Tuesday, January 7, 2003

Why Iraq instead of N. Korea

Michael Mandelbaum, a senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, explains why Iraq is a more pressing target than North Korea in this Newsday article. He spells out all of the reasons, many of which have been mentioned elsewhere. The point I found most interesting, however, was this:

More importantly, a nuclear-armed North Korea, although hardly desirable, would pose a less grave threat to American interests than would a Hussein in possession of the bomb. For even a nuclear-armed North Korea could not intimidate, let alone conquer, its neighbors. China, Japan and South Korea are all prosperous, powerful countries with strong governments and formidable armed forces.
Japan and South Korea, although not nuclear-weapon states themselves, have solid alliances of long standing with the nuclear-armed United States.
In contrast, Hussein's neighbors, within whose borders is located much of the oil on which the global economy depends, are neither politically legitimate nor militarily powerful. They are no better able to defend themselves now than they were in 1991, when, after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the United States led an international coalition that came to their rescue.
A nuclear-armed Hussein could intimidate or even occupy his neighbors, dominate the region, and hold the world hostage by the influence he would thereby exercise over its supply of oil. If he did possess nuclear weapons, the world would likely not be as quick or forceful in opposing him as it was in the early 1990s.

I don't recall seeing anyone who has compared Iraq to North Korea who has raised that issue. It is an important distinction, one that the anti-regime-change crowd ought to consider.

posted at 06:43 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

Lawyers—A novel idea

Q: What is the quickest way to convert a left-wing lawyer into a proponent of free-market ideas?

A: Suggest regulating the legal profession.

While not all lawyers are left-wingers (Glenn Reynolds, Dodd Harris, and "Spoons" are three non-leftists that come to mind immediately), they are, as a whole, disproportionately liberal. However, despite their desire to regulate the operations and finances of the rest of the business world, they are reluctant to allow the gentle hand of government to manage their corner of the world.

Imagine, if you will, if the legal profession were to be socialized. A few of the changes might include:

Equal access. By having all lawyers work for the government, access to good lawyers would not depend on money or connections; everyone would have the same access to legal talent. Some people might not have the same level of legal counsel they previously enjoyed, but it's all about fairness.

Fiscal responsibility. This proposal could be used to reduce the deficit; since lawyers would now be salaried workers, any large settlements against a corporation or individual would go to the lawyer's firm (which is, in this scenario, the government). Further, by eliminating windfall payouts for lawyers, the "rich get richer" argument would be reduced, since they would be no more celebrity millionare lawyers, who are paid as much for their reputation as they are for their legal acumen.

Reinventing government. Not in the sense that Al Gore was talking about, but such a move would certainly change the complexion of the government. Roughly 50% of the two houses of congress is composed of lawyers, many of whom used their wealth on their campaigns for public office. If lawyers were paid the same wages and worked the same schedule as mid-level to upper-level government employees, they would not have the time or the funds to run an effective campaign. This would have an interesting effect on laws passed by future congresses, as fewer and fewer lawyers were elected. It takes a lawyer to understand some of the laws passed by congress, which should not be the case.

I'm sure I've left out lots of ideas, and quite possibly I'm way off base, but I'd like to hear what readers have to say about this (toungue-in-cheek) proposal.

posted at 06:35 PM | permalink | Comments (5)

"Where angels fear to tread"

Either you are trolling for hits or are extremely brave.

posted by Thoth on January 7, 2003 07:08 PM

But I like it!

posted by Thoth on January 7, 2003 07:08 PM

I do believe that lawyers are for the most part liberal I also think that the trial lawyers association has purchased the protection provided by the democrats. Their campaign contributions ensure that there will be no tort reform. While some lawyers are liberal, many are driven by the green.

posted by tom scott on January 9, 2003 09:45 PM

What a ghastly idea! I'm most grateful that you provided me some advance cover som that I can remonstrate against such a notion without appearing too self-absorbed. Great piece, my friend!

posted by Dodd on January 9, 2003 10:13 PM

Well, it certainly makes sense to me.

Why should lawyers be the only overpaid, incompetent, unethical parasites to NOT be employed by the Government?

posted by Emperor Misha I on January 12, 2003 10:12 PM

Monday, January 6, 2003

Disappearing Sidebar

I do not know why, but for some reason my sidebar has begun disappearing on a fairly regular basis. Rebuilding the site doesn't work; I have to delete posts and reenter them, and THEN rebuild the site for the sidebar to stay. It seems to happen more when I have a long rant posted (such as the Robert Jensen post), but it sometimes occurs with short posts as well.

Can anyone help me with my problem?

posted at 07:04 AM | permalink | Comments (1)

I'm a big fan of using SSI for the sidebars. don't know if your server supports them, but it makes managing your template a lot easier. For ex: You can change your blogroll and see the changes w/out rebuilding each time.

posted by Kevin on January 6, 2003 08:05 AM

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