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Wednesday, March 26, 2003

But I'm tired now and that shouldn't count. But what am I afraid of anyway?

I don't write anymore. No, I don't mean posting links in this blog. I mean writing, just regular writing.

Friday, March 21, 2003

More of the same kind of thing I was talking about, from Saletan: If you want to minimize the killing, stop resisting the war. Instead, do what you can to make the war transparent and to hold your government accountable for unnecessary deaths.

This makes me so mad. (from Altercation)

I agree with Alterman, especially when he's right:

For me, the antiwar movement such as it was, is over. We lost. It's time to wish the best for our soldiers and the victims of this war [and] focus on building a better future.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

To further confuse things, you have to read this great piece in Salon which asks the question "why isn't the left in favor of removing Saddam?"

The piece refers to Slobodan, and I confess that in the early 90s I wrote a letter to Pres. Clinton, urging him to engage the military to stop ethnic cleansing. Back then, I sincerely thought another holocaust was coming, and was enraged that the Democrats were uninterested in comitting troops. Weird, huh? If Clinton had bombed Milosevic's HQ I would have had no problem with that. (Of course, I always cut Bill C. a lot of slack. A lot.)

I guess my only problem with the Salon piece is the notion that while Vietnam was "tens of thousands of deaths justified by a systematic lie," the bombing of Iraq reflects an administration whose lies are somehow less dangerous, that we should look to the, uh, upside of bombing Iraq into obedient democracy. I think, in the case of Vietnam, America was rightly afraid of communism's spread (ask Czechs if such fear was justified), and still waged a horrific and bloody war. For years. The road to hell, indeed.

I don't think the Bush administration's lying is incidental to the issue; I think it's central to why consensus does not exist outside US right wing circles. If the administration were acting on humanitarian impulse, or simply to roll back anti-democratic Islamism, we could disagree on approach. But that isn't the case. In fact, if Iraq does become a republic, the Bush administration will not tolerate those democratic impulses that do not mirror it's own initiatives.

So what is to be done? As I said before, I'm coming close to Lempinen's (and some of Hitchens') views. Because very little makes Saddam different from the government of China, or Milosevic, or Pol Pot.

Note to self: read "How to Tell if We are Winning."

And you thought you were scared... here's an excerpt from Raed's to-do list:

- Finished taping all the windows in the house, actually a very relaxing exercise if you forget why you are doing it in the first place.
- installed a manual pump on the well we have dug because up till now we had an electrical pump on it.
- bought 60 liters of gasoline to run the small electricity generator we have, bought two nifty kerosene cookers and stocked loads of kerosene and dug holes in the garden to bury the stuff so that the house doesn�t turn into a bomb....


You should really read him... while you still can.

Monday, March 17, 2003

The war is about to start, and I find myself wondering how far reporters will be allowed to report. And I wonder how much more war-geek reporting I can take from the major news outlets (this from the Time article cited at the start of this paragraph):

Unlike the first Gulf War, in which fewer than 10% of the bombs were smart, this time close to 80% would be. And unlike the laser-guided bombs of 12 years ago, these satellite-guided weapons, known as joint direct-attack munitions (JDAMs), should be able to find their targets automatically, unimpeded by smoke or bad weather. The top targets of those JDAMs would be the military sites�command posts and critical garrisons belonging to the Republican Guard�that keep Saddam in power and the symbolic sites, like his presidential palaces, that reflect that power. "It will be highly kinetic," an Air Force planner says with grim understatement.

No mention of the fact dring GulfWar v1.0, smart bombs were reported as "surgical" but then, after the war, the truth came out.

I wonder how the blogging universe (multiverse?) will affect the dissent equation with GulfWar v2.0. On one hand, while active right-wing bloggers are, like Fox News, ubiquitous and influential, the Trent Lott thing was fueled, in part, by bloggers raising questions. On the other hand, this war is a complicated thing (despite what G-Dub might tell you), and there is a spectrum of opinion, from the Fox guys all the way to Noam. Confession: I find myself listening, with one part of one ear, to Hitchens' freaked-out assessment of the threat. Maybe because Hitchens is so much more honest than the Administration. He's wrong, but honest.

For future reference: the admission that Saddam & Osama aren't pals, from G-Dub himself.


Friday, March 14, 2003

Yesterday I worked on DHTML stuff all day, and a lot of it finally stuck with me. It's like, oh, Javascript ain't that hard after all. I felt like a real boy.

It's hard to believe that I missed Aimee Mann when she came though town. She's so good.

Friday, March 07, 2003

Bob Herbert writes how "there's something surreal about the fact that the United States of America, the richest, most powerful nation in history, can't provide a basic public school education for all of its children." Gee, you think?

If so, the fault mainly lies with President Bush. His articulation of political aims and postwar plans has been sketchy to the point of empty cliche. He has never discussed the human costs of war, nor its price. The Yale economist William D. Nordhaus estimates the military expenditure between $50 billion and $140 billion; far more daunting, his study finds, the postwar costs to the United States of occupying and rebuilding Iraq, along with the impact on oil markets and the economy, could run as high as $2 trillion. This is a calculation that no one in the administration has dared to make, at least publicly. Privately, some officials suggest that Iraqi oil will pay for it.

More than anything, the president hasn't readied Americans psychologically to commit themselves to a project of such magnitude, nor has he made them understand why they should. He has maintained his spirit of hostility to nation-building while reversing his policy against it. Bush is a man who has never shown much curiosity about the world. When he met with Makiya and two other Iraqis in January, I was told by someone not present, the exiles spent a good portion of the time explaining to the president that there are two kinds of Arabs in Iraq, Sunnis and Shiites. The very notion of an Iraqi opposition appeared to be new to him. War has turned Bush into a foreign-policy president, but democratizing an Arab country will require a subtlety and sophistication that have been less in evidence than the resolve to fight.


-- George Packer, in Dreaming of Democracy (NYT)

Monday, March 03, 2003

I couldn't have said it better. Fallacies and War (from Kuro5hin).

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