCafe Violence .
Aug 24th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

CyberCafe Violence. Anti-violence rules in effect at L.A. cybercafes: Apparently there’s violence in and around “cybercafes” in L.A. I’m assuming “cybercafe” is a trendy way of saying “coffee shop with kiosk machines and wifi.”


Los Angeles is the largest of several Southern California cities to enact restrictions on Internet gaming parlors. The ordinance was proposed after several shootings in 2002 near cybercafes, two of them fatal.

A police analysis found that most of the people arrested at cybercafes were minors who violated curfew or truancy rules. Officials were concerned that the cafes were havens for gang activity.

First of all, why cybercafes of all places to center gang activity? Second, why the violence? Did someone take the “good” computer or something?Click here to comment on this entry [Gadgetopia]

There’s not any logic behind this, it’s just another case of the LA City Council using temporary hysteria to expand the grip of fascism on the city.

Reuters .  Kennedy — one of the most recognizable figures in American politics — told a Senate committee hearing on Thursday he had been blocked several time
Aug 20th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

ReutersKennedy — one of the most recognizable figures in American politics — told a Senate committee hearing on Thursday he had been blocked several times from boarding commercial airline flights because his name was on a “no-fly” list intended to exclude potential terrorists. [John Robb’s Weblog]

The irony is that as a member of the Senate, Kennedy is probably the closest that list has come to containing an actual terrorist.

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