National Review links to Anne Applebaum's site as their Cool Link of the Day. I heartily agree. Applebaum's got a new book out on the gulag which is supposed to be really good, and she knows about as much about Communism as anyone who never lived under it possibly can. All of the articles of hers that she links to are well worth reading.
Jack Shafer from Slate has a good piece on Howell Raines and Bear Bryant, the God of football coaching. Shafer has been writing some interesting stuff in his media column. I haven't heard a lot of people talking about his stuff, but I think it's pretty good. Jump on the Shafer bandwagon! There's another good article on the war we're all forgetting about in the Congo.
Realistically, here's why people like me get into trouble. I argued in favor of the war on Saddam for three reasons: 1) Saddam was a threat to the well-being of the United States and the rest of the world because he was an aggressive dictator with weapons of mass destruction 2) Saddam was connected to and provided the support of the Iraqi state to the loose network of international terrorists including Fatah, Al Qaeda, the PFLP, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Al Aqsa Brigade, ETA, and the like 3) Saddam was a brutal killer whose overthrow was necessary for his people to escape from the slavery of his rule. Three is proven to be true. Two is proven to be true. One has not yet been proven to be true. We know he had 'em but we don't know how he hid 'em.
We should, therefore, logically, look at the Central African mess (which has been going on ever since Leopold the Big Fucking King of the Belgians was running his enormous death camp, so ironically named the Congo Free State, at the turn of the last century) as the next place that something has to be done. No question something has to be done in what they call the Great Lakes region of Africa.
Realistically, what has to be done is that somebody with no connection to the French or the Belgians or the British--I would recommend a ruling council of, say, Chileans, Bangladeshis, Singaporeans, Fijians, Botswanans, Malians, Beninites, New Zealanders, and Filipinos, countries that are fairly respectable and responsible and not suspect of being CIA stooges, and not too tied up with the Yanks--has got to take over that whole Central African area from Kinshasa to Zanzibar, and probably Angola too, and run it as an internationally governed protectorate. This is something the UN could get behind if the Chinese and the French didn't have a veto in the Security Council.
The military forces involved ought to be from major democracies, not Anglo-Americans, to make sure this doesn't look like a power grab, which we don't want it to be. They will be the elite units of the Indian, South African, Brazilian, Ukrainian, Turkish, Thai, and Mexican armies, all of whom have at least one elite unit. The Americans will provide the necessary logistics.
The military forces and civil governments involved will ACTUALLY HAVE POWER. They will SHOOT rioters and looters and gang leaders instead of acting like a bunch of Belgians. They will establish something approaching stability and allow a free market economic system to spontaneously arise, while providing the necessary structure of rule of law and authority, for about the next twenty years. We'll get a judiciary and a banking system and a system of titles to land and capital goods established. For like the next forty years, maybe, because, let's be honest, Central Africa cannot govern itself. It's proven it hasn't. And its former foreign masters didn't do too well at managing to develop the stable structure that a former colony needs in order to govern itself in the world of the international state system.
Will it happen? Nope. Sounds too much like colonialism. Would require too much world cooperation. The French and Chinese and Russians wouldn't dig it. I'd be willing for the US to spend the necessary money keeping these guys supplied, though. It would cost a lot less in money than the cost of the suffering that's been going on in Central Africa for, like, the last hundred years. And, we hope, Central Africa would become stable, sort of, which would undoubtedly be a good thing for everyone concerned, including the Sapniards, who would be able to sell the Central Africans Chupa-Chups in peace and tranquility.