You loaded it, you might as well read it

April 18, 2003


One of the problems of working late hours is that it leaves me in no mood to work on the site in the evening, my normal update period. (There’s no reason I couldn’t add posts during the day. I just don’t.) But you don’t want to hear about that… so far as I know.

Anyway, here’s some interesting stuff:

Incidentally, that last bullet item contains an example of HTML’s much-ignored q element, the inline counterpart for blockquote. It has a number of advantages over hard-coding quotation marks, the primary one (from my standpoint) being the ability to attach a cite attribute indicating where the quote came from. Unfortunately, most browsers don’t have very good support for it, which makes it difficult to use as you can’t be certain that your reader will see any indication that something is being quoted. But if you add hard-coded quotation marks, then people reading with good browsers will see two sets of quotation marks.

Current drafts of XHTML 2.0 replace q with a quote element that leaves the addition of quotation marks to the document author, either hard coded or added via style sheets. #

How declared is this war?

Responding to my earlier post about Iraq, Mitch Hagmaier writes:

This war was about as declared as wars get these days. Two congressional votes six months apart, and innumerable ultimatums, demands, and threats. Call it “illegal” if you insist (I don’t think it is, but the argument can be made), but undeclared is claptrap. Me, I’m happy about the progress made. The demise of fascist regimes is always a subject worthy of celebration, if you ask me. Sad for the folks caught between two fires, but you don’t put out fires with love and understanding. You use firehoses, pickaxes, and in the case of oil wells, explosives.

I understand the point, and I certainly am happy to see a terrible fascist regime fall, but it seems like there’s a difference between “declared” and “about as declared as wars get these days”. When we entered World War II, Congress issued a formal declaration that a state of war existed between the United States and Japan (and, later, Germany and Italy). I am not at all versed in these matters, but I can’t think of anything that counts as a similar declaration in our conflict against Iraq.

Why does this matter? Well, the Constitution reserves the power to declare war for the Congress. The power to issue ultimatums and send in the troops is less restricted (there’s the War Powers Act, enacted after our last major undeclared conflict, but that takes 30 days to kick in). If we’re going to stop formally declaring war, then maybe we need to rethink how this works. The framers of the Constitution had good reasons not to give war declaration to the Congress, and we shouldn’t abandon that without at least considering what we’re doing. #