Random news for your day…

I don’t know why this isn’t being mentioned a bit more in the American press, but there’s an uprising going on in Haiti. Given that this is only a few hundred miles from Florida, and that refugees and other interesting political problems are quite capable of seeping over that distance, you would think people would be a bit more interested…

President Bush was interviewed for the first time since taking office several years ago. The shifting sands of rationale continue to move, now back to the assertion that we needed to invade because Saddam Hussein was “dangerous.” (Please don’t take this amiss – remember that this reason was cited before WMD were cited. They didn’t come up as a reason until the beginning of the campaign to sell the war to NATO and the UN, around last September.)

One of his statements (cf. this article) did surprise me a bit – “[The weapons of mass destruction] could have been destroyed during the war.” If it were that damned easy to destroy them, they wouldn’t be so high a risk – the only way to bulk get rid of nonconventional weapons is to set them off. More interesting is the suggestion that some stockpile may have been “transported to another country.”

I suspect that there may have been something – not very much, but enough to be worth moving into the Syrian desert. Not enough for the WMD rationale to really be defensible, but enough to make me wonder what’s going to happen to any such weapons that may be lying around….

Published in: on February 8, 2004 at 19:00  Comments (10)  


  1. Here’s an interesting, if biased, article on the Haiti situation.
    It seems an elite minority has been systematically undermining President Aristide’s government. They seem to have the support of many members of Haiti’s former army (which was disbanded in 1994 after ousting Aristide in a bloody coup and terrorizing the country for three brutal years). It also seems that, contrary to the Clinton administration, which helped end the coup and restore Aristide, the Bush administration is at best not helping Aristide, and perhaps is helping (at least through inaction) the opposition.
    Every once and a while it’s good to sit back and realize how much the whims of American voters can affect the fate of people all over the globe. I really, really hope we don’t get another four years of Bush Hell.

  2. I watched that Meet the Press interview w/Bush (it’s still on the TiVo – if you want to watch it, tell when you want to come over ASAP and I’ll save it 🙂
    The interview was bizarre. Very rambly, odd body language, incoherent. Transcripts don’t do it justice.
    Read recently that Bush’s rating actually went down after giving his State of the Union. The SotU wasbad, but not as bad as the interview, BTW. I can’t remember *ever* hearing of a President going down after the SotU – it’s usually a free ten-point or so bounce.

  3. Personally, I think Syria has the WMD.
    But they’re not Iraq, and DPRK is a greater threat.

  4. Probably right, on both counts. There probably wasn’t all that much there anyway.
    *sigh* And Al-Hayat is posting the story about al-Qaeda buying up nukes from Ukraine again. Not my first guess on the likely buyer for them, but there are an awful lot of those old backpack units not properly accounted for…

  5. Al-Hayat isn’t exactly the most reliable source.
    Still, I am nervous about those man-portable nuke units.

  6. Yup on both. But my money says that if any of those nukes went anywhere, more of them ended up in China than Afghanistan; al Qaeda isn’t in a situation to reverse-engineer those things. And it strikes me as a better explanation for China’s most recent compact warheads than them stealing W88 plans from America.
    We live in nice, relaxing times, no? 🙂

  7. Hmmmm… it is difficult to say what has lead to the rapid development of PRC weapons technologies and capabilities. I’ve heard of former Soviet scientists that have gone mercenary on the international market to make money for themselves. I wouldn’t be surprised if the PRC hired more than a few of those for their weapons development programs.
    Or if the PRC obtained some of those missing Soviet warheads.
    Interesting times… yes.
    But the world has always been like this…
    for many people, the wool has only recently been pulled from their eyes.

  8. I’ve heard much the same. But I suspect there weren’t that many people who actually did, and the ones who did weren’t the best. But PRC does have enough people on its own that it could reverse-engineer someone else’s design.
    Although this just brings up another old concern, about the god-awful amounts of Cs137 and Sr90 that the Soviets produced. I haven’t seen any radiological bombs cropping up anywhere, and that makes me suspicious. I know their security on that stuff was no good…

  9. And we haven’t even included all the biological and chemical threats…
    like the small pox cultures the Soviets had developed and stored

  10. You know… this morning, on the radio there was a discussion of the current ACLU suit against the Justice Department over section 215 of the Patriot Act. (The “secret warrants” section) It reminded me of a rather curious sensation I had a few years ago in Israel, at the height of the peace process. Suddenly, now that the Palestinians weren’t at the front of the news all the time, the depth of the rift between the secular and the orthodox started to become clear – and it was much worse than anyone had imagined. It seemed like a realization suddenly dawned on everyone that even if, by some miracle, all the problems with the Palestinians and the Arabs and so on were to be solved the next day, there was something even bigger waiting in the corner domestically that would tear the country apart.
    I’m sort of getting that sense again now. We have an impressive array of near-apocalypses abroad, and it’s starting to feel like even if we defeat all of those, that’s just going to force us to deal with some domestic rifts which may be even worse.

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