Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Informed Comment

Informed Comment

Also captured, with his fate as yet unknown, is Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun, a Lebanese-American Marine, His case underlines the service given to the United States by Arab Americans and Muslim Americans. In the wake of September 11, it is especially important that the US public constantly be reminded that Arab Americans are not aliens but a longstanding and essential thread in the great American tapestry. Lebanese began coming to the US in some numbers in the 1880s. That wave of immigration, which was greatly reduced from 1924, also brought the Italians and Eastern European Jews to this country. Although most Lebanese immigrants were Christian, it is estimated that about 10% were Muslim.

Many Arabs took up the peddling trade in the Midwest, trekking long hours to farm houses to supply basic supplies at a time before the Model T and the Sears and Roebuck catalogue made it easy to get them. When the automobile helped kill the peddling business, many Arab Americans flocked to Dearborn to work for Ford, so that ironically the very industry that ended their previous jobs provided them new ones. The "Syrians" were a key element all along in the Detroit automobile industry, and southeast Michigan came to have the largest concentration of Arabs outside the Arab world itself

Thank you, Prof Cole.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Brian Cloughley: US Military in Crisis

Brian Cloughley: US Military in CrisisLies upon lies upon lies. And what were you expecting?

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Let's Junk the 20th Century, Shall We?

Stephen Zunes bids farewell to the 20th Century. What a great idea; let's go back to the political and social morality of the 18th with the weapons and methods of the 21st. Everybody thinks it's just swell:
"Supporting the resolution were the fundamentalist Christian Coalition, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, and other right-wing groups.
In short, the Democrats, like the Republicans, now support the neoconservative doctrine that places the right of conquest over the rule of law.

"More fundamentally, Congress’ effective endorsement of an Israeli annexation of land it conquered in the 1967 war is a direct challenge to the United Nations Charter, which forbids any country from expanding its territory through military conquest. The vote, therefore, constitutes nothing less than an overwhelming bipartisan renunciation of the post-World War II international system, effectively recognizing the right of conquest."

Az mir vill schlugen a hunt, gifintmin a schtecken.

Friday, June 25, 2004

The More Things Change...

The more they stay the same. Edmund Burke could be writing today.

"Let them but once get us into a war, and then their power is safe, and an act of oblivion passed for all their misconduct."

Or so they hope.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

I Can't Get No Satisfaction

Hate to break in to all the troll-feeding here, but my reaction on hearing this news is just that it stopped being even remotely satisfying to be right about Iraq a long time ago. This is just horrible.
longtime lurker | Email | Homepage | 06.24.04 - 9:32 am |

Above is a comment on the comments thread of the Blog "Eschaton" which put into words a nagging feeling that has been bouncing around my subconscious. As soon as I read that comment I thought: Mr Lurker, you hit it on the head. The way things were going to go was unclear right after 9-11, but soon devolved into the way it went, and when bush started pushing for, and was given, his chance to make a little war. Ooh, wait, here.. (with apologies to KC and the Sunshine Band)

I will sweep up,
All your fears.
Gather it up,
Large and small. (Boom-ba, boom-ba, boom-ba)

Even tho,
It wasn't him,
You know Saddam's,
Got to fall.

Tell a little lie,
Make a little war,
Get down tonite,
Get down tonite.

Hokay, back on track. Yeah, it was almost fun to see how completely wrong, from every angle, the whole thing was. You know- the fascination of a slow-motion train-wreck (well, not all that slow),combined with that smarmy, 'I knew it all along' attitude. But there was another component, too. I was waiting, with my smarmy attitude, for the moment when they were going to, faced with the magnitude of the fiasco, (Attention- We have a Magnitude 4.5 Fiasco on our hands, people...) or the screams of protest from the American public, or the loss of life, or money, or something, the moment when somebody (who?) would say: Okay, that's enough, cease and desist, back away from the war, and keep your hands where I can see 'em.
And then, about last week I realized, fully internalized, that no-one is going to stop it, ever. The grown-ups aren't coming home. They've been in a car crash, and the kids are going to party on till...
I needn't detail all the ways the war and it's rationales and the occupation have been exposed. And on we go- this is it, perpetual war, with perpetual lies, from here to infirmity.

Sort of takes all the fun out of being right.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Iraq War Analysis Paints Grim Picture - by Jim Lobe

Iraq War Analysis Paints Grim Picture - by Jim Lobe If you read nothing else about the Iraq war- read this. Keep in mind, while you read it, the figures for the dead and wounded are very conservative numbers, which is a polite way of saying they are bullshit. Here's an example of what I mean by BS:

"But despite precision bombing and other weapons and tactics designed to reduce "collateral damage," the toll among Iraqis has been far more dramatic,..."

"Precision bombing" means nothing. What does it matter if you hit your target precisely if it's the wrong damn target?
Tactics designed to reduce...for Christs sake, what about the total lack of fire control at checkpoints?
And just like the Pancake House; how many links would you like with that?

"Moreover, these figures do not take account of the long-run health impacts of the estimated 1,100 to 2,200 tons of ordnance made from depleted uranium ..."

And so it goes. Just because there are lots of neat pictures of Iraqis being tortured doesn't mean we are winning.
But try and tell that to the chickenhawks.
Those torture pictures will win bush a first term as President.

Sharon�s �Palestinian state�

Sharon�s �Palestinian state� More Uri Avnery. There are, Thank God, a few people left who know what it means to be Jewish.

On a related note, I was reading the comments thread at the Washington Monthly Blog, ("Political Animal" by Kevin Drum) and thinking what a bit of genius it was to make "Arabs" or "Muslims" the new bogeyman, now the USSR is gone. They fit the bill, perfect like. Strange culture, hard to understand, strange appearance, and strange religion. About the only thing most anybody knows about them is that we fought them in the Crusades, a strange conflict, and that they hate them poor little Jews. Very few people in America have any day-to-day dealings with Arabs or Muslims, and they have been Orientalised by the media since, well, since the media began. The comments thread I was reading, about a new neo-con screed by, purportedly, an ex-CIA man posits a war-to-the-death between Moslemania and the West. The commenters were divided between killing 'em with nukes and killing them with kindness, but only one or two posters ever questioned the war-to-the-death, they-all-want-to-kill-us-all, basis of the discussion. The canard of the Moslem world consisting of a billion or so suicide bombers was never questioned. Yup, the Moslems were the right choice. Couldna' done it with the Chinese or even the Africans. And don't kvetch to me about 9-11 ! When they come up with some proof that 9-11 represented the ideas of anybody but the four guys who drove the planes (the rest of the 19 may have no notion of what was going on beyond a hijacking), and maybe a few more, I'll worry about it. Or maybe Tim McVeigh was representing all Montanians, or Christians, or Veterans or... I know- the Scots!

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Could the Stick be Broken?

Az mir vill schlugen a hunt, gifintmin a schtecken

"To beat a dog, you find a stick"
I read this article by the great Uri Avnery in the indispensable and nearly passed out. If he is correct, the implications are heartbreaking.

This paragraph:

This means, in simple words: there was no intelligence material at all backing the assertion that Arafat is working for the destruction of the State of Israel, that Arafat had broken off the peace process in order to start a terror campaign, that Arafat is not ready for a reasonable compromise. All these assertions, uttered by diverse Israeli politicians and generals, were based on the "assessment" of one man who, while appearing to represent the intelligence department, was actually suppressing the considered professional reports of his own department, as well as of the General Security Service (Shabak).

brought me to tears.

Add Two Cups Chopped Verbiage...

In the Bremerton School District newsletter, the Report Card, an aspiring chef states:
"The higher up the food chain in the evolution of cooking, the more it gets to be an art."
Make that minced verbiage.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Let Mooser Explain it You.

Perhaps you've read that PresBush's poll numbers have gone up this, or rather last week. Perhaps you are confused by this. I know what you are thinking:" The whole demned Iraq war is going down the toilet, and the Administration is falling back on explanations and rationales which have been exposed as false long ago, and the responsibility for the Plame and Abu Ghraib scandals are creeping ever closer to the White House, and his numbers are going up? Sheesh!" Let me explain it you: Look, for about a year Bush & cohorts tried to put a successful face on the fiasco by using facts. So many schools opened, so many hours of electricity, so much oil pumped, so many cities under coalition control. And yes, these are facts, but with each fact comes another fact, which blows the administration fact up. The schools? There were more schools before the war. The electricity? The Iraqis had lots more before the war, and we can't keep the power on consistently. Oil? They're blowing the pipelines. Security? Don't ask. So when the insurgents, whoever they may be, kicked us out of Fallujah the administration did the only sensible thing; They forgot about facts and just advanced (for neo-conservatives it's not a retreat) into fantasy. The "handover" is less than 10 days away, and around the date June 30th an elaborate fantasy has been constructed. The Iraqis will "receive their Sovereignty" and "Be a Democracy" and "Most of Our Boys Will Come Home" In between the fantasy of "Shock and Awe" and the fantasy of "The Handover" there was no fantasy to well, fantasize about, and that's not good- just those pesky facts, and you don't raise your poll numbers with facts, not facts like they have in Iraq.
And the same thing applies to the reasons for going to war. Here also Bush and Cheney have simply stuck with their fantastic assertions, in spite of the findings of the 9-11 Commission, or any goddamn other thing for that matter. People like that- nothing makes us feel more secure than thinking our leaders have special knowledge, a special vision which is so special, well, if they told us they would have to kill us. What's so great about believing something because evidence and reason require it? Nuttin! Ah, but blindly believing in the teeth of the evidence, now that's special! And you gotta love 'em for it
But the polls biggest push up, like a Wonderbra, came from the torture photos. Finally Americans can see that we are winning in Iraq, the photos prove it. We can't be losing if we are beating those Iraqis up, making them stand around nekkid (Hah- hah- you don't have no clothes on) and raping their wommens. Man, we're using those terrorists as dog food! That'll teach 'em to knock over our buildings !
So it is possible that finally, the neo-cons have hit on the all American jackpot. When all else fails, the public always responds to fantasy and sadism. Bush could ride those two horses to a second term. You know- Don't change horsemen in the middle of an apocalypse!

Update : The amazing Karen Kwiatkowski writes a column just a day after I wrote this post. And in that column she says about the same thing as me. Of course she says it better and for some reason not entirely clear to me (Mooser views the world through a glass, dark and blurry, and his glasses are dirty, too) her words carry a lot more weight. Could it be the 23 years she spent in the Air Force and at the Pentagon, where she worked with the current crop of neo-cons? Now why would that give her any more insight than that possesed by a blubbery, half-blind Cervidae such as me?

The Globe and Mail-Entertainment

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Forecast: Blustery, With Lots of Fallout

More Bush Doctrine Fallout - by Gordon Prather:I hate to mention it, but people are beginning to notice: "The actual invasion of Iraq may have been a 'cakewalk,' but it is obvious to every interested observer � most especially the Chinese � that our armed forces are now effectively tied up in the Persian Gulf and will be for years to come. There is essentially nothing we can do about DPRK's nukes � except bluster."

Mebbe if the Armed Forces got about 40 or 50 thousand of those life sized cardboard figures like they have in the movie theater lobby, you know, a soldier in full gear charging mitbayonet and scowl. Set 'em up all the places it used to be so important to have troops.

One militaryish resource we do have an unlimited supply of is bluster, and I expect lots of it. It's the bluster, buster!

Friday, June 18, 2004

The Marine's tale:

The Marine's tale: In case you missed it the first time around.

Damn You- You are Still Just as Wrong!

Forgive me, I was wrong on Iraq - Opinion - This is a perfect example of what I call "Praising With Faint Damns". If I was as politically and racially blindered, as divorced from human suffering, and just plain dull in my thinking, I would try not to put it on public display. The crap he spews is just flabberghasting:

The use of military force is very much subordinate to a larger political solution in places such as Iraq. This is because the root causes of disorder and violence are varied and profound. They include the availability of guns and drugs, and the prevalence of racism and sexism together with the dissipation of the family. These are factors that diminish respect for human life.

What the hell is he talking about? But this takes the cake:

If there is a pervasive cause, it would appear to be poverty. The UN has rightly engaged in a "war on poverty" where the protagonists are the poor who attempt to steal from the poorer

You tell 'em Bish ! It's the "poor who attempt to steal from the poorer" what's at the root of our problems!

And the big finish:

Looking back on the events of the past 18 months I continue to seek God's forgiveness for my complicity in creating a world in which this sort of action was ever considered by anyone to be necessary.

I'll tell you what, Bish: When you've beaten yourself up enough, you can change from the heavy woolen drawers to the light cashmere.

Oh well, as the good Bishop puts it: "it was just another war"

Thursday, June 17, 2004

P-R-O-V-O-C-A-T-I-O-N ! Say it with me now- PROVOCATION !

I caught some of the 9-11 hearings today on NPR. Whatta bunch of crap! Some stupid-ass general and the committe members (and a woman, too) were discussing the period of time just after the planes were determined to be hijacked. The discussion devolved into speculations on how fast we could or couldn't shoot down the hijacked planes. And of course the hijackings were referred to as "acts of war". Can people really be that myopic? Look, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, that was an act of war. They took out a large part of the Pacific Fleet, carriers, battleships and stuff. Stuff without which, the US was considerably weakened. Whether the attack had any symbolic significance or surprised us was irrelevant. Anotherwords even if we laughed about the Japanese attack, that many carriers, those battleships, these facilities, were destroyed and could not be used until replaced or repaired. 9-11, on the other hand, was a provocatory attack. Apart from the terrible loss of life and property, the attack had little effect on the US ability to wage war. No one is going to defeat the US militarily by hijacking jetliners and crashing them into buildings. The hijackings, and the crashes were designed to PROVOKE us, not defeat us. The response to 9-11 was exactly what the perpetrators hoped for. Heck, the Iraq invasion, with the prisoner abuse scandal and the standoff at Fallujah, it's more than Binny could have hoped for.
I think that if all of the planes had simply been crashed into the nearest ground, our response would have been about the same.


By the way, Moose Hall is always open to other posters. The Big Mooser would like to hear from you! Hows about it?

Moosehall Redux

Last week in a moment of paranoi and discouragement, I deleted my blog! I almost cut my hair today. See, the floor guy came in to put a new floor in the entryway, and he shared a big bowl with me before he went to work. (And did an excellent job, too!) Since I rarely smoke anymore, maybe a couple times a year, I got wrecked, toasted, trashed! And as Woody Allan said, I had a Bum Voyage. Soon paranoi ran deep, into my heart it did creep, and barely beating Ashcrofts Flying Monkeys to my door, I got rid of the evidence. A couple hours later I came to and re-upped my blog. I'm not scared of no flying monkeys!
Well, it just goes to show, something... Oh yeah, that's right. Now that I don't smoke regular, when I do smoke the symptoms are alarming, and unpleasant. "Leave no turn unstoned" was my motto, in the old times! But no more- like I said, alarming and unpleasant, so that's that. I won't do that again. But blogging- that's addictive!

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Here's how it Works!

In this column Christian Soldiers for Bush Robyn Blumner lays out for us the inevitable consummation of the Bush "faith-based" charade. Read the article, than ask yourself: How long before Bushco serves up a "Political Awareness" faith-based program, and these churches end up campaigning for Bush on the taxpayers dime? So there it is: campaign for Bush, and the Republicans, and get government grants. Go against them, and get what? Wouldn't surprise me at all if "dissenting" churches start finding themselves with "ties to terror" etc.