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.
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Holmquist's full archives are listed here.
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)
Blogs that for one reason or another Holmquist would like to read on at least something of a regular basis (always in development)
Tuesday, June 10, 2003
Apocalyptic visions, ahistorical revisionism as a way of finding a justification and other notes
The Continuity of Government Commission -a commission which was formed last fall, is a project of the American Enterprise Institute and Brookings Institution, has the usual suspects as funders and as members- issued its first report six days ago. The report aims suggests the federal legislative branch can reconstitute itself after it has been wiped out -a second and third report will ask the same question about the executive and judicial branches- and gives a moderately interesting answer. "The only way," says the report, "to address the problem of restoring Congress after a catastrophic attack is to amend the Constitution to allow immediate temporary appointments to Congress until special elections can be held to fill vacancies or until matters of incapacitation are resolved." The preface to the report reads like the work of civic minded Mike Davis:
It is 11:30 a.m., inauguration day. Thousands await the noon hour when a new president will take the oath of office in the presence of members of Congress, the Supreme Court, family, and supporters. The outgoing president is meeting at the White House with his cabinet and top aides for a final farewell before attending the swearing in ceremony where the reins of power will switch hands. Television cameras have their cameras trained on the West Front of the Capitol, beaming live coverage of the event into millions of homes around the world.Reading the document, I couldn't stop thinking of the great line in Tim Burton's 1996 farce Mars Attacks where President James Dale (Jack Nicholson) says, "I want the people to know that they still have 2 out of 3 branches of the government working for them, and that ain't bad."
Your chance to go to the Thunderdome might soon arrive. In a story from yesterday, Deena Beasley of Reuters writes:
This is the way the world might end: A genetically engineered pathogen is released, debris from an erupting "supervolcano" blocks the sun or scientists in the biggest "bioerror" of them all accidentally trigger a matter-squeezing "big bang."I'd say that puts an "apocalyptic disaster" in perspective.
Daniel Pipes isn't worried the U.S. won't find WMD in Iraq because he doesn't believe it matters. In a History News Network piece from yesterday, he writes:
...WMD was never the basic reason for the war. Nor was it the horrid repression in Iraq. Or the danger Saddam posed to his neighbors. Rather, the basic reason was Saddam's having signed a contract with the United States, then breaking his promise.The piece is laughable. He distorts the argument being made by the vast majority of critics of the Team Bush's war in Iraq with regards to the apparently still missing WMD and asserts, without evidence, that Monica Lewinsky scandal distracted President Bill Clinton from toppling Saddam's regime. And:
Then came 9/11, and a new American sense that the world is a dangerous place. The old casualness toward broken promises was no longer acceptable. Beginning in early 2002, President Bush began exerting pressure on Iraq to fulfill its agreement, or pay the consequences.Yep the main response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks by the U.S. government was to start enforcing contracts. That's what motivated the people of the U.S.
There is an argument to make for ensuring that no country violate agreements that the U.S. finds to be important, but it wasn't the primary argument put forward by the President George W. Bush and friends to justify the war that would be known as Operation Iraqi Freedom.
It is interesting that Pipes is engaging in historical revisionism not to get a better understand of the past but rather to justify other actions of the past.
Chalmers Johnson's informative "The Largest Covert Operation in CIA History" also appeared on History News Network yesterday.
In a horribly composed story -perhaps language has something to do with it- from yesterday about a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani of India and U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that is said to have happened on Saturday, Chidanand Rajghatta of The Times of India writes:
Topping the agenda is the immediate question of Indian troops for Iraq, where the American military is getting bogged down in an increasingly hostile situation. New Delhi has so far hedged on US request on various technical grounds, but Rumsfeld is expected to aggressively push for an Indian commitment.Maybe Iraqis should start demanding to not have a military.
"Attacks on American troops are growing in frequency and sophistication across central Iraq, a crescent of discontent and hostility where many Iraqis remain opposed to the U.S. occupation of their country," William Booth and Daniel Williams write in today's edition of The Washington Post.
"U.S. and British forensic experts who examined an intelligence compound outside Baghdad today said the site was a mass grave that likely contained the remains of political prisoners and army deserters killed in the days or weeks before President Saddam Hussein fell from power," writes Sharon Waxman in today's Washington Post. "[U.S. Army Col. Ed] Burley, coordinator of the forensics team looking for mass graves in Iraq, said witnesses from Salman Pak told him that there had been more than 100 bodies in the grave, but it appeared that many of the bodies had been removed, in some cases by relatives. The forensic experts exhumed one body last week, buried about a foot deep in the earth, and determined that the victim had been recently executed. The experts said this discovery supported the witness accounts."
"U.S. military units assigned to track down Iraqi weapons of mass destruction have run out of places to look and are getting time off or being assigned to other duties," Dafna Linzer writes in June 9 Associated Press story. "'It doesn't appear there are any more targets at this time,' said Lt. Col. Keith Harrington, whose team has been cut by more than 30 percent. 'We're hanging around with no missions in the foreseeable future.'"