Thursday, April 10, 2003

What if Iraq Had Revolted Instead?

It is generally agreed that the people of Iraq would have been justified in organizing and carrying out a revolution to overthrow the government of Saddam Hussein.

If they had revolted, and particularly if they had succeeded in overthrowing the government, the cost in material and human terms would have been high. Vast amounts of money and time would have had to have been expended. Physical damage from war fighting would have been massive. Casualties among the revolutionaries, the populace, and the government forces would have been very high.

The revolution would have taken a while. It would have been fought with relatively primitive weapons and the revolutionaries would have been unable to overawe large chunks of the government forces into running away without fighting. On top of everything else, the risk of the revolutionaries losing would have been great.

In the event, Iraq got its revolution for free with minimal damage to property and minimal loss of life on all sides. The nation is already receiving the first of what will be billions of dollars in aid. All in a war that the "Forces of Free Iraq" couldn't have lost.

As a US taxpayer, I might have a logical right to complain about our generosity to the Iraqi Revolution. But I can't see the logic of any complaints from Iraqis (or others). Anyone who thought that Saddam should have been forced out got his wish fulfilled on the cheap.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Cops use ID info in criminal cases

Scanning a driver's license at the local liquor store can reveal more than just age.

When a patron's ID is scanned to ensure authenticity at a liquor store, the person's purchase and identification information is added to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board's (PLCB) electronic database in Harrisburg, PLCB spokeswoman Molly McGowan said.

Police can retrieve the information for use in criminal cases, she said.

For example, an underage man died of alcohol poisoning at a party in Bloomsburg about two years ago, McGowan said. Going back through the electronic database, authorities were able to locate where the alcohol was purchased and find the person responsible for bringing it to the party, she said. The buyer was later criminally charged for his involvement, she added.

Why are people using DLs for ID. Always use your passport. It can't be challenged and it has no useful info on it. No number anyone but State can track. No address. Nothing. I use my drivers license once every 4 years to renew my drivers license. I also use it when stopped by cops while operating a motor vehicle which happens twice a decade. Finally I use it to rent cars. No other reason.

Monday, April 07, 2003


Given my work on the Japanese American internment, I was initially skeptical of the program, but when I looked at the program carefully I learned that the interviews were voluntary (as the government said they were),...
Compared to prior wars, stretching all the way back to the war of 1812, and especially compared to the excesses of World War I and World War II, the program is positively gentle.

I certainly agree that the Post-September 11th enforcement activities have been less intrusive than WWI, WWII, and even the early 1950's. More than 200,000 were interned (Japanese and others) after Pearl Harbor.

I would quibble however with the author's (and everyone else's) comment that the Liberty Shield interviews were voluntary. All police interviews are voluntary. All government interviews are voluntary except some of those conducted in court. You never have to chat with cops or enforcement types.
The State of Michigan, of course, contends just the opposite; its position is that racial diversity is one crucial component of elite-level academic excellence. I’m inclined to agree; my own personal experience of teaching for four years at a racially homogeneous law school (the University of Wyoming) and now at a racially integrated one (UNC) tells me that racial diversity does in fact contribute importantly to full and rigorous discussion and debate in a law school classroom. So at the end of the day, I guess I disagree with Scalia.

Since racial minorities tend to have the same ideology as law school professors and law school students, isn't it arguable that a better mix could be achieved by discriminating in favor of libertarian and conservative students and professors than in favor of [some] racial minorities?