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, April 08, 2003
"defending our freedom"?

The term "freedom" is thrown around a lot in the United States. I believe this stems from the fact that "freedom" is generally understood as a positive quality in this country in and of itself and because the word has no concrete meaning in terms of policy decisions and thus is open to whatever interpretation a person's own politics give it.

The current stage of Uncle Sam's longstanding war with Iraq has given even greater currency to "freedom." Searches on Google News show it is regularly being said the U.S. military is "defending freedom," "defending our freedom," "protecting freedom" and "protecting our freedom" with its actions in Iraq. The Department of Defense even says that the military is "defending our freedom" in its form to send thanks to members of the military. Although he doesn't use these phrases, this argument was best summed up by Victor Davis Hanson of the National Review in an April 1 piece entitled "The American Way of War":

Americans always prefer to see brave young men fighting for ideals than pampered critics for a few minutes vomiting in public in San Francisco or staging die-ins on the pavement in Washington — before driving home to resume their comfortable lives only made possible by those sleeping now in the sands of Iraq.
The message is clear. "Freedom" in Iraq is not the sole issue as the lives of normal Americans -which is to say the "freedom" that they enjoy- is being protected and defended by the U.S. military in Iraq.

Does this make any sense?

Obviously "freedom" would be an issue if Saddam Hussein's government had the power, either by itself and when working with others, prior to the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom to take over at least part of the U.S. and install a more repressive government, but it didn't and nobody claimed that it did. The U.S. was going to stay free of Saddam's control so that argument is out the window.

It is reasonable to think taking over Iraq decreases the likelihood of terrorist attacks against the U.S. and that such attacks could lead to legistlation that further curtails "freedom." The two main problems with this argument is that it trusts the George W. Bush Administration to work indirectly to prevent the passage of such legislation when Team Bush is in fact firmly in favor of such legislation and it assumes that repressive legislation is a given if there are additional terrorist attacks -the possibility of which is hardly eliminated by the U.S. taking over Iraq.

A variant on the previous argument is that taking over Iraq reduces the risk of terrorist attacks and that increases the American public's "freedom from fear," which of course was one of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms." This is the strongest of the arguments for saying that the U.S. military is "defending our freedom" in Iraq and yet I have a hard time taking it seriously, and not just because I suspect that taking over Iraq will create as many new dangers for the U.S. as eliminates. The U.S. is a culture where fear runs rampant hence the popularity of gated communities and private security firms despite a crime rate that is still relatively low compared to say a decade ago. Many, if not most, people in this country are so likely to give into fear that they were willing to accept the argument that Iraq having Weapons of Mass Destruction meant Iraq was automatically a threat to the U.S. that needed to be dealt with despite a lack of evidence that Iraq has tried to attack the U.S. since at least 1993. Getting rid of the Iraqi "threat" won't ease fears as the Bush Administration's plan appears to be to start talking about the "threat" posed by Syria or some other country once Iraq is considered under control. If people in the U.S. want "freedom from fear," at the very least they are going to have to stop supporting the Bush Administration's plans as the White House's goal is to have us living in fear.

None of the arguments for saying that the U.S. military is "defending our freedom" make sense but there is little doubt that the phrase will continue to be used to describe various stages of Bush's "war on terror." It sounds good and supports the individual stages of this war with no conceivable happy ending. And that apparently is enough for a phrase to become part of popular rhetoric.


After reading the three articles that Barbara Flaska links to here, I have strong doubts that humanity deserves to survive.


Is Saddam dead?


I bet somebody has already argued that pesticide should be considered a WMD.



UPDATE: I just found a message from TopOffers in my inbox with the subject line reading, "Show Your Patriotism...Support our Troops!" The body of the message includes an image you can here. 2:35 p.m. 04/08/03