Thursday Thirteen Ed. #50

by Steve, July 19th, 2006

meTime again for the Thursday Thirteen. It’s been a tough week for those of us who don’t like war. I’m tempted to list thirteen reasons war sucks, like charred bodies of children scattered like dry leaves by the side of the road, killed while fleeing with their families. Like bombed out airports, roads, bridges, dairies, factories and power plants, part of a pattern of mass destruction of civilian infrastructure. Like missiles lobbed blindly towards civilian centers in hopes of killing innocents. But I’ve been writing about this shit all week.

So herewith are Thirteen Things That Give Me Hope:

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So long, Kos

by Steve, July 17th, 2006

politicsI’ve never been a huge fan of Markos Moulitsas Z˙niga, but I’ve tried to like his mega meta blog. I’ve even posted a diary entry on his site. I’ve had Daily Kos linked from here since I started this blog, but today I’ve removed the link.

Today, under the title Why I won’t write about Israel/Lebanon/Palestine fighting”, Moulitsas writes:

It’s clear that in the Middle East, no one is sick of the fighting. They have centuries of grudges to resolve, and will continue fighting until they can get over them. And considering that they obviously have no interest in “getting over them”, we’re stuck with a war that will not end in any forseable future…. It doesn’t matter what the President of the United States says. Or the United Nations.

This is, of course, ahistorical bullshit. Of course it matters what the POTUS says. With Israel as the single largest recipient of US military aid, the president has enormous influence over the Israeli war machine. We don’t have to pay for this!

I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to read a little history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, but suffice it to say, Moulitsas is taking the easy way out and showing his stripes as a main-stream Democratic Party operative, unwilling to take a stand on issues that really matter. “I just hope that war-fatigue sets in at some point,” writes Moulitsas, washing his hands of the whole matter. Tell that to the children dying by bomb, bullet, and lack of clean water. If you can’t take a stand against war, what can you stand for?

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Arrested development

by Steve, July 17th, 2006

politicsWatch as our President smacks his lips, talks with his mouth full and tells Tony Blair “What [the United Nations] need to do is to get Syria to stop Hezbollah from doing this shit.” Syria, which the U.S. pushed out of Lebanon, has little or no sway on the ground there now. Is our leader really this ignorant? It would seem so.

Israel’s attacks are destroying civilian infrastructure and human life at a sickening pace. Hezbollah is responding with its own barbaric escalation, led by the evidently criminally insane Hasan Nasrallah. Israel seems bent on pushing Lebanon back into civil war and Gaza back into the stone age. Your tax dollars at work, America! Hezbollah has nothing to lose, and in fact has gained popular support in Lebanon.

Please read Juan Cole’s blog. He has daily reports from the Arab press rarely reported in the west, as well as expert, well-reasoned analysis. Also, the Nation has a good summation of the folly of “the Israeli doctrine of absolute security and massive retaliation–the notion that any attack or threat of attack on Israel will be met with a disproportionate response”.

Lest we forget what the victims of war look like, read this story in the Guardian about children murdered by bomb while trying to flee the violence. The vast majority of the 150+ killed in Lebanon since Wednesday have been civilians. Lebanon is one of the few democracies in the Arab world (and a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic one at that). What happened to Bush’s policy encouraging democracy in the region?

This is a critical time in the middle east. What is happening now will ripple outward across the entire region, indeed the entire globe. And the one man who could actually do something about it sits around stuffing his face, flaunting his geo-political ignorance and duplicitiousness. Shame.

You’re either with us or against us

by Steve, July 14th, 2006

politicsReligious fundamentalists are consolidating power in this world, and it’s time to draw the line. Who benefits from the 9/11 attacks and the ensuing “long war”? These guys.
Osama bin Bush
Who suffers? Normal people. Moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandmas and grandpas. Tiny little babies and toddlers are dying for these bastards’ holy war. Three thousand normal working people died in the US on 9/11. Upwards of 43,000 Iraqi civilians have died in the killing fields we’ve created in the ashes of Iraq. Lebanon and the re-occupied Gaza strip are under attack and in flames. What little control exists in Somalia has fallen into the hands of Taliban-like fundamentalists. The actual Taliban in Afghanistan are staging a strong comeback. Our own fundamentalist leader was twice barely elected only with overwhelming support of Christian fundamentalists.

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Thank God we didn’t shoot him

by Steve, June 12th, 2006

politics entryThe brutal death of brutal killer Abu Musab al-Zarqawi should bring a tear no no one’s eye.

But what irony to hear US officials broadly brushing off any rumors that Zarqawi was killed while in custody. No, he died from the result of us dropping two 500 lb. bombs on his head, not by gunshot or beating. Somehow, half a ton of military-grade explosives is acceptable but fists are not. It’s war after all, and we all accept war as legal and legitimate for a modern civilization, don’t we? Dropping bombs on people (and their family and neighbors) is the civilized, acceptable way to kill them.

Well, I don’t accept that. Especially since Zarqawi is largely a product of this ill-begotten war in the first place. He was nothing but a low-life thug until Geo. W. came along to elevate him to the thrown of uber-terrorista. I’ve read only spotty reports of the several other people killed in this attack. Who were these three women? His wife and daughters? Neighbors? Terrorists? We may never know.

War is the problem. Peace is the solution.

Iran and our “successes” in Iraq and Afghanistan

by Steve, June 12th, 2006

politics entryFrom Juan Cole’s Informed Comment, Al Hayat reports that an Iranian official “joked that there was not need for the US to invade Iran. He said that the US had invaded Afghanistan and established an Islamic republic there. Then it had done the same thing in Iraq. Since Iran has had an Islamic republic for 27 years, he said, there really isn’t a point in a US invasion.” Ouch.

Meanwhile, back at Guantanamo, US State Department official Colleen Graffy called the suicides of three men held for years without charges or access to legal representation “a good PR move.” Camp commander Rear Admiral Harry Harris called it “asymmetrical warfare.” You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. This is a sickening disgrace to all Americans with any sense of human decency.

Close Guantanamo now.

Wm. F. Buckley Jr. jumps ship, too.

by Steve, February 28th, 2006

politicsFirst Fukuyma. Now Buckley. In a February 24 column in the National Review titled “It Didn’t Work”, Buckley writes:

“I can tell you the main reason behind all our woes—it is America.” The New York Times reporter is quoting the complaint of a clothing merchant in a Sunni stronghold in Iraq. “Everything that is going on between Sunni and Shiites, the troublemaker in the middle is America.”

One can’t doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed. The same edition of the paper quotes a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Reuel Marc Gerecht backed the American intervention. He now speaks of the bombing of the especially sacred Shiite mosque in Samara and what that has precipitated in the way of revenge. He concludes that “The bombing has completely demolished” what was being attempted—to bring Sunnis into the defense and interior ministries.

Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans.

Of course the paleo-con Buckley was never a big supporter of the neoconservatives (like Fukuyama), so this is not earth shattering. But it is coincident with the whole Dubai ports deal and the Republican congressional revolt. Always good to see the Republicans eating their young.

Francis Fukuyama Swears off Neoconservativism

by Steve, February 21st, 2006

politics…and gets in some nice shots on the rump neocons in the process:

New York Times Magazine: After Neoconservatism

Fukuyama was part of the neocon chorus for an Iraqi intervention immedieately after 9/11. On 9/20/2001, he signed a letter to President Bush stating in part:

We agree with Secretary of State Powell’s recent statement that Saddam Hussein “is one of the leading terrorists on the face of the Earth….” It may be that the Iraqi government provided assistance in some form to the recent attack on the United States. But even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Failure to undertake such an effort will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism.