“The solid human waste matter intersects the rotating turbine blades”
The post title, my old friend Ralph Johnson came up with that in high school, it never caught on. At least I think he did, memory is a fuzzy thing, it’s a story we tell ourselves more than anything. Ralph also went around for a year saying “devastating” hoping it would catch on, but alas, that too did not lead to fame and fortune. Hopefully he eventually found same, or at least happiness. I have no idea what became of him, and since there must be a few million Ralph Johnsons on line, I don’t even try to find out. Peace Ralph, sorry about the kittens and locking your door. Moving right along, last post I established that atheism is the one true faith, now we move on from there. I kid of course, atheism isn’t a faith. Kinda the opposite in fact. I didn’t establish anything so much as clear up my own thinking. Which oddly enough seems to have been the case on several levels, atheism and talking about atheism does seem to be clearing my head.
Or maybe it’s the spring air. Or the world falling apart. That’s the topic for today. The first point is how deliciously like the apocryphal boiling frogs analogy the world is now. In the eighties, the death of a single American serviceman or civilian overseas was a huge deal, and the idea of stationing American troops in the Middle East was a radical concept. And since then things have been slowly ratcheting up while America slumbers. Americans are killed abroad daily, now American troops are stationed everywhere, and we routinely attack and invade other countries. And now the background level of war has gone up another notch with the outbreak of civil war in Libya. I said when we invaded Iraq that this was the same as the Japanese invasion of China, that eventually theUS invasion of Iraq would be seen seen as the start of what ultimately would become a much large war. The Japanese invasion of China in 1931 was in some senses the start of World War Two, let’s hope Iraq wasn’t the start of World War Three.
In any event change keeps unfolding in the Middle East. In another sense what is happening now is similar to the collapse of the Soviet Empire in 89. The various western backed governments in the Middle East are different only in the most superficial ways from the various communist governments of Eastern Europe. In both cases these governments were wildly unpopular and corrupt, and were only maintained in power by foreign military power. IE in both cases what was basically an unnatural state was kept in place for decades before it finally collapsed of its own dead weight. How far the current collapse in the Middle East will go is anyone’s guess, but despite what they say on the American media, the turmoil continues with no end in sight.
Interestingly enough, after initially being taken off guard by the revolt that spread out of Tunisia and not really knowing what to say, the media and the US government have gotten back on a even keel now. They’ve decided to ignore it and carry on as if nothing is happening. Watching the news is creepy now, it’s back to the celebrity meltdown of the day: wouldn’t it be wild if Charlie Sheen married Britney Spears? Events in the Middle East are barely mentioned. Creepiest of all, the Islamic terrorist fear mongering continues unabated. Congress even now is holding hearings on how the American Muslim community is not doing its part to suppress radicalism within its ranks, and hyping the “threat” posed by Islamic radicals in the USA.
That’s right, the Middle East is falling apart, and Congress is looking into the threat of Islamic radicals inside the USA. This is bizzarro world, surrealand unrelated to reality in any meaningful way. Some background, after 9/11 America adopted the “Islamic threat” as a huge part of our national identity, it was hyped to the moon and back. Islamist terrorists would be blowing up buses and trains in the USA, backpack bombs would be going off everywhere. And of course there was the terrible danger that Islamists would topple governments in the Middle East and create a new Islamic caliphate in the Middle East. And tens of millions of Americans, even well educated ones, bought into this hype and gave the US government carte blanche to do whatever it could to “protect” us against this terrible threat. Which the US government was only too happy to do, spending money like there as no tomorrow and using military power to shape the Middle East to their liking.
Well, as all but avid Faux News devotees know, it turns out the “threat” posed by Al Qaeda or home-grown Islamic terror was basically non-existent. The “plots” that have been uncovered have vitually all involved the FBI finding some troubled loser or losers, and then FBI agents talked them into doing radical stuff. And the few cases that haven’t involved that have been so amateurish as to also obviously be the work of troubled losers, not dedicated terrorists. This last guy they caught, which again the media and government is making a big deal about, the guy who was going to blow up all sorts of stuff? How did her get caught? He ordered his bomb making chemicals from a chemical supply house. Think about that. He is either a moron or he wanted to get caught. Hollywood couldn’t make an episode of 24 about that if they tried. It would be a short episode at least. “Jack, you have a phone call from a chemical supply house!” The next scene they arrest the loser with all his incriminating evidence in his dorm room, and that’s that.
And secondly, notice how radical Islamists are leading the charge across the Middle East? American flags being burned everywhere, American embassies being seized? Sharia law being imposed and a new caliphate in the winds? Nope, turns out that tens of millions of Muslims in the Middle East have been inspired by Islam … to demand democracy and freedom! And not only have women taken part in huge numbers, they are among the leaders of the revolution. How does this jibe with the “Muslims are out to get us all” tripe of the past decade? It doesn’t.
I’m not saying that terrorism isn’t or wasn’t a threat. I’m saying that OBL and his ilk are a small number of radical thugs, not an existential threat. It’s like when Britain was at war with the IRA. Yes, the IRA was portrayed as evil personified, but the British government never tried to claim that the IRA posed an existential threat to Britain or that the IRA was going to reestablish Catholicism in Britain. In fact such a suggestion would have been laughed at, the British people and government never lost sight of the fact that the IRA was a tiny handful of murderous thugs. And yet Americans were easily convinced that Al-Qaeda was going to be the death of us all, and if Congress’ hearings are any indications, apparently we’re supposed to keep on thinking that. Like I said, it’s surreal.
As for Libya, who knows what will happen. I still think Qaddafi’s days are numbered, but “leaders” who are willing to murder any number of their own countrymen to stay in power often have surprising staying power. I sure hope the USA and the west stay out of it, because intervention would make things worse. I am troubled by one aspect of this that isn’t mentioned. In decades past, private Americans would already be organizing and heading off to fight on the side of the rebels. And yet, I hear none of that? We have become such sheep that we’ve surrendered all initiative to our government? Apparently.
In conclusion, I still think it’s the fall of 1939, Poland has just been invaded, and all hell is going to break loose before its over. Gonna be a fun year people.
(The above image is public domain under US and Chinese copyright law. It’s Chinese deaths from panic during a 1941 air raid by the Japanese on Chungking. They look pretty innocent to me, which is the norm for victims of modern warfare. I used it because so many Americans seem oblivious to the death in the world today, or more accurately, are oblivious about how our government’s foreign policy results in so many deaths. Yes, morbid, I know. I hope I’m wrong about this summer. Next, a nice post on the life review.)