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

Wednesday, May 07, 2003
U.S. Information Minister George W. Bush

Former Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf has become the butt of many a joke in the United States due to his daily briefings during Operation Iraqi Freedom that didn’t correspond to reality. welovetheiraqiinformationminister.com, for instance, is filled with both actual quotes from Sahaf and pop culture parodies that have him denying that Enron has ever engaged in wrong doing and stating that Microsoft software don’t contain any bugs.

But while Americans like to laugh at the falsehoods peddled by the former government of Iraq, many seem perfectly willing to accept misleading and illogical statements from their president.

“Major combat operations in Iraq have ended,” George W. Bush declared Thursday evening on board the USS Abraham Lincoln, at sea off the coast of San Diego, California. In theory this announcement would be a significant event but it seemed more motivated by political considerations that on the ground conditions since nothing resembling “major combat” has been seen in Iraq in weeks and just hours before Bush’s speech Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made a similar announcement about Afghanistan, a country where victory by the U.S. is generally seen to have been accomplished nearly a year and a half ago.

Just as the Bush Administration feels that it can declare wars over when it is convenient, they also apparently feel free to talk about when wars based on what serves their interests. Team Bush has alternated between saying that the war that is now known as “Operation Iraqi Freedom” is a continuation of Operation Desert Storm, as Bush did on March 17 amongst other times, and saying that Operation Iraqi Freedom is a continuation of the conflict that started on September 11, 2001. “The battle of Iraq,” the president said on Thursday, “is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11, 2001 -- and still goes on.”

Despite having said that the U.S. is still at war, Bush also talked on Thursday about how “we will defend the peace.” In an odd way, perhaps this makes sense in the context of Bush’s vision of a “war on terror” where the U.S. is constantly attacking other countries but expects no attacks against it.

Bush also talked at length about the precision capabilities of U.S. weaponry. “Today, we have the greater power to free a nation by breaking a dangerous and aggressive regime. With new tactics and precision weapons, we can achieve military objectives without directing violence against civilians. No device of man can remove the tragedy from war; yet it is a great moral advance when the guilty have far more to fear from war than the innocent,” Bush said while neglecting to mention the sanctions that the United Nations imposed on Iraq in a move the U.S. could have blocked, which last year were conservatively estimated to have played a role in the premature deaths of 100,000 Iraqis. I guess most of those deaths don’t fall under the timeline that Bush was using at the time, although by that standard it is hard to see why Bush thinks former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime was “aggressive.”

Although it goes without saying that the U.S. could never be aggressive, one has to wonder why Bush said on March 6 that “Across the world and in every part of America, people of goodwill are hoping and praying for peace” yet in this victory speech talked about how this was a war for freedom in Iraq and how “Men and women in every culture need liberty like they need food and water and air.” If this is true, it seems impossible to imagine how a person “of goodwill” could not only oppose this war but not be pushing Bush to be using the U.S. military to “liberate” the people of all sorts of countries from oppressive governments, even if the Bush Administration has ties those governments.

Bush came across as nothing short of idiotic during a passage when he tried to assure whoever was paying attention that the U.S. did not aim to be an empire. “Other nations in history have fought in foreign lands and remained to occupy and exploit. Americans, following a battle, want nothing more than to return home. And that is your direction tonight,” Bush said to soldiers who cheered in response. I would like to believe they were just happy to be returning to the U.S. and didn’t actually fall for this logical fallacy, since the idea that some U.S. soldiers are returning form a foreign land mean the U.S. doesn’t have imperial goals makes as much sense as a prison warden saying, “We don’t incarcerate people. Just this morning two prisoners left here.” If that weren’t enough, Bush even talked earlier in the speech about the U.S. would be remaining in Iraq for at least a fair amount of time. None of this proves that Bush wants an empire, but it doesn’t do anything to disprove it either.

The president didn’t neglect to mention the weapons of mass destruction that may or may not have ever existed in Iraq. “We've begun the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated,” Bush said at one point. Later he added, “No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because the regime is no more,” which would be impressive if there was any reason to think Saddam’s regime had any intention of doing that.

Almost everything Bush said on the aircraft carrier was affected by how vague his administration has defined the “enemy” in the “war on terror.” The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11, 2001 -- and still goes on,” said the 43rd president of the U.S. on Thursday. ”That terrible morning, 19 evil men -- the shock troops of a hateful ideology -- gave America and the civilized world a glimpse of their ambitions.” What this “hateful ideology” is exactly was left unclear in a way that makes it possible for just about any government or group the Bush Administration dislikes to be included. Quite possibly that is intentional.

I doubt the Bush Administration actually believes its own rhetoric. Bush may or may not be intelligent enough to figure out the problems with it, but surely some of those around him can. If they do believe it, they are idiots. If they don’t believe it, they are manipulators of the highest order.

This manipulation of logic and reality by an executive administration to fit the political needs of that administration is just the sort of thing U.S. citizens like to laugh at, if it comes from the government of another country. When it is coming from the President of the United States of America, however, a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll indicates that a majority of people in the U.S. have no problem with it.