branvanguard.jpg (15001 bytes) Brandeis Vanguard

A blog by patriotic Brandeis University students who support America, American values, freedom, and democracy world wide.

Saturday, April 12, 2003
I've been meaning to post something for a while now, but unfortunately, I've been under the weather recently (fortunately, I'm getting better now).
I came across this piece from the BBC: Decoding Iraq's symbols of celebration
This article gives an explanation of many of the events we are currently seeing on TV, as the Iraqi people celebrate their new-found freedom, and also provides an interesting glimpse into the practices of other cultures.

Friday, April 11, 2003
I just want to point out that the Concord Bridge Magazine site (www.concordbridge.org; also link on the sidebar) finally has content on it. Nothing fresh, just selections from our most recent issue, but there should be new articles soon, as we're working on a new issue.
From the latest entry in Kanan Makiya's War Diary at the New Republic Online: "Baathism died in Iraq yesterday. The sight of the oversized bronze head of Saddam rolling in the dust and being beaten with shoes by exuberant Iraqis is perhaps the most important image of Iraqi politics of the last 50 years. It was the end of the republic of fear. Two Iraqis with whom I was camping out in Washington, D.C., woke me up at 5 a.m. yesterday so we could watch the images of a free Iraq. Tears rolled down our cheeks uncontrollably."

I can only speak for myself, but this is the first time that I have seen a nation liberated and comprehended it in all its glory. I was too young to appreciate the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Eastern bloc, but now I see the preciousness of freedom. It is astounding to think that most Iraqis are experiencing their first days of life without having to fear torture and death at the hands of Saddam, without having to fear the door being kicked in in the middle of the night, without having to fear conscription into the Iraqi army and near-certain death in combat with the many enemies Saddam made for himself. Watching the jubilation of a nation freed certainly gives one greater appreciation of what we enjoy here.

I wish Makiya and his co-nationals the very best of luck in building a free nation.

Thursday, April 10, 2003
Given that the campaign has come to the brink of victory (only the brink, however--let's not be too hasty) so quickly, I'm interested in hearing what Vanguard's various bloggers think the appropriate shape of the postwar Iraqi government should be. I'm convinced that assigning a transition chief (Garner) is probably a good idea. We don't necessarily want a Macarthur, who posed as a figure superior to the emperor, but rather a bureaucrat to prepare Iraq for true statehood, to bind its wounds and ease the way for an indigenous government.

Beyond that, however, I think we need to be very careful about the rush to democracy. A democratic Iraq should be a medium- to long-term goal, but the republic v. democracy distinction is very important at this point. A hastily prepared democratic government may lack the ability to affect necessary change and state building, while being susceptible to ethnic and religious fissures. As usual, I lean towards republican institutions. In the aftermath of totalitarianism, what might be best are well-insulated institutions that allow postwar leaders to implement the necessary reforms, preventing distractions associated with the short time horizons of democratic politics. Iraq needs, dare I say, a Charles de Gaulle, a dominant statesman willing to do whatever is required to build up Iraq. A republic, with less concern for elections and more concern for protecting rights and getting the national economy on a proper footing, would put Iraqi statehood on a solid footing and provide an appropriate example for reformers in other nations in the Middle East.

Thoughts anyone?
Mira-
Just to clear a few things up, this is Pride Month (not that I am involved) but so there are GLBT related events going on all month. Today was Silence Day, which recognized the silence that GLBT people had to deal with. Students (including a friend of mine) volunteered to not talk the entire day to recognize this. (I don't know how he pulled it off). At the end of the day, the planned on talking about their experiences during the day and what it has meant for some people to be quiet like this about their views and feelings througout their lives.
While walking around campus today, I noticed a guy with a white gag over his mouth. Is there some "day of silence" going on? The GBLT (forgive me for any ommitted letters) events were last week, no anti-war protests that I know of, and it's too simple for our Festival of the Arts (featuring Boy In A Fishtank). So what is it? Keep Quiet About Iraqis Celebrating Their Freedom Day? Liberals Be Quiet Day? It's A Beautiful Spring Day So I Will Wear A Silly Rag Over My Mouth Day? Beware of SARS Day? Anybody know anything about this?
An excellent article (registration required) in the Wall Street Journal today about the intense bureaucratic war between Defense and State over the future of Iraq, and, essentially, the future of American foreign policy. It's not necessarily a new fight by any means, but should State win, (Saudi) stability would have greater priority than Iraqi freedom.

We are not fighting so that Prince Abdullah can sleep easily; we are fighting so that the Iraqis and us can sleep easily.

An excerpt:

"State's Near East Affairs Bureau has always been a force for preserving the region's despotic status quo. And now that Saddam's regime is on the way out, NEA bureaucrats would prefer to see him replaced by ex-Baathists more amenable to their friends in the Saudi and Egyptian foreign ministries. We're not saying the U.S. should anoint Mr. Chalabi or any individual as the next Iraqi leader. But State and the CIA seem less afraid of Saddam than of real democrats who could set a new example and exert pressure for change throughout the Middle East."

Wednesday, April 09, 2003
Just heard this on Fox News: angry Iraqis chased the Al-Jazeera TV crew out of Iraq - all the way from Baghdad to the Kuwaiti border.
Wow.....what a sight these videos from Iraq have been. Fox is also showing spontaneous parades in Dearborne, MI, which has one of the biggest Iraqi exile populations in the US. People are jumping, dancing, chanting, horns are honking like crazy, as people wave US and Iraqi flags (it's important to note that these Iraqi flags are the ones from the pre-Saddam Iraq).

My one question for now: what happened to our comic relief the Iraqi Info Minister (a.k.a. Baghdad Bob)? I wonder...did he see the Americans in Baghdad finally?
I saw a group of men attack a statue of Saddam with a sledgehammer. It was like the famous scene of people attacking the Berlin Wall. Fourteen years ago, we learned that people in Eastern Europe wanted freedom as much as those in the West. Today we see that Iraqis want it too.
The statue has just fallen in Baghdad; and the (extremely happy liberated) Iraqis are dancing on the fallen body.
I think that Britt Hume had the best quote so far: "I wonder what Dominique De Villepin and Jaques Chirac think about this" heh.

"No arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women" -- Ronald Reagan
I just watched an American tank pull down a statue of Saddam while a crowd of Iraqis watched and cheered. I want to see my anti-war friends scoff at the the name 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' now.
Liberation Day in Iraq, finally the War is just about over. A little humor to add to this very happy day. All the stations were showing shots of Saddam Husseins statue, (which I presume they are about to take down). Then I go to CBS and it wasn't a whole lot different. They decided to go to Martha Stewart. At least you can't listen to Saddam's statue talk!
Regarding the "Bush Doctorine: here's an interesting symposium on the "Bush Doctorine", featuring James Woolsey, James Lindsay, VDH and David Brumberg.
(Note: this symposium took place in October 2002, so it may be a little "out dated", but is an interesting read nevertheless

Tuesday, April 08, 2003
Hey look everyone! Gordie responded to my letter in the Justice!
(Warning: be sure you're not drinking/eating anything when you read Gordie's letter, as you may accidentally spit it out).

This letter of his definitely deserves a fisking, and I think I'll even write a response to it (to the Justice). The fisking will come later this week; as I'm over my head in work right now (and suffering from major sleep-deprivation as a result).

I'm starting to think that Gordie sounds a lot like Baghdad Bob, no?
One of the big claims of the anti-war movement was that Iraq had no ties to terror. Sean Hannity termed these people the "ostrich brigades" as a result, because their heads appeared to be burried in the ground.

Well, once again, the anti-war protesters have been proven wrong. See this story and the follow up to it (here regarding the finding of a "Palestine Liberation Front" (PLF) Bomb making factory in Iraq. Couple this with the terror training camp found at Salam Pak and I'd say that's material support of terror, wouldn't you?

Finally, is it just me, or does anyone else think that the "Iraqi Minister of Information" (a.k.a. Baghdad Bob) is unable to tell the truth? As Jonah Goldberg described him: "He seems like an Iraqi michael moore on the atkins diet"

Monday, April 07, 2003
I don't believe it. Someone is actually unhappy that the US managed to rescue Pfc. Lynch. Got to love the London Tabloids. (Via Diana Moon).
During tonight's meeting, we discussed renaming food to make it more patriotic. All food. Even food produced by American companies. Some of the cheaper and more accessible items will be served at the America Party on April 30th (shameless plug). We thought of:

American Pie
Freedom Fruit
Constitution Cola
USprite

Ok, the last two I thought of as I was walking back from the meeting. Does anyone else have any ideas?
While we're on the topic of the military/armed forces, let me first (once again) express my support for all troops.
Here's a link that some of you may find interesting, here's the section on military technology from "How Stuff Works" It explains the technology that we see in action in simple terms.
I personally think that it's really neat and facinating.

Also, Tobias has pointed out an interesting article over at NRO, and he touches on the topic of "collegiality". Forgive me for this self promotion, but I wrote a piece on this topic, titled "Campuses Neeed True Free Speech" back in November 2002 for the Brandeis Free Press. In it I discussed the issue of 'collegiality' and I also discussed the website Campus Watch by the Mid-East Forum (whose members include Daniel Pipes, Martin Kramer, Whalid Phares and other scholars) that monitory bias in Mid-East studies in academia (It's an interesting site).
Speaking of the Cavalry, I believe the distinction between Cavalry and Infantry is one of speed. The army has both armored and air cavalry units, whose job is to get into the field faster than the infantry, which is explicitly "heavier" and is slower to deploy. The book to read is Tom Clancy's Armored Cav, which explores life in a cavalry unit quite thoroughly. Cavalry historically was a matter of using horses to get to the battle faster than foot soldiers, but not necessarily fighting on horseback (though that happened, of course).

Great article on NRO today about new hiring policies for academia by Candace de Russy, a member of SUNY's board of trustees. She notes, "The choice of new faculty members is now commonly driven by the prejudices of those academics making the selection — not by how qualified the applicants are to uphold the truth as teachers or researchers. Hiring is furthermore influenced by something called 'collegiality,' which is a code word for whether the attitude of the applicant — that is, regarding Left-wing causes and social transformation — is to the liking of the committee." That's exactly what I think needs to happen. We don't need to explicitly hire conservatives per se, but simply people who think independently, or at least let their students think independently without penalizing them for it.
Just saw some incredible pics of US soldiers in Saddam's palace on Rachel Lucas' Blog. Also, some showing our troops' living conditions. I hope Saddam has some big mattresses in that palace....
Just watching Fox News - they say there is a popular uprising in Baghdad. If this is true, and let's hope it is, I have a strong suspicion it was inspired by the 3rd Infantry's run through Baghdad! I saw some of the video by a Fox News reporter (of the 3rd Infantry). They just rode through in this long column. They're now camped out in one of Saddam's presidential palaces, and jawsblog (i.e. Josh) is reporting that the troops are using Saddam's showers (Fox News says they're also using the marble toilets). Go troops! This is so amazing. And it's only been 19 days.

Oh, and here's a random question: why do the Infantry and the Cavalry both ride tanks? I understand why it doesn't make much sense for the Infantry to march all the way through Iraq and why horses are no longer practical on the battlefield, but why are they called Infantry and Calvalry? Shouldn't they be called Tankantry or Automotivetry? Why is there still a distinction between an infantry and a calvalry?
For those of you who haven't already seen this, Evan Maloney has some great videos of anti-war protesters. The latest one covers Peace, Love, & Anti-Semitism at rallies. I'm going to miss Brandeis' T1 line.

Sunday, April 06, 2003
Speaking of exchanges, Secretary of State Colin Powell appears to have taken a few interview tips from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in a recent interview with German TV. Among some of the key quotes:


Question: ...What many people in Europe will hear, through your words, is this is how the new partition of labor will be: America is looking for its Allies, is going its course with or without Allies, any number that’s available, and be it zero. And then the U.N.’s role is to go in as a good Samaritan and clean up the mess. That’s all they can do. America is already looking at its next destination.

SECRETARY POWELL: That’s absurd. It’s an absurd, simplistic, shorthand response to what people think we’re doing.

Now there were some members of the Council who said, “We’ll veto anything.” And there were others of us who felt we must move forward. We must remove this danger to the world. Especially this regime that developed weapons of mass destruction and might actually allow some of these weapons to fall in the hands of terrorists. We will not apologize for this. We believe that we did what is right and we recognize that there is a great deal of opinion, especially in Europe, that thinks this was not the right approach. But I hope we will change this opinion, when everybody sees that after this conflict we’re not leaving it to be swept up by the United Nations. We are going to work with the United Nations and work with the international community. And guess who will be the major contributor, who will pay the most money to help the Iraqi people to get back on their feet. It will be the United States, as always. Europeans --

QUESTION: So you are paying the most money? Then that’s a promise?

SECRETARY POWELL: Europeans, especially Germans, should recognize the American record, our history. Our history is not one of getting involved in conflicts just for the sake of it. We get involved in conflicts because there are major issues at stake that have to be resolved, unfortunately, by force of arms. But when you look at our history for the last sixty years, every time we found ourselves in this position, we did not just get up and walk away. We did everything we could to put in place a better system, a better society, than that which we had to go in and fight. And we will do it again this time.


And regarding who will be in charge of post-war Iraq:

But as I said, and I’ve said this several times, the coalition that went in, that was willing to put at risk its young men and women, and lost lives, paid a great amount of money to conduct this campaign and also paid a political price for this campaign as well. We are committed to making sure that that sacrifice and that investment is not lost. We believe we have to play a very significant, perhaps a leading role, in order to make sure what replaces this corrupt, rotten regime is a democratic system that is responsive to the needs of its people and will reflect all of the people of Iraq, and will use the treasure of Iraq, its oil, to invest in the people and not invest in weapons of mass destruction.


The transcript of this interview can be found here
I agree entirely about Michael Kelly. The world needs more honest and cogent thinkers like him, people who relish debate and who seek the good fight. I am reminded of the famous Theodore Roosevelt quote:

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."

In peacetime, Kelly was among our foremost "critics," a man whose pen was a weapon in service of his wisdom and passion. When war came, he went into the field to put that pen at the service of the truth, to keep the world informed. He was there at the front, in the heat of the fight, not content to wait behind while history roared past. He will be missed.

I also want to link to an exchange between Daniel Cohn-Bendit, 1968er and current head of the Green Party in the European Parliament, and Richard Perle, national security intellectual and the man the anti-war left loves to hate. It includes this choice Perle quote:

"If my prediction—that everything will go well with Iraq—becomes reality, then the damage recently done to trans-Atlantic relations will rapidly be repaired. We will still have the problem of French ambitions to build a Europe in opposition to the United States. And if the French are indeed creating a counterweight, do not call their relationship with the United States an alliance anymore. In that case we, as Americans, will have to consider how we deal with this European departure from the trans-Atlantic axis."
Just wanted to commend the LA Times reporter on writing a well balanced and honest article about United We Stand and both sides of the issue here at Brandeis. But like Josh said, Gordie should be providing reporters with accurate and unbiased information if reporters are going to report accurate and unbiased information. I think he was trying to sugarcoat our story with his spin...don't you. I heard from my cousin at Penn State and he couldn't believe that protesters were actually blocking kids from going to class on the first day of war. Also, lets take a moment to remember and mourn the deaths of Michael Kelly and David Bloom, as well as the rest of the troops that have given the ultimate sacrifice.
This is why Iraq can't have nice things

Coalition forces found Mustard Gas and Cyanide dumped into the Euphrates river. The head of the Iraqi Information Ministry explained, "at first we wanted to release the gas into the air, where it would be harder to detect, but then decided there would be less enviromental consequences if we poured it all into the drinking water." He then went on to explain that "Coalition forces are no where near the Euphrates river, the Euphrates river has been moved to make it harder to detect, and coalition forces camped at the Euphrates river have suffered a tremendous defeat." He also warned the coalition not to be surprised if it finds itself up against women dressed as the Euphrates river. As the reporters left the press conferences, he was heard shouting "this whole war is a figment of the Amerikkkkkkan media's imagination!"
Bernard Lewis, noted (if not the premier) scholar of Islam and Middle Eastern History, has written a piece in today's edition of the Opinion Journal titled: "Why Iraqis were slow to embrace their liberators.". It is a very interesting read.

A quote from the piece which I feel like sharing:

Their [the Iraqi people's] understandable caution was further reinforced by the strong and vocal opposition to the war around the world and more especially in the United States. This manifested itself in many ways and, under their very eyes, in the mostly critical questioning of the military by the media in the press briefings taking place on their doorstep.

For us in the West, this is the normal free debate of an open society. But Iraqis, both rulers and ruled, have had no experience of any such thing since the overthrow of the parliamentary regime and the establishment of the dictatorship almost 50 years ago. What they believe they see is indecision, hesitation, even weakness and fear.

The public debate against the war will be similarly understood--or rather misunderstood--both by Saddam Hussein and by his subjects, and will have the unintended effect of encouraging him and discouraging them. The antiwar campaign will not end the war, but it may turn out to have made it longer and harder.

Take that Gordie...

Speakin of Bernard Lewis, it appears that he's released a new book! It's titled "The Crisis Of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror". (Just in case anyone was interested).