Resplendent Mango: Give War A Chance

I’ve seen this math before, but it bears repeating again. Katie at the Resplendent Mango offers up an accounting lesson to the folks at Win Without War:

If there was one thing I could drill into the heads of the loony leftists (pointy things not withstanding) it would be the fact that we are not necessarily at peace just because we’re not at war. Nor is that faux-peace necessarily better than war. By some estimates, 11,000 Iraqis have died from unnatural causes in the past 14 months. As opposed to approximately 36,000 a year under Saddam. Now, I understand that the Left believes that the US is evil as a matter of faith, but I fail to understand how 25,000 people not dying in the past year, people that would have either starved, or been raped and killed, or dismembered, or buried in mass graves, or some combination thereof, is a bad thing.

Be sure to read the rest of Katie’s point.
UPDATE: For reader Miles Davis, who asked about the 36,000 per year figure that Katie used — according to the BBC in 1999, she’s incorrect. In fact, the BBC reported that continuing sanctions killed half a million Iraqi children in ten years alone, or 50,000 per year just in children — while his Oil-For-Food program, which was supposed to take care of those children, instead lined the pockets of Saddam and a large number of UN and Western diplomats and politicians. Bear in mind that this number does not include the deaths that Saddam caused directly, which include the 300,000 in mass graves that were filled with Shi’a who attempted to overthrown him in 1991.
Before you place the blame for sanctions on the West, bear in mind that the sanction regime was demanded by the UN as an alternative to physically removing Saddam from power and to pressure him to reform and fulfill his obligations under the cease-fire agreements and UNSC resolutions. It was part of the “containment” strategy that Al Gore railed on about earlier this week. He failed to do any of that; Saddam and only Saddam was responsible for the continuation of sanctions.

Has Iran Declared War On The US?

According to translations of Iranian speeches and documents provided by MEMRI, the Iranians have announced to their Revolutionary Guard that they intend to attack and destroy “Anglo-Saxon civilization”:

A source close to [Revolutionary Guards] intelligence confirmed that P.R. has been appointed secretary-general of a new office that has begun registering the names of suicide volunteers to be sent to Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon.
[The newspaper reported that it had obtained] a tape with a speech by H.A., a [Revolutionary] Guards intelligence theoretician, who teaches at the Revolutionary Guards’ Al-Hussein University. [In the tape, H.A.] spoke of Tehran’s secret strategy aimed at taking over the Arab and Muslim countries by means of helping revolutionary forces and organizations. H.A. is regarded as one of the advisors of a branch in the organization, and has published a number of works on exporting the [Islamic] revolution and the method of the struggle against the world arrogance [i.e., the U.S.]. …
(President Muhammad) Khatami speaks of the dialogue between civilizations, and I have grave doubts about this. It is a dubious idea. We do not want to take over the British Embassy, since they (the British) have already cleared the embassy of documents; we must take over Britain [itself].’ …
‘Our missiles are now ready to strike at their civilization, and as soon as the instructions arrive from Leader [‘Ali Khamenei], we will launch our missiles at their cities and installations. Our motto during the war (in Iraq) was: Karbala, we are coming, Jerusalem, we are coming. And because of Khatami’s policies and dialogue between the civilizations, we have been compelled to freeze our plan to liberate the Islamic cities. And now we are [again] about to carry out the program.’ In his speech, he added: ‘The global infidel front is a front against Allah and the Muslims, and we must make use of everything we have at hand to strike at this front, by means of our suicide operations or by means of our missiles. There are 29 sensitive sites in the U.S. and in the West. We have already spied on these sites and we know how we are going to attack them.’

On one hand, you have to think that the Iranians can’t really be this stupid. Sure, they have missiles; so do we, and in much greater numbers. While they see America fighting divisively over the war in Iraq, an attack on US assets would not only galvanize American unity, it would likely mean the end of all restraint from the UN or any other international body. The British and the Americans may be too indulgent in self-flagellation now, but that’s a luxury we drop under attack, as we proved — for too short a period of time — after 9/11. Unlike that attack, however, an attack from a sovereign state would allow us to focus quite clearly on an enemy, and I suspect military enlistment rates would shoot into the stratosphere.
On the other hand, perhaps the Iranians are that stupid. After all, they managed to mangle themselves in the teeth of Saddam’s army, the most powerful in that region at the time, for eight years before they finally figured out that they were outclassed. They lost hundreds of thousands of Iranians in that futile war. Since they see a conflict with the US and Britain in religious terms (whereas we mostly see it in strategic terms), their belief in Islam trumps any tactical considerations, which also is reminiscent of the Iran-Iraq war.
In this case, they plan on using missiles, but not necessarily in a ballistic sense. They claimed to have “spied” on 29 sensitive sites in the US and “the West”; one could anticipate that rather than make a completely overt move by launching an ICBM to hit the sites (and possibly be intercepted), their covert agents might use missile warheads delivered personally against these installations. Such a move would allow those few who belong to the America-Last crowd (such as ANSWER and MoveOn) to argue that the ambiguity of the source does not allow us to respond against Iran.
However, if the Iranians are clinging to that thin reed, it only emphasizes their disconnect from reality. Iranians are not the only ones with intelligence agents, and the majority of their citizenry have had enough of the anti-American talk from the mullahs. An attack on the US could well provoke a reaction from their own citizenry that would result in the mullahs swinging from the nearest tree, or worse.
I hope it doesn’t come to that. However, the Defense Department had better start preparing for the next phase of the war on Islamofascist terror — the one we knew we would eventually face. Under the circumstances of the past two months, the only question may be whether we allow them to strike first.
Clayton Cramer has more thoughts on this subject, including reliability of the reports.

Taking a break

I have the entire weekend off, so I’m headed to the beach for a much-needed break! I’ll be back to blogging Monday night (Monday morning for all of you in the states).
[Note: Whiskey’s taking a break, but I’ll continue posting throughout the weekend. — Captain Ed]

From KIA To Murdered: One Casualty’s Story Changes

The AP and the Washington Post report on a change made in the status of an American casualty of the initial invasion, a soldier in the same unit as Jessica Lynch and who had been listed as killed in action. The Pentagon changed the status of Sgt. Donald Walters based on new evidence from an Iraqi civilian and the tenacity of Walters’ parents, fighting to find out the truth:

A soldier in the same ambush as former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch was not killed in action but captured by Iraqi fighters and then executed, officials said. The family of Sgt. Donald Walters of Salem — who had pressed officials for an investigation of their son’s death — learned the new information from the Oregon National Guard. Guard officials released the details to the public Thursday, more than a year after the March 23, 2003, ambush. …
“He was executed — shot twice in the back,” Guard spokesman Maj. Arnold Strong said in a telephone interview Thursday. “An Iraqi ambulance driver witnessed six Fedayeen rebels standing outside a building guarding him while he was still alive. That same witness evacuated his dead body to a hospital.”

At the time of Lynch’s rescue, stories abounded as to how Lynch kept firing her weapons until her ammunition ran out in a courageous effort to protect the rest of her unit. Later, after Lynch’s rescue, this tale generated a lot of skepticism, in part based on her interviews after her release. Now it appears that the stories were true but attributed to the wrong soldier. Walters, finding himself separated from his unit at the start of the battle, ran down the road to engage the ambushers — the last his unit saw of him. As the Army reported in a document now being made public as a result of the efforts of Walters’ family:

The latest investigation found that in the chaotic opening moments of the ambush, Walters was separated from his unit. Other Americans last saw him running alone down a road, Arlene Walters said.
Empty gun magazines were found near where Walters was captured, suggesting he fired until ammunition ran out. Before his capture, he was shot in the leg and stabbed three times in the abdomen with a bayonet, Strong cited the report as saying.
It was not clear whether Walters would have died from the bayonet wounds had he not been shot in captivity, Strong said.

The Fedayeen not only shot him in the leg, but after his ammunition ran out they bayoneted him three times in the stomach, evacuated him to a hospital, and then decided to shoot him in the back once there. This should remind people that the Fedayeen do not play by the rules, operating out of uniform and executing captured soldiers. Will we hear anything about their “abuses” in the media? Unlikely.
For those who do hear about this, it shows that the Saddam remnants in Iraq comprise the most inhumane and cowardly members of his former regime, traits learned from their former commander, Saddam’s son Uday. As long as they continue to operate out of uniform, no Geneva Convention considerations should be provided to them once captured, unless we use the Convention as justification to conduct the battlefield executions allowed for spies.

New Iraqi PM Selected Unanimously

The BBC reports that the Iraqi Governing Council has unanimously approved a leading Shi’ite exile during the Hussein regime to lead the new, liberated Iraq after the transfer of sovereignty:

Former exile Iyad Allawi has been chosen to head an interim Iraqi government after sovereignty is handed back on 30 June. Mr Allawi – a Shia Muslim – was endorsed unanimously by the Governing Council, member Mahmoud Othman said.
An aide to Mr Allawi said his nomination had been approved by UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi – who is charged with putting together a new government. He will lead the administration until direct elections scheduled for 2005.

The unanimity displayed by the council gives the hope of a smooth and politically viable transfer to civilian authority. Mr. Allawi’s Shi’a background will allay fears of continued Sunni domination, especially after the dissatisfying resolution of the crisis in Fallujah, at least from the Shi’ite perspective. While I would have preferred to see a Kurd in this leadership post to keep the Kurds from pushing for either autonomy or outright independence, it appears Allawi has at least nominal Kurdish support, as well as broad-based secular support amongst all factions, as reported by the Washington Post. The Post also notes that Allawi had been a rival to Ahmed Chalabi, who’s mysteriously been dropped from the list of American favorites:

Allawi heads the Iraqi National Accord, an exile group supported for years by the CIA. The INA was a rival to the Iraqi National Congress, headed by Ahmad Chalabi, who was the Pentagon’s favorite exile.

Allawi had more involvement on the ground against Saddam Hussein, as the Post also notes. He led the CIA-backd, mid-90s coup conspiracy against Hussein that the IIS eventually penetrated, killing most of those involved. Allawi himself had been the target of an assassination attempt. His anti-Ba’athist credentials, in other words, are impeccable. Hopefully, the same will be said for his skills in translating his broad-based coalition into a viable democratic government.

Right Wing News: CQ ‘Website Of The Day’

John Hawkins’ excellent web site, Right Wing News, is a must-read for conservatives and libertarians on the internet. John has great links, terrific posts, and uses a lot of humor to score points off the left. I discovered this morning that John has made Captain’s Quarters the RWN Website of the Day! Thanks, John, and I hope that all your readers enjoy their visit today. If you like what you see, be sure to blogroll or bookmark CQ and come back often!

Kerry: Looking Backwards On Security

John Kerry talks about strengthening security and fighting terrorists, saying earlier this week that those who plan to attack us should understand that he would hunt them down and kill them, if he became president. However, The New York Times reports today that the foreign policy/national security team he has assembled for his campaign represents a flashback to eight years of the so-called “law-enforcement approach” that culminated in the 9/11 attack:

Seated in leather swivel chairs in the glass-walled conference room at Senator John Kerry’s Washington campaign headquarters two Fridays ago was a veritable reunion of President Bill Clinton’s national security team: Madeleine K. Albright, Samuel R. Berger, William J. Perry and Gen. John M. Shalikashvili. Richard C. Holbrooke joined his former colleagues via conference call from Tokyo. …
Besides the Clintonites and Mr. Biden, those in the loop or on its fringe include former Senator Gary Hart, who ran for president largely on a foreign policy platform in 1984 and 1988; Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations; and James P. Rubin, Ms. Albright’s former aide, who just moved from London to join Mr. Kerry’s staff and is traveling with him this week.
These deans of the Democratic foreign policy establishment have been corralled into a coordinated chorus of television appearances in recent days to speak in Mr. Kerry’s stead about President Bush’s prosecution of the war in Iraq.

The Times focuses on the involvement of Senator Joe Biden, a crank of the first order who uses his glasses to make him look professorial while on television, and uses the speeches of British politicians to make him sound intelligent. Biden’s involvement indicates that Kerry would be likely to tap the Delaware senator for an important post, probably Secretary of Defense. John McCain has been mentioned (and mentioned and mentioned and mentioned) for this post in a Kerry administration, but I don’t see John McCain mentioned as a member of this brain trust. All indications are that Kerry will bring in the crew from the last administration for his national-security team.
What does that mean for American foreign policy? Take a look back over the past decade, where the US sent a consistent message of cluelessness and lack of resolve. First and foremost, our response to numerous terrorist provocations showed that we refused to take them seriously, starting with the initial World Trade Center attack in 1993. A string of terrorist attacks on US assets followed during the Clinton administration — Khobar Towers, which killed 19; the African embassy bombings, which killed over 200 people, mostly native Muslims; and finally the October 2000 USS Cole attack, which killed 17 sailors and to which this team never bothered to respond. (Laughably, the 9/11 Commission blamed the Bush administration for this lack of response, even though it took office more than three months after the attack.)
The cumulative response for these declarations of war were a series of arrests and four missile strikes, two in Afghanistan and two in North Africa to take out a pharmaceutical factory that supposedly produced chemical-weapons precursors. No strategic plan was ever implemented to kill those who had declared war on the US; the only plan was a tepid tit-for-tat response to individual attacks.
Nor did the Clinton team impress anyone with its foreign policy achievements. While the twelve-year Iraq quagmire started with the first President Bush’s refusal to march on Baghdad while the road was open, the Clinton team ignored provocation after provocation, again demonstrating a lack of American will. Iraq regularly fixed targeting radar on our fighters enforcing the no-fly zone and on several occasions fired missiles at them, which not only violated the cease-fire agreements but on its own constituted an act of war. Saddam sent a team of Iraqis to assassinate former President Bush during Clinton’s first term by Clinton’s own admission, another act of war, and what response did we give? We dropped a few bombs on Baghdad, which did nothing to free the Iraqi people from Saddam’s grip and only demonstrated (again) that we had no stomach to respond to acts of war. Clinton pushed for, and got, a Congressional act that made regime change our national policy, and promptly did nothing about it. The only other action he ever took against Iraq was another few nights of bombing suspected WMD sites in Baghdad when Saddam kicked out the weapons inspectors in 1998, again a violation of the cease-fire agreement as well as a dozen UNSC resolutions.
What did this team actually do? They allowed Jimmy Carter to eat their lunch on North Korea, for one, which gave Kim Jong-Il enough time to actually develop a handful of nukes when they could have stopped him in 1994. The Clinton team also managed to involve us in the centuries-old civil war in the Balkans by dropping bombs on Yugoslavia, despite the lack of any American interest in the conflict, and without the UN approval that they scream about regarding Iraq. They talk about the supposed “quagmire” of Iraq while ignoring the upcoming ten-year anniversary of our continued involvement in the Balkans, where we remain to this day without any idea how to remove ourselves, and where people continue to kill each other over ethnic and religious differences.
Of course, Slobodan Milosevic engaged in genocidal “ethnic cleansing” — but so did the Rwandans, and we didn’t lift a finger to stop that, and a whole lot more Rwandans were being slaughtered than Bosnians or Kosovars. For that matter, so did Saddam Hussein. He put at least 300,000 Iraqis, mostly Shi’a, in mass graves, used chemical weapons to kill and terrify the Kurds, and drained the marshes of the Euphrates in order to wipe out the Marsh Arabs. Why didn’t these people deserve protection like the Europeans in the Balkans? Don’t “brown” people deserve protection from genocide, as long as that’s the excuse we’re using in the Balkans?
Kerry promises a forward-looking foreign policy, but he’s signed up with the people who demonstrate nothing except the fecklessness of the past. This is one reunion show that we don’t need in prime time.

Another Roll Of The Dice, In Najaf This Time

The CPA and the Bush administration rolled the dice again today, reaching a negotiated settlement with radical Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Under the agreement, the Americans and al-Sadr’s al-Mahdi army will both pull back from Najaf as well as Kufa and allow Iraqi civilian authority to once again take control of the cities:

American forces and guerrillas loyal to the radical cleric Moktada al-Sadr agreed today to pull back from the holy Shiite city of Najaf, in a deal that signaled the end of a seven-week-old stand-off that has left hundreds of Iraqis dead.
The agreement, hammered out between Mr. Sadr and Iraqi leaders and approved by the Americans, calls for the Mahdi Army, whose fighters have held the city since April 5, to put away their guns and go home, and for the American forces to pull most of their forces out of the city. Under the agreement, the Americans can maintain a handful of posts inside the city and may still run patrols through the city center.
The deal also applies to the nearby city of Kufa, the site of Mr. Sadr’s mosque.

What did the CPA trade for peace? The warrant on al-Sadr. The CPA agreed to spike al-Sadr’s arrest warrant and allow the Iraqis to deal with the murder of a rival, more moderate cleric in Baghdad shortly after its fall. The agreement also allows the Shi’a to guard their holy shrines but maintains a mostly-disarmed al-Mahdi army as a potential problem, but one for the Iraqis to handle after the transfer of sovereignty.
Is this a smart trade? Possibly. Unlike Fallujah, where the insurgents were mostly of the Sunni minority, the Shi’a comprise the most significant factional block, especially important in an Iraq with a representative government. While al-Sadr never sparked Shi’a loyalty — his followers were small in number and not particularly bright — his close proximity to the holy shrines made a lot of Shi’a in Iraq and elsewhere extremely nervous. And like it or not, these are the people with whom we must build relationships if we want to succeed in Iraq for the long term.
The agreement appears to me to be designed to save as much face on both sides as possible, and as the NY Times article indicates, has the fingerprints of Shi’ite imam al-Sistani all over it. Al-Sistani is hardly an ally of al-Sadr; in fact, the two are bitter rivals for Shi’a supremacy, and in that internecine political battle, al-Sistani provides the best hope for a reasonable relationship. In fact, he gave the CPA considerable political support in just keeping quiet about the effort to stamp out al-Sadr and his militia, even when the fighting began to drift near the shrines. However, al-Sistani threatened to pull his support if the Americans weren’t willing to compromise in order to end the fighting, and at this delicate stage, losing al-Sistani would be a mistake.
Also consider that in five weeks, the Iraqis have to be responsible for their own security, and even the Governing Council had been objecting to the continuing mission to kill or capture al-Sadr. At best, we had a month to go before the mission would be shut down by a sovereign Iraqi government and their security forces, which we have to support politically. In order to beat the deadline, it looks like we would have had to force our way into the mosques, and that would have changed the political landscape in a way that would make Abu Ghraib look like a Sunday picnic.
In this agreement, we defuse the immediate problem and reintroduce civilian authority to both cities, negating the “justice” system that started the problem in March. We wind up supporting the secular government and force the radical Islamists to retreat from their holiest towns; even though al-Sadr remains free, that result will not impress the faithful of his congregations. It also bolsters al-Sistani politically, and while we may later regret that, at this point he’s the better choice. It’s nowhere near as satisfying as seeing al-Sadr get perp-walked into American military custody, but that’s the nature of compromise.
In my opinion, we just improved the likelihood of a reasonable transition to Iraqi sovereignty by half. Let’s hope this gamble pays off.
UPDATE: This Washington Post story has more detail.

Hey, Juice, It’s All Going To Fred Anyway

Apparently upset that he no longer gets wall-to-wall TV coverage, O.J. Simpson has his lawyer shopping him around for TV and print interviews for the upcoming 10th anniversary of his wife’s brutal murder (via The Corner):

“It will be expensive,” [Star Magazine] quotes [attorney Yale]Galanter. “TV rights are going for $100,000. For print rights, between $20,000 and $25,000.”
Nothing if not classy, Galanter adds that O.J. might even be willing to do a photo shoot at the Brentwood crime scene and at Nicole’s grave site – if the price is right.
“It would have to be a multimillion-type deal,” Galanter says. A grave site photo would be “worth $500,000 … Our preference is a standard interview … but it’s just money.”

Simpson, of course, has a $33 million judgement against him from Fred Goldman, the father of the other victim of the slaying that mesmerized a nation and made Geraldo Rivera relevant again. O.J. lost the civil suit filed by the families of the victims after the jury allowed Johnny Cochran to talk them into a stupor. Not that he found it all that difficult, either, as books by Vincent Bugliosi (who prosecuted Charles Manson and his “Family”) and Daniel Petrocelli, Goldman’s lawyer, make clear. The prosecution, while well-intentioned, stumbled through this case from beginning to end, and they weren’t helped by the hopelessly camera-drunk Judge Lance Ito.
Now Simpson looks to generate some cash with which to pay off that judgement, although I suspect he intends to hold onto as much as he can, by cashing in on the corpses of his victims, and on national TV and media if he can do it. I doubt he’ll find many takers, though. The last time the Juice(r) sold an interview, it was with media behemoth BET. In a polarized society, one thing most of us finally agree on is that Simpson killed those two people and played the system to get off, and most people are profoundly uninterested in paying Simpson to hear more BS about his innocence. Besides, he’s supposed to get back to his unending search for the “real killers”, isn’t he?
As an Angeleno, I’m amazed that ten years has gone by; the murder occurred shortly after the First Mate and I were married. If you didn’t live in LA during the Simpson soap opera, you have no idea how insane life became during the trial. Not only did it seem that Simpson was the only thing on TV, it was the only thing we talked about for over a year. When Marcia Clark changed her haircut, it not only made for front-page news, people wrote editorials about it. In one way, I’m glad that blogging was non-existent back then or I may have gone completely insane. For an area that had just been torn apart by the King riots, the trials did little to soften the divide between the black and white communities, and because Ron Goldman and his family were Jewish, we experienced more anti-Semitic rhetoric in Los Angeles than I had ever heard, before or since cumulatively.
I don’t need to see Simpson again. The memories stay with me, and they’re far from pleasant.

Did Any Drive Home Afterwards?

The Democrats in the Minnesota State Legislature had quite a time in the closing hours of its last session, when they fired Cherie Pierson Yecke just to show their solidarity. Apparently, the DFL fortified themselves with more than just a healthy dose of partisanship, as local station KMSP found out when a news crew looked behind the scenes in the session’s final hours:

Late at night, in the closing days of the legislative session, lobbyists, state workers and even some lawmakers gathered in offices at the State Capitol to drink beer, wine and liquor, KMSP-TV reported Wednesday night. The station showed trash cans full of beer, wine and liquor bottles and suggested that at least some the alcohol of might have been provided by lobbyists. Lobbyists are not allowed to give gifts to legislators. …
KMSP said state policy forbids state workers from drinking on the job, even during rest breaks and overtime work.

Getting wasted on the taxpayer’s time — that’s the new DFL motto in Minnesota. KMSP found a number of lobbyists in DFL offices while the Senate debated issues like the new lowered threshold for drunk driving. While the Senate made driving drunk easier to prove, they failed to pass any laws making legislating drunk illegal. On the other hand, it explains why almost nothing of consequence passed during the Lost Weekend of the Minnesota Legislature — not a new bonding bill, not any steps to close the small $160 million gap in the state deficit, not even any headway on combating sexual predators.
But our esteemed Senators had plenty of time to party on, dude. In fact, the party starts at the top and works its way down:

The station said it also saw lobbyists, state workers and lawmakers drinking in the office of Senate President James Metzen, DFL-South St. Paul. KMSP said it never saw Metzen drinking, and that he did not respond to requests for comment, but Rep. Scott Wasiluk, DFL-Maplewood, came over to his office while the House was in a late-night session.
“I came to raid your whisky,” Wasiluk said.
“That’s what it’s there for,” Metzen replied.
The station showed Wasiluk back on the House floor for a vote on a health care issue, looking sleepy. It also showed him at another point misunderstanding what was taking place on the floor as he monitored the session on TV from Metzen’s office. Sleep expert Dr. Mark Mahowald said the combination of sleep deprivation and alcohol hurts decision-making ability.

What would we do without sleep experts? Perhaps next session, the good doctor could testify to that, along with the breaking news that drinking too much causes hangovers and that we should all take a shot whenever anyone says, “Hi, Bob!”
So what do our honorable representatives have to say for themselves? It’s all KMSP’s fault for catching them:

The station taped someone carrying a cooler into the office of Senate Majority Whip Linda Higgins. The Minneapolis DFLer was on the Senate floor at the time, in the final hours before adjournment, but several people were in her office drinking. KMSP said most of them were lobbyists. One lobbyist was sitting behind her desk, drinking a beer.
Higgins issued a written statement to KMSP saying it was unfortunate that its news team was “failing to focus on the dedication of members and staff who work round the clock … to pass important legislation.”

I’d say that the members and staff passed a lot that evening, but I’d hardly call it legislation. (Legislation in Minnesota usually resembles the product of another bodily function, as demonstrated by the drunken firing of Yecke.) Speaking of legislation, though, Rep. Wasiluk suggests a bill for the next session:

Wasiluk issued a statement to the station saying: “I sincerely apologize for my recent behavior. If the public feels additional laws should be passed to improve public confidence in the work of legislators, I would vote for it.”

Unfortunately, Minnesota already has laws against drinking on the job, as well as accepting gifts from lobbyists. Perhaps no one thought to make sure that the law covered both situations occuring simultaneously, but I’d guess that the Attorney General can work around that difficult situation, if he chooses. However, since our Attorney General happens to be the uberpartisan hack Mike Hatch (DFL, natch), I’d say that Norm, Cliff, and the rest of the gang from Cheers probably won’t get too much flack from the law.
The guys at Fraters Libertas, no strangers to the drink themselves, have a few pointed things to say about our Leshisslayyshure. The Elder gives it to them straight up:

I’ve been to enough conventions and election night affairs to know that most of the best political conversations and insights are shared over a cocktail. It’s all part of the game.
But not while you’re debating the pressing the issues of the day, discussing compromises, and casting votes. One of the yahoo legislators in this case was actually kicking back and drinking while voting was being conducted on the floor. As a representative you have a responsibility to your constitutes to perform your duties to the best of your abilities. You cannot allow your faculties and judgment to be impaired by alcohol .
The other disturbing aspect of this story was the fact that most of the drinking taking place in the legislative offices was being done by lobbyists. I usually tend to dismiss the claims that lobbyists run the government and they’re ruining democracy, blah, blah, blah, but the idea of a pack of cackling lobbyists sitting around and pounding wine coolers in the office of the Senate Majority Whip while she’s on the floor gives one pause. That’s just a little bit too cozy for my comfort.

Saint Paul, on the other hand, is reminded of a Seinfeld episode called The Red Dot, in which George is caught by his employer having sex with the cleaning woman in the office. The Saint has the transcript of the scene, but sets it up with this observation:

Actually it might not be such a bad idea to outlaw legislating while drunk. It seems only fair since the government has already outlawed the citizens from voting while drunk. Seems to me if we can’t ease the pain of Minnesota government by drinking ourselves numb, they shouldn’t be able to either.
Getting back to Wasiluk’s laughable reaction to the allegations, the parallels are striking with the Seinfeld episode where George gets confronted by his boss about having sex with the cleaning room at his office. (Yes, there is a direct reference to all significant human endeavors in either the Simpsons or Seinfeld). … Lord knows the DFL won’t take any substantive remedial action on Wasiluk. But here’s hoping the folks in his district in Maplewood have the same good sense as George’s boss, who responded to ridiculous excuses in the only appropriate manner:
Boss: You’re fired.

Now the DFL wants Governor Tim Pawlenty to call a special session in order to pass a bonding bill, which would allow them to add pork to the booze. Pawlenty should instead close down Animal House/Senate and consider some way to put Otter, Bluto, and the rest of the Senate boozehounds on double-secret probation. While he’s at it, he should check into a special prosecutor to look into all that free booze — and anything else — supplied by the lobbyists to the DFL.
UPDATE: Senate DFL leader Dean Johnson says this about a special session:

He continued to emphasize that any special session must be limited in its agenda and be only a few days long. “We’re not interested in spending our entire summer and fall here in St. Paul,” Johnson said.

No kidding. The detox expenses from a summer-long binge would be enormous.