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

Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Time for a counter-narrative part II

U.S. President George W. Bush announced today that U.S. troops would be leaving Iraq by midnight tonight, although he failed to clarify what time zone he was talking about. "Every brave man and woman who dies in the service of their country," Bush said in the finest speech of his presidency yet, "is a person who can't buy one of my W'04 Western Hats and I won't sit by and let that happen."

Or maybe he said something else. I've yet to read the comments due to my infuriation at this exchange from yesterday:

THE PRESIDENT: ... Deb, you've got a question?

Q Yes, sir. Mr. President, the attacks are getting more brazen, they're getting more frequent. What do you know about who is behind these attacks? Is it Saddam? And what steps did you all discuss this morning about better protecting U.S. personnel there?

THE PRESIDENT: The best way to describe the people who are conducting these attacks are cold-blooded killers, terrorists. That's all they are. They're terrorists. And the best way to find them is to work with the Iraqi people to ferret them out and go get them. And that's exactly what we discussed.

What was the other part of your question?

Q What steps did you discuss this morning about better protecting U.S. personnel?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think if you -- we've hardened a lot of our targets for U.S. personnel there. And today's attacks were against places like the Red Cross, or police stations. These people will kill Iraqis. They don't care who they kill. They just want to kill. And we will find them, exactly what we discussed on how best to do so.

The Iraqi people understand that there's a handful of people who don't want to live in freedom, aren't interested in their children going to schools, aren't -- don't really care about the nature of the health care they get, aren't pleased with the fact that the electricity is coming back on line, aren't happy about the fact that Iraq is now selling oil on the world markets and people are finding work. And they'll do whatever it takes to stop this progress.

And our job is to work with the Iraqis to prevent this from happening. That's why we're working hard to get more Iraqi policemen; that's why we're working hard to build up the Iraqi armed forces; and that's why we're working hard with freedom-loving Iraqis to help ferret these people out before they attack and strike. And --

Q But, sir --


Laughable. It really shouldn't be too much work to answer a simple question but I guess it is. And as far as these actions being "terrorist" some of them no doubt fit the U.S. government's own ostensible definition of terrorism but others don't since are most certainly directed at combatant targets, not that you should expect Bush to do any better on this than U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. This may seem like nit-picking but so long as Team Bush is going to talk about "the terrorists" as if they are some sort of cohesive group, they ought to explain how they are defining this group, especially if their working answer amounts to "terrorism is violence that we don't like and which we label as such" as I suspect it does.


"[0]ur war on terror will continue until every enemy who plots against the American people is confronted and defeated," U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney said on Friday without explaining what any of that claim had to do with Iraq.

Cheney also said, "I've never been prouder of the United States military. These young men and women deserve our wholehearted support. They deserve to have their bravery in battle recognized and to have us acknowledge, as well, the progress they've made in helping the people of Iraq emerge into a new era of self-rule and stability" but did not run down the criteria that have to be met first.


As you may have surmised, I get great joy out of ridiculing Team Bush. At the same time I don't think it does much to change their course of action, and I believe that it wouldn't have much impact even if I were reaching a much larger audience. The problem, as I first sketched out in July 8's "Time for a counter-narrative," is that the Bush Administration's "war on terror" rhetoric makes people feel good about themselves and their country. It positions them as the modern day incarnation of those who first said, "Don't tread on me." They are the victim but resilient in that role because they aren't going to let it happen again. In contrast, a pure critique -however intellectually justifiable- feels cold and cynical.

An alternative vision -a "narrative" if you will is needed- is bolster a critique of the "war on terror." I don't have the answer(s), and I’m pessimistic about the possibility of discovery, but the search for it or them is something that desperately needs to be done by every person who is concerned, for one reason or another, by the current direction of this war.


That said, the value of critiquing the war on terror should not be underestimated. I'm doubtful that any alternative narrative will be as attractive as the "war on terror," one is and thus the playing field would not be a tabla rasa, due to a desire for historical inertia or, to be more precise, the desire to have the best narrative be a narrative that requires little change. Critiquing the "war on terror" is therefore an essential, but by no means self-sufficient, part of promoting an oppositionist vision.