Thursday, February 03, 2005


This site is going into hibernation so no more postings.

Hope to have lava lounge going at some stage. Probably run it with some other people.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Americans out of Iraq

If I was an an Iraqi I'd be telling the this sort of American to fuck off -

Are Iraqi Elections a Panacea?
...democracy matters less in Iraq today than does liberty—that is, minority rights. Many despotic governments have come to power through elections, including Hitler’s Third Reich. Although the Shi’ite politicians are paying lip service to the notion that they will avoid an Iranian-style “Islamic republic,” that is their preference. If minority rights are not honored, civil war is very likely to occur.
We've had bush is Hitler now the Shi'ites are Hitler.

Newsweek on the insurgents

Newsweek has an article detailing how the Iraqi insurgents are Saddam loyalists - Unmasking the Insurgents. They may still be the "resistance" for some. Accurate if by some chance they mean "resistance to democracy".

And on the connection with Al Qaeda -
After the United States crushed Afghanistan's Taliban regime and tore up Al Qaeda's infrastructure in the winter of 2001-02, would-be holy warriors started eying Iraq as a place where they could make a new stand. One of them was Zarqawi. Working with a group of Kurdish Islamic radicals known as Ansar Al-Islam, he established an underground railroad, bringing zealots to northern Iraq through Europe, Turkey and Syria. Other would-be holy warriors started finding their own way to Baghdad.
So Al Qaeda was setting up shop in Iraq prior to the invasion. Maybe the pre-invasion status quo was not much to have wanted to continue.

Why NZ doesn't need the Greens

Jeanette Fitzsimons sums it up.

I've always voted Labour and will continue to as long as the Greens don't have any say on Trade, Foreign Affairs and Science and Technology.

The Greens are to environmentalism what Destiny Church is to religion.

The new meme - elections a rebuke for Bush

The new meme doing the rounds with those that opposed the war is that the recent elections are some sort of rebuke for Bush.

This is only true if one accepts two dubious propositions -

That Bush did not want elections, and

The US wanted to maintain control of Iraq.

With the first, it is true that the original Bremmer plan was a rather round about way of leading to elections. But the intention was to have free and open elections. The differences with Sistani were over that lead-up process. That the US did eventually agree with Sistani should be to their credit. Another factor is that there were voices within the Sunni community asking for elections to be delayed.

Also it was only recently that many anti-war commentators were, and still are, saying that it was too soon for elections and/or the present state of affairs precluded legitimate elections from taking place. Having it both ways.

The second assumption is complete nonsense from start to finish. The conspiratorial Left will go on about imperialism but in reality the US has always intended to withdraw the troops and let Iraq function as an independent democracy.

But if this reasoning makes the election more palatable for some on the anti-war side then that's probably better than the other "it's all a sham" reaction. It is after all a victory for the Iraqi people and that is all that counts.

Personally, I hope the success of the elections will lead to a quicker withdrawal of the coalition forces.

Moving slowly

Busy with work etc so moving to lava lounge will be a bit slow.

It will be a more about film.

It's not a picture of me by the way.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Don Brash rallies the troops

 Posted by Hello

Where hatred leads

Brian Whitaker sums up much of the Left/Liberal reaction to the Iraqi elections -
If the Iraqis are lucky, they may eventually arrive at the corrupt fig-leaf sort of democracy that flourishes in other Arab states such as Egypt. The sort of democracy where elections change nothing and their results are always a foregone conclusion. On the other hand, they may not be so fortunate.
Those Arabs are just incapable of democracy.

The madness to which Bush haters feel obliged to go.

Need a life blogging

I'm looking at trying to get a life, or rather change my blogging habits. Have grown a little tired of Sock Thief. Someone did steal the Left but we're stealing it back and the continual sniping has become a bit boorish.

So I'm starting afresh with a new blog the lava lounge. Still under construction with a temporary skin.

So will move when that is finished. Until then I'll be here but with less politics.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Peacenik craziness

Peace Action Wellington
Peace Action Wellington will today (Monday) use street theatre to highlight the hypocrisy of Iraq being forced to have so-called democratic elections whilst many of its citizens continue to stare down the barrel of the US-led coalition's destructive arsenal of murder.
"Forced". I seem to call Sistani being very instant on elections. Another US "puppet" no doubt.
Clearly the sole intent of the election is to provide legitimacy for the US-led occupation, to marginalise the resistance and anti-war movements and to create an illusion of progress, which we all know is far from the case."
Marginalise the "resistance". God forbid that we would want to marginalise the murderers of unionists.

DailyKos on the election

The Iraq Election: Defining Success
This Election is simply, in my estimation, an exercise in pretty pictures.
I don't think anyone is interested much in whatever his "estimation" may or may not be.

But think about it for a minute. Can there be a more insulting attitude towards people who have just risked their lives to take part in building a democracy?

And not all on the Left are cranks

Crooked Timber
Some unsolicited advice for the United Iraqi Alliance

Right-wing cranks get in on the act

Eric Margolis is also unhappy with the election.
Many Iraqis will vote for anyone promising to end violence and social misery. But just as many nationalists and Islamists, excluded from the election process, are voting their own way -- with bullets and bombs. Washington calls them "terrorists," but the UN Charter enshrines people's right to resist foreign occupation.
It's remarkable how much this sounds like Pilger. The extremes of the political spectrum have so much in common.

Now it's this farce of an "election"

In The Nation
Now that this farce of an "election" in Iraq is done...
For some, anything less than a Socialist Utopia is to be opposed with more enthusiasm than fascist dictatorships.

Now it's the "so-called" election

Juan Cole
I'm just appalled by the cheerleading tone of US news coverage of the so-called elections in Iraq on Sunday.
Stop celebrating everybody, people risking their lives to vote for a government is not actually an election.

It's really hard to know what people like this want to see happen. They complained when there weren't elections and now complain when there are elections. But I forget, all those people lining up, risking their lives to vote, were not taking part in an election. Silly them.

The Worst Advertisement

Alan Johnson in Labour Friends of Iraq takes apart the many people on the Left who have argued thus -
...the resistance, being the flesh and blood of the Iraqi people, does not want to hurt any innocent Iraqi father, mother or child, which is exactly why the resistance has been warning all Iraqis not to participate in any way in the illegal sham elections. Trying to destroy the US election farce, which has the purpose of legitimizing the occupation by “electing” a new religiously and ethnically based US puppet regime and of driving Iraq further towards civil war, is an inherent part of the strategy of the resistance, just as it has been the objective of the resistance to smash the whole US-imposed “political process” in order to hinder the establishment of a stabile pro-US regime in Iraq, a goal that has been reached up until now”.

Iraq Elections - victory for liberal values

With the high voter turn out maybe Scoop could change their headline from
Iraqi Elections About To Make NZ Local Govt Elections Look Like A Spectacular Success
Iraqi Elections Make NZ Local Govt Elections Look Like A Spectacular Failure
Particularly rancid elements on the Left (and Right) were rubbing their hands with glee hoping the elections would be derailed by violence.

I think Scoop should apologise.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

An election liberals should be supporting

The Guardian opposed the war but has the decency to momentarily put to one side aside its distaste for Bush.

On the threshold
Arguments about the war can wait. It is in the interests of all - Iraqis, the Arabs, the US and Britain - that something workable be salvaged from the wreckage as Iraq stands poised between imperfect democracy and worsening strife. This will be a landmark election, and it will be, in a way, a grand moment. But it is also likely to be a bloody one.

The Rancid Left

The Decent Left

(British) Labour Friends of Iraq
Abdullah Muhsin -
...the elections in Iraq are essential to avoid a brutal assault by reactionary forces.

Promoting Democracy

No Right Turn relies on a false dichotomy for his argument against Bush's democracy promotion policies.

On the one hand he posits the ideal, non-Bush, approach as represented by recent events in Ukraine. On the other is "America's present ham-fisted efforts" as represented by Iraq.

For a start, the Bush administration was actually involved in what happened in Ukraine. The soft power of US diplomacy was used in conjunction with the influence of Western Europe. Indeed, the nutcase Right and Left were complaining that this was yet another instance of US and British imperialism.

Secondly, and this seems ridiculous to have to point out, Ukraine and Iraq were different.

Prior to the recent elections in Ukraine the situation there was one of an authoritarian government confronted by an opposition movement that could organise in relative freedom and safety. In this instance the soft power of Western diplomacy was appropriate for the encouragement of groups striving for liberal democracy.

Iraq, on the other hand, was ruled by a ruthless dictatorship which allowed no opposition, maintaining power through fear and violence. There was no democratic opposition movement for the West to pin its hopes on. In this case diplomacy was not going to work. It had not worked for the 12 years after the 1st Gulf War.

Encouraging democracy presents many challenges. One is to tailor the available tools to particular situations. Ideally, what we saw occur with Ukraine should be the model for dealing with Cuba (and in this case I disagree with US policies). Iran lies somewhere on the authoritarian spectrum between the old Iraq and Ukraine so a mixture of carrot and stick will be required. Then there is the brutal regime of North Korea and no one has answer there.

The Bush administration is currently involved in a multilateral peace keeping mission in Haiti with Canadian, French and Brazilian troops, under the auspices of the UN. A small contingent of US troops was used to prepare the way for an African peace keeping force in Liberia. US diplomacy brought India and Pakistan back from the brink of nuclear war.

These facts contradict NRT's "America's present ham-fisted efforts" assertion.

There is no one right way as NRT is suggesting and, no matter what one's position on the Iraq war, Bush should be given credit for those instances where US involvement has had progressive results.

Friday, January 28, 2005

The Lancet study on Iraqi deaths

Crooked Timber have further discussion on the Lancet study on war related Iraqi deaths.

I was skeptical at the time of the figures but there doesn't appear to be any justification for that view.

Not just Christians

Spiked has this item on the Summers controversy -

Hypothesis as thought-crime:
This episode reveals, in particular, that many scholars and students are committed to an egalitarian doctrine that is, in its way, as dogmatic and immune to contradictory evidence as the biblical literalism of fundamentalists.
Fundamentalist Christians have no monopoly on disregard for science, in particular evolution.

Cosmic evolution

My partner has been reading a book on the multi-universe interpretation of quantum theory for her research on the films of Alain Renais. Yeah, that's what I thought.

I hadn't realised that the multi-universe view was still in the running but apparently it is and the book is a sort of tribute to physicist John Wheeler.

One thing that struck me was the use of the concept of evolution in two chapters. In one it was used just as a metaphor - the laws of the universe, such as the speed of light, may be changing, evolving.

But in the other chapter the term evolution was used more literally - the possibility that quantum wave states compete to become actualised at the macroscopic level.

There is one aspect of the evolving universe theory that is intriguing. If the laws governing the development of the universe can change, is it possible that conscious action can influence such change? Is it possible that the decisions made by sentient life can change the future of the universe, not just in terms of what events will occur, but by changing the laws through which events occur?

Given that a lot of the nastier aspects of life can in a sense be traced back to the laws of thermodynamics this would raise interesting possibilities. Presumably any such influence by the living would be very, very small in comparison to the non-living, but then it is only the living that can choose.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

NZ Chapter of Right-Wing Bloggers comes out for Brash

 Posted by Hello

Meanwhile, Helen and her advisers consider their options

 Posted by Hello

Who said scientists weren't cool?

The Sue Bradford prize for worst sentence

goes to ... Sue Bradford -
What is needed is a humane approach that recognises the reality of people lives and, on their own terms, either recognises the value of what they’re already doing or, if they choose, helps them retrain and / or find a meaningful and fulfilling occupation.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Today's Blogger Healines

David Farrar needs help with his spelling - How do you spell hypocrisy?

No Right Turn expesses a common Left opinion - Fuck Iraq, part III

Just Left waxes lyrical on Brash - Reflections on Orewa II

Kiwi Pundit alleges Brash on Welfare

Fighting Talk flaunt their sex life - Filled by several contributors

About Town discover new bird species, the Toodle Pip

The other Che checks his bank account - nothing new here

Not Men from Mars

Women off to Mars
A strong case can be made for an all-female crew, aged under 30 years, to Mars.
Especially if they wear skimpy space suits. Could be "Big Brother in Space".
On spaceflight, there is a far greater risk of endothelial injuries, with an accelerated aging process, complicating oxidative stress, and a Mg ion deficit with a self-sustaining inflammatory process.
Definitely a case for women first.

In light of Brash's speech

this study is interesting - Perceptions of child support and sexual activity of adolescent males -
The results indicate that adolescent males who expect the chance of being required to pay child support is high if one becomes a non-resident father or who has a family member who paid child support before are more likely to have the same female sexual partner and less likely to have had two or more female partners. Additionally, expectations of being required to pay child support and history of a family member paying child support are positively associated with contraceptive use, especially for Black adolescents.
Or, more succinctly - if adolescent males think they will have to pay child support they are less likely to sleep around and more likely to use contraceptives. The latter consequence is positive at least.

Gambling in the womb

From Science Direct -

Male and female sexual orientation differences in gambling
Sex differences are consistently observed in gambling research. Men and women differ in their motivation for gambling, their interest in gambling, and how and in what form gambling takes place. A substantial body of evidence exists that differences between homosexuals and heterosexuals mimic comparable sexually dimorphic somatic, cognitive, and behavioral differences between men and women. Thus, given the presence of sex differences in gambling, we predict significant sexual orientation differences in gambling. That is, male homosexuals will resemble female heterosexuals in their gambling activity, and female homosexuals will resemble male heterosexuals in their gambling activity.
There's a joke there somewhere but I'm a bit slow this morning.

Although the main theme of the study is the biology of sex differences it is also interesting from the point of view of developing health polices to deal with addictive behaviors -
Thus, given that the sexual orientation findings for gambling resemble the findings for alcohol and tobacco use, perhaps gambling should be seen within a broader context of sexually dimorphic addictive/externalizing behaviors. As such, these behaviors may reflect in part a common origin - the relative masculinization of the brain by prenatal hormones.
So the solution is to stop the masculinization brains. Won't happen. I'd bet on it.

Common Dreams - what a nightmare

Election preparations in Najaf

Friends of Democracy report on election preparations in Najaf -
Groups of youth distributed election campaign papers for the People's Union list in the Al Mukarama, Al Askari, and the Al Orouba quarters, the northern quarters of the An Najaf governorate. These papers contain the name of the list president, Hamid Majid Moussa. It is worthwhile to mention that the list is comprised of 275 candidates, including the Communists along with independent democratic figures from every ethnic and religious group in the governorates, as mentioned in the distributed papers.

The difference between "to" and "for"

Juan Cole
The US military is planning to keep 120,000 troops in Iraq for the next two years...
which he considers to be a bad thing to be saying at present but doesn't take any notice of his own very next sentence -
...the number could fluctuate depending on the circumstances.
The US are not planning to keep 120,000 troops in Iraq for 2 years, they are planning for that possibility. There's a difference of intention.

Hysteria watch

From Gwynne Dyer -
Zarqawi is the bogeyman that the United States Government blames for almost everything that has gone wrong in Iraq, but he does speak essentially the same language as President Bush.
The same language, right. Zarqawi kills people who are in favour of democracy, Bush supports democracy.

It's remarkable the depths of lunacy that this hatred of Bush takes people.

I missed Brash's speech

Too busy listening to my new album. They weren't at The Big Day Out. Maybe next year. One of them looks like a girl. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Looking for alternatives

Via Norman Geras, Four ideas for the left to redefine itself
One of the left's glories has been its tradition of heroic internationalism, still alive in the anti-globalization movement's insistence on workers' rights around the world... But when it comes to foreign policy these days, the left appears lost. I get depressed hearing friends sound like paleocon isolationists or watching them reflexively assume that there's something inherently tyrannical about the use of American power... Just as the left lacked a coherent position on what to do with murderous despots such as Milosevic and Saddam - it won't do to say, "They're bad, but..." The left now needs a position on how best to battle a Muslim ideology that, at bottom, despises all the freedoms we should be defending. America should be actively promoting the freedom of everyone on the planet, and the key question is, how would the left do it differently from the Bush administration?
How, indeed. I still vividly recall the left here in New Zealand calling Clinton's defence of Muslims in Bosnia "imperialism". They were saying the same things about Bosnia that they now say about Afghanistan and Iraq.

The overwhelming desire to demonise the US has lead much of the Left to turn their backs on those suffering under tyranny.

Voices of Iraq

Via Harry's Place, a film called Voices of Iraq.

The Pentagon's New Map

Kevin Drum reviews the book The Pentagon's New Map.

He's not convinced but not in total disagreement.

My opinion is that it is only the US that has the military wherewithal and motivation to deal with rogue regimes but it would be better to be doing this alongside the other "Core" countries (which is the case in most instances anyway - Iraq being the sole exception).

Monday, January 24, 2005

Iraqi election websites

Friends of Democracy promises
Ground level election news from the people of Iraq
There is also the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq.

Or, if you think it's all US imperialism, there's always the Extreme Left or the Extreme Right, if you can tell them apart.

Beating up on Pinker

Ad hominem attacks on Steven Pinker have been a disturbing feature of liberal response to the Summers affair.

Speaking of Pinker's book The Blank Slate, Atrios says
...Pinker doesn't rely on peer-reviewed high level work by academic economists, but on right wing hack work.
Atrios admits to not having actually read the book. If he had he would have found that Pinker bases his views on hard science.

Many on the Left have taken exception to criticisms in the The Blank Slate of aspects of Left-wing thought that brought us the Gulags. But Pinker is equally, if not more so, hard on the Right.

If anyone still considers evolutionary psychology to be antithetical to Left/Liberal views then I recommend Peter Singer's book A Darwinian Left: Politics, Evolution, and Cooperation.

Evolution and social policy

This remark by Kos is typical of a particular type of reaction to the Summers controversy -
I suppose it could be true or it could be false. I'm skeptical that actually knowing the answer, if it knowable, will really provide much benefit anyway. What effect would it have on social policy?
Consider, for example, the fact that boys are currently doing badly compared to girls at High School. This is a consequence of biology. Knowing this gives us the opportunity to intervene to redress the situation.

To present "perhaps we can't know" as an argument for not attempting to find out is remarkably short sighted.

The whole issue reflects the fact that for many liberals talk of innate sexual differences remains taboo and that anyone who has an interest in this area must be sexist or racist. But as Olivia Judson says in The New York Times
...there was a time not so long ago when I would have balked at the whole enterprise: the idea there might be intrinsic cognitive differences between men and women was one I found insulting. But science is a great persuader. The jackdaws and spoon worms have forced me to change my mind. Now I'm keen to know what sets men and women apart - and no longer afraid of what we may find.

The consequences of not having elections

is a consideration this Herald editorial doesn't take into account -

Election may trigger more chaos in Iraq

For those that do not want the election to take place they might ask themselves the following questions:

When should the elections take place?

Given that the current violence is aimed at stopping the elections, what guarantees are there that stopping the elections will lead to less violence?

What do you say to the majority of Iraqi political groups who want the elections to take place? Surely it is their decision.

What Bush is listening to

 Posted by Hello

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Liberals and Evolution - not close friends after all

Some liberal reaction to the Summers controversy has been telling. Crooked Timbers and PZ Myers make rather strange ad hominem attacks on Steven Pinker who had the temerity to argue
...shouldn't everything be within the pale of legitimate academic discourse, as long as it is presented with some degree of rigor? That's the difference between a university and a madrassa.
I find the degree of hostility this has provoked unnerving. Summers was suggesting the possibility of genetic differences contributing to the under-representation of women in some subjects. He also said that a major factor is sexual discrimination. Which all of the above critics choose to ignore.

Nowhere was Summers saying that under-representation was not a problem or that any genetic variance justified under-representation or failing to do anything about it. For his troubles he's been branded a chauvinist.

An example of how some liberals have as much trouble with evolution as some conservatives.

Democracy out of favour with the Left

Eric Hobsbawm on Democracy - If Bush is for it, I'm against it.

Lots of spare noses lying around next to spited faces.

Friday, January 21, 2005

The inauguration speech

Almost all of the commentary on Bush's speech has been mindlessly predictable. The Left didn't like it. The Right liked it. Surprise, surprise. We are at present lost in a sea of senseless, unthinking political tribalism.

Johann Hari is someone I often agree with and who cannot be written off as mindlessly pro- or anti-Bush. For that reason his take on the speech - Bush's talk of spreading freedom is a sugar-coated lie - has a credibility the usual (hysterical) criticism lacks.

I'm not 100% with him on this one, but it is food for thought.

Victory for PC thought police

Although I'm in general agreement with Jordan on the issue of Political Correctness, the stifling of debate by some on the left does occur from time to time, the latest being -

President of Harvard Tells Women's Panel He's Sorry
Dr. Georgi had e-mailed Dr. Summers earlier in the week, saying he thought that it had been a mistake for the Harvard president to speak as an intellectual provocateur during his remarks at the academic conference, forgetting that they would be interpreted as the beliefs of the university's leader.
I thought the role of Universities academics was to rock the boat, not tow the party line. It's disturbing when fellow academics are advising others not to be provocative.

For some the mere suggestion that biological differences are important is a crime. And this is coming from the liberal left, not the right.

But this issue does emphasise the impact on policy formation that evolution can have. An understanding of evolution leads to acknowledging that not all differences in achievement between the sexes can be explained by discrimination. And, as a corollary, attempts at redressing such inequality will need to take into account the ways in which the minds of men and women can differ.

The crushing of dissent

Harry's Place
There is a frequent refrain from the anti-war camp that their voice was not heard, that there is a crushing of dissent or a muffled self-censorship and that if only their appeal to truth and reason could be heard, well how different the world might be. We hear it in the UK and those of us who did not oppose the overthrow of Saddam but read the Guardian, the Independent and listen to the Today Programme have a little laugh.

But in fairness it is not only the anti-war crowd who adopt this position. It does seem to be a fashionable stance to take in politics that you belong to an unfairly ignored minority viewpoint. Conservative American blogs frequently present the notion that the liberal media is deliberately blocking out any good news from Iraq and never takes Bush's position seriously. If only people heard the other side of the story....

Friday lite blogging. Posted by Hello

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Sad news

Support for Iraqi labour movement

From Workers' Liberty -

Asking Stop The War which side it's on
We have to choose. If we take the negative cause of "giving the USA a bloody nose" as paramount, then we will see the militias to be the liberation movement, and the Iraqi trade unions to be outright "Quislings" or at best an unimportant group whose destruction, if regrettable, is a reasonable price to pay for the triumph of the liberation movement. If the positive causes of freedom and power for the Iraqi working class, and freedom and democracy for the peoples of Iraq, are paramount, then the Iraqi labour movement is the liberation movement, or the potential liberation movement, and we stand with it against the Islamists.

Makes sense to me

Should We Stay or Should We Go?
Ask Iraqi voters in a referendum six weeks after the national elections if they think foreign soldiers should withdraw immediately. Let the Iraqis debate what the absence of American forces will mean for their families and nation. Tell them we'll hold the referendum every nine months until they vote us out or we determine it's time to leave.

The US and Iran

Despite the predictably alarmist headline, this Independent piece is worth reading -

Why the hawks are circling over Iran

Given that there is no love lost between The Independent and Bush this analysis is interesting for its relative lack of anti-Bush rhetoric.

Iran, a repressive theocratic dictatorship, is a problem for the world not just for the US.

Condi appointed

Condoleezza Rice gets the job. She must be in the running for at least VP next elections. Just possibly Arnold could have the constitution changed so he could run. That would be some team. There would be nothing the Dems could do, maybe run Sean Penn. Ha.

Rice may be able to make significant contributions US diplomacy as Jonathon Freedman notes - is not delusional to hope that a new Bush could yet surface - one more like the probing, thoughtful homme sérieux described to Newsweek. The crucial witness here is the woman who appeared before the senate yesterday, Condoleezza Rice. She is no Colin Powell, but by placing such a close confidante at the state department, Bush has upgraded the status of diplomacy itself. Perhaps just as important, Rice's deputy is to be Bob Zoellick, a veteran of Bush's father's administration - and an old-style Republican internationalist à la James Baker. That could augur well for a more engaged, alliance-conscious approach to US foreign policy.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Earth to George

Someone should tell George Monbiot about Michael Moore -
The US media is disciplined by corporate America into promoting the Republican cause

Hersh on Iran

Given that Kevin Drum is that last person to be seen defending Bush it is worth considering his reaction to Hersh's article on Bush's policy towards Iran.

His conclusion makes sense -
You can obviously make an argument that 9/11 profoundly changed the way we wage war, and you can also make an argument that laws passed three decades ago ought to be revisited and updated. But this is a debate we should be having loudly and publicly, not in back rooms and closed door briefings.
Points one and two I agree with and also that with point three "Hersh's sources for all this seem fairly thin".

No matter what one's opinion of Bush and the Iraq war the reality is that we are facing a theocratic dictatorship with nuclear weapon aspirations. There does not appear to be an easy solution and the last thing we should get into is another round of Bush bashing. Those that disagree with whatever policy Bush comes up with first need to have a realistic alternative.