How to be Anti-War Without Encouraging Saddam:

Joe Conason takes off from a Washington Post report this week that Saddam, believing that the anti-war demonstrations last week expressed support for his regime, has been emboldened to stall any cooperation with the inspection process.

That is precisely the opposite of what the peace movement should want.

The Post report is highly credible because this kind of lethal illusion is characteristic of Saddam. Wily but unwise, he mistakenly assumed that the West and the U.N. would do nothing if he invaded Kuwait in 1990, and like many dictators, he is reportedly isolated from the truth about negative world opinion of him. Apparently he also shares the Bush administration’s jaundiced view of the antiwar movement as “defenders of Saddam,” which could well be his fatal error. International ANSWER and other “radical” stooges for fascism may well support Saddam, but the millions who turned out to endorse inspections rather than war don’t share ANSWER’s politics.

Although time is terribly short, there is a real answer to this problem. The Iraqi tyrant must be made to understand that the enormous crowds that turned out to oppose war don’t support him — in fact, despise him — and demand his full, complete, immediate cooperation with U.N. Resolution 1441. Salon

Conason proposes that the next venue for anti-war demonstrations be the Iraqi embassies throughout the world, and that there be a flood of emails to the Iraqi U.N. mission ( and the Iraq News Agency ( demanding Iraqi compliance and disarmament. I’m not sure, however, on reading this, whether Conason is making a realistic, if desperate, strategy proposal, or if he is more interested in rehabilitating the credibility of the anti-war movements with its critics.

Ready for Primetime?

Homeland Security Site Doesn’t Shoot Straight: “It’s better than a hysterical call for duct tape. But, the Homeland Security Department’s new website to help the public prepare– and deal with the aftereffects of – a biological, chemical or nuclear terrorist attack, still ignores an obvious truth: that such strikes are nearly impossible for al Qaeda-like groups to pull off.” — Noah Schachtman, Defense Tech


The Smart Way to Be Scared:

“Flashing ‘threat level’ warning boxes on newscasts. Police officers with shotguns wandering Times Square, antiaircraft missiles near the Washington Mall. Federal instructions to stockpile water and batteries and obtain plastic and tape for a ‘safe room.’ Yet it’s far from clear that this security rush will help anyone.” — Greg Easterbrook, NY Times

Weapons That Disable Circuitry May Get First Use in Iraq:

“As the United States readies for a possible conflict in Iraq, many of the star weapons from the Persian Gulf war of 1991 are back and deadlier than ever. The smart bombs are smarter. The stealth planes are sneakier. Even the ground troops are better equipped than they were a dozen years ago.

Yet according to military experts, the biggest technical revelation of another war in the region may not be improvements to old systems but rather a new category of firepower known as directed-energy weapons.” NY Times

The raw, human wizardry of ‘Oz’ comes to a close:

“Yes, HBO’s prison drama is fueled by shower-room shankings, an Aryan cult, and grotesqueries such as the excretion cocktail mixed by one Hole-bound inmate. Most viewers have turned away from the show’s in-your-face imagery in disgust, including the Emmy voters, who consistently ignore stunning acting by Eamonn Walker, Christopher Meloni, Rita Moreno, Dean Winters, Lee Tergesen, and J.K. Simmons. ”Oz,” so feral and explosive, is the black sheep of quality television.” Boston Globe

Update: Girl critical after 2nd transplant:

‘With perhaps only hours left to live, the 17-year-old girl mistakenly given a heart and lungs with the wrong blood type was miraculously handed a second chance Thursday after doctors — against all odds — located another set of organs.

Surgeons rushed to transplant the new heart and lungs into Jesica Santillan, whose relatives had feared she would be dead by the weekend.

She was in critical condition after the four-hour operation, and doctors warned it was too early to say whether she would pull through.’ Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Baby Bells fall after FCC decision:

“Shares of U.S. local telephone companies fell Thursday after federal regulators kept in place rules that force carriers to provide rivals with low-priced access to their telephone networks, analysts said.

In a complicated decision, the Federal Communications Commission approved new guidelines that give state regulators the power to decide what parts of local telephone networks must be leased at discounts. That dealt a blow to the dominant local telephone companies–the Baby Bells, which wanted immediate relief from rules they contend cost them money and customers.

The FCC decision, however, did offer the Baby Bells a partial win. The agency ruled that local companies that install new fiber-optic cables for high-speed Internet access won’t have to share those lines with rivals.” CNET News