Saturday, December 27, 2003

Memestream 2.3

Definitely worth a look.

Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and PNAC Parallels

Part One and Part Two.

Makes for some very striking reading. I may have to see if I can dust off that old copy of Shirer's tome and re-read it at some point. Are the PNAC manifestos akin to Mein Kampf in neo-con clothes?

Five Simple Rules For Political Reporting

Krugman's suggested New Year's Resolutions are amusing and to the point.

A few thoughts at the edge of the apocalypse

Quite a title given that I'm not an apocalyptic thinker. The apocalyptic types, regretably, run the show in Washington DC these days, however, and seem hellbent on continuing their crusade to purify America and the world.

I'm not entirely a pessimist, though, and here are a few ideas I have for the upcoming year:

1. The events of 9-11 were truly horrifying, and should have never happened. The take-home message that I accepted was that we in the US are also vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Terrorism, which I tend to look at as military action using unconventional means by extremists who do not possess conventional means of warfare, is a fact of life. We do what we can to protect ourselves, and hope for the best.

2. The "war on terror" was a mistake. An unending war against an amorphous "enemy" will not foster security: instead, it has fostered paranoia at home, paranoia regarding US intentions abroad, and has energized those extremists who have their own apocalyptic visions of purifying the world and expunging its evil influences. My hope is that the next President will immediately acknowledge that the "war on terror" approach has been wrong, and that working with the international community to handle the problem of terrorism will be more effective. It sure beats alienating our friends, creating new enemies, and overextending our military and wasting our financial resources like we are currently doing. Right now, the US government has become the ideal dance partner for the apocalyptic-minded Islamist groups like Al-Qaida. The current path will only increase the tempo and intensify the dance. We need to simply refuse to dance, and instead go back to working with our friends.

3. The current president is incapable of ending this "dance of death" with equally militant apocalypse-minded Islamic groups. He needs to be replaced this November.

4. Rather than capitalize on the deaths of terror victims in the name of some grand crusade against some amorphous evil entity, our government should instead frame terrorism and terrorists for what they are: criminals. The approach of our current president has only made terrorist groups appear as "forbidden fruit" in the minds of young men and women who are most likely to be sympathetic to these groups. The latter approach has the potential for turning these same groups into "tainted fruit". My hope is that the next President understands this.

5. Living in fear is no way to live. Bad things do happen. Most of the time they don't, and often one doesn't find trouble unless one actively seeks trouble. As a kid, I eventually learned that being street-savvy was good for self-preservation; being street-savvy is not a fear-based approach but instead is more of a common-sense approach. I suspect that there is an extension of street-savviness that can be applied to international relations and to the problem that terrorism presents. Be cool, keep your eyes and ears open, but always remember that there's nothing to fear but fear itself.


Saddam is captured, but soldiers continue dying for Bush's lies

Let's tell it like it is: the war and occupation were conducted under false pretenses, and our men and women in uniform continue to pay the price. The capture of a symbolic figurehead has sadly done nothing to change that fact.