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

Friday, July 18, 2003
Broad Bush

While listening to U.S. President George W. Bush speak yesterday, I was struck by how good he was at speaking in broad terms. In the decontextualized manner that serves him well, Bush touched on all of the major justifications for the latest stages of the war that U.S. is waging with and/or in Iraq and also connected these actions to the ever present good vs. evil structure known as the “war on terror.”

This outlook will likely prove as popular in the coming months and years as it has throughout history, including immediately after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, which is another way of saying I suspect it will prove very popular. The root of this appeal is quite simply that this vision allows people to feel good about themselves and ignore complications. It doesn't hurt that Bush's formulation of a binary world -with the U.S. and, to a lesser extent, the lesser allies on the side of good and the loosely defined "other" or "others" representing the side of evil battling over whether "progress and success" will succeed- isn't empirically false. It is horribly simplistic on numerous levels, but there is a element of truth to it, or at least there are enough real examples that support this mindset so as to be credible in the minds of many.

If the Iraq/Niger/Uranium scandal has revealed anything, it is that the Bush Administration is open to criticism that they are dishonest or misleading on factual manners. While this is good so far as it goes, the other side of the message is that the season is still closed on broader critiques of the assumptions that from the basis for the "war on terror." Yesterday Bush talked about the "threat" that former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein posed to the U.S. and the broader world but there was not clarification of what this "threat" constituted and, just as was the case in March, no reporter asked a question on this matter. I keep waiting for a reporter to snap, think "fuck it, I'm going to ask a real question" and proceed to say something like, "Mr. President, you once again failed to qualify how Saddam posed a threat to the U.S. when he was in power. He used chemical weapons well over a decade ago and only in a situation where he faced no risk of retaliation, in part because your predecessor Ronald Reagan wasn't about to do anything. In the time since then he never used chemical or biological weapons against anybody and the most you can say about his attacks on the U.S. is that he may have been involved with a failed assassination attempt on former President George H.W. Bush. In light of these facts, how did Saddam pose a threat to the U.S. and, if he did post a threat, why did you wait so long to go after him?"

Or maybe pounce on this disturbing passage from Bush:

We're seeing movement toward reform and freedom in other parts of the Middle East. The leadership and courage of Prime Minister Abbas and Prime Minister Sharon are giving their peoples new hope for progress. Other nations can add to the momentum of peace by fighting terror in all its forms. A Palestinian state will be built upon hope and reform, not built upon violence.

Terrorists are the chief enemies of Palestinian aspirations. The sooner terrorism is rooted out by all the governments in the region, the sooner the Palestinian flag will rise over a peaceful Palestinian state.

Lots of states have been founded by violence that could be defined as "terrorism" so these words are absurd, except when understood as a statement that the U.S. -the world's greatest military power- runs the show and that the Palestinians and everyone else have no hope if they cross Uncle Sam. Such a message gives lie to the idea that the U.S. is "promoting freedom and democracy" in the "war on terror" and is another element of this imperial statement that should be pointed out.

Of course merely pointing out these issues isn't enough. And neither would asking questions of Bush be, since he would just ignore the matter if he didn't want to answer it. To a critical mind this makes Bush look weak but I suspect many of the people who want to believe Bush have a much different reaction that does a lot to bolster Bush's broad message. By focusing on individual points or even a collection of points, Bush's critics look like they are missing the bigger picture -a belief that the U.S. is in a war against evil, which really doesn't exist as a collection of smaller points so much as it is justified by these points. Conversely, critique the war as a whole and the response is a concern about the "threat" -one of the smaller points. Create a broad critique that covers all of these issues and the general outline, and it will probably be widely ignored even by many, probably even most, political opponents of the Bush Administration who aren't as attracted to broad and serious critiques as they are political accusations like "Bush lied."

Until some way out of this situation is discovered or the "war on terror" turns disastrous for the U.S., I believe Team Bush and their successors will continue to have widespread popular support.