Friday, March 31, 2006


Have been away at a Continuing Legal Education seminar the past several days, and am behind on work, which explains the lack of posts and attention to comments. Have plenty of posts in mind and targets to service, as soon as I find a spare moment to do so...

Thursday, March 30, 2006


My mother generously lent me her copy of The Habsburg Twlight: Tales from Vienna (Sara Gainham), since so much of my reading of late is on the Habsburgs. Among other things, this book contains a picture of the Empress Elisabeth, (wife of Emperor Francis Joseph). Elisabeth was the next to last Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, who lived from 1837 until her murder by an Italian anarchist in 1898. Her life, and that of her husband, was marked with tragedy and difficulty, (their son was a suicide), but the books all say the Empress was widely reckoned to be, among other things, a great beauty.
Boy, for once the books wern't lying. I don't usually notice such things in photographs of 19th Century women: photography and fashion of that era conceal more than they reveal. I also have a great deal of respect for this woman's husband, the Atlas holding up his ramshackle Empire; and compasion for his tragic Empress, (who hated life at the Habsburg court), but the beauty of this woman just jumps off the page. I can see why Francis Joseph was, until the end of his days, besotted with Elisabeth. Wow, what a babe.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Promises, Promises

People rejoice ! The Socialist Party (er, sorry, the Democratic Party), is issuing a position paper tomorrow in which they promise to "eliminate Osama," the AP reports today.

Yeah, right.

The Democratic Party, which since 1968 has never, ever met a military appropriations bill it likes, is going to eliminate Osama ? Exercise care, Democrats. "Eliminate" is such a pejoritive word. I mean, "eliminate" implies that Osama might get less than the full ACLU panoply of civil rights as provided by the US Constitution. After all, you Democrats, and your political appointees, want to give the protections of the Constitution to every He, She and It on the planet. Hell, if Osama was imprisoned at Abu Gharib or Guantanamo, you'd probably want to put him on the ticket for President. "Eliminate" Osama and your own contributors will want your heads on platters along with those of Republicans.
Oh, but it gets better. The same position paper apparently promises to double the size of the Special Forces and add more spies. Heaven (or Gaia) forbid ! How are Nancy Pelosi and Patty Murray going to explain that to the good Democratic voters of San Francisco and Seattle ? Imperialist Special Forces and their lackey spies ! The very idea. I can soooo see the Democratic caucus going for this, can't you ?
Finally, this position paper promises a "responsible redeployment of U.S. forces" from Iraq. This is position-paper-speak for "cut and run." Perhaps you remember another "responsible redeployment" of US forces advocated by Democrats ? In that one, Vietnam, we pulled out not only the American troops, but the Democratic majority in the United States Congress saw to it that our allies were deprived of fuel, bullets and equipment to defend themselves against their fully supplied Communist enemies; causing the collapse of our just cause, for which so many Americans had given everything. May there never be another such shameful "responsible redeployment" ever, ever again. No more April 1975's !
But the "San Francisco" Democrats, as Jeanne Kirkpatrick so aptly called them, were not done. They "responsibly redeployed" American help, and abandoned American allies in Cambodia in 1975, and in Angola in 1976-1977. Millions paid with their lives. They tried to force us to run again in El Salvador in the 1980's, and allow the Sandinistas to impose a communist regime in Nicaragua. Fortunately for America, for the world, Ronald Reagan (and a great man, who died today, Caspar Weinberger) stopped them, and the communists.
You just have to be able to decode the Democrats' language: "Responsible Redeployment" means cutting and running; "Elimination" means bombing raids at 3 a.m. on empty buildings, and military policy conducted by lawyers, hacks and Hollywood fops.
No thank you. Go away Lefties. Go have a "Free Mumia" rally; buy some Che tee-shirts; sing the Internationale; protest voting machines in Ohio; bloviate about 9/11 being a US conspiracy; chant "the People United Will Never Be Defeated !" till you're blue in the face. "Responsibly redeploy" right on out of here.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Wildflowers of Central Texas

Spent the better part of Saturday afternoon with SWMBO driving through south-Central Texas (roughtly a triangle between Smithville, Schulenburg and Houston), this last Saturday. The wildflowers are really out in force. If you like Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrushes, Phlox, all sorts of other flowers (yellows, pinks, white) are all over the roads, and really gorgeous. I am ashamed to say that I do not know all the names. In any case, they are really beautiful, and worth a look if you happen to be in the area and don't mind driving.

Shoe Bomber to the White House ?

Mr. Zacarias Moussaoui, in the penalty phase of his terrorism trial in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, says the he and the famous "shoe bomber." Mr. Richard Reid, were supposed to hijack a fifth aircraft on 9/11 and crash into the White House. The other crew members, Mr. Moussaoui tells us, "were not definite." If that's the case, the other putative suiciders certainly had more brains than the rather wacky Mr. Moussaoui.
This is certainly intriguing, and, as Captain Ed over at Captain's Quarters says, indicates that the target of Flight 93, forced down by the passengers in a field in Pennsylvania -- was probably the US Capitol. However, I agree with Captain Ed that Mr. Moussaoui's tale is a very unlikely story, and that Mr. Moussaoui is trying to, in effect, save the Government's death penalty case by spinning a big hijacking fable, the better to keep his date with the 72 virgins, and die a great Islamic martyr. We will probably never know. Quite aside from the fact that Mr Moussaoui seems to have been a washout from the original operation; he and Shoebomber Reid simply do not seem organized enough to be successful mass murderers.
Mr. Moussaoui seems, however, to want to die. It seems only just and right to accomodate this hero in his own mind, and as many of his friends and fellow fanatics as possible. Whether they will have their meeting in the hereafter with the 72 virgins, I beg leave to doubt, because there are no virgins, or facilities for congress with same, where Mr. Moussaoui and his fellow scumbags are going.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Basque Cease-Fire

Yesterday, the Basque terrorist organization ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna or "Basque Homeland and Liberty") announced a “permanent cease-fire” so that it might better participate in the political process. A very good move by ETA, and a sign that they have won, for the moment, their war with Spain. Whatever the political upshot of this, peace is good for its own sake: according to the Wikipedia article on ETA, this organization killed "817 people in the name of their political struggle, 339 of which were not members of any armed or police service."
Truth in blogging: I don't like ETA, or other such terrorist groups, nor do I have much respect for the Basque cause, although its partisans, like cheated minorities without states everywhere, no doubt have their story to tell.
Probably the Basque gang bosses, and other somewhat more respectable Basque nationalist leaders have been inspired by the path of Catalonia. Their confreres in Barcelona are getting virtually everything they might want without shooting: the Spanish government is in the process of recognizing Catalonia as a "nation," to keep it from leaving Spain, whatever that might finally mean. Certainly, the Basque national leadership now believes it can jawbone Madrid into giving them the same. A victory for Basque nationalism, at least in the short run.
Spanish nationalism, for its part, seems pretty dead; and this is not yet 100 years after the great nationalist upwelling of 1936. Catalonia's a nation ? Fine, The Basques ? OK too -- Downtown Madrid as a nation would no doubt be hunky-dory as well. Anybody and anything can be a "nation," whatever that means, as long as the checks keep coming in, the booze, pot and birth-control supplies remain good, and TV stays readily available. Come to think of it, American nationalism is not that much more healthy. The culprit here, is of course the welfare state. Under socialism, nobody cares about anything except when the next welfare check is coming in. I'm reactionary enough to think all this is a very bad thing.
The ETA clearly thinks it can obtain its dreams through the ballot box. I wonder who the joke is really on ? No doubt there shall be a few salad years: a new flowering of Basque nationhood and pride while Basques “re-discover” their “historic” culture, or however this is dressed up for the politically correct PBS programs and BBC specials that are surely coming.
Soon enough, though, the McWorld of socialism will anesthetize the Basques same as it has everybody else in the West, and the Basques will be ingested into the EU blob, and then into the great transnational project. We can all be happily tranquilized by Survivor, American Idol and the future moral equivalents thereof, so we don't notice the worldwide overclass of lawyers, journalists and NGO bosses who herd us, rule us and tax us like so many sheep. Joke's on you, ETA, this is what you fought for, right ?
No flags, no history, no glory, no culture, no language, no art; just sex, drugs, rock and roll and welfare checks and everwhere the saccharine sameness of the welfare state.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Lunchtime and Books

Lunchtime around El Jefe's establishment, and it's too rainy and yucky looking to go out, and in any case Jefe is not in the mood. Today's lunchtime is reading: current book is Edward Crankshaw's The Fall of the House of Habsburg (Penguin, 1983), about somewhat sleepier and simpler times, before that evil, verminous, Al-Qaeda-like no-goodnik Gavrilo Princip managed to upset lots of applecarts, back before all the horrible "isms" -- communism, socialism, etc., of modern times.
Fiction reading of late has consisted of Jonathan Kellerman's latest paperback, Rage, (Ballantine, 2006), another of Dr. Kellerman's shrink/detective books; and Gerry Carroll's Ghostrider One, (Pocket1995), an excellent novel about a squadron of US Navy A-4 Skyhawk pilots operating off an aircraft carrier in the Vietnam Conflict (an older book I've had sitting around for a few years that I'm glad I found time for).
On deck is Michael R. Gordon's and Lieut.-Gen. Bernard Trainor's Cobra II : The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq (Pantheon, March 2006) -- a recent purchase; and another Iraq war book, this one a gift from T, from the perspective of the business-end: Michael M. Phillips's, The Gift of Valor, (Broadway, 2005), about the life and death of USMC Corporal Jason Dunham, killed in action in Iraq at age 22.
Finally, Mark Winegardner's The Godfather Returns (Ballantine, 2005) is also waiting. El Jefe of course, has a great interest in chronicles of his fellow bosses of bosses, especially fictional ones, so The Godfather is somewhat of a cult for El Jefe. SWMBO no doubt dreads my periodic Godfather phases: when I start going out at all hours to buy Peroni, and Moretti; swilling the Pinot Grigios; snarfing Parmigiano-Reggiano like potato chips; eating too much pasta; telling SWMBO to leave the shoes and take the cannoli; striking Mussolini-like poses; and, finally calling the Heir, "Sonny."

Numbers Game Part 2

Cost O' Livin, and other things, in El Jefe’s World. An occasional summary in random statistics of interest to El Jefe. (No. 2) All prices, unless noted, are as of 21 March 2006.

Part 1: Gas and Oil
Price, gallon of Super Unleaded, Valero, Bellaire Boulevard, Houston: $2.49 per gallon.
(up .6 cents a gallon from 10 January 2006).
Price, gallon of Regular Unleaded, Valero, Bellaire Boulevard, Houston: $2.65 per gallon.
(up .16 cents a gallon from 10 January 2006).

Part 2: Booze.
Price of a 6-pack, St Arnold’s Beer, Kroger, Vanderbilt Square, Houston: $6.79 per six pack. (down .20 cents a six pack from 10 January 2006).
Price of a 12 pack Bud Light (calls itself beer), Kroger, Vanderbilt Square, Houston: .59 cents an ounce, $16.99 per twelve pack).
(unchanged since 10 January 2006).
Price of Fish Eye Pinot Grigo, 2004 (white wine), Kroger, Vanderbilt Square, Houston: $7.99 per 750 ML bottle.
(unchanged since 10 January 2006).
Yellow Tail Shiraz 2004 (red wine), Spec’s Houston : $6.09 per 750 ML bottle.
(down .90 cents a bottle from 10 January 2006).
Santa Rita Merlot 2004 (red wine), Spec’s Houston: $5.59 per 750 ML bottle.
(up .37 cents a bottle from 10 January 2006).
St Clement Chardonnay 2004 (white wine), Spec’s Houston: $15.78 per 750 ML bottle. (unchanged from 10 January 2006).
Veuve Cliquot, Champagne, Spec’s Houston: $38.20, per 750 ML bottle.
(up $2.42 per bottle since 10 January 2006).

Part 3: El Jefe Staple Items.
Price of Gruyere Cheese, Kroger, Vanderbilt Square, Houston: $14.99 per pound.
(unchanged since 10 January 2006).
Price of Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, Kroger, Vanderbilt Square, Houston: $19.99 per pound. (unchanged since 10 January 2006).
Sirloin Steak, Kroger, Vanderbilt Square, Houston, $6.99 per pound.
(unchanged since 10 January 2006).
Rib-Eye Steak, Kroger, Vanderbilt Square, Houston, $10.99 per pound.
(up $1.00 per pound since 10 January 2006).
Mrs. Baird’s Large White Sandwich (thing called bread): $1.89 per loaf.
(up .20 cents per loaf since 10 January 2006).
Red Leaf Lettuce, Kroger, Vanderbilt Square, Houston: $1.49 per head.
(down .50 cents a head since 10 January 2006).
Red Tomatoes: Kroger, Vanderbilt Square, Houston: $2.49 per pound.
(up .70 cents per pound since 10 January 2006).
Special K cereal, Kroger, Vanderbilt Square, Houston: $4.39 per 18 oz box.
(unchanged since 10 January 2006).
Tidy Cats Cat Litter, Kroger, Vanderbilt Square, Houston: $2.39, per 10 pound bag.
(unchanged since 10 January 2006).

Part 4: The Big Mac Index.
Price of a Big Mac (no cheese), McDonalds, Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, Texas: $2.26. (down .3 cents since 10 January 2006).

Part 5: Phone Books.
Pages in the March 2006 Houston AT&T Business White Pages: (Listings for Houston only), 625 pp.
(down from 700 pp. in SBC Business White Pages, March 2003).

Part 6: The Bourse (all currencies 10:00 Central Time 22 March 2006).
New York Stock Exchange, close, 21 March 2006: 11,235.47 (-39.06)
(up 223.57 since 10 January 2006).
US Dollar to Japanese Yen: $1.00 = Y1.17.
(dollar up .03 yen since 10 January 2006).
US Dollar to European Union Euro: $1.00 = E0.83.
(dollar up .01 Euros since 10 January 2006).
US Dollar to Canadian Dollar (9 January): $1.00 = Can $1.1659.
(US dollar up .19 CanD since 10 January 2006).
US Dollar to UK Pound (9 January): $1.00 = L .5723.
(dollar up .0059 Pounds since 10 January 2006).
US Dollar to Swiss Franc (9 January): $1.00 = F 1.3026 1.2768.
(dollar up .0258 Swiss Francs).
Part 7: El Jefe Weight:
Removed from Public Version of report, and sent for file maintenance by Directorate-General of El Jefe Imperial Security. Classified.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Springtime for, Moonbats

Make some popcorn, sit for a spell and have a look at Zombietime's picture gallery of Moonbats at Play in the San Francisco Bay area. On the other hand, hold the popcorn, because you'll be too busy laughing yourself sick or wanting to throw up. If there was ever a crowd simply begging for firehoses, truncheons and police dogs, this would be it.
Zombietime has quite a picture collection of various Moonbat demonstrations, and all his galleries are worth a look.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Stay Tuned

Sorry for the light blogging of late, but a combination of pressure at work, busy weekends and a case of writer's block have kept my posting down. However, I do have a couple of items which I'm going to blog on in the near future.

Meanwhile, be sure to check out Belmont Club today. Wretchard has a good post on the media's latest buzz-phrase -- civil war in Iraq. This theme is the latest disaster du jour in the media's and the chattering classes continuing chorus of doom, disaster and defeatism. "Civil war” in Iraq is imminent, or underway, or whatever.

Notice how nobody is talking about the imminent success of the Sunni rebellion in driving out the Americans ? That was last year’s disaster. The Sunni rebellion was a flop, and appears to be dying, but our media, apparently eager to rescue the rebels, or, more accurately, to bash Bush, has discovered the possibility of a civil war.
Along the same lines, we have Russ Feingold bleating about "censure" in the Senate, because of the President's tapping of overseas phone calls. I hope Senator Feingold and all his friends try it: so Joe Six-Pack can see what really moves leftie swells to outrage. The Democrats truly live in cloud-cuckoo land: God forbid we should try to spy on bad guys, or even harm a hair on their America-hating heads. If we would be good lefties, we must respect multi-culturalism, admit former Taliban members to Yale, and prosecute US soldiers who muss the hair of rebels who shoot at American soldiers in Iraq. Who cares how many of us, or our soldiers, the enemy kills, as long as every Tom, Dick and Abdul that hates us gets his civil rights ?
The lefties and their allies will really try anything at all to get us back to the glory days of Watergate and Vietnam. They seem to have a ways to go -- the big anti-war demonstrations this weekend were largely ignored and unattended, except by the usual suspects, most of whom probably need baths.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Burfday Celebrations

Doubtless, the world has been waiting to hear about El Jefe’s birthday celebrations, so I shall condescend to provide a few details. El Jefe scored a few nice birthday cards, including one from El Jefe’s friend L with a picture of umbrellas which, the caption informed us, needed drinks. One of my running gag lines is how an afternoon at the swim-up bar drinking umbrella drinks certainly beats working for a living, so this was the prize birthday card. Of course, all the slaving away makes umbrella drinks possible and this blog possible, a fact sometimes forgotten by the somewhat prone-to-laziness El Jefe.

On Saturday, She Who Must Be Obeyed surprised me with a trip to Ibiza.

No, not this Ibiza….but this Ibiza, a yummy, Mediterranean/French restaurant in downtown Houston.

This was really pretty cool of SWMBO, because several other couples, friends of ours, were included: my friend T and her husband E, my pal John C and his wife R, and our friends the W's. SWMBO assembled the guest list, made the calls and set the whole thing up without me knowing. Apparently the Heir knew, and managed to keep his mouth shut, which is really pretty good for a Fourth Grader. (My Spy Lessons must be paying off). Heir spent the night at a friend's house.

In any case, I was totally surprised, SWMBO was very mysterious about it, hinting that we were just gonna have a quiet dinner at some steak restaurant. This was much better.

Ibiza is worth the trip if you’re in Houston. The Cosmos were very good – such an easy drink to mess up: too much vodka and you’ve got medicine. I had the trout with Salsa Verde, with the Basque Green Pepper and Crab Bisque -- along with a good and red wine (everybody seemed to want to drink red, so despite several of us having fish dinners, we all shared a decent Merlot).

El Jefe definitely scored some cool swag (including some great books from T and E and a commemorative University of Texas Championship Season football from John). T also gave me my very own copy of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition issue (so I didn’t salivate all over the Heir’s, she said); as well as dropping off the next day a plate of Peanut Butter Cookies which are safely stashed in a High Security Undisclosed Location that Heir might learn about if he behaves.

SWMBO gave me a couple of bookcases, items which are always in high demand round our house.

In any case, we all had an excellent time, and I was so glad that everyone attended, and SWMBO was really cool to set the evening up.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Not Productive Today

Not much for blogging this weekend. Manana is, of course, El Jefe's birthday, celebrated worldwide, and in the Kingdom of Chaos, the loyal peasants are given the weekend off, (except for the devoted organs of State Security, a/k/a the secret police, of course). Extra work for all lefties, rabble-rousers and other mauvais sujets.
I see that old Slobodan Milosevic has died, apparently of natural causes, in the Hague. Good riddance to bad rubbish, and to a tyrant and criminal. His death, although unmourned by me or many others, is certainly very convenient for many people, not least his countrymen.
UPDATE (13 March). Mr. Milosevic was more than a vaguely unsavory Serbian politican. Read this splendid discussion by Wretchard over at Belmont Club describing the unlamented Slobodan's carefully planned "ethnic cleansing" program to create a "Greater Serbia" out of Yugoslavia in the early 1990's.
As an aside, perhaps a little truth-in-blogging is in order. In my years of historical reading, I have never managed to be overly sympathetic to Serbia or to Serbian politicans. Greater Serbian nationalism, exemplified by its most recently notorious mouthpiece, Mr. Milosevic -- was one of the greatest war and misery-breeders of the twentieth century. A pan-Serbian gunman began the most violent century so far in Sarajevo, in 1914, and thugs working for Mr. Slobodan ended it at about the same place in the early 90's.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Sharon Stone's Peace Plan

Sharon Stone, the babeamundo star of, inter alia, Basic Instinct said Wednesday she "would kiss just about anybody" to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In recognition of Ms. Stone's diplomatic demarche, the Foreign Ministry of the Kingdom of Chaos, located in beautiful downtown Ciudad El Jefe, announces El Jefe's readiness to proceed to the Middle East, like manana, and spread beaucoup peace and enlightenment, in order to be worthy of some kissy-face from the comely Ms. Stone. Hell, throw in a couch, some okay music, a quiet afternoon, and a decent bottle of wine, and we'll be working on world peace, like, forever.
Alas, El Jefe suspects he has some competition: probably the Foreign Offices of the world are going overtime tonite; the striped-pants boys churning out peace plans like hot-dog buns, hoping for a buss from la Sharon (and I don't mean the one whose first name is Ariel).
Maybe we could send Ms. Stone to Iran, on a peace mission ? Wonder what ol' Mad Jad would make of her ? No, cancel that idea, Sharon's too gorgeous to be Stoned, or whatever evil 7th Century thing the Mullahs would come up with.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

The Farce Continues

I started writing this as the response to a comment by one “Dagger” in my last post, but decided about two-thirds of the way through that it should stand alone as a post. For the original post and the comments occasioning it, go here.

Mr. Dagger:
You talk glibly about the “hypocrisy” of the US position that “we can have nukes and bio weapon programs but the 'bad guys' can't.” Liberals really have a fixation about hypocrisy, as such matters were some kind of college debate problem, or a morality contest. I have no objection whatever to hypocrisy when it is useful.

That aside, do you really think that the so-called Islamic Republic, which supports groups like Hezbollah and the leaders of which talk casually about wiping states off the map, is to be trusted with “nukes and bio weapons programs ?” My problem with the Islamic Republic is that it is not a status quo power, but a state that supports underground terrorist organizations in other states; a state opposed to the present capitalist international system; a state which is an avowed enemy of the United States and of bourgeois republics generally.

If this were a different Iranian government, say a plain republic or a restored monarchy, that accepted the present international system, I would not have concerns with Iranian weapons programs. Even an Islamic Republic that remained quiet and kept its poisons within its frontiers would not be a legitimate cause for concern. As it stands, the Iranians can have their fascist Islamic Republic or their WMD programs, but not both.

As for preemptive war: if the choice is war now, or war later under less favorable terms, I am unquestionably for war now. I think that an Islamic Republic with WMD’s is simply too dangerous to be allowed to exist. I’d rather be wrong my way than yours.

Blame the UN ? I don’t blame the UN for anything. I blame Franklin Roosevelt and the other idiots who created it, a good deal. The UN is a club that allows dictators to give one another mutual aid and support, and to posture in front of the world media, and influence opinion in the United States and Europe. The UN is an exclusive club for allowing savages to punch out of their weight, and a prostitute used to being used by everyone. It is quite enough that we pay for the UN. God forbid that we should ever listen to it.

Hey Maru, I think that I generally agree with you. I’m sure, as in Iraq, we will have all kinds of covert coat-holders who don’t want to be on the record. Certainly we will have more help than we can use once it is clear we are bearing all the risk, and that we will be successful.

Maybe we will all be lucky. Maybe the Mullahs will give up their dream of a bomb. Maybe Mahmoud “Mad Jad” Ahmadinejad will slip on a banana peel. Maybe the Iranian generals will decide the Islamic Republic is too dangerous, and do away with it. Maybe the students can start a real revolution. Hope so. But things look pretty bleak from the point of view of peace.

Monday, March 6, 2006

The Farce Begins

The AP tells us today that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General, Mr. Mohamed ElBaradei is expressing “cautious optimism” today on the chances of reaching agreement with Iran to “defuse concerns” about Iranian nuclear plans, and make United Dictators (UN) Security Council action “unnecessary.”

Yeah, I’ll bet.

The Heir, all of ten years old, could tell you how this is going to play out. Lots of late night meetings and paper shuffling by Mr. ElBaradei and his friends, resulting in huffing and puffing at the Circus on Turtle Bay (a.k.a. UN Headquarters) and the miraculous discovery by Mr. ElBaradei and the IAEA that Iran is “moving towards substantial compliance” with UN requirements and further action will probably be unnecessary.

Then we’ll read the fine print, and discover that, in exchange for trillions upon billions of dollars of every kind of aid you can imagine, Iran has given us (if you want to be polite), a very definite “maybe” on halting progress towards a nuclear weapon. If you want to be honest, the Iranians will be found to have said: “drop dead infidels,” in diplomatese of course.

The world’s great and good will be “horrified” and “shocked” when the US expresses its dissatisfaction with the concept of paying for its own humiliation, and Mr. ElBaradei, Oil for Food Kofi, the French, the Germans, the Democratic Party and all the talking heads will say that the US is making impossible demands and that it should respect the “will to peace” of the international community.

The US, joined possibly by the usual suspects, Britain, Israel and Australia, will persist, and say the Iranian maybe is not enough. Things will start blowing up all over the world, as the Iranian secret police turns loose the terrorists; the Americans will begin an achingly slow military build-up, while the Iranians talk about 20 new ways to wipe out Israel; finish their bomb, lock up or kill their dissidents; and, get their military ready. (Just how many dead Americans is the diplo-game worth ?)

Then…at the eleventh hour, Mr. Putin will weigh-in with yet another deal, which the talking heads will sagely tell us, is designed to avert a terrible war. The smarter ones will tell us that the last-minute deal is to ensure that nothing whatever happens to the Iranians and their bomb - only the really smart ones will figure out that the whole thing is just a charade to put the onus for war on the Americans. The “deal” will be nothing but a re-hashed version of the “drop dead infidels” arrangement.

So, the Americans will be left to carry on alone, or virtually so, but only after giving the Great and the Good time to mobilize world public opinion in favor of letting the Mullahs have their bomb; or rather, in favor of taking the Americans down a peg. The overclass driving this process, in Europe, and in the United States, is much more concerned with bringing the United States to heel, and ensuring its compliance with the transnational project, than it is about some smelly mullahs in a far away country getting a bomb.

All of the diplomatic games are nonsense, of course. The question before the House is: will we fight to stop the Iranians having their bomb, or not ? If we do so, it will be alone.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

2 March 1836

Today is the 170th anniversary of the declaration of the independence of Texas from Mexico. The odds against the Texians (as they called themselves) were considerably longer than those against the Americans in 1776, or even the Confederates in 1861. Nevertheless, thanks to the military incompetence of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna; the resolution and cleverness of Sam Houston; the grit of the Texians; and no small amount of luck, Texas was able to make good the proclamations of the politicians, and secure itself the right to an independent national existence.

Here’s to all who made it possible: at Goliad, the Alamo, Agua Dulce, Coleto, Gonzales, Refugio, San Jacinto and other places. Our thoughts stretch to touch you across the years. You are not forgotten.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Iranian Military Plans

I am very busy this week, but here are some first impressions of something very, very interesting.
Kenneth Timmerman has published, at News, details about plans of the Iranian Pasdaran (Revolutionary Guards) to close the Straits of Hormuz, in the event of US/Israeli strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities. (Hat tip, Doctor Zin at Regime Change Iran). According to the article, News Max has received portions of a thirty page plan (sounds like an executive summary), drawn up by the Strategic Studies Center of the Iranian Navy, (in Farsi, the acronym is NDAJA), apparently drafted in September or October of last year. Apparently, the source is an Iranian intelligence officer, one Hamid Reza Zakeri, who came west in 2001.
The effort would be run by one consolidated operational headquarters, integrating Pasdaran missile units (equipped with C-801 and C-802 Chinese anti-ship cruise missiles), as well as Shahab-3 and Shahab-4 IRBM’s, mines (including tethered bottom-mines that could sink an aircraft carrier), fast-attack boats equipped with rockets, machine guns and Sagger anti-tank missiles (fine for use on merchantmen and destroyer-sized warships), as well as chemical, biological and nuclear (CBN) weapons. Apparently target lists include Saudi oil production and export centres.
The coordinating headquarters will rely on, among other things, intelligence from surveillance satellites. Whose ? We do have some anti-satellite capability...
An accompanying map apparently identifies “mass kill zones” “where Iranian strategists believe [that] they can decimate a U.S. led invasion force before it actually enters the Persian Gulf.” These run from just east of Bandar Abbas, an Iranian port in the narrows of the Straits of Hormuz, to Shah Bahar, on the Indian Ocean fairly near Pakistan.
The Iranian military seems plenty big and tough -- much better and more effective than it was in the long ago Iran-Iraq War. Institutionally, it seems to have absorbed the lessons of that conflict, as well as the two Gulf Wars, and the US intervention in Kosovo.'s publication Concise World Armies, 2006 rates the Iranian military pretty highly, and says that it has plenty of maneuver and exercise time. The military and Revolutionary Guard are backed up by a very sophisticated intelligence and secret police organization (the Persians have always had good spies) -- descended from the American-trained services of the Shah's days. Iran must not be underestimated.
I will look into this more closely as I have time, but the Iranian military capability shouldn't be over estimated, either. Surely this cannot be all of the plan. The Iranian military has capable staff and intelligence officers. I wonder what threshold the planners are working with: i.e., how far they think they can go ? Sinking aircraft carriers ? Attacking Saudi oil fields ? Leaving their nutty president aside, do the Iranians want to get nuked ? Just how much mayhem can the Iranians get away with in their "mass kill zones" before Uncle Sam starts raining nuclear weapons on them? Yeah, the Iranians can stop the oil, for awhile, but if they really think they can win an air/naval/missile contest, the Iranian staffers are smoking crack... unless that is, Iran has a big power backer.
Do they ?
We are at a very, very dangerous place, just now. If the Iranians are foolish, they will take our President's sinking poll numbers, and our happy UN talk, much too much to heart. They may be fooled into thinking they have a free hand, and assume the edge of acceptable behavior is further away than it is. We are already teetering on the abyss. It is easy to forget how much power a President has over the decision to resort to arms. If the Iranians underestimate this President, there is a strong probability that a lot of people are going to wind up very dead.
Similarly, the Iranians may assume too much tolerance by Israel and its caretaker Prime Minister. The Israelis have been stirring, saying just this week that they will not wait forever for a solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.
Fundamentally, I am worried by this, apparently, yokel of an Iranian president, who really seems to believe in the imminent appearance of the Twelfth Imam, and talks glibly about wiping countries off the map. Does he know where the red line is; how far the bluster can safely go ? Do those around him ? No question, the present script looks like a war-breeder.