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 07, 2003
The "war on terror" live!

Stephen F. Hayes has two main arguments in "Saddam's al Qaeda Connection," an article in the September 1-8 edition of The Weekly Standard. (Thanks to Saragon for the link.) The first is that those who have said that a link between former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's regime and al Qaeda has been disproved are wrong to do so. The second, and related, argument is that evidence suggesting a link has been discovered since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom in March.

Hayes is on solid ground with the first point. Former Vice President Al Gore and others who have said that proof that a link did not exist have been wrong to do so.

However, the second point is far less clear. Certainly there is additional reason to think -as if there had once been any doubt- that Saddam's regime was not actively waging a "war" against al Qaeda, but that hardly is proof of a link. Nor are the allegations that members of al Qaeda and representatives of Saddam's regime were in contact -some of which appear quite strong- proof of a link and in some cases they even cast doubt on a link, as Spanish intelligence reportedly also does. What is left are some very valid, but hardly conclusive, reasons to believe such a link existed, although perhaps only time will tell what is truth and what is fiction.

For the sake of the argument, however, let's say that a definitive link did or, to the extent that the regime still exists, does exist. That would undoubtedly do much to justify the recent, and perhaps, depending on your definition, still ongoing war in Iraq, in the minds of many. I, on the other hand, would find it a bit more convincing if the Bush Administration was up in arms about Great Britain inviting Syria -a country that the Central Intelligence Agency says is a sponsor of terrorism- to this year's Defence Systems & Equipment International, where Syria could learn more about military equipment and perhaps even purchase some. (Syria has declined the invitation to attend, according to the Defence Export Services Organisation, which appears to be a branch of the British government.) But it isn't, because Great Britain is an ally and it is best to not think too logically about the "war on terror, a fact borne out by out there isn't even one definition of the enemy amongst those in power.

United States President George W. Bush declared the U.S. had begun a "war against terrorism" in September 11, 2001 speech. This has remained a constant in his administration's rhetoric and actions in the nearly two years since then, but who are the terrorists? Who are the enemy?

The U.S. Department of State defines terrorism and related words as follows:

—The term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.

—The term “international terrorism” means terrorism involving the territory or the citizens of more than one country.

—The term “terrorist group” means any group that practices, or has significant subgroups that practice, international terrorism.

However, last Wednesday U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell got involved in the following exchange:
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, in some capitals, the countries members of the Security Council, there is still a lot of criticism to the United States that these unilateral action create the instability inside Iraq and the United States has to solve it as unilateral, too; it wasn't any terrorism in Iraq before the war.

So how do you respond to these criticisms?

SECRETARY POWELL: I would submit, first of all, that the greatest terrorist inside Iraq was Saddam Hussein, and he's gone. And let's not -- let's not play down or underestimate the reign of terror that he ran for close to 30 years over the Iraqi people, and that's gone.

Since Saddam's regime was clearly not "subnational," one has to conclude that Powell defines terrorism a bit differently -more as a substitute for "evil"- than the State Department, the organization he is in charge of.

Powell, of course, may very well have just been speaking off the top of his head and not realized his faux pas, but that just highlights the problem. No such confusion could have been had in all but possibly one -the Cold War- of the numerous conflicts the U.S. has been part of in the past. In contrast, the "war on terror" will likely need this ambiguity in the future the same way we need oxygen. If it were defined narrowly, victory might be achievable but, a it is currently defined, it can go anywhere, everywhere, take break and be quite successful while continuing to the dominant narrative of the time.