Friday, January 12, 2007

Giant Rabbits and North Korea

God bless Tigerhawk for tracking down this story. Fox reports that an East German firm has received an offer to supply giant rabbits to the starving country of North Korea to help alleviate hunger in the Worker's Paradise. The Fox headline is entirely factual, but really reads like something out of a supermarket tabloid:  North Korea Seeks Giant Rabbits for Meat Production to Alleviate Food Shortage. The article adds, "the only problem is that such huge rabbits consume vast quantities of food themselves as they grow."

The embassy in Berlin could not be reached for comment, but the state-run news agency reported in September that people were being encouraged to breed rabbits for food. Szmolinsky’s 12 rabbits, which are awaiting his arrival at a petting zoo in Pyongyang, could produce 60 babies in a year. They are unlikely to alleviate the chronic malnutrition endemic in the country of 23 million that drew condemnation when it announced a nuclear test last year. The rabbits are also voracious eaters, which is why Szmolinsky said that he would not be boosting his own annual production because feeding them would be too expensive.

In case you think this all too improbable, take a look at this film actually purporting to show Kim Il Sung's bodyguards in training. Then the Giant Rabbit scheme won't seem so odd. Not as odd as actually trusting these guys with billions of dollars in aid and a nuclear reactor. Oh well.



Blogger Meme chose said...

Why buy an election in the US when for much less money you can buy control of a third world country and get showered with negotiable assets like these?

Behaving like a deranged clown seems to be a requirement, but can probably be simulated fairly easily.

1/12/2007 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Various astute observers have pointed out that which rabbits produce in captivity is seemingly identical in appearance to that which rabbits eat in captivity.

So maybe the North Koreans think they can create some kind of perpetual motion agriculture.

I also suspect a tie-in with the infamous "Rabid Rabbit" attack on then-President Jimmy Carter. The North Koreans may be planning to breed edible assassins. Jimmy himself may have recommended this to his pals in the North, given his traumatic experience in the boat with the vicious amphibian Buggs.

1/12/2007 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

This makes me think about negotiations, the Bush Administration policy that they won't negotiate with enemies except under certain circumstances. Like we will only talk to North Korea as part of 5 party talks. And yesterday Secretary Rice said that we won't talk to Iran until it gives up nukes, but if it does give up those nukes then we will talk to them "any time, anywhere".

Does it make sense to use negotiations that way? Like for Iran, it would make sense to me that if the Bush Team said that we won't ever talk to terrorist nations. But we are saying that no matter how bad Iran is, as long as they give up nukes we will talk. Talking to Iran could be good for us, not just them, and refusing causes problems at home politically, which can weaken a strong defense president like Bush, which puts America at risk.

Secretary Rice said we don't want to talk to Iran while they have nukes because it would look like we were begging by asking them to negotiate, basically as though their terrorism in Iraq has brought us to our knees so we are willing to accept their nukes if they (Iran) stop it.

But it seems like there are ways around that. We could say that we will talk to any country, up to three times a year, if they are the ones who ask to talk. Or we could state publicly that we will offer to talk to every country on earth every six months.

Likewise for North Korea. We spend an endless amount of time not talking or doing anything because they insist on direct talks, which we refuse, while we insist on five party talks. Does it really matter?

Direct talks with North Korea could consist of three days of us listening to them, asking leading questions in order to get as much intelligence information as possible, and then telling them to go to hell. It seems to me that way we would learn something, and we would shut up the crowd which says that talking will solve everything.

I guess I'm not sure what we gain by refusing to talk to some country.

1/12/2007 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

This is about a couple of unrelated quotes from the news, which are in bold.

The Bush administration Friday said money is in the budget to fund a U.S. troop increase in Iraq through May or June.

This is very important because it makes it very, very tough for Democrats to cut funding for the "surge". The Dems have always said that it would be almost impossible politically for them to cut money for troops who are already in the field. The only way to do it would be to stop the new troops from ever going to war.

If Bush needed money in order to send the troops, then the Dems could block it simply by not ever approving the money required to transport the troops. That would mean the Dems would just need a majority in the House, or 40% + 1 in the Senate in order to block the surge.

But since Bush has the money to get all the troops into combat for a few months, the Dems would need to pass legislation to stop them from ever going. They would need 2/3 of both Houses of Congress.

At the daily White House briefing, Tony Snow, a spokesman for President Bush, downplayed opposition in the Congress to the plan to send more than 20,000 additional troops to Iraq. Most Democrats and some Republicans are vehemently against the increase, and early polls show Bush has failed to convince the public.
"Look, you know, if you take a look at the congressional debate, there actually is a substantial amount of agreement," Snow said.
He argued that most of Congress shares the president's goals and that most of the disagreement is focused on whether the Iraqi government now has the capacity to handle its own security.

In a way, isn't this true? Really I don't think anyone wants us to still be doing 100% of the defending of Baghdad three years for now, or for our troops to sit there year after year being blasted by IEDs while the Iraqis make no progress.

Probably nearly everyone wants, eventually, that we stop fighting Iraqi internal battles, and just focus on things important to us, like killing terrorists who are interested in hitting the US. But the issue is that no one knows what the Iraqi players will do, and whose side they're on. There is endless debate about: will Maliki turn against Sadr? Is there any circumstances in which the Sunni resistance will stop killing Shiites, or are the Sunnis determined to fight to the death rather than be in a Shiite-dominated government? Would the majority in the Shiite-dominated government ever make concessions to the Sunnis, or are they absolutely determined to govern like "winner take all", and to make the Sunnis lives bad? Is the Iraqi government capable of stopping terrorism in Baghdad?

The only way we will know is to move forward with the Bush plan, which is what the Iraqi government wants. Having a larger number of troops rather than fewer is useful during this end game. Once those troops are there, we don't need to keep them in the defense of Baghdad. Based on how the Iraqis react, we could decide to destroy al Sadr, and having more troops there would be helpful, like if the Sunni Resistance decided to make a maximum effort to attack us at the same time we were fighting al Sadr. (Like happened in the past.)

So let's take action, get the information we need, then finish this. The enemy has nearly won just by the drip drip drip of casualties while the situation doesn't change. We have the most power as well as the ability to ignore the internal Iraqi fighting and killing if we want to, so action favors us.

1/12/2007 04:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wu wei, agreed that we should move ahead with the plan. Iraq the Model has this post that illustrates a sizeable portion of the Iraqi government actually supporting the surge - a heartening gesture, if you ask me - and obviously, people are going to start viewing this enthusiasm with scepticism, accusing the government of harbouring sectarian interests, viewing this as merely another device Maliki will exploit to his advantage.

Al-Inizi said "Iraq is not an American state and Bush must consult with us before making such decisions about sending troops…" to which al-Alusi responded by saying "We have an elected prime minister and he was consulted…you and others like yourself wouldn't be sitting here had America not helped us. They are trying to protect this democracy and they possess what they can offer to help us with the security situation, but what do you have?? Cut the nonsense, ok? Do you think the parliament wants to vote about this? Fine, let's ask everybody if they want such voting…"

1/12/2007 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

I feel like I chasing a rabbit down the rabit hole..........

They must be taking the LSD the Americans stopped buying in 1969...

1/12/2007 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

Some people knock the counterinsurgency strategy of defining victory as protecting the people, saying it is too weak. But it is a good way of making the insurgents come to us to be killed.

Let's say that instead President Bush defined victory as "killing insurgents". They could all leave Baghdad for six months, and the MSM would be saying that Bush failed. This kind of thing has happened before in other cities in Iraq. So the Democrats would end up making us leave Iraq.

But if we define victory as "protecting Baghdad", then if all the insurgents run into hiding, then we win. Bush would be able to brag that his strategy worked. He could say that violence in Baghdad dropped to zero and so did our casualties. There would be no pressure from home to leave Iraq.

And if the insurgents do leave for awhile, that gives the chance to set up local police forces without harassment, forces that might be strong enough to stop the insurgents from coming back.

1/12/2007 07:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like ethanol to me.

1/12/2007 07:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>wu wei

If Bush contextualises the objective as "protecting" Iraqis, he can effectively proceed to take on the militias and insurgents without being accused of recklessly risking lives and resources, which would be the accusation if he were to phrase it as another "assault" or offensive.

(h/t dr) Jobs, jobs, jobs

Ensuring a steady source of income for Iraqis - Shiite, Sunni or Kurd - such that holding a job is more profitable than joining the insurgency. Tie Iraqis down with the commitments that a job brings: the role of financial provider, of attachment to co-workers, of being part of the concerted effort to rebuild Iraqi infrastructure and institutions from the ground up.

Thus, also imperative in this strategy is the need to convince Iraqis that they should take efforts to ensure that the insurgency becomes even more unpalatable and costly to undertake.

Bush's speech, coupled with the revised AEI plan to encircle Sadr City and crack down on militias Shiite and Sunni alike, points to the increasing tightening of Iran's purse-strings. Though it is worrying to hear that Bush hasn't mentioned anything about raising the pay of the Iraqi Army and Police, which Bill Roggio identified as one of the more fundamental fixes we can administer within our scope of action.

Blackfive's article (if you haven't read it already, please do!) recommends arming the population, somewhat akin to applying the Second Amendment to the Iraqi people. I initially disagreed for fear of proliferation of arms if citizens decided to sell off arms to militias for cash, but now I can see the logic of his suggestion. If each individual, each family, each building, each neighbourhood becomes armed, with local citizen patrols, it will surely up the cost of militia operations, and that would very likely result in more meticulously planned attacks - therefore requiring more time, and thus also giving the Iraqi Police more time to intercept them - at a lower frequency.

1/12/2007 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger warhorse said...


Was that Jackie Chan in that video?

1/12/2007 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

> Blackfive's article ... recommends arming the population

A lot of them already are armed, and even when we "disarm" an area, we leave each house a weapon or two for self defense. Lots and lots of people have weapons like AK-47's.

I have problems with disarming anyone, including militias, especially while Iraq is at war. Anyone who wants weapons can get them, so it is something like gun control in the US, not effective. Where gun control has any meaning at all, it might be for a militia which has a limited number of some specific large weapons.

1/13/2007 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

The Great Leader will be in a heap of trouble if any of them are named Bugs.

1/13/2007 11:15:00 AM  

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