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October 17, 2003
Who's talking now?

Over at Amptoons there's a good debate on "fat versus unhealthy" going on. I'm about to infuriate someone, I'm sure, by chiming in with my usual opinions.

[removed – 500 words that would not have added to my popularity, not that I care about that kind of thing, but there are other subjects I can air my ignorance on with less chance of accidentally seeming to offend someone personally. Instead, let me offer an unrelated but nevertheless interesting link to an article about Engendering Differences: Ethical Issues about Intersex to distract you.]

Ahem Okay, let's move on.

Kos talks about Boykin and, I'm pleased to see, points that that what a Lt. General does or says in full-dress uniform most emphatically does attain the status of an "official" act or speech. Also, what happened to vetting people for craziness before you put them in positions of power?

Via Hellblazer, this odd and rather disturbing site

How do you feel about Limbaugh's drug problem? Should he be arrested? Should he be mocked? Join the discussion over at Digby's blog.

Bengt has not only updated his own English-version blog, off_topic, with "The Terrorists Have Won," but recommends a post by Jonas Söderström as "the most influential Swedish blogger."

The post is in Swedish, but the quotes are in English, so you'll know just what he's writing about. This evening I hope to get some time to try and translate some of Jonas' own commentary and I'll try and post some of that here if I do. (No, I don't read Swedish. I usually rely upon comparing the suggestions of two, separate on-line translation programs and a handful of common sense.) I hope Bengt will forgive me for quoting him without permission:

I think Jonas’ post is rather representative of the general opinion in Sweden and, indeed, in large parts of Europe.

As I've said before, it's a source of frustration to me that I can't find many English-language blogs from around the world. I'm very interested in the opinions of "regular people" from outside the USofA.

Over at StoutDemBlog, you can read an argument that it's not the "under god" that's the problem, it's then entire concept of a pledge of allegiance. I'm not sure if I agree or not.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:04 PM


I am reminded of a student my husband had in his first-period 10th grade English class, years ago. She was recently arrived from what was then the USSR, and was startled and confused, that first morning, when everyone suddenly jumped up and looked at the flag and recited a statement in unison.

My husband asked her (later and privately) "Don't you pledge allegiance in the Soviet Union?"

The girl shook her head. "It is understood," she replied, solemnly.

Posted by: RH Dorsty at October 17, 2003 01:20 PM

I'll spare you the trouble of translating.

The main point in my post was the quotation from The Independent's story, which still has not surfaced in Swedish media, and the quotes from the Geneva convention and mr. Bush himself.

Apart from that, it's not much of a manifesto or anything. I just made one very small, personal comment. Or confession.

25 years ago, during my military service as an interrogator/interpreter, I was given a thorough grounding in the Geneva conventions. There were several good reasons to discuss them in depth at the time. (Yes, we were trained in Russian - the Soviet Union was the main threat at the time.)

The occupation of Iraq and the suffering of the civilians has certainly made me very angry, even outraged (and I've written about it a lot). But as I now looked up the Geneva conventions, to find the exact sections for the post, I started to cry - rather unexpectedly.

It might seem silly to cry over dusty articles and clauses. Still, for me, those conventions do stand for something great: an in fact heroic attempt to bring a little bit of decency, of light, even into that heart of darkness, war.

Adding up the war, the refusal of Bush to support the ICC, and then this flagrant violation of that code of honor you'd think every civilized nation would respect, I just felt:

This is enough. It is now completely beyond what is bearable.
Lascia ch'io pianga - let me cry.
After that; it's time to protest and make ourselves heard, again.

(PS: As for being "most influential Swedish blogger"... ehrm, Bengt is too kind.)

Posted by: Jonas at October 17, 2003 06:57 PM

I've been trying for two days to come up with an appropriate response to your remarks, Jonas, and have completely failed.

I do understand your emotions surrounding the original intent of the Geneva Conventions and, more than you will ever know, I mourn my country's failure to live up to those ideals.

From our collaboration with and support of regimes that flout even the most basic tenets of human rights to the way we've encouraged the activities of extremist "revolutionaries" to futher our own (economic) goals, my country has failed to live up to my expectations.

We have, in my opinion, strayed far from the path we should be treading and I only hope that the outrage I see around me will translate into a real and lasting movement in this country to redirect our efforts.

(I do appreciate the translation but I've also bookmarked your site and, as time permits, I do intend to try and read it in the future.)

Posted by: Anne at October 20, 2003 10:12 AM