Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Waves of Mass Destruction

There is something so analog, even pre-modern, about the tsunami that hit South and Southeast Asia last week. While Condi and company were busy warning that the next attack could come in the form of a mushroom cloud, the American infatuation with its own destruction was met last week with the real thing, sans evil dictator, sans a military complex that still pales in comparison to mother nature. In an instant 100,000+ lives snuffed out. It is a number that can still hold sway over us, even as we try to match the kill ratio in the name of defense.

And thus real world has reared it's head and the phony war based on an imaginary threat is pushed back for the time being to make room for something so simple as a lot of water where it's not supposed to be. And as the innocents pile up senselessly on both accounts, perhaps the day will come when we realize so many didn't have to die, WMD or no WMD.

Monday, December 20, 2004

The Islamic Republic of Canada

The Canadian government has produced a report stating that: "Ontario Muslims should have the same rights as other religious groups in the province to seek arbitration based on religious laws for family disputes and inheritance cases." And thus begins what will no doubt be a tortured, misguided attempt at "cultural sensitivy" that the non-white among us have come to expect from liberals. What is curious is that the report limits religious decisions to matters of the family and not, for example, traffic laws. The Canadians it seems are more than happy to confine muslim families to the vagaries of sharia law, a system of beliefs about which there is no consensus, so long as these restrictions are not extended to the "real world" where matters a bit more pressing than whether a woman's testimony is equal to that of a man are at issue.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Islamofascists Strike Back

A friend of mine, Ahmed Nassef, had his website on progressive islam hacked recently. It seems the islamic fundamentalists did not take too kindly to the discussions therein, particularly the "Sex and the Umma" section which they removed. These salafi nutjobs just don't have a sense of humor . . .

Thursday, December 09, 2004

The Charge of the Lightly Armored Brigade

Watching the video loop of the soldiers asking the Defense Secretary why they were being sent in battle with armor they had to procure themselves (no doubt one of the unintended consequences of the ownership society), it reminded me of Tennyson's famous line from The Charge of the Light Brigade: "Their's not to make reply, Their's not to reason why, Their's but to do and die . . ." This is what Rumsfeld had in mind when he declared "You go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time."

And with that our Secretary will return to his safe cocoon and those fresh faced men and women will march off into the unknown, just like they are supposed to.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Exterminate All the Brutes!

The question is, are we staring into the abyss just yet or does it come at some later date when the bodies of those consigned to service this hydra dubbed the "War on Terror" become waist-deep. Red state or Blue state, it wasn't supposed to be this way yet this is what it has come to--the U.S. asserting that information obtained through torture is admissible in a court of law. And thus the first step in what will prove to be a spectacular descent has been taken as it becomes increasingly difficult to determine one side from the other through actions alone. Maybe this was what Joseph Conrad understood a hundred years ago, that left to its own devices the colonial enterprise proves to be little more than a charade to mask a brutality that eventually consumes the colonizer as much as the colonized. Would there were some one willing to go up river to retrieve what is left of this nation before we grow tired of staring and decide to climb down into it.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

A War "Happening"

One of the more interesting effects of the Iraq war has to do with the meaning of the word "happen", as in "to come into being." From an American vantage point, nothing really seems to be "happening." That is to say events are scheduled to occur, they occur and yet it appears as if they did not, calling into question the meaning of the "happening" in the first place. In other words, the U.S. creates "meaning" and the insurgents fragment that meaning to the point where it become meaning-less.

This can be seen in the two major "happenings" of the Iraq war--the capture of Saddam Hussein and the June 30th handover. Neither event proved to be what it was billed as, nor in retrospect does it appear that had they not happened the situation on the ground would look that much different. Sure we can point to a well-fed, well-rested Hussein ensconced in a U.S. jail cell or to a nominally independent Iraq but one can also point to thousands no longer with us that these events were supposed to, at the very least, keep alive. Things happen but nothing really happens.

And so next comes the January election which is being billed as the best thing since the new fall season. While this may or may not happen, if recent events are any guide, even if it does "happen" it won't in any real sense because even Fox viewers know bullets weigh more than ballots and bullets are the one thing in Iraq not in short supply.