Alex's Outlook

Monday, March 31, 2003

Salman Pax isn't posting from Baghdad anymore. I figure the Mukhabarat finally got to him.

That's a shame. His blog will probably end up as an important historical document of the air raids on Baghdad.

For anyone interested in factual, up-to-date, no-BS reporting on the war's progress, visit .

Friday, March 28, 2003

From Russia With Blood

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Iraqis destroyed the third M1A2 Abrams tank with an advanced Russian antitank missile. All four crewmen were killed, the first fatalities ever for the Abrams tank.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

The Pentagon just decided to send...uh, 120,000 more troops to Iraq. There are less than 300,000 troops in Iraq, making this more than a 40 percent increase in manpower. I think the Pentagon is scared...somehow I'm starting to think things are worse in Iraq than the Pentagon is letting on, if they need forty percent more troops.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

A mural depicting the 9/11 attack was found in an Iraqi military headquarters. The airliner crashing into the tower has the Iraqi Airlines symbol on it.

A column of some 1,000 Iraqi vehicles is approaching the 3rd Infantry from Baghdad. Seems like a huge blunder to me. If I were the Iraqis I would hunker down in Baghdad with chemical weapons, not roll out into the open and get pummeled by coalition aircraft.

CNN says that "hundreds" of Iraqis were killed near Najaf. The Pentagon says that not a single American was killed.

Larry Kudlow clings to hope that the tax-cut hasn't been completely wrecked yet. Don Nickles wants to bring $150 billion back, but I don't see why that has any chance of working. Chafee and Snowe will vote against it and Zell Miller will vote for it, making it 50-50. And Voinovich will probably bolt again, or McCain if not him.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

I should quit citing sources that speculate, even if that happens to the New York Times or CNN.

The Senate today voted 51-48 to slash Bush's tax cut by more than half!! :-(

So much for stimulating the economy. As with the past ten years, the Senate has once again become a graveyard of reform. Bush will be lucky to get a 50% cut in dividend taxes and full acceleration of income-tax cuts.

This is especially surprising in light of the fact that the Senate voted 62-38 against slashing the tax cut just last week.

According to the NYPost, Iraqi soldiers have been captured with very up-to-date chemical weapons gear.

That doesn't bode well for the battle of Baghdad.

Monday, March 24, 2003

The war is starting to get messy. Marines are bogged down in streetfighting with Iraqis in An Nasiriya. Several helicopters have gone down, a UK Tornado was shot down by an American Patriot missile, and coalition casualties are around one hundred, at least.

The war is still going well, though. American forces are at the outskirts of Baghdad. Other than the pockets at Basra and Nasiriya, the American advance has been amazingly fast. Tomorrow could very well see the beginning of the assault on Baghdad, although I'd expect the coalition to wait for reinforcements and re-supply for a day or two...according to CNN, Republican Guard units outside Baghdad are under constant air attack.

I think Saddam has stockpiled massive amounts of chemical weapons in Baghdad, but it's a bit unsettling that none have been found so far...

Apparently the first-day raid in Baghdad didn't kill Chemical Ali after all. Uday and Qusay haven't been seen, but they don't matter as much as Chemical Ali. Ali will be completely ruthless in his use of chemical weapons, because he has nothing to lose by using WMD. (He already gassed tens of thousands of Kurds.) Saddam might be wounded, but the fact is that nobody knows anything about the condition of Saddam or his sons.

The House and Senate have passed their budgets. The House's budget is much more conservative. It calls for expansion of government by 1.1%, which is less than the rate of inflation and thus a slight contraction of government size. The Senate, predictably, passed a more bloated budget. The House has smaller budget deficits as well as Bush's entire $726 billion tax cut package; the Senate trimmed $100 billion from the package, but $626 billion is still plenty. The Senate barely fended off a moderate coup against the tax cut, which would have trimmed it to $375 billion (slashing it by $350 billion, or almost half the entire package). Considering that the House and Senate have to confer to iron out their differences, the tax cut will probably end up above $626 billion, which is plenty of room for abolishing the double taxation of dividends. Chalk up a huge victory for GWB on the domestic front.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Some excellent photography of the Gulf War.

I especially liked picture #7.

Friday, March 21, 2003

The war is going extremely well. American forces have more or less secured southern Iraq; the 51st division (8,000 strong) has apparently surrendered en masse to coalition forces. The oil in southern Iraq is intact. Aside from a freak helicopter crash, coalition fatalities number 2 dead Americans.

Several top Iraqi officials - governor/general/cousin of Saddam "Chemical Ali", Taha Yassin Ramadan and Izzat al-Douri - are apparently dead. Uday Hussein, Saddam's semi-insane older son, is missing. Although Bush missed Saddam in the bunker-buster raid, he apparently wiped out the senior Iraqi leadership. This might explain the complete disorganization of Iraqi resistance. Civilian casualties are very light so far. At the rate the coalition is advancing, allied tanks could be in Baghdad by Monday.

The only worrisome development is the Turks' decision to send 10,000 troops into northern Iraq. The lack of American forces there could lead to fighting between the Turks and the Kurds, which would immediately mess everything up.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

"Tone" creamed the leftist Labour and Liberal rebels in the House of Commons 412-149. America's best friend in Europe is safe, at least as long as the Iraq war is short and relatively bloodless.

Highly amusing interviews with peaceniks: here and here.

Monday, March 17, 2003

Bush is poised to give Saddam 48 hours to leave the country, or face assault.

The die has been cast. The UN failed its League of Nations test, and is now irrelevant. War is certain. For better or for worse, the American Empire has been born.

Monday, March 10, 2003

The latest: France and Russia have both officially promised to veto the Iraq war resolution. Thus, even if the United States gets a nine-vote majority it won't be able to overcome the filibustering Axis of Appeasement in the Security Council. That means that the borderline countries that would have voted for the US will now abstain (Pakistan, Chile, Mexico).

The United Nations has fallen on its own sword. Bush will go in, Iraq will fall, and the United Nations will have paraded its powerlessness in front of the whole world. The people who will really be screwed by this are Tony Blair, Jose Maria Aznar, A.F. Rasmussen and the other courageous European leaders who stood by the US. They will have no support without a UN resolution, so they'll probably get creamed (especially Aznar, who faces elections in May).

Saturday, March 08, 2003

In a major coup, CIA agents and Pakistani forces have apparently captured two of OBL's sons. Link
I hope this will make the Democrats shut their mouths about how Iraq distracts us from the effort against al-Qaeda. Unfortunately, they won't do anything of the sort. They will continue to carp. They will continue to whine. They will continue to blast the deficit and then blast Bush for not spending enough on Medicare, housing, farm subsidies, hydrogen fuel cell research, and just about anything else they can think of. They will blame the deficit on Bush's tax cuts, but they already voted for the first one and the second one will probably pass with some Democratic support.

Friday, March 07, 2003

Apparently some inspector dug up a 7.45-span chemical-attack drone in Iraq.
Blix tried to bury it in his 173-page, single-spaced report to the Security Council.
This should convince anybody who can be convinced that the inspections regime is grossly biased against the United States and that its sole purpose is to see and hear no evil. Not unexpectedly, the axis of appeasement - France, Russia and Germany, with China waiting in the wings - was too busy hailing Iraqi cooperation to notice Blix's latest, shall we say, omission.

The UN has made a mockery of itself, again.

Bob Graham has announced that he will not run for Senate re-election in Florida. This makes two rather easy Republican pickups (the other one is Zell Miller's seat in Georgia, since he won't be running for re-election either).

That makes for ten vulnerable Democratic Senate seats, in the following order:

Zell Miller - Georgia

Bob Graham - Florida

Chuck Schumer - New York(assuming Rudy runs against him)

Barbara Boxer - California

Blanche Lincoln - Arkansas

Patty Murray - Washington

John Edwards - North Carolina

Harry Reid - Nevada

Question marks are Byron Dorgan (North Dakota), Fritz Hollings (South Carolina), Russell Feingold (Wisconsin) and Tom Daschle (South Dakota).

Either way, the Democrats' Senate prospects aren't encouraging. If Fritz Hollings decides to retire (he's 82), South Carolina will be a Republican shoo-in. The only major downside is Lisa Murkowski, who was nepotistically given her father's Senate seat after her father won the Alaska governorship. Frank Murkowski was also much more conservative than his daughter is. The GOP will probably be better off eliminating her in the 04 primary, but whoever emerges from that mess will have to fight the Democrats' super-candidate, former governor Tony Knowles. Basically, Murkowski's seat is a goner.

The only vulnerable Republicans are Jim Bunning of Kentucky and Peter Fitzgerald of Illinois.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

According to this poll, 59% of Americans support a war in Iraq - without UN approval.

"The Bush Administration says it will move soon to disarm Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power, by war if necessary, working with countries that are willing to assist, even without the support of the United Nations. Overall, do you support or oppose this policy?"