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November 19, 2003
A lot of stuff

A noble experiment. That was the U.N.'s "oil for food" program in Iraq.

Also from UNWire, here's an interesting story about a woman who leaked information about a USofA plan to spy on U.N. delegates (to gather "intelligence" that would, one presumes, help us convince them to follow us to war) and who has been brought up on charges for telling the world that the USofA and the UK were trying dirty tricks.

It's a strange world, this new "my country, right or wrong" world.

I mean, I guess I understand, but even if she goes to jail, I applaud her effort to draw a line between legitimate intelligence work and dirty work.

Take a look at Notebook_Africa. I hadn't read it before, but a blog from "on the ground" in Africa is interesting.

Tired, Terrified, and Trigger-Happy

Among the less publicized incentives propelling Iraq overseer Paul Bremer's urgent dash to Washington last week was the concern in various quarters of the administration that the U.S. expeditionary force in Iraq was in a dangerously unstable state. "We are one stressed-out reservist away from a massacre," remarked one senior official closely involved in the search for an exit strategy.

Forget questions of "policy" and "diplomacy" and remember that soldiers are human beings. What can we do for them? Aside from showing our support of those returning, I mean.

Hold onto your hats . . . this one will surprise you. (Not.) Those "trade agreements" you hear such tooting and whistling about from each successive presidential administration are good for . . . corporations. Not so much for the farmers they're advertised as aiding.

Those in the blogging world who are, like, twelve and thing anything that happened before the Clinton Presidency is dead-and-gone history, irrelevant to today, won't care, but I think the docking of a U.S. freighter at Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is a fascinating moment. Previously, my memories of the city centered around those news reports of the last hours as we pulled out of that war. Makes an odd contrast.

The Bush family - Nazi-connection conspiracy-theorists will no doubt find something significant in the fact that the army's current "iron hammer" campaign in Iraq isn't the first "iron hammer" campaign in living (Really, you pre-teens. People living remember these things.) memory. Me, I'm a little embarrassed for Common Dreams that they stooped that low.

Cause and effect. You dam up the river and put people ignorant of the complexities of the ecology in charge of the dam, and tens of thousands of fish die. Voila

If Bush were as convincing as his supporters, he'd be about 500% more compelling than he is.

My personal opinion is that Hughes and others are just thrilled the speechwriters finally came up with some decent rhetoric. A year from now, they're still going to be pointing triumphantly to that one speech, ignoring the dozens of malaprop remarks and stumbling teleprompter performances before and since that one speech.

And when you think Busy, always think nuclear proliferation. That's what he's all about, after all, which means I do enjoy press releases like this one smacking him in the head for being such a warmongering idiot. (Okay, I probably added a little editorial spin to what the Arms Control Association was saying.)

And while you're at it, think radioactive waste because relaxing the rules around the stuff means you may get a dump for a neighbor some day.

Also, think, Administration that doesn't support the military that's dying for their policies.

And then (scrolling down through that last link), I follow the link to this story and find myself wanting to offer a kick in the pants to the LATimes for allowing themselves to be browbeaten by the government. It may seem trivial to some, but the language you use to describe a person, or an event, matters. It matters enormously. Deciding to refer to Iraqi citizens fighting against the invasion as "insurgents" (as though they're from elsewhere) instead of as "resistance fighters" which clearly identifies them as Iraqis makes it sound as though our invasion force coalition is fighting another invasion force.

And then there's the subjec tof security here in the USofA. When you think Bush, think of a man very, very concerned with the welfare of USofA citizens. 'Corporation' citizens, of course.

Also, add me to the list of people who don't want to hear about the message. Such rhetoric does, in fact, trivialize the political process.

Besides, I'm just sick of hearing it. Instead of telling us all about how they have wonderful "messages" why don't candidates and political parties actually talk about what they believe? Actually, you know, deliver those much-vaunted messages instead of confusing everyone by discussing them only in meta-terms.

"We need to get our message out," they shriek to reporters. "We want the people to hear our message!" As though, you know, the time they spend talking to a reporter about how they have a message wouldn't be better spent delivering it.

We get so sick of hearing about their "messages" without hearing any actual message that we quit listening. For some reason, that surprises them.

The truth is that they're afraid to take a firm stand on most issues because they fear alienating a handful of voters in some swing state or district. They lack the courage of their convictions. (And that's charitably assuming that most of the major politicians on the scene today actually have many firmly held convictions instead of just blowin' in the wind preferences that they're willing to alter in order to get elected.

Fraidy cats. That's the mob of Democratic candidates, most of whom seem to be afraid to stand up and say people ought to be able to get married, regardless off which gender they and their prospective spouse are.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:46 AM