Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Things To Read While I Rejoin the Work World

I'm busy right now trying to get acclimated to the new job. I'm torn right now between complaining about the crappy pay (comparatively speaking to my last 8 years of employment)and enjoying the view from the 26th floor of a high rise down town; being only responsible for me, myself and I; only working 8:00 to 5:00 and actually meeting regular folks. I think I might even enjoy working "downtown" because it is different than working in a low rise industrial building with 40 other schmucks that are the only people you see or know. You don't get that "family" feeling that's for sure, but interestingly, I think I like that, too. That way, when I do find the job that I really want, I won't be bogged down by feelings of loyalty to the people around me. I'll just go.

It is a strangely liberating feeling.

On that note, I haven't had time to form many thoughts on the latest and greatest geo-political issues. Or, I should say, I haven't had time to write as much about them as I would.

Iran and Nukes: All I got to say is that I hope the Chinese and the Russians get on board and that the Euro-weenies don't get all sentimental over ol' Persia that they don't stick to their guns. Or, worse, because they fear the US "imperialism", they cut their noses off to spite their faces. Personally, I'd love to see the revolution of democracy and freedom in Iran, but I'm not holding my breath. From all I've seen and heard, it's completely underground with little acts of defiance that the government routinely tolerates and cracks down on in rotating efforts to keep the population from getting too antsy, give them a little butter, then steal their bread so they keep the illusion that they are making progress while the nut jobs take over the hen house.

And, we made deals with these morons for commercial and infrastructure support in Iraq and Afghanistan, arguably the two hotspots of the area with direct conflict. I hate to give away the game plan, but everybody knows we aren't going to war with these punks though I wouldn't mind giving some money (lots of it) to the anti-regime groups, including any of the separatist organizations who are not peaceful. I am even prepared to take the bus in the impending oil/gas price explosion. Anything as along as CooCoo for Cocoa Puffs don't their hands on nukes.

Joel Stein's "I don't support the troops" piece: Well, at least he's honest, if not completely clueless in terms of real geo-politics, the purpose of militaries and the fact that you cannot be an internationalist without protecting your ability to be an internationalist. Folks who talk about "imperialist America" have really no clue about how the international world works. They are completely myopic and pretend that it is better to be the country with piddily forces at home and continuously struggling economically while fearing for our safety and making pacts with bigger, most likely uglier countries who are willing to put their military out there and do what others think we should morally feel as repugnant. Apparently, people like Joel would rather be the victims and moan about it then be able to do something when it is necessary.

Frankly, as I look around my home and see the items that come from many countries or are made from materials from many countries, knowing that even in the homes of people like Joel these same items abound (like, today, I will be wearing a shirt made in India that I know is only here because we are financially AND militarily capable of protecting trade routes) to be moral hypocrites. So, while he is desperately trying to prove he is not a hypocrite by pronouncing his lack of support for the troops at war in Iraq, he is still a hypocrit since he'd never put two and two together, suddenly throw out all of his conveniences, give up his home and go live in a cave for his convictions.

Must be nice to be able to pretend anyway.

I think that Hugh Hewitt drives the point home the best in his interview with Joel.

On a funny note, I thought this was one of the best personal views from Iraq in awhile:

My loyal but spasmodic SAW gunner, SPC Gunderson, recently penned a blistering love letter via email to his dearly beloved back home.
“It was juicy,” he says. “Real juicy.”
“So what exactly's the problem, Gundy?”
“Well, you know that quick address box on Hotmail, right? The one that just lets you just click on the recipient’s email without actually typing it in?”
“Well, they should really space out those names more. Cause as soon as I sent it off I got a confirmation page saying I’d emailed this racy love letter to some friends of my parents!”
“Hahahaha.! So what’d you do?”
“What could I do? I immediately called my folks, that’s what I did. I told them to tell their friends that they were not--under any circumstances--NOT to open any emails with my name on them.”
“And… they said they didn’t read it.”
“And you believe this?”
“No. Of course they read it. I would have."
He got up to leave. “But the next time my folks have them over for dinner, it sure is gonna be awkward."

Go read the rest.

And, I hope that most of you are regular readers of Mudville Gazette so you didn't miss this piece about some real troopers of love. Makes me feel like a selfish wimp in comparison.

Or this great piece from Christopher Hitchens on Osama's truce offering which I didn't have time to comment on with funerals and work and other personal crisis clouding the horizon. My response to Osama is still: Nutz!

However, Hitchens nails it on the head what I and many others have been saying about the "second front" of the GWOT in Iraq:

Given the utter discredit and isolation of its forces in Iraq, who would still say that the fighting there is a "distraction" from the hunt for al-Qaida? They have taken tremendous casualties, obviously in the hope that their atrocious tactics would swiftly dissipate coalition morale and coerce Iraqi support. And it seems as if they haven't learned from their mistake.

The fratricide within the insurgency offers a perfect opportunity, which one hopes is being fully exploited, for infiltration, for the spread of damaging rumors about secret negotiations with one faction, for sabotage and for provocations that will increase the misery and distrust now infecting the ranks. It also offers an occasion to reverse the questions that we have been so anxiously asking ourselves. It is for the murderers and video-beheaders to ask themselves: How long can we sustain this effort? How many casualties is too many? Was our postwar planning adequate to the task? Are we winning hearts and minds? Are we endangered by sectarian strife within our own camp? And they have to pursue these discussions in secrecy, with superstitious reference to dreams and omens and prophecies, whereas at last we can pursue our argument in the open.

Someday, if you don't get it yet, I'll explain to you why blogging on certain subjects is an important part of the information war long and far away from getting our voices heard in the American public square. Think about how google works and the interconnectivity of the internet then get back to me if you have further questions.

Someone I haven't linked to in awhile, Sandmonkey directs us to an article about Egyptian and Israeli commerce. Something about hypocrits again. Sandmonkey will explain it all as our interpeid reporter from the APU (Arab Parallel Universe if you've forgotten). Just remember whatever you think you know about the ME is probably not even a tenth of what you'd need to know about the complications of relations there particularly when it comes to finance in order to make really good decisions about who, what, when and where one might need to apply sticks and carrots.

Last, don't forget to pray for Jill Carroll. I might have some things to say about the media and it's reporting, but Jill's work was good, concise and not full of too much ideological bull. She was kidnapped several weeks ago, the captors gave America 72 hours to release "all female prisoners in Iraq", of course we won't comply, though there is speculation about six individuals that we did release at the request of the Iraqis who may have negotiated on their own behalf, but it is unknown but for speculation. No word yet from her captors. In any case, her reporting was good, her family is very worried for her (so much that the sister took down her website) and many friends in Iraq and the US are praying as well.

That is all.

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