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August 14, 2003
Iraq, Love, DARPA

It's frustrating trying to get news from the Iraqi perspective these days. I don't trust our media too far. I continue to be grateful to Salam Pax and I'm pleased that his early courage, blogging from Hussein-controlled Baghdad, is being rewarded.

And I feel the pain of the unnamed USofA soldier who told him, " "They tell you it's the Oil but I know it is not the Oil, I just can't figure out what the hell it is we are here for." "

And what about those human shields who are now being >slapped with fines for breaking the law? Well, based on the letter of the same law, which the article cites as the sanctions against " virtually all direct or indirect commercial, financial or trade transactions with Iraq", I'd say she didn't do anything wrong. Unless paying for food for her personal consumption is found to be a "financial or trade transaction."

Something tells me that in the unlikely event that any USofA corporations are fined for their actual violation of these same sanctions, they won't be paying as high a fine, proportionate to their income, as the individuals being targeted by Bush's pro-invasion Administration.

I should point out that I do believe that if the sanctions are held to cover the activities of these individuals, then, yes, they should be fined and they can choose to pay or not pay, as they wish. If you knowingly and deliberately break the law, you have to accept the penalties. If the law is unjust, we can try to change it, but you can't ignore it with impunity. That way lies anarchy.

And, speaking of law, it's good to read that even though we're not all of us focused on Guantanamo Bay, others are and the battle about the reach of the constitution (and, indeed, the U.K.'s constitution) goes on.

(In other places in the U.K., they're fighting about love. This is one case where the liberals are wrong. Trying to ban colloquial or slang usage of a word is...it's just absurd.

DARPA, an organization I was only vaguely aware of before the recent fiasco, is really rather fascinating. I'll have to see if there are any books out on it.

I said it before, and I'll repeat it now for those who never listen to me. That whole "terrorism stock market" wasn't quite what it was portrayed as being in the media coverage and I regret my own initial, knee-jerk reaction to the news. You'd think I'd have learned better than to accept the media's version of a story at face value by now.

Also? I think there's room in this country for an organization that dreams big. When you reach for the stars, you're likely to fall a long way when you miss, but that shouldn't stop you from reaching. Some of their projects are worrisome, but the thing that worries me least about DARPA is the accusation that they're "politically tone-deaf." That's actually reassuring.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:38 AM


Several of the companies I've worked for were all heavily involved with DARPA funding... They did spawn the internet, after all...

Posted by: John at August 14, 2003 12:01 PM

And from what this article says, the computer mouse, which gave birth to an entire industry of people designing little mittens and mouse-houses for those addicted to the cutsey and kitschy* in life.

Everything has a down side.

Still, I think DARPA is fascinating and their failures aren't the least interesting thing about them. They think big, and they're not afraid to be unconventional.

* As I learned the other day, "kitsch" is actually the German word for "trash."

Posted by: Anne at August 14, 2003 12:10 PM

Actually, Doug Engelbart was the inventor of the mouse... Not sure if this was done under a DARPA. I don't think it was, but I could be wrong. I absolutely agree that they have been an amazingly good influence on our society. However, I'm not sure that this is/was the only way to do it - i.e., under the aegis of the military. But then, my opinion matters little about such things. BTW, didn't know that word meant garbage. My view of reality is now being re-assimilated to accommodate this new information. Thanks ;)

Posted by: John at August 14, 2003 05:04 PM