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December 18, 2003
A little bit of everything

The commission studying the 9/11 attacks seems to be going on the attack themselves.

This is just wrong. I thought it was wrong when they first started talking about it and I still think it's wrong today. Religious tolerance and secularism do not mean forcing people to hide away any tangible signs of their religious beliefs.

On NPR this morning, they pointed out that in all of France, only 4 girls suffered suspension for wearing headscarves last year and that approximately 1,000 more cases were settled at the local level between the schools and the families. This shows that the wearing of headscarves isn't some widespread problem. It's a tiny issue that's been blown out of proportion by the media.

The wearing of religious headscarves is not going to somehow inflame religious differences. Teaching people they can exist side-by-side with someone whose beliefs they don't share would be a more sensible approach.

The Muslim, Christian, and Jewish citizens of France have my sympathy as they stare down the barrel of this proposed suppression.

And while I'm complaining, let me say that I'm pretty annoyed by the provision of Chirac's proposed law that says Muslim women will no longer be able to request a female physician in hospitals. I think the choice of physician is a pretty personal one and it's none of the government's business what gender of physician someone uses.

Ahem. Sorry about that. Persecution, especially organized, government persecution, just makes me so mad. Here's the Australian's coverage of the story.

If anyone wonders why I'm not voting for Gephardt, those commercials are why.

And I'm not sure if this story is about sports or politics, but it made for interesting reading. " A quick, slick little skater ascends to his 'taskless thanks' with cheers from his old team" is about Jim Munson.

And this was just fun.

"We read Him here, we hear Her there, We chase those true lies everywhere, Whispering scribe of the story we're in, That devilish, dastardly Doctor of Spin!"

If you haven't read Alterman's Nation column, Target: George Soros, then you should hop over and give it a read. (I do love Republican hypocrisy. Note where they've been wringing their little hands over the evil of an individual putting money into the political process.)

Has the Bush Administration really been channeling money into conservative organizations who are promoting school vouchers?

When you have some time, Mark Danner's Delusions in Baghdad It's about guerrilla attacks, warfare as we refuse to accept it, and more.

The United States fields by far the most powerful military in the world, spending more on defense than the rest of the world combined, and as I write a relative handful of lightly armed insurgents, numbering in the tens of thousands or perhaps less, using the classic techniques of guerrilla warfare and suicide terrorism, are well on the way toward defeating it.

We really didn't learn anything from Vietnam, did we?

Whatever the political rewards of finding Saddam, they will not likely include putting a definitive end to the insurgency in Iraq "The Americans need to get out of their tanks, get out from behind their sunglasses," a British military officer, a veteran of Northern Ireland told me. "They need to get on the ground where they can get to know people and encourage them to tell them where the bad guys are."

However, he goes on to say that, if anything, the USofA military is moving in the opposite direction.

One of the things I learned from this article is that there was, apparently, an actual plan for fostering the growth of democracy.

After two days of intensive consultations, administration officials unveiled a new policy. They decided to discard what had been a carefully planned, multiyear process that would gradually transform the authoritarian Iraqi state into a democracy—seven clearly defined steps intended to allow democratic parties, practices, and institutions to take root, develop, and grow, eventually leading to a new constitution written and ratified by the Iraqi people and, finally, a nationwide election and handover of power from American administrators to the elected Iraqi politicians it produced.

I question the need for a "multiyear" plan for a country with as much of the democratic infrastructure (psychologically and economically) in place as Iraq has, but I'm equally confused by the Administration's abrupt decision to bail on the plan in favor of handing power over to Iraqis in six or seven months. Possibly if they'd shared this bit of pre-planning with USofA citizens and Iraqi citizens, a decent compromise could have been worked out.

(I'm also suspicious of a "carefully planned, multiyear process" for the outcome of an invasion that was supposedly put together in a month or two, but that's not as relevant at the moment.)

Anyhow. Thanks to A Fistful of Euros for the link.

And check out In These Times for a discussion of how the media historically has largely ignored the USofA's role in putting Hussein in power.

And if you read the Herald-Tribune, you probably saw Risen and Shanker writing about the "secret universe" of global detention systems they claim the USofA has created.

We may have caught Hussein, but what's going to happen to his spy network? (Far from being shocked that it exists, I know that every government in the world, and not a few multinational corporations, maintains spy networks.)

Is al Qaeda winning? "Correlli Barnett says that the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq serve as object lessons in how not to conduct an anti-terrorist campaign."

On a lighter note, as a long-time Asimov fan, I love robot stories.

And supersonic flight is not passé, not for everyone.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:49 AM