Monday, July 31, 2006

Welcome to the Triple B Ranch (Bin Laden, Bush & Bombing).

The following thanks to Whiskey Bar:

"Until civilians -- frankly, I'm not sure how many of them are actually just innocent little civilians running around versus active Hezbo types, particularly the men -- but until those civilians start paying a price for propping up these kinds of regimes, it's not going to end, folks. What do you mean, civilians start paying a price? I just ask you to consult history for the answer to that.”

Rush Limbaugh
On the Qana Massacre
July 31, 2006

"We declared jihad against the US government, because the US government is unjust, criminal and tyrannical. It has committed acts that are extremely unjust, hideous and criminal . . . As for what you asked regarding the American people, they are not exonerated from responsibility, because they chose this government and voted for it despite their knowledge of its crimes in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and in other places."

Osama bin Laden
On His Fatwa Against America
March 1997

Bin Laden's words have been on my mind for days. Folks, what happened on 9/11 is a war crime because it was tantamount to collective punishment against a civilian population. Bin Laden needs to be tried in the Hague. But so too does Bush and, now, Olmert. It was Bush who (in)famously declared "Let heads roll" in April 2004 just before the Fallujah campaign in which an entire city was decimated and attacked as collective punishment over the deaths of four PRIVATE security workers (i.e., not even U.S. soldiers but corporate mercenaries).

What clearer statement of intent to collectively punish a people for the crimes of a few does one need? And not content with that, Bush proceeded even more violently to finish off the city in a cynical move after the elections in the fall of 2004. In the course of that campaign white phosphorous was used; hospitals were shut down and the injured denied medical treatment; in a Melos type move, the city was cordoned off, and everyone told to leave; when men of military age tried to evacuate as ordered, only women and children were allowed to depart. The entire male population was placed in harm's way.

Now, adding crime upon crime, Bush and Olmert (and Rice) should stand trial for the Lebanon campaign - as should a number of members of Hizbullah. You don't shoot random rockets at civilians - and you don't tell people to evacuate because you are about to flatten their village and then cut off their means to do that. Hizbullah is making war on civilian targets; so too is Israel, with American support (and, one suspects these days, even pressure). It is time for some accountability on all sides.

Now Qana takes its place next to Fallujah, Haditha, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and a legion of other rampant demons we've unleashed.

If and when terror is again visited on our country, the vapid media will again gnash its teeth and pull its hair asking, "Why do they hate us?"

And some equally vapid politician will respond, "Why for our values of course".

He'll be right.


Visualize this!

Marinade for lamb . . . .

1 small chopped onion, half a chopped green pepper, a handful of parsley, a T. of curry powder, 1 c. each oilve oil and red wine. Excellent marinade for lamb, and not bad for beef. Allow at least five hours for a butterflied leg of lamb.

Happy eating!

Judgement of Paris . . .

by Ross King is an outstanding read.

It documents the demise of classicism and the rise of the impressionists in the mid 19th century. A must read especially for any classicist!


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Stocking the basement . . . .

1. Hizbullah is a political party (some call it a terrorist organization, by which, if you mean its use of violence to achieve its ends, is certainly correct - but then again, political parties in this country also use violence to achieve their ends, particularly the republican party, for whom war is very good since it is also very good for their corporate donors. So meet me half-way and let's just say for the sake of argument that the current republican party and Hizbullah are both terrorist AND political organizations).

2. Either Hizbullah violated Israeli security first, or vice versa - contrary to the narrative in the American media, there is conflicting evidence as concerns just who started all this (since Israel reportedly abducted two medics from S. Lebanon several days prior to the abduction of the two Israeli soldiers).

3. By Israeli and Bush administration logic, however, as a result of this political party's action, a weak and budding democracy (i.e. Lebanon) that cannot control its entire country is to be made to suffer through a horrific humanitarian catastrophe with long term political and economic consequences.*

*By the way folks, collective punishment, of which the Israelis are guilty, is a war crime; so too, is Hizbullah's firing rockets indiscriminately at civilian targets - there are few good guys here, though some are distinctly more odious than others, and the people of Lebanon and Israel, are caught in the middle, though the Lebanese far, FAR away have the worst of it.

4. So . . . does that mean that if a renegade political party that does not reflect the will of a majority gains control of a country, or even a part of a country, that that country should be collectively punished if that political party decides to violate the sovereignty of another country?

Hmmmmm - I just CANNOT for the life of me see where such logical fallicies might lead . . . .

Too bad president swagger's Pompeian attempt to stomp his foot and make legions appear with his epic, timeless "Stop this shit" failed to do the trick (maybe if we put it into Latin - finem huic merdae pone . . . . naaaah!).

Don't ask me where all this is leading kids . . . Iraq is Shiite, Iran is Shiite, and we are bombing their fellow Shiites (Israel with American made munitions folks) in Lebanon. Something is going to give - be very very worried. These days it rattles in my mind that Bin Laden said he got the idea of taking down U.S. skyscrapers when he saw our bombs, via Israeli proxies, taking down buildings in Beirut in 1982 during Lebanon's civil war and Israel's invasion. This is not invention, this is public knowledge.

Bush's policies have made this a far more dangerous world than before, and made the job for hard working professionals in our intelligence and diplomatic community extremely difficult. Extreme cynic that I've become I can't but think that it is intentional, since these policies, horrific as they are, could well serve to put an iron one party lock on the country that will be near impossible to break in the near term. When you get a single political party that feeds a massive military-industrial complex and that complex shovels money to it, it becomes a monopoly that is near impossible to break. It is a case of cupido dominandi cunctis affectatibus flagrantior est, and it was Eisenhower's nightmare (which has now been realized).

All of this is very very bad.

Now excuse me while I put some MREs, water and a few cases of whiskey in my basement.


Friday, July 14, 2006

Support the troops?

There is a narrative that has long since taken hold with the right in this country and is perpetuated even by circles in the left that we need to be sensitive to the opinion of the troops and our military and that their opinions about the war carry more weight than those who have not served.

Well folks, the last time I checked one of the cornerstones on which this country was built was the separation of civilian and military powers. The minute we decide to grant the military greater moral authority, greater political authority is sure to follow, and the last thing I want, and the last thing the founding fathers wanted, was a Roman style military dictatorship in which the military gained an excess of "potestas".

The Pentagon and its minions in the corporate, media, and political elite already have a disordinate amount of power. Does the military need more? Enough is enough. Whether you are Christopher Hitchens or Tom Hayden, you as a civilian who has never donned a uniform have as much authority and right to your opinion as does Bill O'Reilly or Cindy Sheehan.

As for supporting the troops, I've never really been sure what that means. You hear it a great deal from people who, as is the case with many of us, over consume the planet's resources without question; that in turn means we have "national interest" (read really consumer, corportate and military interest) just about everywhere which in turn drives military deployment and war industry. In the process, young, eager, nationalistic men are put in harm's way. Support the troops? You really only do that if you resist their misuse; you do not do it by deferring to the opinion of the soldiery and military.