Thursday, October 21, 2004

Undecided Voters: Reading To Expand Your Horizons

Some things I haven't been as good about would be "blogrolling" or putting out other blogs with interesting posts that might help explain some other points of view. So, I am going to post some here. They are all great and I had a hard time deciding which ones to post first, so I hope no one is offended by the order.

First, let me introduce you to the first blog I ever read: Iraq The Model. Three brothers from Baghdad who have embraced the new freedoms and democratic process in Iraq with joy and excitement. They even started their own political party: Iraqi Pro Democracy Party.

Many times their posts have touched me personally. I have felt strongly in the last 6 months that they have taught me more about cherishing freedom and understanding my own obligations to maintaining that freedom. An excerpt from todays post reminds me, once again, not to take that freedom for granted:

I got a passport!
I should’ve written about this some days ago but I had to spend a week in Basra...Anyway, I feel it’s still worth writing about (at least from my point of view): last week, I crossed the borders for the first time in my life; something may sound less than regular for most of you but for an Iraqi dentist or doctor it was a beautiful dream becoming a reality. Countless numbers of Iraqi doctors, dentists, officers and professionals carrying Msc or Phd ended up in prison or even lost their lives for trying to get passports (faked ones of course and at a very high cost) to get out of Saddam’s hell.

And interesting how he ends his post with talking about a strange peace he felt:

Life seemed normal for me for the 1st time in my life. Soon after the war we could sense freedom immediately but this time we experienced it in a way that we haven’t before. It was an amazing feeling!
Despite all what’s Baghdad is going through, nothing can match the peace I felt when I walked down from the airplane in Baghdad's airport.

Got that? He felt at peace with returning to his country instead of desparately trying to get out. A strange "peace" for sure if you only get your news from your local TV, paper or cable network.

Go on to the inner sanctum to read more interesting blogs.

Another brilliant Iraqi blogger is the Messopatamian who writes today about his view about America's responsibilities as a super power:

The American people should realize the full responsibilities and importance of their nation. No one can deny, even those who despise the U.S.A. that this country has an importance and influence transcending by far its borders and encompassing the entire world. This is particularly true at this point in time of the history of human civilization. Indeed

But the logic and “dialectic” of historical evolution does seem to conform to the old “Hegelian” concept of thesis and antithesis. That is to say historical forces will inevitably tend towards the emergence of New Poles (not to be confused with the Polish people) and New rival powers. And it is not difficult to guess the powers and countries who are candidates for this new polarization.

Any concept that there is possibility of a wide alliance that will support U.S. efforts and be amicable to its goals and national interests is a false hope which profoundly misinterprets the logic of historical realism. The battle lines are clearly drawn, and ally, foe, and opportunistic bystander are all quite well defined, and any notion that these can be appreciably changed by diplomacy or otherwise is an illusion.

Yes, Alaa is an Iraqi and quite a brilliant writer from my point of view. Very intelligent, well read and capable of understanding world "nuance". Basically, if you don't have the drift, even an Iraqi can figure out that countries like France and Germany may well fall under "opportunistic bystander" instead of "ally" and that, in seeking their own power, they will not be persuaded to augment the power of the US by any means, but may instead, oppose it or support it depending on what they see as beneficial to their own ends.

Other recommendations would be Asher over at Dreams Into Lightning with a humanist bent sowed up with some deep thinking faith and truisms:

Actually, President Bush's supporters include a wide spectrum of people of all ideological persuasions, precisely because President Bush has correctly understood the war on terrorism and on fascism as the central issue of our time.

Many people on both sides of the environmental, social, and economic issues - including those like myself who strongly disagree with the President about many of these things - realize that these political conversations are secondary to the threats facing both America and the free world. In fact, one of the most positive changes I've experienced in the past three years has been the chance to learn about, and better understand, those whose views are different from my own.

And talking about political wedges and issues:

A wedge between America and the rest of the world? No. It is a wedge between those who support and defend the sadistic fascism of the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, the Iranian regime, and their ilk; and freedom-loving nations like America, India, Britain, Australia, Israel, and free Iraq. Drive that wedge deep, and drive it with a sledge hammer.

I particularly like that last sentence: "Drive that wedge deep and drive it with a sledge hammer". In other words, don't be afraid of the division of our nation or the world on this issue. The division or "wedge" just makes the issues that much more clearer. When they are muddied up by political desires to me "multilateral" whether across political parties or countries, you may achieve something, but it is often slow and almost always imperfect. Think of the truism: "management by committee" which pretty much means nothing will get done except to meet, meet again, write a paper, meet some more, too many ideas to follow, nothing gets done.

Sometimes it is much better to choose your side and drive it forward if you want to achieve anything.

Other blog that I read occassionally is Michele from Letters From NY. She lost many friends on 9/11, but she did not let that stop her. She writes letters to her long lost friends as well as some new ones she's made, particularly a military unit that she has been supporting in Iraq:

Yesterday, I got home and found my mailbox jammed packed with letters, and a note from my mailman that more that were waiting for me at the post office. I was stunned. As I flipped through the envelopes I saw that all the addresses were from soldiers in Iraq. (...)

You see, I began writing and sending these brave men and women letters since they were first deployed. Most don’t have time to write backas they work long days, in challenging environments that when they finally do get back to their bunks it’s to take care of themselves and get ready for the next day.(..)

As a company, they decided to write back to thank me for the care boxes I've sent them this past year. Each letter touched my heart in a special way. I for one don’t take their service lightly, being the direct recipient of their efforts.

And she goes on to print a partial letter from the commander of the unit, "Major Ken":

We are here in Iraq for a one-year tour and the time is flying past. There are so many good things happening and as I write this letter the interim government is preparing to meet tomorrow morning to begin preparation for the upcoming elections. I am grateful to be a part of the process and after being here last year I’ve seen a dramatic change in the country already.

Although this is my second deployment, my time here this year continues to be rewarding and challenging. The soldiers are working very hard daily to give the interim government a chance to get started.

Go on over and read the rest of the letter.

Personally, I like the soldier's letters and the Iraqi bloggers as some of the best sources of information and "man on the street" that we don't get to see on a regular basis. To me, it helps put things in perspective a little more.

I hope you've enjoyed this brief tour through the blog world and that some of the reading helps you understand where folks like me get the idea that some things are worth fighting for and might require more information than a paragraph in the paper or a two minute sound bite on the news.


Community Oriented Policing in Kosovo Blog said...

Kat, I've not had the chance to get here much in the last few months and for that I apologize. Things have been crazy here, but all in a good way. I wanted to tell you though, magnificent job as usual :)

It's nice to visit a voice of reason amongst all of the, not at all well thought out, conclusion jumping and band wagoning. Thank you for that!


Pat in NC said...

I may not comment all the time but I keep reading. One vote for GWB is now on file since we have early election opportunities here. Paper ballot, filled in large ovals with ink pen provided and then fed into scanner by me.
Let the Dems ask for a recount in my county and they will not find a thing wrong. You cannot erase ink and no magnifying glasses necessary.

Kat said...

Whitedeer...I am so glad you stopped by. I have been wondering where you've been. I'll send you an email and you can tell me about your latest adventures in Community Policing.

Pat, I've been reading you, too. so glad that you continue to stop by here. It's a pleasure.

One vote for GWB another 100 million to go. I believe my polls (I just moved to this area two years ago and this is the first election here) are using the "punch" cards, but I haven't confirmed. All I know is, if I get to touch it after I punch it, I will make sure there are no hanging "chads".

NeoConNews said...

I just found the Iraq the Model blog! Anyone who doesn't understand why the US is in Iraq needs to read what Iraqis have to say about the recent events.

Paul G. said...

I just have to say that I find your Blog a constant inspiration.
The writing is impeccable and your opinions are alway clear and well stated.

Kat said...

Paul, I appreciate the compliment. I hope I don't sound ungrateful, but, are you the same Paul that refers to me as "adolf hitler in drag"? LOL

I think you just confused the heck out of me.

Be that as it may, thanks for dropping by, and if you meant to post the compliment here, never let it be said that I don't know my manners, thank you again for the compliment.

Paul G. said...

Yes, the same one.
Please don't confuse the compliment for agreement, but you do very good work and it needs to be said.

The only reason for the Adolf reference is that quite often your posts give me that old Nurenberg feeling - not that it's 'Nazi', just that it has the feeling of being delivered with a passion that would be best appreciated by torch light. Besides it gives folks an extra kick to go look at your Blog.

And I'm moving too far from the compliment and spoiling it.
I'm sorry, Like I said it is inspiring to read your posts and they are very well written.

I could be persuaded to vote for Bush, if I could get past things I hold even more dear than security, and that my view of security is broader than the current situation with Islamic terrorism.

Kat said...


One thing you could say about Adolf, he definitely knew how to orate and get the crowd going. Of course, he and I wouldn't agree on many things, like killing the jews, or burning books, or world domination...LOL

Actually, I probably would have been one of the first to go since he wasn't a guy to tolerate competition! LOL

And yes, it's generated some visits. I've seen your blog on the referral list, that's how I found out about the "adolf" reference. Although, no one but you has been gutsy enough to leave a comment. LOL

OK..sorry, just had to tweak that a little more.
In all reality, the compliment of a well thought out blog from a person that disagrees with you is the best kind of compliment. Thank you.

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

I am an extremely busy person, but on those few occasions that I make the effort to come here and read things through and get up to speed on all you've posted, you do more than just edify and educate me--you inspire me. If I were running for office you would be drafted into the position of telling my campaigners what to do, what to say, and how to say it! ;)

Kat said...

Ciggy, thanks. Believe me, if you were running for office, I'd drop everything and go run your campaign. ;)

Of course, I am really good at bossing people around. Just ask anybody I know! LOL

Anonymous said...

Hey Kat, this is Redcloud, hubby of Whitedeer, calling from Kosovo!

Just wanted to drop by and say hello, let you know all is as well as could be expected in this UN Province.

Saturday this nation went through yet another election while under the gaze of the UN, EU, Serbia and other bodies. If I could capsulate the mood of the 80% Albanian and 20% other ethnic groups it would be: Enough is enough. They are ready to have an economy. Peace and stability (or relative stability) will suffer 70% unemployment for only so long.

Serbian or Albanian decent, these are not a lazy people. They have ideas, they are creative and industrious, they are ready to enter the world market. I believe too that prosperity would go a great distance to make ethnic divides fade. Sony's recent investment in nickle processing here is a huge step in the right direction, lets hope others see the wisdom of investment here.

In all, I am amazed and honored to be here doing what I am doing with community oriented policing. I serve a people of great character and moral fiber, and I have learned more than I could ever teach. God bless America, Kosovo, and democracy!

Keep up the great work!