The Anniversary

by Henry on April 22, 2011

And so the year rolls around yet again to Krauthammer Day, the day on which we all celebrate Charles Krauthammer’s confident assertion eight years ago that:

Hans Blix had five months to find weapons. He found nothing. We’ve had five weeks. Come back to me in five months. If we haven’t found any, we will have a credibility problem.

Or nearly all of us celebrate it anyway. Charles Krauthammer himself seems to prefer to mark the occasion with an entirely unrelated Run, Paul Ryan Run! column. Which is a little sad – after all it has been five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus thirty days or so since he first put his, and his friends’ credibility on the line. It would be nice to see him (and others) mark the occasion more formally.

Perhaps the problem is that we have never fixed on exactly how to celebrate Charles Krauthammer Day. Easter, Christmas, Hannukah, Festivus etc all have their associated and time-honored rituals, but Krauthammer day has none. Combining suggestions from George W. Bush and Hugh Hector Munro, one possibility might be an Exploding Easter Egg Hunt. But then, this would perhaps prove simultaneously too dangerous to be very attractive to participants, and not dangerous enough to really mark the occasion properly. Better suggestions invited in comments.

Update: On the basis of a genuinely insane reading of this post, the execrable Glenn Reynolds gravely deplores my incivility. I don’t read Reynolds these days, for all the obvious reasons, but have quite clear and unfond memories of his own contributions to civil conversaton back in his heyday, such as this denunciation of Chris Hedges as a ‘flat-out racist’ for suggesting that Iraq was likely to be a ‘cesspool’ for the US invasion. How this claim comported with his approving quote of a correspondent a couple of years later, arguing that

The ball is in the Iraqis’ court. We took away the obstacle to their freedom. If they choose to embrace death, corruption, incompetence, lethal religious mania, and stone-age tribalism, then at least we’ll finally know the limitations of the people in that part of the world. The experiment had to be made.

and his own conclusion that:

On the other hand, it’s also true that if democracy can’t work in Iraq, then we should probably adopt a “more rubble, less trouble” approach to other countries in the region that threaten us. If a comparatively wealthy and secular Arab country can’t make it as a democratic republic, then what hope is there for places that are less wealthy, or less secular?

has always been a mystery to me. The only plausible way in which Reynolds could have been promoting the cause of civil conversation here was by helpfully denouncing himself in advance as a ‘flat out racist’ so that right minded people could know not to associate themselves with him. Perhaps there’s another explanation – but if so, he has as best I know (as I say I don’t read him these days) been shy about advancing it.

{ 87 comments }

1

Eli Rabett 04.22.11 at 2:25 pm

Send him a letter in a plain brown envelope.

2

Fats Durston 04.22.11 at 2:30 pm

Ganked from elsewhere: When the only tool you have is a Krauthammer, everything looks like a fail.

3

PeakVT 04.22.11 at 2:34 pm

Set up a scholarship for research into why people like Krauthammer don’t die of shame, and to find a cure.

4

Jamie 04.22.11 at 2:41 pm

So a Krauthammer unit is 5/6ths of a Friedman Unit, I guess.

5

Malaclypse 04.22.11 at 2:54 pm

You can’t go wrong with a pie in the face.

6

Daragh McDowell 04.22.11 at 2:56 pm

Well here in Ireland Good Friday is marked by a prohibition on the sale of alcohol. I think you could have a similar prohibition on NRO, Weekly Standards, copies of the Washington Post with the editorial pages left in, and of course the massive quantities of crystal meth that fuel such nonsensical prose.

7

Ebenezer Scrooge 04.22.11 at 2:58 pm

I suggest cursing one’s rabbi from the pews during the middle of services in a synagogue.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2006_08/009311.php

8

MattF 04.22.11 at 3:06 pm

How about a recitation of WMD-Dayenu:

If we had found poison gas in five months,
Dayenu!
If we had found plutonium in ten months,
Dayenu!
If we had found bio-weapons in fifteen months,
Dayenu!
If we had found super-artillery in twenty months,
Dayenu!

Et cetera.

9

rea 04.22.11 at 3:06 pm

Isn’t Krauthammer implicitly acknowledging his lack of credibility by proposing Ryan for President?

10

Jeffrey C. Goldfarb 04.22.11 at 3:32 pm

I propose an annual fictoid of the year contest. The best fabrication justifying the most outrageous political position – an idea that first came to me when thinking about the meaning of the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.” http://www.deliberatelyconsidered.com/2010/11/fact-versus-fictoid-in-the-age-of-cable/

11

ploeg 04.22.11 at 3:32 pm

> Isn’t Krauthammer implicitly acknowledging his lack of credibility by proposing Ryan for President?

Exactly, Krauthammer doesn’t have time to mark previous credibility problems, he just goes on to his next credibility problem.

12

liberal 04.22.11 at 3:34 pm

#3:

Set up a scholarship for research into why people like Krauthammer don’t die of shame, and to find a cure.

Oh, the best example yet is Greenspan. As I’ve said many times, the fact that he hasn’t committed ritual suicide is a huge embarassment for our species.

13

kuri 04.22.11 at 3:35 pm

But Krauthammer is always wrong about everything, so isn’t every day the anniversary of the day he was wrong?

14

giotto 04.22.11 at 3:36 pm

. . . after all it has been five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months . . .

That works out to about 16 Friedman Units, if my humanist’s math is correct.

15

William U. 04.22.11 at 4:15 pm

I note with pleasure and mild surprise that the Krauthammer Day link on his Wikipedia page still exists:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Krauthammer

I added it some months ago, partly as a little test to see how heavily public figure’s Wiki pages are policed by their cronies and hangers-on.

16

jack lecou 04.22.11 at 4:58 pm

Combining suggestions from George W. Bush and Hugh Hector Munro, one possibility might be an Exploding Easter Egg Hunt. But then, this would perhaps prove simultaneously too dangerous to be very attractive to participants, and not dangerous enough to really mark the occasion properly. Better suggestions invited in comments.

Isn’t the obvious solution to have a hunt for eggs of mass destruction that aren’t really there?

17

ScentOfViolets 04.22.11 at 4:59 pm

Maybe instead of an all-or-nothing credibility rating we could go with half-lives so that every five months that go by without finding any WMD’s halves his credibility. So, hmmk, call it 95 months or 19 halvings, that means his credibility is less than 1/524,288 of what it was eight years ago.

Maybe we should rate his credibility in terms of those three guys at the end of the bar that are always there when you walk in . . . ladies and gentlemen, I give you the standard unit of credibility as the Clavin. In which case, Krauthammer has a credibility somewhat south of 0.02 Clavins.

18

JP Stormcrow 04.22.11 at 5:07 pm

Each year it is the start of a new politically-motivated doomed-to-fail five-month search. This year, say, Barack Obama’s birth certificate a true statement in Jerome Corsi’s latest book.

19

Alec Mento 04.22.11 at 5:41 pm

I’m glad the Krauthammer Day link is still on his wikipedia page. But I’d be surprised if Mr. Krauthammer had any cronies or hangers-on. Men like him don’t have groupies; they are the groupies.

20

September 04.22.11 at 5:44 pm

I’m going to listen to MC Hammer and shout “Krauthammer Time!” at the top of my lungs.

21

Ken 04.22.11 at 5:51 pm

Seriously? You’re just going to ignore the 500 metric tons of yellow cake? The bio and chemical weapons stores found? The satellite images showing WMD’s being moved across the Iraq-Syrian border into Iraq?

Well I guess if you rely solely on the UN and Hans Blix it’s easy to ignore the dangers of Saddam’s WMD programs. I mean what they hay, right, it’s all about discrediting Bush, Krauthammer, etc, regardless of what the facts are, right?

22

Robert 04.22.11 at 5:59 pm

Celebrate by parking large, unmarked tractor-trailer trucks at various right angles in varying numbers in large, open areas across the US. Next, take high altitude photography of the trucks. Then have children of government officials sit around tables and speculate on the exciting possiblities the photos reveal.

23

Sprint513 04.22.11 at 6:19 pm

24

Castorp 04.22.11 at 6:38 pm

Isn’t it obvious? Krauthammer day should be when media institutions across the country evaluate whether they are robustly enforcing their right-wing affirmative action programs.

25

djw 04.22.11 at 6:55 pm

You’re just going to ignore the 500 metric tons of yellow cake?

Say what you will about Saddam Hussein, the man threw a hell of a birthday party!

26

mcd 04.22.11 at 7:01 pm

The WMD are obviously in the next country we plan to attack. Although they have been moved by the time we actually do attack.

27

Warren Terra 04.22.11 at 7:03 pm

Well, Ken has us bang to rights. Thank god we stopped Saddam in the nick of time, or this whole blog post would have been in Arabic!

Pro-tip, Ken: Uranium Ore is not a WMD, and everyone knew Saddam had some. Satellite images can’t identify WMDs, they can only identify trucks. Trucks move, even across borders, and there’s never been the slightest credible indication that WMDs were transferred as you claim. No biological weapons were found, and the only chemical weapons that were found were leftovers, possibly forgotten: badly corroded, improperly stored munitions from the Iran-Iraq war and the anti-Kurdish atrocities two decades previously – weapons we knew about, because we were the ones who advised on their development and deployment.

But you’re certainly right, Ken: if we only rely on the UN and Hans Blix and on every bit of substantive evidence and on the news reports of the last ten years and on the investigative efforts of the US that had complete control of the country and functionally unlimited resources for a decade and on the empirical evidence that a real world actually does exist around us – if that’s all we rely on, there was no WMD. If we add to that your fantasy world, we’re damn lucky Saddam’s Death Star wasn’t a fully functional battle station.

And by the way, Ken, when you talk about “discrediting Bush” you’ve got your tense wrong; you want the past tense. Bush is thoroughly, even massively redundantly discredited. His credibility is an ex-parrot; bereft of life, it rests in peace, or at least it would if it had the decency to do so, and if people like you didn’t insist on digging it up, smearing it all over yourselves, and then trotting proudly into the metaphorical living room reeking of the rotted remains of that abominable Presidency’s defunct credibility.

Leaving aside my Troll-Baiting (which I suppose was Troll-Feeding, which is something I Should Not Do), the comment that made me laugh was Matt F’s, at #8.

28

tfc 04.22.11 at 7:09 pm

Seriously? You’re just going to ignore the 500 metric tons of yellow cake? The bio and chemical weapons stores found? The satellite images showing WMD’s being moved across the Iraq-Syrian border into Iraq?

I used to wonder how Japan could have people so nuts and in love with authority that they would stay in the jungle for decades, convinced World War II was still going on. But not anymore.

29

roac 04.22.11 at 7:12 pm

Matt F’s comment may be the funniest for those with the right background, but the goyim will have to settle for kuri at 13.

30

phosphorious 04.22.11 at 7:19 pm

Seriously? You’re just going to ignore the 500 metric tons of yellow cake? The bio and chemical weapons stores found? The satellite images showing WMD’s being moved across the Iraq-Syrian border into Iraq?

Ken’s a traditionalist. He celebrates this solemn occasion by doubling down on the crazy!

31

Malaclypse 04.22.11 at 7:57 pm

Seriously? You’re just going to ignore everything the voices in my head keep telling me? The vague, unprovable fears that cause me to urinate myself on a daily basis? The Iraqi-Al Qaeda operatives putting flouride in my water supply?

Well I guess if you rely solely on so-called objective reality it’s easy to ignore the dangers of Saddam’s WMD programs. I mean what they (sic) hay, right, it’s all about discrediting Bush, Krauthammer, etc, regardless of what my feelings are, right?

Fixed.

32

Malaclypse 04.22.11 at 8:01 pm

Obviously, the tag failure is a result of Iraqi sabotage.

33

e julius drivingstorm 04.22.11 at 8:06 pm

We’re getting Ken all wrong here. When you read his comment, think Steven Colber.

34

Ken 04.22.11 at 8:16 pm

“Uranium Ore is not a WMD”

I see. What is uranium ore used for and what was Saddam’s interest in it? What does yellow cake get processed into? You really think that Saddam just like the color yellow and wanted to display the color yellow available in all sorts of materials?

“No biological weapons were found”

Don’t “anthrax, aflatoxin, botulinum toxin, gas gangrene, ricin, and wheat smut, and was also known to be working on cholera, mycotoxins, shigellosis, and viruses (including camelpox, infectious hemorrhaghic conjunctivitis and rotavirus) as well as genetic engineering” count as biological weapons?

35

Substance McGravitas 04.22.11 at 8:30 pm

36

david 04.22.11 at 8:37 pm

“Don’t “anthrax, aflatoxin, botulinum toxin, gas gangrene, ricin, and wheat smut, and was also known to be working on cholera, mycotoxins, shigellosis, and viruses (including camelpox, infectious hemorrhaghic conjunctivitis and rotavirus) as well as genetic engineering” count as biological weapons?”

Wheat smut, definitely. Especially if it comes in a tiny little vial. Yuck.

37

Uncle Jeffy 04.22.11 at 8:52 pm

Thanks for remembering, Henry – you (and most of those commenting here, with the noteworthy exception of Ken – how’s Barbie, by the way?) have restored my faith in humanity, just when Kraphammer had me thinking that we would collectively forget that little gaffe of 8 years ago.

So my idea of celebrating is to propose that Charlie run for VP with Trump at the top of the ticket. Talk about doubling down on the crazy….

38

R. Porrofatto 04.22.11 at 9:12 pm

Ken’s quote regarding biological weapons comes from hawkish gibberish dating back to 1990, repeated ad nauseum by warhawks and the CIA prior to the invasion in 2003, and now given here as a list of biological WMDs “found” during the recent war. This is funny, and echt Krauthammer, if you ask me. What better way to celebrate Krauthammer Day then to lie your ass off in as transparently lame a way as possible. Ken for the win. Well played, sir!

39

phosphorious 04.22.11 at 9:19 pm

What better way to celebrate Krauthammer Day then to lie your ass off in as transparently lame a way as possible. Ken for the win. Well played, sir!

Definitely. A new tradition for Krauthammer Day: believe six discredited lies before breakfast.

As loudly as possible.

40

Dave 04.22.11 at 9:36 pm

Ken for the win.

41

ScentOfViolets 04.22.11 at 10:08 pm

I’m going to listen to MC Hammer and shout “Krauthammer Time!” at the top of my lungs.

You know that bit from Animal House where Belushi yells “Bullshit!” and coughs an insultingly fake cough? How about every time a political type offers up such an insultingly bare-faced lie during a news conference held on Krauthammer Day[1], somebody in the back coughs “Krauthammer!” Who know? Maybe fifty years from now it becomes a tradition everyone follows but whose origin everyone is ignorant of?

[1]Off-topic: Modern times make for modern holidays apparently; Festivus has even become quasi-legitimate (and in less than two decades.) Are there any other good mock celebrations in the fine tradition of Krauthammer Day and Festivus?

42

MarkUp 04.22.11 at 10:13 pm

Someone deserves an extra portion of BarbieCake; gluten and smut free of course.

43

phosphorious 04.22.11 at 10:29 pm

44

Fred Kitto 04.22.11 at 10:39 pm

#27 Warren! Where have you been? The best comment I’ve read in awhile.

45

Josh 04.22.11 at 10:46 pm

Wait, Bush acknowledges in Decision Points that his administration was wrong about the WMDs, right? So “discrediting Bush” would mean finding some.

46

phosphorious 04.22.11 at 11:19 pm

Wait, Bush acknowledges in Decision Points that his administration was wrong about the WMDs, right? So “discrediting Bush” would mean finding some.

Josh, please. This is Krauthammer Day, a solemn day devoted to Charles Krauthammer’s crapulent obstinence in the face of Truth.

Bush’s lame, dollar-short-and-day-late “admission” will have to wait until Codpiece Day.

You’re like one of those execrable shopkeepers who puts up the Christmas decorations right after Halloween!

47

bill 04.23.11 at 12:44 am

Gosh, wouldn’t it be nice if one of Krauthammer’s fellow talk-show panelists mentioned it on live TV? Like he/she just woke up from a meth hangover and said the first thing that came into his/her mind: “So, Charles, what about those weapons of mass destruction? We know they were there; what really happened to them? Is the CIA keeping a lid on it or what?”

“Well, the CIA has a history of missing significant world events, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall, and in this case….”

I don’t watch the Sunday talkers, for what it’s worth. The people don’t respond when I yell at them.

48

Alex 04.23.11 at 3:11 am

Wait, Bush acknowledges in Decision Points that his administration was wrong about the WMDs, right? So “discrediting Bush” would mean finding some.

All that proves is that Bush has Bush Derangement Syndrome too.

Kenneth:

I see. What is uranium ore used for and what was Saddam’s interest in it? What does yellow cake get processed into? You really think that Saddam just like the color yellow and wanted to display the color yellow available in all sorts of materials?

Sigh:

http://www.snopes.com/politics/war/yellowcake.asp

Don’t “anthrax, aflatoxin, botulinum toxin, gas gangrene, ricin, and wheat smut, and was also known to be working on cholera, mycotoxins, shigellosis, and viruses (including camelpox, infectious hemorrhaghic conjunctivitis and rotavirus) as well as genetic engineering” count as biological weapons?

Genetic engineering? WTF?!

Was Saddam also planning to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids?

49

nick s 04.23.11 at 3:27 am

The yellowcake is a lie.

50

Chance 04.23.11 at 3:33 am

How many months has it been since Obama said he would shut down Gitmo? cease millitary trials? keep unemployment below 8%? and how long has it been since Harry Reid declared the Iraq war lost? Just curious since you are so good at marking the anniversary of dubious declarations.

51

M. Bouffant 04.23.11 at 3:48 am

52

truthglow 04.23.11 at 4:13 am

Keith:
I miss that wit of yours every night at 8 PM. Please hurry back, and bring some of your friends from the newly-wingnutty Comcast network, if at all possible. Now that you will be in charge of the “Current TV” news, Rachel, Ed, Cenk, Tamron , Contessa (after the
birth of her baby), and David Shuster would be a fantastic addition to the “Current” line-up, and would give you an instant ratings boost. I’m sure they’d be very happy to leave what looks like a very toxic environment. I’m sure that Current could beat MSNBC in the ratings with the addition of you and some of these other people that we have grown to love over the years. Please think about it.
Truthglow

53

bad Jim 04.23.11 at 4:34 am

Of all the lies that were used to sell the war in Iraq, the uranium issue was the most mind-bogglingly stupid. How could our elite thinkers simply have forgotten that Iraq had a nuclear program which ended when Israel bombed the Osirak reactor just before it became operational? Did they never listen to the Dylan tune “Neighborhood Bully”?

The depressing truth is that our pundits really are that shallow, ignorant and incurious. All they know is what their sources feed them and what they tell each other. It’s pretty clear that they don’t read past the first page of the papers in which they’re published.

54

Ken_L 04.23.11 at 5:55 am

‘The depressing truth is that our pundits really are that shallow, ignorant and incurious. ‘

Pundits merely accommodate themselves to the shallowness, ignorance and lack of curiosity of their political associates. The French Foreign Minister for example has just expressed puzzlement that Gaddafi hasn’t abdicated like Mubarek and that other guy from Tunisia, cos that’s what everyone (he and his NATO buddies I guess that means) expected to happen … who knew Arab dictators did unpredictability? Well apart from bloggers who read the news, that is.

55

ObiJohn 04.23.11 at 8:10 am

Krauthammer was obviously blowing smoke… there were no WMDs found in Iraq. Oh, wait… http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/10/wikileaks-show-wmd-hunt-continued-in-iraq-with-surprising-results/.

I guess there WERE a lot of WMDs found in Iraq. Krauthammer WASN’T blowing smoke. Never mind. No blogpost here. Move right along. Oops.

56

Myles 04.23.11 at 8:30 am

Oh, the best example yet is Greenspan. As I’ve said many times, the fact that he hasn’t committed ritual suicide is a huge embarassment for our species.

I find that statement intriguing. Obviously you don’t mean it literally, but the underlying premise that Greenspan should take responsibility on a supererogatory, personal fashion is interesting.

My position in such matters is that Greenspan should be ignored henceforth and should be able to otherwise do what he likes with his life, rather than repent endlessly. He had a job. He was incompetent at the job. There’s no need to do penance; it’s just a job. That you think otherwise, I think, is revealing.

57

Pete 04.23.11 at 11:35 am

58

Guido Nius 04.23.11 at 12:22 pm

If incompetence isn’t an issue, I want one of them jobs. I’ll even do penance (as long as it is not painful and certainly does not involve spending days in an area without clean rest rooms).

59

Barry 04.23.11 at 12:40 pm

Myles: “My position in such matters is that Greenspan should be ignored henceforth and should be able to otherwise do what he likes with his life, rather than repent endlessly. He had a job. He was incompetent at the job. There’s no need to do penance; it’s just a job. That you think otherwise, I think, is revealing.”

When one botches a job on that scale, there should be something worse to happen than a cushy retirement while being feted in high-class social circles, while being interviewed as if his opinions were worth something.

If Greenspan were living in homeless shelter, while occasionally being mocked on the streets, I’d be satisfied. As it is, his ‘retirement’ is both far richer and far more socially connected than the retirements of probably 99.9% of the American people.

60

Ebenezer Scrooge 04.23.11 at 1:25 pm

Henry’s update on Glenn Reynolds was ill-advised. When you wrestle with a pig, the mud sticks to you and the pig rather enjoys it. Within the Crooked Timber community, nobody can possibly be libelled by Glenn Reynolds.

61

Barry 04.23.11 at 2:45 pm

Take it to where somebody believes you – I would say to Glenn ‘heh’ Reynolds’ comments, but he doesn’t have any.

62

Myles 04.23.11 at 4:20 pm

@Barry: I believe that Greenspan’s official pension (if he has one) should be removed, and as I said, the public should ignore him from now on, and that media should not book him for appearances.

Other than that: he’s not a military officer. There is no civilian equivalent of the court-martial. But the scale of botching has got nothing to do with it, as long as no fraud was involved. A trader who loses $2-billion in trading by honest means is not suddenly more culpable morally than someone who loses $2-million. John Meriweather helped lose $4.6-billion in LTCM; it does not follow that he’s morally worse than any unsuccessful ordinary trader.

63

Barry 04.23.11 at 5:31 pm

Myles 04.23.11 at 4:20 pm

” @Barry: I believe that Greenspan’s official pension (if he has one) should be removed, and as I said, the public should ignore him from now on, and that media should not book him for appearances.”

Which ain’t gonna happen.

64

Bill Murray 04.23.11 at 5:33 pm

The Donalde is calling you a wannabe assassin, Henry. You may never be able to speak at Long Beach City College again

65

Henry 04.23.11 at 6:00 pm

Bill – I presume that Long Beach City College (which I think to be a good community college, belonging to an extremely valuable system of public education that desperately deserves more funding than it gets) doesn’t in any way endorse these views, and shouldn’t be specifically associated with them etc. I’d personally be very happy to talk at this college, or any other community college, if the college authorities were kind enough to invite me, and if my schedule (always difficult b/c of kids – I do very little travel these days) allowed.

66

MPAVictoria 04.23.11 at 11:23 pm

“Other than that: he’s not a military officer. There is no civilian equivalent of the court-martial. But the scale of botching has got nothing to do with it, as long as no fraud was involved. A trader who loses $2-billion in trading by honest means is not suddenly more culpable morally than someone who loses $2-million. John Meriweather helped lose $4.6-billion in LTCM; it does not follow that he’s morally worse than any unsuccessful ordinary trader.”

What Greenspan did amounted to criminal negligence and the bastard doesn’t even have the common deceny to be embarassed by it. Though it must be said that I am hardly suprised that you are against holding the powerful responisble for their misdeeds.

67

Warren Terra 04.24.11 at 12:39 am

I did enjoy Greenspan being quoted on the news last week saying that maybe some of the Bush tax cuts should be allowed to lapse. Given that Greenspan worked very hard to get them enacted in the first place, in the name of avoiding that terror of terrors, a national surplus.

68

Alex 04.24.11 at 2:05 am

A trader who loses $2-billion in trading by honest means is not suddenly more culpable morally than someone who loses $2-million.

Are you saying that if a prominent politician proposed spending $2 million on homeopathic “remedies”, he’s as culpable as one who proposed spending $2 billion on such crap?

69

Alex 04.24.11 at 2:08 am

“With great power comes great responsibility”

70

dsquared 04.24.11 at 3:47 am

Myles, I very mich recommend a career in other fields than trading floor management.

71

Myles 04.24.11 at 4:04 am

Myles, I very mich recommend a career in other fields than trading floor management.

I was thinking about becoming just a trader, actually.

72

Myles 04.24.11 at 4:09 am

Are you saying that if a prominent politician proposed spending $2 million on homeopathic “remedies”, he’s as culpable as one who proposed spending $2 billion on such crap?

Interesting question. I actually don’t know, to be honest. The problem is that politicians who propose only $2-million for homeopathy are indubitably just pandering, so it’s not morally the same.

73

dsquared 04.24.11 at 9:49 am

By the way, if I was not already cross about the proliferation of meaningless holidays I would suggest a small annual observance of the passing of Glenn Reynolds into irrelevance,

74

sg 04.24.11 at 10:48 am

Is it inappropriate to suggest marking the anniversary by feeding a little bit of Krauthammer (starting, one would assume, with the littlest bit!) into one of Saddam Hussein’s legendary people shredder?

75

JP Stormcrow 04.24.11 at 12:05 pm

The problem is that politicians who propose only $2-million for homeopathy are indubitably just pandering

Indeed, in this case I’d say the smaller the funds the greater the pander.

76

Tim Worstall 04.24.11 at 2:31 pm

““Uranium Ore is not a WMD”

I see. What is uranium ore used for and what was Saddam’s interest in it? What does yellow cake get processed into? You really think that Saddam just like the color yellow and wanted to display the color yellow available in all sorts of materials?”

Well, uranium ore (which isn’t what they had actually, they had yellowcake, which is a mildly processed form of the ore) makes a very nice indeed deep yellow glaze for pottery. Every few years there’s yet another report of someone finding a pound or two in the back of some forgotten high school arts department. We tend not to use it these days but there’s some gorgeous pre WWII pottery that does use it.

But there’s a much more important point to be made about yellowcake. Yes, it’s a necessity to start a U bomb making program. But it’s trivially easy to get (hey, Lehman Brothers had a pile of it when they went bust) and extremely non-trivial to do anything useful with.

You see, you need to enrich it, raise the ratios of U235 to U238 from the natural 0.7% U235 to, for a bomb, 70 to 80%. And that simply isn’t trivial. You need an enrichment plant, current cost some $10 billion. A couple of different ways of doing it and what has people scared witless about Iran’s programs is that this is indeed just what they’ve done. Built an enrichment plant.

Oh, and Snopes hasn’t quite got the Osirak plant right, nor the raid on it. The yellowcake wasn’t for that plant, for it came with HEU (highly enriched uranium) from France along with the plant itself. As is entirely normal in the civilian nuclear world. You get your reactor, plus your enriched fuel, from one of the extant plants (umm, UK, Canada, US, Russia, France, umm, that’s it I think) and then when the fuel has been used you send it back to where you got it from for it to be reprocessed (and this is everyone’s problem with Iran’s programme again, that they’re not doing this but enriching themselves).

Now it’s feasible that Saddam had that yellowcake in order to enrich it, then feed it through Osirak, to make plutonium. Or that he was going to build an enrichment plant and make his own HEU. But it would have been hugely, hugely expensive if that’s what he was trying to do. And as above, it’s pretty generally agreed that he wasn’t trying anything like that after 1991.

As an aside, I do know of a few people who served time for trying to sell nuclear materials to Iraq after 1991. Please note, know of, not know directly. The sort of nuclear materials that you would need if you were to try and build an enrichment plant. But that was honeytrap stuff. No evidence at all that Iraq had anything to do with it. Just people seemingly willing to try and ship the stuff around without the correct licences. And the reason I know this is because I did have the right licences and had a non-nuclear use for the same materials. The people who were selling them eventually, on my fourth or fifth try to buy them, had to point out to me that I wasn’t their target market at all. Given that I had the licences and a legit use for the material….

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Henri Vieuxtemps 04.24.11 at 3:18 pm

I got the impression that whatever uranium stuff they had, it was declared, sealed, and guarded by IAEA. The game was about finding hidden stuff.

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JP Stormcrow 04.24.11 at 4:13 pm

Maybe there should be a ritual recounting of the Al Qa’qaa timeline. As folks probably recall, a place where we did “find” dangerous high explosives (of course they were under IAEA seal and we had been told all about them* ). Subsequently found by an embedded TV news team from Minneapolis and bunch of looters in white pickups. Finally reported over a year later.

*But the Bush administration would not allow the agency [the IAEA] back into the country to verify the status of the stockpile. Since the pretense that the IAEA was full of shit needed to be maintained at all costs.

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Henry 04.24.11 at 4:48 pm

bq. Is it inappropriate to suggest marking the anniversary by feeding a little bit of Krauthammer (starting, one would assume, with the littlest bit!) into one of Saddam Hussein’s legendary people shredder?

I am presuming, given the link, that the joke here is the non-existence of same shredder, but would prefer not to have comments that might be misinterpreted as wishing violence on Krauthammer.

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MPAVictoria 04.24.11 at 5:05 pm

“I was thinking about becoming just a trader, actually.”

Just figured that this deserved a reposting.

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hv 04.24.11 at 8:46 pm

I clicked through to the Krauthammer article handicapping republican nominees.

Best quote in the article:
“Given these Euclidean truths, here’s the early line. (Remember: This is analysis, not advocacy.)”

First of all, Krauthammer flatters himself with his axioms, etc; that’s par for the course with him. But what a failure on understanding what “Euclidean” means. It doesn’t mean true! It really means “intuitive and widely accepted but having surprising exceptions.”

Secondly, if you add up his odds in the handicapping, the grand total of all those candidates to win the nomination is about 73%. In other words, he has offered a handicapping in which there is a 27% chance that something unknown happens. (This chance is greater than the odds he offers for any individual nominee!) Math fail, number 2. I guess he safely assumed that his target audience can’t add mixed fractions.

PS: Do you think that Charles Krauthammer would be willing to accept wagers at the odds he presents? Remember, this is “analysis, not advocacy!” I want a piece of the action on both Romney (5:1) and Newt (12:1), for certain.

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Dan Nexon 04.25.11 at 12:11 am

@55 – Yes, they found dilapidated shells, some precursors, and small amounts of chem and bio stuff. Not surprising, given that Iraq did have robust programs prior to the First Gulf War (or Second, depending on how you like to count them). But that’s not/not evidence of serious Weapons of Mass Destruction, however much “WMD” has come to mean “anything related to nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons even if no significant delivery system exists, little weaponized stuff remains, and the actual capabilities are less than a platoon could muster in World War I.”

Apologies for the shameless blog linkage.

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liberal 04.25.11 at 12:24 am

He was incompetent at the job. There’s no need to do penance; it’s just a job. That you think otherwise, I think, is revealing.

LOL.

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liberal 04.25.11 at 12:25 am

@82:

…however much “WMD” has come to mean…

Actually, I’m pretty sure that the official, “legal” definition of WMD in the US would include a pipe bomb. (Not that I agree with that…)

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Randy Paul 04.25.11 at 12:53 am

Glenn Reynolds scummy moments started early on. Here he mocks the UN after the Baghdad bombing in August 2003.

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Lemuel Pitkin 04.25.11 at 6:23 pm

How about the anniversary of the time that Conor Foley said that the Libya intervention was all about protection of civilians? Are we going to celebrate that one too, maybe with an explanation of the civilian-protecting effects of bombing government buildings in Tripoli?

Or is cheerleading for war fine as long as it’s done by One of Us?

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afu 04.26.11 at 7:04 pm

Iraq WMD arguments. Insta-pundit links!

Is it 2003 all over again?

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