Alex's Outlook

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.


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