Monday, May 31, 2004

Wear Red for Freedom Fridays. I hope Katt of Oddlots Irregulars won't mind my jacking her post:
I have received email about this great idea from several people today. In a nutshell, a growing number of Americans, concerned about current U.S policies regarding individual civil liberties and freedoms in the U.S. and abroad, are going to wear RED every Friday until the November election. That?s it ~ that simple. A ?quiet revolution.? A simple way to identify (and identify with) the growing number of concerned citizens in our country.

The inspiration for wearing red comes from when Norway was occupied by Germany in 1940, Norwegian women began to knit RED caps for children as a way of letting everyone know that they did not like what was happening in their country, that they didn?t like having their freedom taken away by the Nazis.

The result was that whenever Norwegians and Danes left their homes?to go to the store, to work, etc, they could see that THE MAJORITY opposed what was going on in their country. As you know, both countries organized effective Resistance efforts and changed history?everything that happened began simply by wearing red!!!!

So, hey, you probably look good in red and/or need a good excuse to go shopping ~ spread the word:wear red every Friday until Election Day!
Seems like a good idea to me. Wonder if it will catch on?

Thursday, May 27, 2004

There's a construction site in Downtown Los Angeles surrounded by razor wire. I was walking past it this morning when I saw a tiny bird, perched right on one of the razors, merrily warbling away. Somehow, it seems like this is symbolic of something, but I can't think of exactly what.
Would you beleive that Al Gore just gave a really great speech? Full text is here. His critique of the President's leadership hits more powerfully than any of the partisan flak that both sides are throwing at each other. He sounds downright statesmanlike. The man has grown an impressive spine over the past four years to go with his already formidable brain.

Too bad the Dems' candidate this year is a practical clone of his 2000 self. John Kerry is going to flip-flop himself right out of contention if someone doesn't knock some sense into him. And don't tell me that "flip-flopper" is Republican spin - Let's face it, John Kerry hasn't held a consistent position in years. The ability to change is an absolutely critical quality that deserves praise, but you've got to believe in SOMETHING, right?

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Apologies for the posting lull - work rears its ugly head.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

While reading Greyhawk's entry linked to in my last post, I came a across this. It's pretty long, but the point is that Micah Wright, one of the internet's most prolific producers of propaganda remixes, has long been justifying his art by claiming to have spent four years in the Army Rangers, including participating in the invasion of Panama, during which he discovered the utter corruption of the US Government and Military and devoted himself to spreading the knowledge. Except that, uh, he never was in the Army Rangers. Or anywhere else in the military. In the fine recent tradition of American journalism, which is apparently now available to non-journalists as well, he made the whole damn thing up.

It's really too bad, because the art stood on its own. I think I had one of these up on my wall for a while. The hell was he thinking? Anyway, his current book contract has been cancelled, and a long section of his previous book in which he described in great detail his experiences in Panama is being excised for any future editions. This kind of thing just isn't limited to any particular corner. There once was a high-ranking executive at Transamerica Corporation, Bill Simms, who, having ousted his last rivals in a boardroom coup, was forced to resign in disgrace after the discovery he had made up pretty much all of his qualifications and credentials. How was he caught? He claimed, in casual conversation, to have been an olympic gold medalist.
I've been waiting to hear someone condemn 60 Minutes for running the Abu Ghraib Prison photos, saying that to criticize the Americans was equivalent to complimenting "the terrorists". And, finally, here it is: Jonah Goldberg on the National Review Online:
Instapundit links to a post from a blogger Greyhawk who has some useful scorn for "60 Minutes'" posturing over the torture photos. This was not sleuthed-out by "60 Minutes" it was already being investigated by the army.

I agree with everything Greyhawk says, but I would add something. Whoever leaked these pictures to the press was not doing anybody any favors. Since the case was already being handled, the release of these pictures did more harm than good. I don't blame 60 Minutes for running them -- though I don't applaud them either. But a person would/could be morally obligated to leak these pictures if the army was covering it up or refusing to investigate. It doesn't sound like that was the case. So releasing the photos isn't prodding the government to do the right thing, it's encouraging millions of Arabs to hate us. That's not whistle-blowing, that's sabotage.

Indeed, recall that what happened to the Belgian peacekeepers in Rwanda was censored because to reveal the full story -- it was believed -- would cause more harm than good. I don't know about that decision. But someone will need to explain to me why releasing these pics now -- as opposed to a year from now -- didn't do more harm than good.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

What to say about those pictures from the Iraqi prisons? It's like those soldiers are from some other world. I don't even need to say that abusing prisoners for your own personal amusement is absolutely beyond the pale. Everybody knows that, and the soldiers responsible are being court-martialed. But what I want to know is how this was allowed to happen? Assume, for a moment, the patently false argument that the average enlisted soldier is a rapacious scumbag whose idea of war is the victors looting and pillaging the defeated. Even in that case, their officers, knowing full well that this war is being fought primarily not on battlefields but in "hearts and minds", ought to be doing everything in their power to ensure absolutely exemplary conduct on the part of their troops. And yet, we see one of the seven soldiers currently facing suspension or court-martial is the Brigadier General in charge of the offending facility. What was she thinking? How could she let this happen? These photos might have just destroyed our last chances of reaching rapprochement with the Iraqis.

Tom Tomorrow also points out that the British press is starting to run with Kos' "mercenary" trope. Apparently, this prison, though nominally under command of the aforementioned Brig. Gen. Karpinski, much of its day to day operations, including interrogation, were handled by the "security contractors" we've been hearing so much about, and while those soldiers currently under investigation were all actually US Army SOLDIERS, not mercs, these investigations have brought allegations of similar conduct on the part of some of the contractors, and those guys won't be subject to court-martial. That's a problem. To go back to my earlier point - this is a campaign where absolute Rules of Engagement discipline is essential, and there's nothing to hold hired soldiers to the same standards as real ones.

Anyway, I don't know what else there is to say. This is just another cock-up in a long series of the same, in this campaign of blunders some of which could have been prevented by better planning, some of which could have been prevented by better execution, and all of which could have been prevented by competent leadership. At this point, I have no idea whether US presence in Iraq is the only thing keeping the country out of civil war, or the factor most likely to lead to one. I'm halfway inclined to say both.

The poem about Saddam Hussein that some unknown Iraqi scrawled on a Baghdad wall in the aftermath of the US invasion may well come to symbolize us as well:

"Saddam Hussein:
His coming was a disaster,
his staying was a disaster,
and his leaving was a disaster."

A fitting epitaph for this ill-begotten mission, but an unfitting one for the hundreds of Americans and thousands of Iraqis who have died in its name.
Of all the things... Supreme Court Justice David Souter seems to have been attacked and beaten while jogging last night. Fortunately, no major injuries. He wasn't robbed, and so far his assailants' motives are unknown.

For some reason, when I read this article, the first thought into my mind was "abortion protestors". There's absolutely no reason for me to believe that's who did it, but I have a pretty good track record with my hunches. Regardless, there's not much to this story at the moment - just best wishes to His Honor.
I seem to be the Sticky Site of the Moment over at Neat! To anyone visting from that august institution: Hiya.