Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Bush’ Category

The USA is Going to Attack Iran

with 3 comments

Another week gone by, another week spent perusing the news in the faint hope of gleaning some truth from a mass of lies, distortions, and misinformation. Another week of raving at the injustice of it all. Another week of struggling to put into words my alleged insights about this fascinating spinning hunk of rock we’re trapped on. Another week of cursed reruns on TV, record oil prices, and feline drama. Yes, another normal week at Doug’s Darkworld.

And this week’s insight: Bush is indeed going to attack Iran, either directly or through his Israeli proxies. (Though some might reasonably claim it is we who are Israeli proxies.) I know it’s a ghastly idea and a million things can go wrong, but that didn’t stop Bush from invading Iraq now, did it? The reason I have come to this morbid conclusion is the observation that the Bush administration still seems to think that they are in control, and that any failures of their plans are due to the machinations of others. In other words dear readers, it’s all Iran’s fault that Bush’s glorious freedom revolution is stalled in Iraq and Afghanistan. So if we just topple this one last obstacle to success, the forces of evil will be in disarray, America’s losses will be justified, and Bush’s glorious democratic values will sweep all before them. Bush’s legacy will be secure, his critics confounded, and he can pass the baton to McCain and let that old warhorse enjoy the spoils of Bush’s victory. Sound of the Star Spangle Banner playing softly in the background…roll credits over pics of smiling Iranian children throwing flowers at our troops.

Back in reality, who the hell knows what will happen if we attack Iran. Someone asked me how many US soldiers would die in event of a US attack on Iran, and for fun I ran a few scenarios:

  • Limited USA attack, limited Iranian response. They fire a bunch of scuds at our bases in Iraq, we blow up their suspected nuclear facilities. A few dozen, maybe even a few hundred GIs die.
  • The USA launches waves of attacks/conducts a serious air war like the recent Israeli attack on Lebanon. Huge numbers of Iranian missiles are fired at our bases in Iraq, they fire sunburn missiles at our carriers. A few dozen GIs die, maybe a few hundred, maybe even several thousand if a sunburn hits a carrier.
  • The USA launches a nuclear war, invades, or in some other fashion the attack escalates to a total war. Who the hell knows. Tens of thousands of American troops would be in harm’s way. Maybe Iran already has a few nukes squirrelled away. Maybe Russia gives them nukes to fight back with. Maybe WW3 breaks out. Maybe something else no one ever expected too horrible to contemplate happens. Reality is a bitch.

Short answer: 90% likelihood of American losses being in the 0-500 dead range. 9% chance of up to ten thousand dead. 1% chance of some figure over ten thousand. Of course there are many people who simply cannot accept the idea that any war America launches could go catastrophically wrong for America. I mean, the good guys can’t lose, can they? What kind of Hollywood movie would that make?

Well, this was going to be a Through Thick and Thin post but too late for that now. Have I mentioned the sunburn missile? The Russians are maybe a decade ahead of the US in the design of anti-ship missiles, and since none of them has been used in combat yet, it’s not really known how dangerous they are. Many analysts are very concerned though. The sunburn travels at over 3500kph (2000 mph) at 5m (15 feet) above the waves! As it approaches the target the missile does violent zig zags to defeat USA anti-missile defences. The sunburn has a range of over one hundred miles, which means that when fired at a ship there would only be minutes (at most) to react, and only a few seconds for the ship’s anti-missile systems to fire.

Yes, the USA is working on systems to defeat the sunburn, but theory and practise are two different things. In theory the Iraqis were going to greet us with flowers, in practise they have allied themselves with Iran and asked us to leave. That’s gratitude for you.

Have a great weekend everyone.

(The above image is public domain under US copyright law, it was taken by a federal employee during the course of his duties. Credit: Official U.S. Navy photograph taken by a combat cameraman aboard USS Kalinin Bay (CVE-68.) This is the Escort Carrier USS St Lo exploding after being struck by a Kamikaze attack in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, it sank less than an hour later, over 150 Americans died. I chose it to illustrate the unpredictability of war, and the real costs associated with same. The St Lo was sunk by a Japanese attack in the later days of World War Two at a time when the US had concluded the Japanese were not capable of launching a major attack, using a weapon the USA had neither known about nor anticipated.)


Written by unitedcats

July 11, 2008 at 7:33 am

Posted in Bush, History, War

Through Thick and Thin

with 4 comments


Well, fighting has broken out in large areas of Iraq as the Maliki government takes on the Mahdi Army. Bush has it covered though, yes, this massive increase in violence shows that the surge is working! In fact, he said that this violence is a “positive moment!” Let me see if I understand this: Violence goes down = surge is working. Violence goes up = surge is working. I have been under a lot of stress lately and I’m real tired, maybe that’s why this doesn’t make any sense to me. Possibly a gentle reader can explain to me why no matter what horrible thing happens in Iraq, things are always improving according to the Bush administration? What’s even more alarming, is that the media does along with this, as well as huge numbers of Americans.

It sure seems to me we are now in a situation reminiscent of Vietnam. We are supporting a corrupt, unpopular, undemocratic government and under the impression that with enough firepower and money we can turn this sow’s ear into a silk purse. Ain’t going to happen, the Mahdi army is vastly more popular than Maliki could ever dream to be, and attacking him is going to make things worse, not better. This is about politics by the way, this article does a good job of explaining the current situation in Iraq. It’s all pretty depressing.

Moving right along, in science news, a voice recording from 1860 has been discovered. This predates the previous known oldest recording by 17 years. It’s a French lady singing a song, likely it will be available on the Internet at some point. It’s also cool because it brings to mind the holy grail of historical voice recordings. There is a remote possibility that the voice of Abraham Lincoln may be preserved in some forgotten archive somewhere. In fact it’s gotten even more likely, since this recently recovered recording was recorded with the same method used to record Lincoln’s voice. Yes, an inventor may have visited Lincoln and recorded his voice if historical anecdote can be believed. Wouldn’t that be wild?

I used to be a big Lincoln fan. I’m not so much anymore. He may be America’s greatest example of the proverbial “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” He was certainly a fair and honourable man, there seems little doubt of that. However, more than anyone, he was the genesis of the federal government being an entity with a life of its own that not only runs the country, but claims the “divine right” to do so and crush anyone opposed. “Homeland Security” traces its roots to the Lincoln administration, and ultimately it’s not a pretty picture. And we must remember that Lincoln bears a great deal of responsibility for a war that killed and maimed more than a million Americans. In any event, I’ll make a stand-alone post about this some day and people can pillory me for my take on Lincoln.

APOD published this cool colour picture of Mercury. Not much else to say, except that what is visible is pretty hot and bright. Mercury always faces the Sun the same way the Moon always keeps the same side facing Earth. So one side of Mercury is over 400C degrees while the dark side is as cold as -170C. Both are well outside the range of human comfort, so we won’t be seeing any Mercury colonies in the near future. Some day there might be scientific outposts, and it’s a good place to monitor the Sun from, so who knows.

There was a flurry of concern when it was announced that the Mars rovers might be mothballed because of budget cuts. Fortunately it was an accounting error or some such and the decision was quickly reversed. I mean, a big chunk of change was spent getting them there, they are still producing invaluable scientific data about Mars, and it costs trivial amounts of money to keep them going. It would be nuts to shut them down to save af ew pennies. Here is an image of Martian clouds drifting by taken recently by Opportunity. Mars doesn’t have clouds very often, and not much is known about them.

In local news there are running protests and anti-protests at the Marine Corps recruiting centre. They are small actions, a dozen people or so usually. Nobody really pays it much mind, and I’ve long ago gotten over being upset about it. I still think they’d be better off picketing a gas station, but Bush’s refusal to institute a draft to fight the war has given peace protesters few targets. It’s a clever strategy on the Bush administrations part, but spin and politics has always been their forte. Who cares if avoiding a daft means we are hiring tens of thousands of mercenaries at fabulous cost and wearing out our army with serial deployments in Iraq, the peaceniks are foiled and there is little chance of effective domestic resistence to the war. That’s what matters, right?

Have a great weekend everyone.

(The above image of smoke rising from the Green Zone in Baghdad is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit and is an historically important image. Credit: Copyright © 2006- 2008 Alalam Inc. And as far as attacks on the Green Zone go…I forecast a 90% chance of further flurries of rockets and mortar shells.)

Written by unitedcats

March 28, 2008 at 8:48 am

Posted in Bush, War, World

4000 Dead…a Foundation for Peace?

with 2 comments


Bush spoke yesterday about the 4,000 brave soldiers he has sent to their deaths in Iraq…he said they “…laid a foundation for peace.” I have a few questions about that…

Iraq is the world’s number two failed state, second only to Sudan, this is a foundation for peace?

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are dead, this is a foundation for peace?

Millions of Iraqis are displaced, this is a foundation for peace?

A trillion dollars has been spent on the Iraq War, with trillions to go, mortgaging our future is a foundation for peace?

There is now an active Al-Qaeda-in-Iraq, there was none before we “liberated” Iraq, this is a foundation for peace?

Tens of thousands of American veterans have life-changing injuries, this is a foundation for peace?

One out of three Iraq War veterans will have permanent mental or physical ailments from the war, this is a foundation for peace?

60% to 70% of Iraqi children suffer from psychological trauma, this is a foundation for peace?

I’m having a pretty hard time understanding this. How is destroying a foreign land, scarring an American generation, and indebting our grandchildren building a foundation for peace? I just don’t see the connection. In fact Iraq looks like a foundation for endless violence, suffering, and war. Can we nominate Bush for the “fighting for peace is like f**king for chastity” award now? When the president has to say that these 4,000 brave Americans “were not lost in vain,” they most definitely were lost in vain.

I don’t have a problem with people who supported this war in the beginning. They were deceived by people who think the ends justify the means, even if that meant lying to the American public. I just don’t understand how anyone can still support this war, the cost is far beyond any possible benefit at this point, and there’s no end in sight.

Israel has been unable to force the Palestinians into a compliant western mold in decades, Iraq is a far more fractured land than Palestine ever was. It’s lies or madness to claim that we are making progress in Iraq. We are the problem, not the solution. Even one American life was too many to sacrifice on the alter of Bush’s boyhood dream of being a “war president.” Nothing Bush says can fix the mess he has made, in fact it’s the worst sort of appeasement for him to give speeches defending his failure and calling it a success. He lied us into this war, don’t let him lie his way out of it.

God rest the souls of all who have died in this senseless war, God grant peace to their families, and Dear God…please lead us out of this mess.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit and is central to illustrating the post. Credit and copyright: Joe Wezorek. Click on the image to see a larger version…and the faces of those who sacrificed themselves for Bush’s fantasy.)


Written by unitedcats

March 25, 2008 at 9:07 am

Posted in Bush, War

Through Thick and Thin

with 2 comments


I couldn’t help but notice that Bush made a speech on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War. I didn’t listen to it, I’ve never found him a terribly inspiring speaker. And truth be told, I almost never listen to any politician’s speeches. They rarely have much to say. I do however glance at the headlines, the New York Times summed Bush’s views about the war in Iraq: “…he remained unwavering in his insistence that the invasion of Iraq, which began in March 2003, had made the world better and the United States safer.”

OK then. First I want to point out that claiming that one has “succeeded” because one claims credit for two nice sounding things…is a bit vague. IE, who wouldn’t want to live in a better world with a safer United States. What, exactly, does that mean? How is that measured or quantified?

So let’s look at Iraq. By numerous measures it is one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes in the region in decades. Hundreds of thousands of people are dead, millions of people are displaced. I’m pretty sure than none of these people think the world is a better place now. Not to mention tens of millions of other people negatively impacted by five years of war and occupation in Iraq. Claiming that a disaster approaching the scale of Darfur or Rwanda makes the world a better place is hard to swallow in my book.

And then the claim that the USA is safer. Well, we are more hated in much of the world than before. OBL is still at large, and claiming that Iraq has been a Godsend for Al-Qaeda. More Americans are attacked and killed every day by terrorists than in whole months or years in the eighties. Our enemies are stronger, and people are celebrating being declared an enemy of the USA. How does being more hated than ever and having more enemies than ever make us safer?

I am reminded of the last company meeting I went to when I worked for a cutting edge dot com in the nineties. The company officers got up and claimed we were going to be the next Microsoft, and congratulated themselves on a “great” meeting afterwards. Unfortunately, the handful of people who worked for this tiny company knew that we were actually in huge financial trouble, and that this meeting meant our leaders were either lying to us or deluded, probably both. There was a line at the photocopier as people sent out their resumes. I quit soon thereafter, and the company failed within a year or two. I can’t quit the USA though. So here I stay, blogging furiously as I wonder at the words of our leader. Does Bush really believe the world is a better place, and we are a safer nation because of the Iraq War? Beats me. I don’t, and I’ve yet to hear convincing argument that he has.

Moving right along. There’s been a large Earthquake in rural China. I just think it’s curious that this happened at the same time that unrest in Tibet is becoming a serious concern. I’m not seriously saying this quake is a message from God or anything, but a lot of people will wonder if there is a connection. “As above, so below” colours many people’s thinking. China has a long and varied history, and I certainly wouldn’t want to predict what is in store for its one party dictatorship. They weathered the collapse of the Soviet Union, will they weather hosting the Olympics?

In global warming news, it just keeps getting worse. The seasonal climate is changing over the entire planet, changing local ecosystems in various ways. And while some are touting the large extent of Arctic ice cover this winter as evidence of improvement, the real story is that the Arctic continues to lose it’s old stable ice at increasing rates. By the same token the unusually cold winter is also touted as “proof” that global warming is a hoax, ignoring the fact that it was only the coldest winter in the past decade or so, and was still warmer than the average winters of the last century. And when one realizes that there were two powerful forces at work cooling the Earth this winter: the Sun is at its minimum in its cycle, and “La Nina” is cooling the Pacific…this winter was unusually warm.

In politics Clinton and Obama continue to snipe at each other with no winner in sight yet. The economy and the dollar continue to be volatile. The new five dollar bill is out, it looks like Disneyland money it’s so colourful. The dollar may be worthless someday soon, but at least the bills will be brightly coloured. (Is that grasping at straws or what?) They had to come up with a new five because the old “new” five had the same security features as the new hundred dollar bill. So counterfeiters discovered they could bleach five dollar bills, print a hundred dollar bill on them, and have a nearly undetectable counterfeit. I’m sure there’s an Enron or Wall Street joke hiding in their somewhere, but it’s just too depressing.

In local news, we just had a small earthquake swarm. And there’s been a big swarm in southern California for weeks. Hmm. Have a great weekend everyone.

(The above image of Chinese police is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit, is central to illustrating the post, and it’s use here in no way interferes with the copyright holder’s commercial use of the image. Credit: AP Photo/Greg Baker. These are Chinese paramilitary police being deployed in the Tibetan area of Zhongdian, also known as Shangri-La.)

Written by unitedcats

March 21, 2008 at 9:51 am

Posted in Bush, Business, enviroment, World

I know what I’m spending my rebate on

with 4 comments


I don’t normally watch President Bush’s speeches, I dunno, he always comes across as smug and supercilious somehow. I usually feel a little sorry for him too, since it always seems like he is out of his depth, though granted I expect to be pilloried for suggesting any sympathy for a man who has sent thousands to their deaths. But yes, I do, because to me it’s very sad to think Bush actually believes some of the stuff he’s saying. Does it make a man a liar if they believe the lies they are telling?

In any event, I did read some excerpts from last nights State of the Union address. And as is so often the case, I was appalled. And in this instance, it was worse than ever. In reading statement after statement, my response was: “You’re kidding, right?” Apparently not, and at this point I can only say that Bush and presumably the Bush administration has completely lost touch with reality, because so much of what he said was just completely backwards. In the sense that things are the opposite of what he said, and the cures he was proposing would make the situation worse.

In any event, I will rebut a number of his comments. If my statements are logically and/or factually flawed, I invite rebuttal. I am trying not to engage in gratuitous Bush bashing here, just trying to point out that the Emperor is apparently buck naked. All of these quotes were taken from this BBC site. With no further ado, President Bush and my humble responses:

“To build a prosperous future, we must trust people with their own money and empower them to grow our economy.”

Coming from a president who has increased government spending, debt, and bureaucracy more than any President since FDR, this is pretty rich. Maybe he’s talking about rich people, because Bush has cut their taxes nicely, but giving me a few hundred back while saddling me with thousands of dollars in debt doesn’t fit my definition of trusting people with their money.

“Those who had worried that America was preparing to abandon them instead saw our forces moving into neighbourhoods, clearing out the terrorists and staying behind to ensure the enemy did not return.

Some may deny the surge is working, but among the terrorists there is no doubt. Al-Qaeda is on the run in Iraq, and this enemy will be defeated.”

Actually, we allied ourselves with the Sunni insurgents we have been fighting and STOPPED patrolling their neighbourhoods, thus leading to the drop in violence. Terrorists one day, US ally the next, sheesh. That the Sadr militia declared a cease fire six months ago is the another major reason for the drop in violence. There was no Al-Qaeda in Iraq before we invaded, so saying that we’re winning because we are making progress (so they claim) against an enemy we created is pretty disingenuous. And while I’m at it, gotta love how Bush and company fall all over themselves claiming responsibility for the slight drop in violence, but the hundreds and thousands of dead and maimed, including thousands of Americans, millions displaced, and complete transformation of Iraq into the worst humanitarian crisis in the Middle East since the partition of Palestine in 1948…Oh no, we aren’t responsible for that! Boy, I sure wish I was a fly on the wall when it’s Bush’s time to explain that to St Peter.

“Our message to the people of Iran is clear: we have no quarrel with you, we respect your traditions and your history, and we look forward to the day when you have your freedom.

Our message to the leaders of Iran is also clear: verifiably suspend your nuclear enrichment so negotiations can begin. And to rejoin the community of nations, come clean about your nuclear intentions and past actions, stop your oppression at home and cease your support for terror abroad.

But above all, know this: America will confront those who threaten our troops, we will stand by our allies and we will defend our vital interests in the Persian Gulf.”

Hardly even know where to start on this one. Look what happened to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan since our efforts to democratize them at the point of a cruise missile got underway. And if we have no quarrel with the people of Iran, why the sanctions? Sanctions hurt the people of a country, not their leaders. Iran is a signatory to the NPT, has done everything the NPT requires of them, and is not doing anything they are not allowed to do under international law. As for our “vital interests” in the Persian Gulf, snort. Oil companies and Bush’s oil company owning friends have vital interests in the Persian Gulf, Americans have zero vital interests in the Persian Gulf, it’s about as far away from America as it is possible to get.

And if people want to know what Iran is really like, instead of the babbling nonsense above, check out this blog. Iran is a hell of a lot freer and more modern than some of our allies.

“America needs to secure our borders, and with your help, my administration is taking steps to do so.”

Again, snort. This problem has snowballed during Bush’s rule, the idea that he is taking steps to control it is insulting. Bush made this problem, he’s certainly not fixing it.

I’d go on, but it’s depressing. He basically takes credit wherever something good has happened, and says he’s “fixing” the problems he created or made worse in the first place. It’s like an arsonist fighting a fire he set and then trying to get a medal for it.

At least I figured out what the rebate is for. We are supposed to spend it on booze and stay drunk until Bush is safely out of office and can pawn the mess he made off on the next President.


(The above image came from and is used in accordance with their polices. Credit: Ian Britton. And yes, that’s an American made beer, at least we still manufacture something in this country.)

Written by unitedcats

January 29, 2008 at 4:57 pm

Posted in Bush, Business, World

Bush’s Latest Alarming Speech

with 3 comments


Well, I was wrong about the Iranian speedboat incident. If Bush’s rhetoric is any indication, even if this isn’t the Gulf of Tonkin incident, we are certainly being set up to respond the same way the next incident. Dubious border incidents are not a legitimate casus belli, but even a token review of history shows how regularly they are used as exactly such. Will the USA be going to war with Iran soon? Beats me, but Bush’s sabre rattling has succeeded in rattling me. It’s so out of proportion to the alleged incidents, and so many other dubious premises are being tied to it, that I can’t but help if Bush really intends to attack Iran.

Rather than focus again on the dubious merits of attacking a nation that is in a de facto alliance with Russia and China, among other flies in the ointment, I’m going to answer Bush’s latest and clearly most alarming speech point by point. It’s still a free country, and that should mean that matters of national importance are open to national debate. It’s not unpatriotic to respectfully disagree with our leaders, in fact it can be argued that it’s the duty of every citizen to speak up if they have concerns. And dammit, it concerns me that the president is engaging in the worst sorts of sabre rattling based on at best wild distortions of the truth.

I am working from “Bush: Iran Threatens World Security.” Maybe I’m wrong, and some helpful reader can point out the error of my logic, but I’m pretty unhappy with just about everything the president said. First of, the idea that Iran threatens the “security of the world” is silly. Iran is a modest regional power with limited ability to project force outside of their borders. Iran hasn’t invaded anyone since the nineteenth century, and is in no position to do so today. The only way Iran threatens world security is if the USA and Iran go to war, and it’s the USA that keeps threatening war, not Iran. Yes, a big regional war would not be a good thing, it even could lead to a world war, but again, it’s the USA that has been invading and attacking nations in the region, not Iran.

He goes on:

“Bush said Iran funds terrorist extremists, undermines peace in Lebanon, sends arms to the Taliban, seeks to intimidate its neighbors with alarming rhetoric, defies the United Nations and destabilizes the entire region by refusing to be open about its nuclear program.

“Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terror,” Bush said…”

Well then. Yes, Iran likely does fund some “terrorist extremists,” so does Israel and the USA and just about every other player in the region, this is news? Again, Israel and the west have done as much or more than Iran to undermine peace in Lebanon, in fact Iran’s influence in Lebanon is rather minor. The whole “terrorist” thing is annoying anyhow. There s no such thing as a terrorist ideology, terrorism is the tactic of attacking civilians for political purposes. And as such, it is practised far more by governments than anyone else. If babies die as a direct and foreseeable result of sanctions or bombing a nation’s civilian infrastructure, is that not terrorism?

As for arming the Taliban or anyone else, arming your friends is what nation’s do. If Iran invaded and occupied Mexico and Canada to impart the benefits of Islam to their people, you can be damn sure that the USA would be arming and funding the insurgents in those countries. As for the world’s leading sponsor of terror, give me a break. Again, it doesn’t even make sense, terror is not an ideology. There are over five thousand ethnic groups on the planet, they each have one or more military and political organizations fighting for their people. These organizations vary widely in their adherence to international law and standards, their ideologies, and everything else. It’s incredibly complicated and cannot be reduced to “good guys vs bad guys” no matter how much one wants to think of the world as a comic book and Bush as a superhero.

Bush then goes on to chide our allies for suppressing civil liberties. Snort. We arm these allies to the teeth so that they can remain in power and do everything else we can to ensure the legitimacy of such paragons of freedom as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, but we want them to be democratic? We can be pretty sure that they are laughing all the way to the bank. And these autocratic governments have about as much real loyalty to the USA as they do to the cause of democracy, as a recent commenter said about Pakistan “Gee, ten billion dollars didn’t buy us much friendship.”

I could go on, suffice it to say that Bush’s rhetoric about Iran is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. Whether through hypocrisy or a genuine belief that his wars and foreign adventures are making the world a better place (they’re not) it is frightening that a man with the most destructive military the world has ever seen can engage in such blatant propaganda and sabre rattling. The blowhard president of Iran certainly engages in sabre rattling of his own, but unlike Bush he doesn’t have the authority to launch a war, nor even a tiny fraction of the military resources at his command if he did. It is the USA that has stationed a frightening amount of military power including nuclear weapons off Iran’s coast, not vice versa.

Do Bush and his supporters not understand the world needs statesmanship and diplomacy, not threats and name calling? I don’t know if Bush is really planning on attacking Iran, or he’s just blowing smoke to distract attention from his manifest foreign policy disasters and the collapsing American economy/dollar. Does it matter? We’re hosed either way.

(The above image if an American Carrier group is a US Navy photograph and is public domain under US copyright law. Enough firepower to level every city in Iran and kill millions of people, and they’re spooked by a few speedboats? Maybe later I will write about the culture of quivering fear that Bush seems to have instilled in Americans, but in the next week Doug’s Darkworld is going to be pure escapism unless the situation in the Middle East heats up further. Ghosts, UFOs, science, old photos and the like. We all need a break from the news.)

Written by unitedcats

January 13, 2008 at 3:37 pm

Posted in Bush, Iran, Propaganda, World

Farce in the Middle East

with 2 comments


Well, might as well comment on the current farces underway in the middle east. I’ve gotten pretty cynical and tired of the whole thing. In the USA we have the left wing fundies who think there’s this huge conspiracy to turn the entire Middle East into failed states so that the USA and Israel can dominate and exploit the region for decades, up to and including being responsible for the 9/11 attacks. On the right, we have millions of Americans who sincerely believe we are a force for good and civilization, fighting against the evil terrorists to install democracy and freedom in a troubled area of the world. Both viewpoints require  self enforced tunnel vision to maintain, which thanks to the Internet is so much easier to do these days. Just limit your web browsing to sites that reinforce your point of view, and voilà, instant world view without all the trouble and bother of say, getting an education or going out and meeting people…and infinite amounts of “documentation” to back up your “arguments.” (see previous post.)

Sigh. Fortunately I’ve noticed that people with such extreme viewpoints rarely trouble me with comments these days, which is kind of a shame. They are no doubt concentrating on more popular people like Jon Carroll, who also talks about being pilloried by both left and right in a recent column. He also mentions a prominent conservative web site that apparently has seriously suggested that its server problems are due to some sort of liberal conspiracy, fortunately my mind is no longer blown by such revelations. I’ve reached an age and level of understanding where nothing surprises me, expect possibly the infinite human capacity to simultaneously commit evil and blame the victims.

Moving right along, the so called Iranian speedboat attack is getting more press than I am comfortable with. How this is proof of anything is beyond me, but the fact that it is being trotted out as further proof that Iran is a “threat to world peace” worries me. Bush may be moving an attack on Iran back to the front burner. The USA is the one who invaded two nations on Iran’s borders, has moved unprecedented amounts of military hardware including nuclear armed ships to within sight of the Iranian coast, and threatens Iran at every turn. The USA has attacked and invaded dozens of countries the last few decades, Iran hasn’t attacked anyone since the nineteenth century. Not that I am a big fan of the Iranian regime, but Bush calling them a threat to world peace is the pot calling the kettle black.

As for the facts of the “incident,” there aren’t any. Some tiny Iranian boats acted “aggressively” to some large American warships off their coast, this is a surprise? The recording of the Iranians “threatening” to blow up the American ships is just macho posturing if true, and needs to be taken with a severe grain of salt in any event. Sadly, those that want to see this as “proof” of Iran’s hostile intent will do so, while the conspiracy sites are all screaming that this is a “false flag” operation on the part of USA or Israel. What really happened? Beats me, us blokes on the street may get the facts decades later, until then all that matters is how it is perceived by the public and manipulated by the powers that be. And by that token…not reassuring.

Moving to another popular ongoing farce, Bush is making noises about peace in Palestine. He can afford to do so, since by setting it up so that the Palestinian “representatives” are little more than sock puppets, Israel and the USA can sign any sort of deal they want with them, knowing full well that the “Palestinian Authority” has little to no actual authority in the occupied territories. That way when the Palestinians are unable to uphold their end of the bargain, Israel can just gobble a little more Palestinian land, make life a little more nightmarish in the occupied lands, and carry on with its “no partner for peace” propaganda. It’s sad, because so many people on both sides desperately want peace. As long as Israel only negotiates with the Palestinians that it approves of, there will be no peace in Palestine.

The same pretty much goes for the sock puppet “governments” we have installed in Afghanistan and Iraq too. On the plus side, the USA is beyond bankrupt, and at some point simple insolvency is going to bring our fabulous foreign military adventuring to a grinding halt. Will that bring peace to the region? Snort. It will however mean far less American blood spilling on foreign shores, something I think most Americans can live with.

(The above image of a diabolically threatening Iranian speedboat is courtesy of the US Navy and is public domain under US copyright law. I mean, at least in the Gulf of Tonkin incident the North Vietnamese were in modern military patrol boats. These guys look like they are out water skiing. This is a threat to world peace?)


Written by unitedcats

January 10, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Posted in Bush, Peace, War, World