Monday, April 28, 2003

I've been so busy lately that I literally slept only 2 hours over the course of 66 hours, so blogging has fallen off the priority list. The sleep deprivation was a situation created by too much stuff to do on my schedule, and compounded by my piss poor time management skills - working a full time job and trying to take grad classes part time will do that. I hope to resume blogging on a regular basis some time in the near future though. To keep it brief though -

Saw X-Men 2 yesterday with friends and living-in-sin girlfriend - really enjoyable, great action and FX, although watching Wolverine (played by Hugh Jackman) tear up at the end was just silly. And just to make sure there is no confusion I was refering to tear up as in the shedding of a salty water based substance from your eyes, that thing that people with emotions do when they get sad or depressed, not as in tearing shit up. It's not gonna win an oscar or anything, and the dialog is alright, but the story line was pretty interesting and there were some damn funny lines.

With that said I didn't agree with everything the Chicago Reader had to say, but this line summed up some of the flaws I had with the movie -

The screenplay, by a five-man committee that included director Bryan Singer, gives more time to the mutant community's various powers. The demonstrations of the latter are well rendered and often quite funny, but they push this into the realm of the Saturday-matinee serial: whenever peril looms, some misfit kid's freak abilities are just the ticket to dispel it.

Yeah, that says it best; it sort of feels like an episode of a television soap apera, but I don't regret spending the money or seeing it in a crowded theatre on opening night in the least. Don't wait for the video, go see it in a theatre.

Friday, April 25, 2003

About a week or two ago I was watching This Week on ABC, and George Will made a statement that really rubbed me the wrong way. I guess that's not any different then a lot of what he says over time, but as far as conservatives go George Will is the only one I can stomach regurlarly and for long periods of time without wanting to puke. Hell, I even respect the guy on many levels.

His statement was so presumptious, egocentric and hard to believe, but he said (and I'm paraphrasing him here) that the reason Americans favored pulling out of Vietnam was that "the American people realized that the government wasn't commited to winning the war". You mean to tell me all those American soldiers coming back in body bags didn't have anything to do with it?

Recently I read all the mistakes previous administrations made in Vietnam. The things that botched Vietnam were made early on, stuff like placing an exile in charge who became corrupt as time went on. It's like no one has learned a damn thing - this time we're backing someone who is already corrupt instead of waiting for politics to turn him that way. This is what happens when you have a President and important staffers who don't trust people who read books. Welcome to Hell;

From the essential reading article in Slate - The Other Vietnam Syndrome - What went wrong in Saigon, and how it could happen again in Iraq. By Catharin Dalpino.

Following the 1954 Geneva Conference, which partitioned Vietnam, Washington found few political allies in Saigon. So the United States promoted Ngo Dinh Diem, an exiled Catholic politician, who returned to become South Vietnam's head of state. Virtually unknown in Vietnam, Diem had spent several years in the United States and was dubbed both the "new George Washington" and the "Churchill of Asia" by President Eisenhower. He proved to be neither. With no real constituency or grass-roots support, Diem became increasingly corrupt and oppressive while publicly shunning Western democratic mores. He was murdered in a 1963 coup that had been blessed beforehand by the United States.


Creating the illusion of democracy. From the beginning, U.S. policy in South Vietnam was a conflict between realpolitik and democratic ideals. For the Johnson administration, the solution was to legitimize Washington's choice of a leader after the fact with elections. But in the "demonstration elections" of 1967, the designated favorite, Nguyen Van Thieu, won a plurality of only 35 percent. The runner-up, Truong Dinh Dan, had promised to support a cease-fire with the North. Shortly after the elections, Thieu threw him in jail, sparking anti-government demonstrations in Saigon that nearly turned into riots.

In Iraq, early indications cast some doubt on Washington's insistence that Iraqis will choose their own leaders. The 75 officials invited to attend last week's conference on a new government were handpicked by the American military, on the basis of their cooperation with the United States rather than their political relevance or resonance.

Americans make poor imperialists because we are uncomfortable in the role and seek the most expedient path out of it. With the scant 18-month time frame the administration has allowed for political reconstruction in Iraq, if that, we run a high risk of repeating past mistakes. That possibility is even greater if we attempt to direct Iraqi political development alone. For Iraq's sake, and our own, the time has come to bring in the international community.

Monday, April 21, 2003

Well I'm not really surprised by this news story about how Bush administration has ceased fighting China's human rights abuse record, but it does serve as a reminder as well as provides even more proof that nobody in this administration gives a fuck about human rights, geneva convention violations, and all those grab bag justifications the White House threw out in press conferences when trying to bring the country into the war camp prior to the campaign in Iraq. This is especially true when your nation is making half the flags that so many are buying in support of our troops. The irony is so thick you could cut it with a knife.

What was it, 21 months ago, that the whole GOP was going thru a collective schizoid embelism? It just couldn't decide which core base impulse it would go with - the GOP's love of a good war, or at least showing some military force, nationalism by showing whose boss OR the GOP's love of money, "free" markets and corporations by kowtowing to the Chinese government because of all the manufacturing jobs American companies have moved there.

If you listened really closely you could almost hear the schizophrenic collect minds of the entire GOP go back and forth inside it's collective head - "Should we Bomb the Chinks* or Protect my investment!". The big decision was whether to sell the military AEGIS technology to Taiwan, or to sell the Taiwianese down the river so there would be no interruption in the flow of cheap shit that Wal Mart sells. In the end money almost always wins out, as it did in this case. It's only a matter of time before all those other human rights concerns the White House claims to have are all eventually sold out for the lure of "free trade" (a.k.a. cheap labor). If Castro dropped dead tomorrow, and his successor had identical (or even harsher) repressive human rights policies, 50 bucks says that all that anti Communist bullshit coming from the Castro haters in Congress would melt faster than an ice cube in hell. American Agribusiness would be selling their produce to Cuba in a heartbeat. Well, if the registered Republican Cubans in Florida don't throw a hissy fit anyway....

I guess China is pretty much ancient history now though. There were a lot of reasons to oppose the war, but the most persuasive for me anyway, was that nobody in the White House can be trusted to make good on promises of rebuilding and democracy and human rights. That justification has been forgotten in the thrill of victory the Administration is enjoying. The press barely puts up a fight for fear of having their press passes revoked.

In many ways 9.11 was the perfect distraction for the White House in regards to the fiasco in July 2001 with China. It showed one of the slowly emerging but deeply rooted splits that are coming to the surface. When Democrats have a split it usually isn't this deep. The Dems are made up of a slew of little groups all looking ourt for their own interest - Environmental Activists, Pro Choice / Women's Rights groups, Minorities, Gays & Lesbians, Unions, Public Employees, Lawyers, Consumer Advocates, conflicted with elected officials trying to appease the business owners back home in their district/state. Clinton couldn't pass any legislation to increase fuel efficiency because of all the Democrats in Michigan that would never allow it. When there's a problem there is a lot of hand wringing witht the Dems, and they try to hold onto as many of those groups as possible when seeking a solution. Sometimes it works - sometimes it's a "too many chefs spoil the broth" scenario.

Not so with the GOP - the Republicans are pretty much two core groups - The Religious Right / Nationalists (there goals generally speaking are the same even if they aren't exactly the same thing) and Pro Business / Pro Corporate / Anti anything Legislation that makes it harder to make money by the prefered MO, which is "by any means necessary". It's rare that these cracks emerge but they do from time to time. I fear that the Dems won't be taking control until one of these cracks show up again. Since LBJ left the White House, their success on a national stage typically comes when the GOP botch things badly. Nixon's resignation over Watergate, or Bush Sr. economic downturn right after his incredibly high approval ratings. Of course it might be meaningless if and when the Dems have some more success, mainly because of how greatly they have compromised their own supposed historic values. It's sad - even if the Dems do take over the difference won't be all that much. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.......

*please don't be offended by the racial slur, it's meant merely to illustrate the mindset of some of the older prevailing attitudes within the GOP, who are typically anti-immigrant anti foreigner racist views held by some. I have more than a few Asian friends and wouldn't want to hurt anybody.

Of course since my readership in the past few weeks has taken a nose dive, so no one is gonna see it anyway, right? Anybody?

Sunday, April 20, 2003

I've had a lot on my mind but I''ve had trouble deciding what to blog about. While I'm mulling all the awful stuff going on the world, enjoy this little gem. I saw it on Chasbah and had to "borrow" it. Enjoy!

Sums It Up, Really.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Taken from The State of the Union Address way back in January - seems like ancient history now doesn't it?

The United Nations concluded in 1999 that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax -- enough doses to kill several million people. He hasn't accounted for that material. He's given no evidence that he has destroyed it.

The United Nations concluded that Saddam Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin -- enough to subject millions of people to death by respiratory failure. He hadn't accounted for that material. He's given no evidence that he has destroyed it.

Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent. In such quantities, these chemical agents could also kill untold thousands. He's not accounted for these materials. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed them.

25,000 liters of anthrax
38,000 liters of botulinum toxin
500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent

You'd think that with these atronomical numbers that the military would have found something, anything by now. Well, at least the Oil Ministry is safe!

(The whole post was inspired by Joe Conason's most recent journal post on Salon.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

GOP, Teamsters join forces on environment

This isn't really new news, since the Teamsters decided to back Dubya almost two years ago during the energy crisis. This item may be an attempt to by Salon to prod people into action, but in reality it's just depressing the hell out of me, and it is a sad reminder. It ain't easy being a Democrat. Oh well might as well wathc The Daily Show and or Kaiju to cheer you up!

Friday, April 11, 2003

I said something a while ago that translated roughly into the root causes of epic disasters today are usually because of terrible actions sometime 5,10, 20 years or more ago. I know, this iss not exactly the kind of insight that ranks up there with say, oh I don't know, e=(mc)2 or some sort of rocket science kind of statement. Of course the the past affects the present, any idiot can tell you that. Everything affects everything is a given, but I always liked that Japanese proverb of how the winds of a Typhoon are born in the fluttering wings of a butterfly. It's the whole idea that something far away and seemingly insignificant contributes to something catastrophic. I think a lot of people in this world have a tendency to have a disconnect between what happens now and why it is happening. It's just my impression, but it just seems like most people don't look back far enough, and they just accept reasoning behind terrible acts for something that they can see in front of them.

I've felt for a while now that the primary reasoning for 9.11 was the result of the first Gulf War. Most conservatives will refuse to accept that logic. They're all still nodding in agreement, saying things like “the terrorists hate our freedom and way of life" or "they don't respect women" or "they're just jealous of our prosperity, blah blah blah, God Bless America". At best they'll cite the hippies of the 60's and their "if it feels good do it" mantra as the real reasoning behind 9.11. I guess in their twisted logic it is the cause of our lax immigration policies and an effort to put forward multiculturalism, they are the real culprits for 9.11. Most are still thinking about those San Fransisco Democrat liberal Parent of the drugged up punk turn Taliban fighter John Walker Lind. They need not go any further down that intellectual pathway. The same could be said of the liberals who looked at what happened after 9.11 and blamed it on poverty - even though the people who commited those acts were all educated and, at bare minimum, grew up accustomed to a lifestyle better than most of us. And of course the billionaire religious fanatic who was behind it all.

How do these things lend themselves to religious fundamentalism and suicidal wagers of jihad? I'd rather not go down that road, it'll take too long, so I’ll save that post for another day, but there are many examples that lend credence to this little tidbit - Not just in relationship to 9.11 but all kinds of political messes we've gotten ourselves into.

Another example would be this news article from the Times of India which I came across via Salon (they've been putting together a smattering of world news views into a single page since the start of the war). The article cites the reasoning for the current bloodshed in Iraq is due to the casual and cold way the British Empire cut up it's former colonies. The lag time is much longer on this one, but still it fits;

Whether it is the continuing ugly massacres in Kashmir or this dreadful war in Iraq, the truth is that far too many of the trouble spots in the world are the consequence of the frontiers created ad hoc by Britain's wicked old imperialism and the legacy of its divide and quit policy.


There certainly were Muslim losers in Palestine and elsewhere, but the big losers were the many people of the other creeds and those who believed in modernity and transcended tribalism. It is the same in today's India where amidst the fanaticism of the Hindu nationalists and the Muslim terrorists, the losers are the ordinary people who want to get on with their lives. This unhappy British colonial legacy not only holds lessons for imperial America in Iraq -- when its time comes to quit it ought not to botch things -- but it is a reminder to all of us on the sub-continent that our borders emerged from scornful bureaucratic pens, and deserve to be treated with similar contempt.

Well, the more I look around the more I wonder if this idea is losing creedence in our modern day and age because the lag time of at least 10 years is shortening up in a hurry. Maybe it's technology? Maybe it's that world leaders are learning quickly from Dubya's unprecedented action thanks to media overexposure? I guess the real Bush doctrine of political strategy is spreading like wildfire - Figure out what you want to do and then find an excuse to do it. I realize everything affects everything, but still I don't think you'd be reading headline like this had it not been for the introduction of the Bush Doctrine of Pre-emption.

Indian defense minister joins Pakistan pre-emptive strike chorus

We were warned what this bullshit about pre-emption would mean. It's like the NeoCons couldn't get enough of it, citing Bush's genius in his creation of this fantastis new idea, what a concept! He probably wasn't even sharp enough to come up with the idea by himself anyway, it was probably came into David Frum's head while he was beating off in the bathroom of the Oval Office while writing the "Axis of Evil" speech. Bush mouthed though and they all went gaga over him.

I was wrong about some of my predictions for Gulf War II, at least the ones that can be proven false now, although this is clearly not over. I just hope the crazy shit that is going thru my mind on this new issue is way, way off. But if I'm not, you can all thank the President and all the NeoCon Yes men that surround him, with their completely arrogant, utterly inept and completely oblivious egocentric America first view of the world, for legitimizing this incredibly stupid, absolutely awful, and downright scary idea.

I never liked the idea of this war, but even the way they got to this point was just so absurd and wrong, if you were paying attention, which most of America isn't. If you were paying attention, the shifting reasoning to validate the war exposed the NeoCons for what they were - they wanted a war and didn't care how they were gonna get it. The revolving door of justifications for this unjust act was a way to get as many doubters on board before they made a go of it. Had they just stuck to the fact that Iraq was in violation of the treaty that Saddam signed after the first Gulf War we might not be reading about world political leaders looking into this whole pre-emption thing.

Mikey Kaus had been blogging / dogging Senators like Kerry and Edwards before the war for the fact that they had voted to give the President the authority to wage this war and yet they blasted Dubya for the way he's handled thing. He's also harangued the editorial staffs of The New York Times and the Washington Post for also supporting the action but criticizing Dubya. I think he dubbed them all as "He's Blowing it" Hawks. This whole issue about this one argument for the war may sound petty, but it really isn't. It’s not just about the war, but how Dubya went about it.

I guess this isn't any different from any of the other bills the White House passed though. Just think of the initial tax cut. First it was about returning the surplus to the taxpayers so "big government couldn't spend it irresponsibly". Then, as we started to enter an economic slowdown, so it was a way to "get the economy moving again, by giving Americans pocket money to go shopping!" And when the energy crisis in the summer of 2001, it was a way to give money back to taxpayers so they could pay those high cooling bills and fill their SUVs.

When it comes to reasoning, why should a war be any different? Why should any action taken by this President by any different? The message from the White House since day one has been consistent on all issue, if you read between the lines: We want it - We don't care what the after effects are - We don't care about the liberal media questioning details about how or why - We're gonna have way whether you like it or not, so you might as well like it. Hell, even the election fits neatly in that train of thought.

Pre-emption - This is just not what democracy is supposed to do. I actually had feared that the leadership in China might start to cite the pre-emption doctrine as an excuse to do something like this to Taiwan. What moral ground will we have to stand on then to prevent that from happening? Leaders of the world will be putting fear into their populace in an attempt to generate support for fighting an enemy that has yet to strike, but will inevitably do so, and therefore we must act first to prevent it. Maybe it's the worry wart liberal in me, but God help us all if this comes to fruition and becomes standard practice on the world stage.

To wrap this up, I was really struck by what ultra deb's (of rant o rama) most recent post had, a quote from Julius Caesar. I think it applies very well here -

"Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar."
-- Julius Caesar

Well, hope we're all here tomorrow - if you are you can check out this great editorial in the Guardian of the UK, in response to the gloating warmongers, still salivating over the taste of victory.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

I've been wanting to blog recently, but haven't had the time to say all I want to say without sounding like a blithering idiot. And since at least a hundred good writers out there are voicing most of what I've been thinking, better off I just keep it simple and quote a few others.

One of the reasons I had opposed the war was I had feared we were going to bring home at least 1000 dead American soldiers. I thought Baghdad would become urban warfare hell filled with snipers and Baath Party Loyalists. I thought innocent Iraqi civilians that would be happy to be out from under the thumb of Saddam being caught in the cross fire as well. I am very pleased to say that I was dead wrong. Of course even Rummy will tell you that this isn't over, but it's hard not to feel just a little relieved that for all the things I was hearing in the media, that there were far more people that were happy to see Allied troops that I thought there would be, and the Iraqi civilians who had said that they had bought guns days before the conflict began were going to fight rather than welcome allied forces. And while the US media tends to focus way too much on the good stuff like soldiers being greeted by Iraqis with flowers and and ignore the uglier underside of things like civilian casualties, I think it's a mistake for some of the anti war activists to undermine just how powerful it was to see Iraqis batting the statue of Saddam with their shoes.

Yet another reason I was against the war was the cost, monetarily but also in lives. There are countless dead, but since hardly anyone seems to care about anyone else than US service men and women I don't think anyone who favored the war will think twice about doing this again, and that scares me. Last time I checked there were 101 dead American soldiers, at least 23 dead British troops, and countless injured. Coincidentally 101 is about the maximum quantity of seconds while watching TV that could pass without seeing another story about Private Lynch. Please don't get me wrong, I am thrilled that she is safe now and the story of how she was rescued by an Iraqi lawyer who spotted her in a hospital is amazing, but enough already. How many f#$#%@ing people that knew Kelly Lynch back in high school or grade school are the shitty excuse for television media going to interview till this story dies. And of course they'll make a TV movie out of it. Don't you think even she's sick of it?

Since no one in the media, in this country anyway, seems to care all that much about the people we were supposedly liberating unless they are shown celebrating the arrival US and British Soldiers, over a thousand dead Iraqi civilians and countess injured including this heartbreaking and horrifying story (don't click it if you have a weak stomach) I hope that the freedom Iraqis will hopefully have in the future was worth it to all the Iraqis that lost loved ones.

I'm still waiting for Saddam to launch one of his attacks. This was the primary reason Dubya had so much support even from people who are, how shall we say this, casually liberal like my mom; the fear that one day Saddam would hand over a portion of the tons of WMD that Saddam had hiding in bunkers, and hand them over or sell them to terrorists who would in turn commit another atrocity like 9.11. And we had to hurry cause Saddam was just weeks from having nuclear weapons. We've had some of the war bloggers briefly ecstatic over the allied forces coming across some gunpowder and pesticide. Looks like Scott Ritter was right on target, Iraq hasn't got much of anything in the way of WMD. Even I thought that somewhere Saddam had something and that while backed against a wall he would use them. For him to go out like this without a whimper is a real surprise to me. Another thing I was wrong about, although score one for the anti war liberals... sort of a hollow victory though. I certainly didn't want to be right about Saddam using WMD.

Oddly enough this past weekend while listening to WZRD, a recording of Noam Chomsky, the lefty that all righties absolutely looooove to hate, actually said Saddam was in fact a real threat. Imagine that, Chomsky actually validating something that the Bush administration has been saying. I guess the threat wasn't as great as many thought, even Chomsky. Of course that depends on who you ask - a Kurd or a Shiite Muslim certainly still had much to fear, but the western world?

Chomsky also of course sighted the hypocrisy of the US, deservedly so, and it's claims about Saddam violating human rights and the Geneva Convention when he gassed his own people, and the harping of that issue by Dubya and Co whenever they could to justify this war with the fact that Saddam gassed his own people. While is is true that Saddam gassed his own, guess which country tried to veto a UN Resolution to condemn Saddam after he committed this atrocious act? Saint Ronnie, that's who. Reagan even tried to pin it on Iran immediately afterwards, although at some point the Gipper backed off and, to my knowledge, Congress actually passed some kind of statement about the Basra tradgedy, and Saddam being sorta kinda wrong to go all gas and kill all those people.

But even after that episode, Reagan, Bush and all the kings horses and all the kings men, which include Cheney and Rummy and others within the current Administation, contiued to provide aid to Saddam right up until he invaded Kuwait. I dont have the stats, but according to Chomsky the US, along with other European countries like Britian, gave Iraq some sort of humanitarian aid afterwards because after gassing Basra they had a little diffculty growing crops on the lands near that area, big surprise. I dont think that the people of Basra ever saw any of that aid. Here's som information on that matter taken from this site;

When the war ended, American money didn't. The Bush administration provided Iraq $4 billion that the CIA knew was being used to buy more weapons. Saddam was mostly killing more Kurds. Fine by us.

Bob Dole even went to Iraq and met Saddam personally, hoping to cut deals for Bob Dole's oil puppeteers. Bob Dole came home praising Saddam -- killer of over 100,000 of his own people -- as "a leader to whom the United States can talk."

The Import/Export bank even financed Saddam's purchase of weaponry, so the American taxpayer could help fund Saddam's acquisition of WMD. We never got that money back because of what was to follow. Nobody during the Reagan or the first Bush Administration gave a shit about human rights when Saddam was doing pretty much what he has been doing his whole life until our cheap oil supply was threatened. And not too many a head rolled when the GOP violated one of the only things they idealogically stand united on, which is being against wastefull spending. We gave money to a dictator so he could purchase weapons to kill his own people. Get your head around that one. Every conservative will site just how evil communism is by refering to the acts of the Maos, Stalins, and Lenins of the world and all the people they killed. These same hypocritical assholes gleefully fleeced the American taxpayer to line the coffers of all the generous GOP contributors - Oil , Chemical and Defense Corporations - so a dictator that sold us cheap oil could do the same thing. All hypocrites. I guess the difference between communism and capitalism is with the commies you kill the people yourself, in capitalism you pay someone else to do it, or maybe you just fund the massacre.

It is interesting though to hear though that Chomsky didn't just criticize the US - he pretty much laid waste to much of Europe and all of Saddam's coddlers, and how they too abandoned the innocent Iraqis that suffered at the hands of Saddam. That's including the French, for all the credit that so many anti war activists seem to heap praise on. One thing that I'm reminded of thru this whole disaster is that every government has at least a little blood on their hands and a few skeletons in their closet, even those supposedly "liberal" semi socialist nations that were going to veto the new resolution at the UN back in March. Chomsky a French basher? Who woudda thunk it, NeoCons take note.

I've seen some imagery of the Iraqi citizens who have suffered immeasurably at the hands of Saddam happy to liberated, although leery of what the US brings. Watching countless innocent Iraqis lose live and limb, house and home, and god knows what else, suffering for what really was when you think about it the only true airtight reasoning behind this war, which is the less than complete and total cooperation Iraq gave to UN in the re-admittance of weapon inspectors. As far as I'm concerned that's a little like giving a shoplifter the death penalty, but hey, the President is from Texas so for all we know maybe they do that down there.

And while part of me dislikes myself for even thinking this thought, there are over 3000 Iraqi Republican Guard officers dead according to Rummy. It is hard, even for me, to empathize and feel sorry for the death of people who helped prop up a murderous dictator and carried out his destructive will, but is it so hard to imagine that they too had families, a wife and children perhaps? Who is going to take care of them?

Even thru all of this, I find myself in agreement with much of Paul Berman had to say in a recent Salon interview, even if I disagreed with his stance on the war. He's one of those pro war liberals. I found myself occasionally swayed by arguments made by the war liberals, until I remembered that I don't trust Bush, or should I say the people that he hired to run this Administration; Cheney, Rummy, Perle, and the rest. I don't believe in pacifism, and I can't even say I would have opposed this war under any and all circumstances. I just don't trust those guys, plain and simple. Listening to Berman being interviewed in this Salon article by Suzy Hansen puts things in perspective;

SH: Certainly, today, at least, is a victory for the Bush administration.

PB: I guess that's right. I don't give a damn about that. What's important about today is the overthrow of this horrible tyrant. People on the American left should get over their obsessions with the horrible Bush in order to be able to recognize the grandeur of the moment. Just because the horrible Bush's father was president in 1989 did not mean that the revolutions of 1989 were horrible. They were great. The overthrow of Saddam is a great accomplishment.


SH: But at what point does it become an occupation?

PB: You mean, how does it become its opposite? It's true that it can turn into its opposite. We ought to keep an eye on Halliburton and the Bechtel Corp. and the other American pirates whose interests are not those of the U.S. or those of Iraq. That's a danger. Somehow the U.S. was able to avoid that in Germany in the 1940s. (emphasis mine)


SH: So to get back to the left, what's the big issue here?

PB: The big issue is to make sure that the efforts on behalf of Iraqi liberalism and a new Iraqi society will be ambitious enough, well-funded enough and include enough of the institutions of American life. We can't count on Bush to do it right. He's had a pathetic record on all this. He's not been helped by people on the left, which has only worsened the problem

That is one the major reasons why I opposed this war. I didn't trust Bush to follow thru on doing everything possible to rebuild Iraq (I still don't) - or shall I say I didn't count on Bush to see to it that the rebuilding of Iraq is done humanely and equally, as in sending the 15 Billion we were promising for strictly rebuilding Iraq's oil wells while it's poorest citizens starve or die of dysentery. I hope I'm wrong. I do have more faith in Tony Blair though. I heard a commentator say that now is payback time for Blair for back Bush based on the mess that preceeded Gulf War II and the UN Debacle with the European Union. Let's hope PM Blair uses this political collateral and makes sure the White House directs our rebuilding efforts in the right way. It won't be perfect, but I think PM Blair will be smart enough to keep Iraq looking anything like Cuba did after we "liberated" the Cubanos after the Spanish American War. If the pirates at 1600 Penn Ave in DC have their totally unobstructed way I truly fear what is to come

As far as my ideological beliefs and attempting to rectify them with this incredibly swift outcome, and considering the fact that about two weeks ago I was feeling sick to my stomach when reading Suburban Limbo, Get Donkey and hearing criticism from within the Armed Forces, seeing the POWS, this might sums it up best;

PB: We ought to remember that in terms of the left -- in regard to the European Recovery Act and the Marshall Plan -- the American left split. Some people opposed all that -- the people who had been associated with Henry Wallace, who was the [Ralph] Nader of his day, and people who were on the Communist Party side of things. But the socialist democrats and the liberal left was for all that. And we ought to be able to look at that split and realize some were wrong. We want more engagement from the U.S.

Mark Brown of the Sun Times' most recent column also does a good job of summing up the split within the liberal mindset of many that opposed the war.

Like most everybody else, I was happy to see Iraqi people celebrating their newfound freedom from Saddam's oppression, and I was relieved to see some of our soldiers at least temporarily out of harm's way.

But I was troubled by the realization that this partial outcome, never really in doubt in my mind, will now be viewed as justification for our military aggression while the more complicated challenges of establishing a truly free and peaceful society in Iraq still lie before us.


I hope this is the beginning of a great new era for Iraq and the Middle East. I hope that the rest of the Iraqi army lays down its arms before another American or British soldier, or any more Iraqis, are killed.

I also hope President Bush doesn't think Syria or Iran are the next stops on the regime-change express.

That's it for now - I gotta go.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

There are countless dead, almost a hundred dead American soldiers, at least 23 dead British troops, countless injured, and, oh yeah I almost forgot since no one seems to care about the people were supposedly liberating, over a thousand dead Iraqi civilians. I'm still waiting for Saddam to launch one of his attacks. We've had some of the war bloggers breifly ecstatic over the allied forces coming across some gunpowder and pesticide.....

It may seem irrelevant now, because we are so close to the end. Upon seeing some of the images of what has happened in the past few weeks it is easy I don't know what to make of it. What the hell is this world coming to? Have we lost our humanity? How many assholes out there are like the ones that populate sites like Little Green Footballs? Are the the ones that will keep Bush in the White House?

If this war is considered such a success, then what do we have to look forward to? North Korea? Iran? Syria? Saudi Arabia? France? Is this what the people of the nation I care about so deeply truly want, a never ending war against all that will obliterate all oppostion to America and unlimited supply of natural resources, namely Oil?

Daily KOS saddest entry - Monday April 07, 2003

Hutton and Kagan bash it out on Frontline Site

Feed the Fish

Friday, April 04, 2003

I love harping on this mainly because it's been so poorly publicized, but check this transcription from Greg Palast via the BBC;

I received a phone call from a high-placed member of a US intelligence agency. He tells me that while there's always been constraints on investigating Saudis, under George Bush it's gotten much worse. After the elections, the agencies were told to "back off" investigating the Bin Ladens and Saudi royals, and that angered agents. I'm told that since September 11th the policy has been reversed. FBI headquarters told us they could not comment on our findings. A spokesman said: "There are lots of things that only the intelligence community knows and that no-one else ought to know.

I'm really glad I read this most recent article in Salon by Joan Walsh - yet again you need Premium. I'll post the more interesting parts later. I can't say agree with every last comment, but the split liberal sensibility of it is something I can appreciate. Does agreeing with her make me ineligble for

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Here's a really wacky question -

If this war isn't about oil, then why it so easy to find the money for funding the reconstruction of Iraq, and yet it is so difficult to get the White House and GOP to cough up dough for Afghanistan? Just thought I'd put that out there.