Fridays are Fun
Well, in retrospect I’m so unhappy with the Deerfield post that I’m going to delete it and rewrite it as a single post. I like trying to fit a story into a few pages in such a way that people not only enjoy reading, it even evokes a bit of wonder, emotion, amazement, etc. It’s like painting a picture. It pretty much has to be read all at once though. Granted there are some stories where having them in two parts is no big deal, but I think that’s the exception. I’m going to post a few crime stories as well some time. There’s a number of obscure cases that just make a good read.
Speaking of a good read, boy, it’s amazing just how focused on the present most people’s view of the world is. Or maybe just how shallow their understanding of history is. Most Americans think, oh, World War One, World War Two, Vietnam, The Civil War, and that’s it, right? Napoleon, and, um, the Romans? Um, not quite that simple. History is drenched in blood and wars. England, France, and Spain spent centuries fighting over the new world, dozens of wars. The Dutch, Portuguese, and a host of others got involved as their time and schedules permitted. And look at the Middle East. When they weren’t fighting among themselves, there have been endless waves of European invaders since Alexander the Great up to the current day. And don’t even get me started on Africa or China. If there’s an alien community, and the topic of Earth comes up, it’s like “Oh, yeah, the war planet, what’s up with that?”
I see a federal judge has declared that the ban on gay service members in the USA is unconstitutional. Well, d’oh. This has always been one of the silliest prejudices. Do anyone care what their friends or co-workers do in their bedroom? If they do, they should run, not walk, to the nearest psychiatrist. As for the idea that serving with a gays would be “bad for morale,” um, they said that about blacks and women too. News flash: The military is a command organization. If the order given is: You will serve proudly with your black/female/gay fellow soldier … the only permissible answer is “Sir, yes sir.” Any service member who can’t obey their orders doesn’t belong in the service in the first place. Can I say “D’oh” again?
In science news, the next generation of space telescopes will be able to tell if planets around nearby stars have oceans. Waycool. I’m gonna make a prediction here though. This is a classic example of “‘looking for the key.” I don’t think we’re gonna find oceans like we have on Earth on other planets. We’re gonna find stuff that nobody imagined. Mark my words.
In current events, I see that anti-Koran burning protests have broken out in Afghanistan. The point to understand here, one I should have made in the previous post, is that while the Quran burning plan is the proximate cause of these protests, that’s not really what these protests are about. There are deep anti-American sentiments in much of the Muslim world, and that would especially be in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan, and something like this Quran burning episode serves as a flash-point for them. That’s why I made the comment about the Quran burning being the same as tossing a match on gasoline soaked ground. Sadly I suspect most of the media, and by extension most Americans, will simply regard this as more evidence that “Muslims are crazy” without understanding the context. The USA’s misguided foreign policy in the Middle East has been creating enemies non-stop since at least 1953, and continues today with our flying death squads, military bases, and most of all, our insistence that the USA gets to appoint who runs Middle Eastern countries. We’ve overthrown four governments (three of them very popular and one of them democratically elected) there in just the past ten years that turned three countries into failed states, and provoked civil war in a fourth (which was already a failed state to begin with.) And waged “death from above” wars in two others. Yeah, that’s all gonna make the USA popular in the Muslim world.
In retrospect it just occurs to me that the USA’s relationship with third world countries is very similar to how we related to native American tribes as the USA moved westward in the nineteenth century. We simply designated some Indian as a “chief,” and paid him to sign whatever documents we wanted. There was no negotiation in any sense of the word, it was simply a veneer of legality while the USA exploited whatever lands and resources they wanted. And if it was decided some prior “treaty” had been too generous, the USA simply arranged for a new treaty. And in many cases the USA didn’t even bother with a treaty, they simply told the Indians to move. It may have been a success in the nineteenth century, but it’s a strategy that is not going to pay off in the long run in the rest of the world. There are simply too many Indians.
In any event, hopefully a few demonstrations is all this Quran burning will inspire. If it turns into massive anti-USA revolts in Afghanistan or elsewhere, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
Have a great weekend everyone.
(The above image is public domain under US copyright law as far as I can tell. It’s the Shah of Iran, one of the USA’s greatest “success” stories installing US oriented governments in the Muslim world. Look how well that turned out.)