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Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Oxford Ph.D. student and faculty member comments on the web site

Dear Michael, I would like to take this opportunity and congratulate you for the new webpage. I have only had a brief look at it so far, as it is quite late here now, but I must say that I am quite impressed. Well done! I am sure that you must have some mixed emotions about this site. On the one hand, the whole shift is an exciting development (or should we say technological evolution). On the other hand, it must be a bit sad to close down the list serve, which has been a very good source of information, and entertainment at times throughout the last few years. I am also happy that I had the chance to be a member of that list (and even to occasionally contribute some thoughts to it). I will continue doing so in the new format of discussion. Long live the Internet.
The main thing that I will miss is the convenience of opening the mail-box and knowing that there are new things to be read by you, which will have to be replaced by browsing your web-page. I am sure I will get used to this shift though. However, if you want me to comment on things, like we have done in the past, do not hesitate to contact me and let me know. Just out of curiosity, do you have a measure of counting hits on the site? Lastly, I will be letting other people here know about the new webpage, if you don't mind. All the best to you, and we will be in touch. Shachar



........................................................ THE BUGGY PROF REPLIES:

Shachar:

Nice hearing for you, and especially for the compliments about the listserver.

Yes, I have a few regrets, but not many; and the web site has ample opportunity to send comments back to me on any posting, and qualify if intellectually sound to be posted on the front page, along with my replies. Though I had originally thought about an open forum, I was firmly told by everyone I met that they weren't interested in such exchanges --- rather, my views and of course thoughtful comments or articles from subscribers like yours. So, yes: I hope you continue to send comments to me directly if you'd like.

Next week, the dirty job: what will Blix say, and how will Blair and Bush react if the French-German front looks like it wouldn't budge on going to war? As things stand, Resolution 1441 doesn't require a new vote on war only consultation. The US and the UK wouldn't risk a vote if they thought the French or others would veto it, though solid support in the Council would help. Alternatively, will the French actually risk a veto, jeopardizing their entire relationship not just with the US but the UK --- in return for which the latter would convene NATO and almost certainly Italy, Spain, Poland, the Czech Republic, and maybe Hungary would back the Anglo-American postion; Luxembourg too for that matter if it counted for anything. Holland's parliament last year voted to go to war against Saddam even if the Security Council didn't approve of it, but the composition of the parliament has changed since then, and will change even more now that elections are imminent there.

Either way, by mid or late-spring, I'm sure there will be war unless Saddam is overthrown by a coup. Even the initiation of war might bring that about, though any new Iraqi group taking power would have to commit itself to a constituent assembly within a month or so, then elections by the end of a year . . . with full inspections not just for WMD (and total cooperation), but also for human rights violations. And US and UK and other troops will be in Iraq for peacekeeping for a long time, probably two years at a minimum . . . maybe longer.

Best wishes, Michael