From Veni, Vidi, Vici to Mission Accomplished
I look forward to slow news days because I don’t have to frantically prepare a blog in response to breaking headlines. Alas, today is not one of those days. There’s some very bad things in the news.
The Golden Shrine in Samarra, Iraq, got blown up again. Or more accurately, what didn’t get blown up in 2006 got blown up. Great. The last attack catalysed the current wave of ethnic and religious violence, since it is a revered Shia Shrine and thus it’s destruction exacerbated Shia/Sunni tensions. Everyone is urging calm after this latest attack, who knows, maybe the violence can’t get any worse. As for the perpetrators, again, who knows. Any number of groups benefit from continued strife in Iraq. It’s also a sign of just how little power the US and the Maliki government wield, they couldn’t protect one of the most important religious sites in the country? Bad news all around. Some blame Al-Qaeda of course, but some always blame Al-Qaeda.
Internecine fighting between Palestinian factions in the occupied territories has worsened. Nothing good here, though I’m not sure what the west expected when they refused to recognize the duly elected Hamas administration and for all practical purposes isolated the Palestinians in the world’s largest open air prison camp. “Terrorist” is just the current word for savage, barbarian, infidel, whatever. It’s a way to demonize your enemies and turn them into less than human beings. Then of course you can do what you want to them and it’s legitimate. And if they treat you the same way, why, that just proves what monsters they are! And thus nothing has changed since Alexander the Great conquered the world in the name of spreading Greek civilization, more than two thousand years later western armies are still marching through the region firm in the belief that they are spreading civilization.
A bomb went off in Beruit, on top of all the fighting in the Palestinian refugee camps. Discord from Iraq is spreading, as the worst regional humanitarian crisis since the 1948 war continues to grow. Another civil war in Lebanon is not out of the question. Violence and discord is usually all that spreads from invasions, it’s like lighting a fire in a dry field.
The USA continued it’s sabre rattling directed at Iran. We accused them of supplying weapons to the Taliban. Seems unlikely since the Taliban and Iran were enemies. In fact it’s a good bet that most of the Taliban’s weapons are coming from our ally Pakistan. And of course, we have no business being in Afghanistan in the first place, but some Americans seem infected with a fervent desire to resurrect colonialism from its shallow grave and show the British and French how it’s done. See, the secret is we’re not setting up colonies in Iraq and Afghanistan to tame the barbarians. No…we’re setting up democracies to defeat the terrorists! Even if our intentions are good, oddly enough most people want to be invaded by meddling foreign armies about as much as Americans would.
I’m not expecting any big changes soon. Ghandi is long dead, Christ is way overdue, and just in general most of today’s leadership is an uninspiring lot. The more I study history the more it seems like one of those weird Sci Fi or Groundhog Day time loops where the same stuff just repeats over and over again. The sets and costumes change, but nothing else does, just the same tired venal actors repeating the same tired venal lines.
(The above image of a bust of Alexander is legally reproduced in accordance with the GNU Free Documentation License. “Veni, Vidi, Vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered.”) —Julius Caesar)