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

Sunday, September 21, 2003
Disagreement (for lack of a better title)

In a Spiked column from last Tuesday entitled "Pre-emptive inaction?", Brendan O'Neill labels the argument that Great Britain, the United States and/or whomever should not go to war because such a war will increase the threats to that country or group of countries as "cowardly" and "deeply prejudiced, buying into the argument that the real problem is the terrorists 'over there' who might be stirred up if we take irresponsible, risky action. It is an anti-war argument concerned more with saving ourselves than anybody else."

O'Neill is correct on this, although it would be nice for him to acknowledge that other people have other reasons for doing things that he may disagree with but are nonetheless reasons.

That said, O'Neill goes significantly off-track at two points. The first:

According to a report published by the Intelligence and Security Committee on 12 September 2003, Blair was told in February that the collapse of Saddam's regime might allow terrorists to get their hands on Iraq's chemical and biological weapons and to launch assaults on 'Western interests'. For the anti-war lobby, this shows that Blair took us into war, not only against our wishes, but against our 'best interests' and 'safety' (1).

The critics' sudden interest in the alleged threat posed by Iraq's WMD is a striking turnaround. Up to last week, the key anti-war argument was that Blair and Bush had lied about Iraq having WMD and had launched a war on false premises. Now they criticise Blair for recklessly taking us into war when he had been warned that one of the consequences of war might be for Iraq's WMD to be turned against us in the West. What WMD? The anti-war lobby's about-face on whether Iraq's weapons are a threat ('no' when Bush and Blair say they are, 'yes' when they might be pointed at us) shows the problem with basing your opposition to war on exposing lies, damn lies and dossiers, rather than on anything like political principle...

(1) Blair 'right to override terror warnings', BBC News, 12 September 2003

Actually it is a perfectly legitimate line of reasoning to say that Government X lied about Matter Y but if they had been telling the truth about Matter Y then Outcome Z would be a possibility that they should be concerned about since they still claim to have told the truth about Matter Y.

And then there's this about how these prejudicial self-interests:

...were much in evidence at the anti-war protests against the Arms Trade Fair in London last week, where protesters pointed the finger at Britain and America for selling arms to 'irresponsible' regimes, some of whom have 'ties with terrorists' (5). Comedian Mark Thomas argues that Britain has helped to arm just about every 'crazy fucker' in the third world. The anti-war demand is clear: Western elites should behave more cautiously, and avoid arming and antagonising those crazy natives...

(5) Arrests over arms fair protests, BBC News, 8 September 2003

I can't vouch for the politics of Thomas or any of the protesters in question but there is nothing cowardly or illegitimate about pointing out that "Western Elites" are inconsistent about their application of the principles they purport to hold in the "war on terror." In fact this is an excellent way of saying that if you actually believe what the likes of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush say about the threats in the world, then you shouldn't have any faith in their ability to protect you from those threats.

More importantly, criticizing the fact that Great Britian is willing to sell weaponry to oppressive governments does not necessarily mean that one, in O'Neill's words, "accepts that the main problem on the world stage is 'over there', in the shape of crazy terrorists and ruthless regimes waiting for an excuse to attack London and Washington." It could just as easily be a demand that Great Britian and the U.S. stop aiding and abetting others as they harm people in other countries.

O'Neill often rails against how anti-war activists advocate some form of Western interventionism so it is a bit disappointing to see him needing to criticize activists when they are advocating that Great Britain not sell weapons to other countries, an act that is nothing if not an intervention.

I agree with much of what O'Neill writes and am glad that his voice is out there, but sometimes I get the sense that his primary position is disagreement.