Tuesday, August 01, 2006
So Much Trouble in the World
I've been spending more time watching the news again, and have even considered (gasp) re-subscribing to some newspaper or other. Primarily this desire is due to morbid fascination with the disintegrating state of things:
Castro ceding power to Raul Wow. Imagine if Fidel actually dies? Senator Mel Martinez can lead a flotilla of Miami Cubans down there and come ashore at the Bay of Pigs, unveiling the noble Bush Administration plan to replace a repressive crypto-Stalinist regime with a corrupt gangster capitalist dictator along the lines of Batista. Or perhaps Hugo Chavez will install a proxy government, knowing Bush can't do a damn thing about it? Hopefully bloodshed can be avoided in one part of the world.
Iran I suspect Iran wants limited confrontations with the US--just enough for Ahmanijad to get political mileage out of his tough talk. If the Persians were interested in really hitting us, they'd unleash Moqtada al-Sadr and his Shi'ite militia and the US body count in Iraq would jump from 15 to 300 a week. This doesn't mean they aren't fucking around with Syria and Hezbollah to embarrass the US and amplify our current weakness, nor does it mean they aren't working hard to ensure Iraq develops into an Islamic Republic on their own model. They'd be foolish not to, considering all the dirty dealing we've done them over the years. I blame the entire current situation on Bush and his "Axis of Evil" bullshit. Only a complete dunderhead (or a single-minded ideologue) would make such a pronouncement when Iranians were chanting pro-US slogans in soccer stadiums in Tehran after 9/11. Had we worked to strengthen ties to Khatami as he tried to minimize the Mullahs' power instead of giving them rhetorical tools to limit progress the world might be a different place now. Of course the Bushies blame the Iran mess on Clinton, which takes tortured logic--the only kind neo-cons wield.
Israel/Lebanon There is no nation on Earth who has more right to use disproportionate force in defending itself than Israel. After millenia of suffering pogroms and scapegoating and genocides, the Jews are justified in their paranoia and deserve some respect for taking the fight to their enemy with vigor. BUT--how long will it take for the IDF and Israeli politicians to realize that collective punishment perpetuates their dangerous situation? How long will it take for them to realize that past atrocities against themselves do not justify the current atrocities they perpetuate? Hezbollah and Hamas kidnapped and killed IDF soldiers after a Palestinian family was blown up on the beach and a Palestinian father and son were snatched from Gaza by the IDF. Funny how those initial actions disappear from the media narrative, and only Arab/Palestinian responses get called to account. Israel has the fourth or fifth most powerful military in the world. They could raze the entire Middle East, and are likely willing to do so if necessary. They've razed Lebanon before and nothing changed. Razing it now will change nothing, except to perpetuate the stupid cycle of violence. And yes, all American administrations going back to Tricky Dick share the blame for allowing Israel to ignore UN Security Council Resolutions (or for vetoing those not favored by Israel) while insisting that other states in the region comply. Creating South-African style bandustans in the Gaza strip and West Bank with US money helped nothing either. Imagine if we'd spent a couple billion dollars to train and arm the Lebanese military and to help out the nascent Lebanese government--you know, given them like a third of the money we give to Israel and Egypt and Turkey to buy our bombs with. Nope. We tell them they have to disarm a militia nearly as big as their army with no help, and then blow the shit out of their country for failing to do so within a year (or at least have a proxy army do it for us). Who supports democracy again? Who values freedom and peace?
Global Warming It's 105 degrees today, and the humidity is Venusian. Birds and bugs are stupefied into silence. The kids who have day camp outdoors at the University were huddled in a miserable torpor beneath trees, desultorily shooting each other with water guns. And yet there's no consensus it's a problem?
Mel Gibson What the fuck? With all the other shit going on in the world, is debating whether or not Mel is an anti-Semite worth a third of every hour on CNN? I think his statements to that LA County Sherriff's Deputy speak for themselves. Do I think it's possible for a mentally ill drunk to spout nonsense learned at his papa's knee without really meaning it? Uh, maybe. But this is not something to debate on TV when the world teeters on the brink of collapse.
Somalia Mark my words--the next time we're hit or Europe is hit in a big way by some fucked-up crew of murderous fanatics they will have been trained in a Somalian terrorist camp. Somalia will be the next Afghanistan, unless Iraq or Afghanistan becomes the next Afghanistan. Ethiopia is invading Somalia for Christ's sake, trying to stabilize things.
North Korea Just ignore them. Their missiles can't hit anything yet. As soon as a missile hits something, then we can act. It'll be a different President's problem.
Chuck Hagel If Chuck Hagel by some miracle were running against HRC in the next election, I'd vote for Hagel, and I agree with him about next to nothing. Why is he the only guy speaking up and saying "This madness must stop"? He's absolutely correct. Reagan saw the butchery Sharon unleashed on Beirut 20 years ago and was so appalled he reigned the IDF in by threatening to take away their allowance. All Bush has to say is "stop" and the current crisis would end immediately, and Rice could negotiate her bullshit deal with a bit of credibility. They don't want it to stop, however, because the US and Israel have been itching for a pretext to blow shit up ever since the elections Bush wanted went to groups he didn't want. Plus, the Rapture might get started if the violence continues. I for one am all for the Rapture--the sooner I see those nutcases flying up in the air, the better.
Iraq Proof positive that conservatives can't do anything--at least this crew. Government simply doesn't function at any level with these clowns in power. But they get things done for their true constituents; namely, the looting of public resources for private enrichment. They do that tremendously well. We're beyond quagmire and into catastrophe now. And Bush is going to take August off again.
Hell, at least there's no longer any Natalie Holloway/missing blond woman of the week chit-chat on cable.