Political Animal

WHO’S WITH US HERE?….You know,

WHO’S WITH US HERE?….You know, Tom Spencer asks a question I’ve been idly curious about myself: if the Spanish and the Portuguese are so committed to our cause, why aren’t they offering any troops? Ditto for Bulgaria, Italy, Poland, and everyone else colored green on this map.

Even a token batallion or two would be pretty useful as “multilateral” cover, wouldn’t they? And if the American commanders think they’d be more trouble than they’re worth, they could at least play a support role of some kind.

Somehow, though, I have a feeling that in most of these countries troops can only be committed with the consent of the legislature. And we all know how that went in Turkey….

TORTURE….Stuart Taylor talks about torture:But

TORTURE….Stuart Taylor talks about torture:

But what if nothing short of unambiguously “severe” pain — torture, that is — seems to have any chance of eliciting Mohammed’s potentially life-saving secrets? Should interrogators be prepared to cross that line? I would say no, in principle.

In practice, though, which is all that counts after all, Taylor apparently thinks differently. So does that mean it would be OK for Saddam to torture American soldiers in order to elicit information that would save Iraqi lives from a planned American assault?

No, I didn’t think so.


SUMMIT IN THE AZORES….The Big Three have finished their summit. There was more contempt for France, no commitment to a UN vote except possibly as a showpiece for a French veto, and almost certain war sometime this week.

The contrast between Bush and Blair was dramatic. Both were unflinching in their condemnation of Saddam, but Bush seemed almost unable to contain his anger and contempt at the rest of the world for not following his lead. But the fault for that almost certainly resides solely with Bush himself, and the fact that only three countries were involved in this one-hour meeting in the Azores is the surest sign of diplomatic failure you can imagine. It is an appalling statement about our leadership that we have lost a worldwide opinion poll against Saddam Hussein. But we have.