26th January 2003


The US stock market is in the doldrums.  This is not just the result of oil shortages, caused by the unrest in Iraq and Venezuela, although those are contributory factors.  It is because the US economy is undergoing a predicted paradigm shift.  European stockmarkets are in the doldrums because of the heavy taxes used to support the government and bureaucrats.

In Australian newspapers the pending war with Iraq is viewed as Bush's war, and our PM is copping condemnation in the media.  One can sympathize with those elitists who insist on representative (rather than direct) democracy, wherein a government can, once elected, carry out it's planned invasions etc. despite the contrary wishes of the electorate.  The developing Iraq fiasco is of course due to bad leadership decisions.  Colin Powell insisted that Bush seek UN approval for the invasion.  Strategic error.  Bad move.

Powell recently identified Germany and France as "Old Europe".  That jibe hurt the French & the Germans because it is accurate.  I think it is time for a review of the permanent status of France (& the USSR and the UK) in the UN security council.  It does not seem morally right that those three rather small nations (in numeric & economic terms), that were appointed to such sensitive positions following their assistance in the victory over Germany & Japan in WWII, should now be in a position to block approval of prophylactic action against the new genocidal maniacs of this era, long after they have ceased to be world powers.

As things stand it is hard to see how Bush can recover the initiative.  He must either gainsay himself on UN approval, or lose the war before battle is joined.  Saddam has seen to it that no weapons of mass destruction will be discovered, that no weapons experts will be interviewed.  My guess is Bush will just have to tough it out.  The timetable for war is of course governed by the timing of the next USA presidential election.  From the way this is developing, Bush will want the war out of the way before June.

Once started, the Iraq invasion will of course be brought to a rapid and overwhelmingly successful conclusion.  The Iraqi government is little more than a gang of armed bandits impressing their will on a cowed & disorganized population.  It is unlikely that they could offer real resistance to properly supported professional soldiers.   Their WMD are a potential wild card, although the certainty of delivery is small.  Sooner or later, somebody is going to find & release a bug that wipes out a significant proportion of the world population.

There are reports that the US is preparing nuclear weapons to use against Iraq.  It is my guess that they are being readied against the eventuality that Iraq used WMD against the populations of neighbouring nations.  I believe that in those circumstances the use of bunker buster nukes would be justifiable.

- SQL Slammer -

The existence of internet worms such as SQL Slammer is evidence of the low quality of most system administrators.  I know it is obvious that the real brains go into software development, but you would think that sysadmins pulling more than $80,000 pa would know how to avoid most worms, even if they were silly enough (or required by their accountants) to use microsoft servers.  I mean, looking at my logs, I reckon most worms on microsoft servers could be avoided by the simple expedient of renaming the "\winnt" directory.