Innumerable as the Starrs of Night,
Or Starrs of Morning,
Dew-drops, which the Sun
on every leaf and every flouer
NGC3132 ©
Beauty is truth, truth beauty,
— that is all
Ye know on earth, and all
ye need to know.

E = M

Energy is eternal delight.
William Blake

Impearls: 2004-03-28 Archive

Earthdate 2004-04-01

Chernobyl: a Motorcycle Tour

Bumper-card ride at an amusement park.  "It is last day of Pompei sort of place.  Every step towards little cars add 100 microroengen on my dosimeter."

A motorcyclist named Elena, her 147-horsepower Kawasaki “Ninja,” and scientist's access pass provide us with a troubling and unparalleled tour of the ruined landscape about the city of Chernobyl in the Ukraine, with its doomed nuclear power plant which, in 1986, devastated the area with radiation, destroying surrounding cities and towns as living communities and leaving the whole region uninhabitable for, it's claimed, six hundred years.  Elena's pictorial diary of her visit is eerily reminiscent of films like The Omega Man and post-apocalypse science fiction wherein one navigates through a radioactive landscape as one would through a minefield, armed like a lifeline with geiger counter and dosimeter.  The heavily radioactive “magic woods” that Elena regards — from a distance — are horrifying.  Much of the rest has the melancholy of a latter day Pompeii.  Don't miss it.  (Thanks to Armed Liberal at Winds of Change.)

UPDATE:  2004-04-18 16:15 UT:  Joel at the fascinating Asia-Pacific oriented Far Outliers blog has linked to this piece, noting that “Impearls, a blog with footnotes and appendixes, reminds me to link to a photo essay….”

UPDATE:  2004-05-04 23:40 UT:  Corrected photograph and article links, which changed.

Impearls: 2004-03-28 Archive

Earthdate 2004-03-29

Richard Clarke on invading Iraq

Ex anti-terrorism advisor Richard Clarke spoke for an entire hour yesterday on Meet the Press, continuing to give former President Bill Clinton more or less a complete pass while severely criticizing George W. Bush.  Describing his opposition after 9−11 to an attack on Iraq, Clarke said he provided the Bush Administration with what he considered the definitive ludicrous analogy for that proposal, to wit:  “Invading Iraq after 9−11 is like invading Mexico after Pearl Harbor!”

It's understandable why after proclaiming this “wisdom” to his bosses, as Clarke said, “That didn't go over well!” — because it's an extraordinarily stupid thing to say.  Looking back over the history of the Second World War, it's true the United States and its allies didn't invade Mexico after Pearl Harbor, but they did do something, on the face of it, apparently as patently absurd: they invaded Morocco!

As Steven Den Beste of USS Clueless pointed out even before the Iraq war, but which facts Richard Clarke appears ignorant of, it wasn't at all ridiculous for the U.S. to invade Morocco and North Africa following Japan's strike half a world away on Pearl Harbor.  America and its allies were in (and knew they were in) a struggle to the death (“total war”) against the worldwide “Axis of Evil” of the day, which required much more than simply defeating the particular organization perpetrating the attack on Pearl Harbor.  The World War II Allies did not regard it as a diversion for them to devote huge resources to Europe and Africa rather than only in the Pacific theater.

In this light, it is by no means “obvious,” as Clarke haughtily seeks to categorize it, that liberating Iraq was a diversion from the overall war on terror.  It's quite arguable (indeed, obvious to me and to a host of thoughtful people) that a broader struggle, to a degree analogous to the worldwide Second World War, is underway today, within which the conquest of Iraq, and the democratizing of the Middle East that the Iraq war was intended to unleash, are intimately bound up with victory in this wide-ranging conflict.

Like some other Democrats (Clarke admits he voted for Al Gore in the 2000 election: though, truth to tell, I did, too), I'm afraid Richard Clarke comes across as a small man, an analyst, with a parochial attitude and a partisan ax to grind, fixated on only a small piece of the problem and unable to see the “Big Picture,” who then deigns to savage policymakers (who do have access to and imagination enough to encompass a larger perspective) for not sharing his small-minded point of view.

UPDATE:  2004-03-29 18:00 UT:  Lynn at In Context has remarks concerning other statements Richard Clarke made during his interview — statements I'd also wanted to fisk but was too weary after listening to him for an hour to contemplate.  Thanks Lynn, and to Instapundit for the link.  Don't miss the Chris Muir comic strip that In Context has posted in this regard.

Beyond that, Glenn Reynolds the InstaPundit has also linked to Impearls' article here.  Welcome Instapunditers! — if I may call you (us) that.  You might also like to check out recent postings in Impearls such as “When did they attack us?” (permalink) and “What a Quagmire!” (permalink).

UPDATE:  2004-04-04 15:00 UT:  Clay Ranck of Ranck and File both links to Impearls' article here and discusses significant problems with some other of Clarke's statements in his Meet the Press interview.


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