The things people say
OK, I’m not quite sure what this guy is saying.
The news has been a bit quiet lately, aside from the ongoing bloodshed in the usual places. Just a few hardly noticeable distant screams and explosions as a faint backdrop to the Paris Hilton show. I mean, it’s not like refugees from Iraq, Lebanon, or Gaza are going to trouble us here in the USA. Good times. I’m just counting down to the day Bush leaves office. I hope no one does anything really stupid until then. People are saying stupid things though. Or interesting things depending on one’s point of view.
Senator Lieberman as called for strikes on Iran, the rationale being because they are purportedly killing our troops in Iraq. Presumably he’s just trying to look hawkier than thou, since obviously Bush has been considering attacking Iran for some time. Whatever, politics. It’s also called sabre rattling. I would note that Americans get pretty upset when foreign leaders call for strikes on the USA, because they do it doesn’t mean our leader’s should. I also remember the days when America’s leaders promised us peace and prosperity to get votes, now they promise us war? I can’t help but wonder if we’ve lost our way somewhere.
Speaking of politics, here’s a curious article from a British perspective on the bizarre spectacle of our presidential campaign being in full swing over a year from the election: Christmas Every Day. And how God trappings are a part and parcel of American politics. John Carroll also had some intellectual observations about how the media covers elections that I thought was thought provoking. The basic premise is that elections are covered as if they were a horse race, which really detracts from other important things, like the candidate’s positions. Both are light reading and recommended, though nothing earth shaking in either.
Then there’s Colin Powell saying he’d close Gitmo, our prison in Cuba, today if he could. Can’t fault him, if Gitmo was such a great idea we wouldn’t have put it in the legal limboland of Cuba. D’oh. In fact we should just give the navy base in Cuba back to the Cubans, we’ve only outstayed our welcome by fifty years or so. How can we expect other countries to respect our sovereignty, if we don’t respect theirs? Plus our staying there makes Fidel more popular, since it’s proof of the USA’s designs on Cuba. Not to mention having a prison outside of the law gives our other enemies propaganda galore and makes it tough for our allies. Sigh. I doubt Gitmo will close any time soon, but that important people are finally speaking up about this travesty is a good sign in my opinion. And please, I’m not suggesting just dumping the inmates off in a bus stop in Miami.
Bush visited Albania to a hero’s welcome. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Albania is one of the poorest, smallest, and most undeveloped countries in Europe. In other words, Bush is scraping the bottom of the barrel to find adoring foreign crowds to distract the media. Albania is also one of the least important countries in Europe (no offence meant,) so were not talking some big diplomatic coup in the offing. Strange days indeed.
And speaking of strange, the army has admitted that it investigated the possibility of building a “gay bomb” in the early nineties. Quite honestly I suspect that the media will miss the point on this one. This isn’t a gay issue, it’s a military spending issue. The problem I have with this is that there are so many unworkable aspects to the idea that it’s scary that it got any funding at all. Apparently it got several millions before they canned the project. Training and basic equipment budgets have been have been slashed for decades, but they have millions to investigate ideas that are prima facie useless to absurd? Maybe they need to investigate a “smarts bomb,” to use on our own military planners?
(The above image of Bush being welcomed in Albania is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit, it is central to illustrating the post, and it is an historically important image. Credit: AFP.)