WHEN IS ANTI-ZIONISM ANTI-SEMITISM? The debate <a href = http

//www.yaledailynews.com/article.asp?AID=22023 target = _blank>continues at Yale.

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IS THE TIDE TURNING? When the <a href = http

//www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,904732,00.html target = _blank>Guardian starts worrying that the U.S. and the U.K. are making headway, maybe it’s happening. The most damning piece of evidence is Hans Blix’s leaked report which allegedly says: “the results in terms of disarmament have been very limited so far”. Saddam’s promise to address the al Samoud missile issue “in principle,” despite the fact that there is a clear deadline for their immediate destruction tomorrow, also seems to me to be ammunition for a stronger Security Council position. There will be more surprises and Saddamite gambits ahead no doubt. But the direction seems to be clear to me. The powers urging the immediate disarmament of Saddam are slowly making progress.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: “What if [Saddam] fails to comply and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route, which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction? … Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And some day, some way, I guarantee you he’ll use the arsenal.” – president Bill Clinton, 1998.

PAYBACK FOR FRANCE: As regular readers know, I’ve long advocated cutting France out of any post-war Iraqi settlement. No oil contracts, no peace-keepers, no influence as far as we can help it. Charles Krauthammer makes the same point today. After what the French have tried to do to destroy American diplomacy, wreck Tony Blair, and delay a war until it might actually be more dangerous for American troops, they deserve more than indifference.

IN TRANSIT: Packing, moving, flying – posting will have to take a back seat today. But a final thanks for making February the most trafficked month in the history of the site.

THE JOURNAL ON HARVARD’S PHALLUS: It’s a story that won’t quit.

DEAN’S DEFICIT: I’ll never be able to loathe Howard Dean. For what he did in supporting civil unions in Vermont, any gay person would have to thank him for political sense and courage. But that’s all the more reason for calling him on a simple, obvious and brazen fib. According to the New York Times, Dean made the following remarks to the winter meeting of the Democratic National Committee:

What I want to know is why in the world the Democratic Party leadership is supporting the president’s unilateral attack on Iraq? What I want to know is why are Democratic leaders supporting tax cuts? The question is not how big the tax cut should be; the question should be, Can we afford a tax cut at all, with the largest deficit in the history of this country?

Huh? Two things. Whatever else this war is, it’s not unilateral. A clear majority of European nations – eighteen at the last count – support the war. From Australia to Poland, we have dozens of allies, large and small. Britain, one of the few remaining non-American military powers, is contributing most of its armed forces. We may not have unanimous global support for an attack but to describe the coming war as “unilateral” is simply false. Ditto the hyperbole about the deficit. In non-adjusted dollar amounts, it might be near a historic peak. But that’s deeply misleading. As a proportion of GDP, it’s under half its peak in the Reagan-Bush years. I’m not saying it isn’t a problem. I think it’s a major one. But you don’t help your case by absurd hyperbole. And that seems to be the main thing Howard Dean is currently contributing to the national debate.

FINALLY

The offending ice-member.

“NOT A DAY MORE”

Thanks for your emails. You have a point. Here’s one that puts an alternative interpretation on Bush’s phrase in his speech last night:

I heard something very different in the not-a-day-more line. This was really directed at people outside the United States and in particular in Iraq who view our actions as some kind of colonial action to control Iraq’s oil, people and whatever. Coupled with his statements about bringing freedom to Iraq, W. is saying that we want to bring self-rule and consensual gov’t as soon as possible. In other words we don’t intend to rule Iraq or stay there – the governance of that country will be left to its citizens not a day later than necessary.

I take the point, and actually think, on reflection it makes more sense than my original interpretation. More of your comments on the newly stocked Letters Page.

GEORGE W. BUSH, NEOCON

It took a while, but the president’s transformation seems to be almost complete. From a candidate who projected a smaller defense budget than Al Gore, who pooh-poohed “nation-building,” who spoke very modestly of the United States being a “humble nation,” we now have a president saying the following:

We will remain in Iraq as long as necessary, and not a day more. America has made and kept this kind of commitment before – in the peace that followed a world war. After defeating enemies, we did not leave behind occupying armies, we left constitutions and parliaments. We established an atmosphere of safety, in which responsible, reform-minded local leaders could build lasting institutions of freedom. In societies that once bred fascism and militarism, liberty found a permanent home.

I’m a little troubled by the phrase: “not a day more.” It’s as if the president still believes that a real commitment to Iraq and to the region as a whole will be unpopular at home. It needn’t be – if the president makes Iraq a corner-stone of this country’s commitment to a freer and therefore more stable world. Not quite a neocon – but well on the way.

WILL THE FRENCH VETO? No firm statement yet either way. TF1 declares that France is putting aside the idea of a veto for the moment. The Communists and Socialists urge a veto, but Chirac’s party, officially repesented in the parliament by Alain Juppe, talks instead of looming “noises of mobilization.” Meanwhile, we have this odd statement from the increasingly erratic Chirac, after meeting with Spanish prime minister, Aznar: “We oppose all new resolutions.” Huh? I thought France was promoting a new one. Maybe Paris at this point just wants the whole issue to go away. I still don’t have a clue what Chirac is up to; but I certainly think there are many subtle signs that the French don’t want to veto – especially if the Russians and Chinese simply abstain. Solitary French isolation at the U.N., combined with encirclement of Anglospheric nations in the E.U. is becoming France’s nightmare. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch, could it?

A JUST WAR

The morality of ousting Saddam. My latest piece posted opposite.

GUTTING DELAY: Will Saletan does a beautiful job skewering Tom DeLay’s pirouetting on the subject of the war. During the Balkan crisis, DeLay was just as out there as Howard Dean now is – maybe more so. I’m happy to say that I strongly supported president Clinton’s intevention in the Balkans. My main criticism is that he waited far too long to do anything.

AFGHANISTAN HAS GONE TO HELL: You’ve heard all the nay-sayers. Now read a reporter.

WHAT IT’S BEEN LIKE HERE

If you’re interested, check out this photo from the Provincetown Banner of the arctic ice-floe that was once Cape Cod Bay. Much of it has now floated away but it was amazing while it lasted.

ANTI-SEMITISM WATCH: After Amiri Baraka’s visit, a spirited and supportive op-ed was run in the Yale Daily News. Money quote about the newspaper’s opposition to an invitation to the anti-Semitic poet:

Monday’s editorial, and the Yale Daily News in general, is a case in point. Obviously, it’s one thing to be Jewish, and wholly another to support the Israeli occupation. That said, Jews tend to sympathize with Israel more so than non-Jews. And in my three years at the Yale Daily News, Jewish students have comprised a majority of management positions (namely, editor in chief and managing editor). This year, nearly half the editors are Jewish.
Am I pointing to a secret Jewish conspiracy aimed at promoting Israel at college dailies? Of course not.
But does the prevalence of Jews in American media, business and politics help explain America’s steadfast support for Israel, whose 35-year occupation of Palestinian lands is an affront to human decency? Of course.