micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links

Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.

Please send him email at micahth@chartermi.net.

Holmquist's full archives are listed here.

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Sites Holmquist trys, and often fails, to go no more than a couple of days without visiting (some of which Holmquist regularly swipes links from without attribution)

Aljazeera.Net English
AlterNet (War on Iraq)
Alternative Press Review
Always Low Prices -- Always
Another Irani online
antiwar.com (blog)
Asia Times Online
Axis of Logic
Baghdad Burning (riverbend)
BBC News
blogdex.net ("track this weblog")
The Christian Science Monitor (Daily Update)
Common Dreams
Daily Rotten
Democracy Now
The Drudge Report
Eat the Press (Harry Shearer, The Huffington Post)
Empire Notes (Rahul Mahajan)
frontpagemag.com (HorowitzWatch)
Guardian Unlimited
The Independent
Information Clearing House
Informed Comment (Juan Cole)
Iranians for Peace

Iraq Dispatches (Dahr Jamail)
Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation
Iraq Occupation and Resistance Report (Psychoanalysts for Peace and Justice)
Mr. Show and Other Comedy
The Narco News Bulletin (blog)
The New York Times
Occupation Watch
Political Theory Daily Review
Press Action
Project Syndicate
Raed in the Middle (Raed Jarrar)
The Simpsons Archive
Simpsons Collector Sector
Technorati ("search for mth.blogspot.com")
United States Central Command
U.S. Embassy Baghdad, Iraq
War Report (Project on Defense Alternatives)
The Washington Post
Wildfire (Jo Wilding)
wood s lot
www.mnftiu.cc (David Rees)

Blogs that for one reason or another Holmquist would like to read on at least something of a regular basis (always in development)

Thivai Abhor
As'ad AbuKhalil
Ken Adrian
Christopher Allbritton
Douglas Anders
Mark W. Anderson
Aziz Ansari
Atomic Archive
James Benjamin
Elton Beard
Charlie Bertsch
alister black
Blame India Watch
Blog Left: Critical Interventions Warblog / war blog
Igor Boog
Martin Butler
Chris Campbell
James M. Capozzola
Avedon Carol
Elaine Cassel
cats blog
Jeff Chang
Margaret Cho
Citizens Of Upright Moral Character
Louis CK
Les Dabney
Natalie Davis
Scoobie Davis
The Day Job
Jodi Dean
Dominic Duval
Steve Earle
Daniel Ellsberg
Tom Engelhardt
Lisa English
Barbara Flaska
Brian Flemming
Joe Foster
Yoshie Furuhashi
Al Giordano
Rob Goodspeed
Grand Puba
Guardian Unlimited Weblog
Pete Guither
The Hairy Eyeball
Ray Hanania
Mark Hand
Hector Rottweiller Jr's Web Log Jim Henley Arvin Hill Hit & Run (Reason) Hugo Clark Humphrey Indri The Iraqi Agora Dru Oja Jay Jeff Lynne d Johnson Dallas Jones Julia Kane Blues Benjamin Kepple Ken Layne Phil Leggiere Brian Linse Adam Magazine Majority Report Radio Marc Maron Josh Marshall Jeralyn Merritt J.R. Mooneyham Michael Scott Moore Bob Morris Bob Mould Mr. Show and Tell Muslims For Nader/Camejo David Neiwert NewPages Weblog Aimee Nezhukumatathil Sean O'Brien Patton Oswalt The Panda's Thumb Randy Paul Rodger A. Payne Ian Penman politx Neal Pollack Greg Proops Pro-War.com Pure Polemics Seyed Razavi Rayne Simon Reynolds richardpryor.com Clay Richards Mike Rogers Yuval Rubinstein
Steven Rubio
Saragon Noah Shachtman Court Schuett The Simpsons Archive Amardeep Singh Sam Smith Soundbitten Jack Sparks Ian Spiers Morgan Spurlock Stand Down: The Left-Right Blog Opposing an Invasion of Iraq Aaron Stark Morgaine Swann Tapped (The American Prospect) tex Matthew Tobey Annie Tomlin Tom Tomorrow The University Without Condition Jesse Walker Warblogger Watch Diane Warth The Watchful Babbler The Weblog we have brains Matt Welch
Alex Whalen
Jon Wiener
Lizz Winstead
James Wolcott
Wooster Collective
Mickey Z

Tuesday, August 06, 2002
Nick Denton is standing by his problematic and disturbing theory that the United States should attack Iraq to humiliate Arabs and force them to become like the west "if they want a future."

Denton has published the thoughts of Christopher Kotowski who says:

If you really want to humiliate, then you'd have to do it in a grand, total, undeniable and very bloody scale: Iraq + Syria + Iran + Saudi Arabia + Gulf States + others? It's not just about winning; it's about inflicting a boundless defeat that all people can relate to - death and destruction must reach every corner of society.
Yeah that will convince them how great of a country America and the west is. The Ziggy Marley song "G7" comes more readily to my mind.

Denton, to his credit, has also published the critical musings of Peter Mass without responding. He does respond to the comments of Dave Winer, which I mentioned yesterday, saying:

Not an unreasonable point. But I'd draw a different lesson. The Arab world has long felt humiliated, it's already dangerous. If you are going to defeat your enemy, do so conclusively, as the US and UK defeated Germany in the Second World War.
What exactly conclusive victory against states that haven't acted attacked in the U.S. recently would constitute is left unsaid by Denton who adds, "One could equally well say, to paraphrase Winer: watch out for appeasement, that's where holocausts come from."

The theme of a future "holocaust" comes up in the next entry where Denton responds to an email from Eric Mauro. Mauro contends, correctly in my opinion, that Denton's proposal for humiliation puts the U.S. in the position of being the most likely to commit genocide since it will be Uncle Sam telling others that because they are not as advanced as Americans that they need to change and will be forced to change by bayonet and bomb. Denton replies by more or less saying that Mauro's concerns are baseless since Arabs are allowed to live in the U.S., a few states with large Muslim populations can trade with western nations and Mauro can criticize military actions and "warn against genocide."

Yes these things are true but that is the point. Denton believes that the U.S. can welcome parishioners of "a kinder gentler Islam" while at the same time humiliating Arabs through military force so the former does not refute the latter. Denton seems to be falling for the trap of thinking that if America is progressive in some respects that it either can not be regressive in other aspects or should be excused for being regressive in other aspects.

After quoting the comments from Glenn Reynolds that I noted in yesterday's final post, Denton quotes a post from Wiener who says:

In addition to being a technologist and living on the west coast of the US, I am also the first-generation American son of Holocaust survivors, born and raised in NY. Does Nick have any insight into my thinking? Clearly not.
Denton responds:
...Dave Winer's anxiety about another Holocaust is noble.

But we should despair were only Holocaust survivors and their children, themselves growing older and fewer, capable of insight into genocide. And bringing in an emotion-laden family history, unless it's simply to introduce some fact, can have the perverse effect of closing down a discussion. You can't know how I feel: it is an argument at once unanswerable, and unpersuasive.

I tend to be with Denton. Dick Gregory writes in Nigger, his autobiography, of an incident where he learned that being black in the U.S. does not necessarily mean that a person is qualified to speak about what it is like to be black in the U.S. The same logic can be applied to all sorts of situations and is strengthened by the fact that agreement on any particular issue amongst people with a common experience is hardly a given. There are no doubt other people who would justify their support of the humiliation goal by recalling their own experiences or the experiences of their ancestors' in the Holocaust. (Something similar often happens in the U.S. in discussions of Israel, or rather Israel's relationship to Palestinians and other states in the Middle East.) Other people thus have to make up their own mind.

Most recently Denton has linked to three entries on other blogs that are critical of Denton's justification for attacking Iraq.

There are probably other discussions of this matter that I am unaware of, but if this debate is to mover further it seems to me that Denton and other supporters of humiliating Arabs need to address some questions:

1)What moral justification do western countries, and America in particular, have to impose their way upon others? How would this imposition be different from what supporters of the "war on terror" contend Islamic fundamentalists, such as those in Al Qaeda, want to do to the entire world?

2)What would the process of humiliating Arabs look like from beginning to end? Or, since war can be something other than predictable, what would the end goal of this process be and what would means would be used to achieve it?

3)Yesterday I gave a slew of practical objections to the idea, what is your response to them?