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

Monday, January 26, 2004
Empire & Frum

John Hawkins' interview with former Bush propaganda producer David Frum gives great insight into the empire being created by the "war on terror."

George W. Bush has said so many ridiculous and stupid things during his time as a national political figure that I can't help but wonder just how cynical he and his speechwriters must be for so willingly taking advantage of the public's general inability to think critically about they hear. But now, after reading this interview, I can't help but think that I might be wrong on this. Perhaps they aren't very intelligent or good at noticing logical inconsistencies for even as Frum attempts to refute the idea that the United States wants an empire, he says that an empire is exactly what the U.S. wants:

The last thing America is, is an empire. My counter example is; we very badly needed and expected to have Turkish support in the war on Iraq. The Turks didn't give it and that put a spanner in some of our planning. Now, imagine if this were the Romans. Imagine if the emperor Trajan were planning an operation in Mesopotamia and the Cappadocians told him he couldn't use their territory. He would have lined the highways with crucified Cappadocians. That's what empires do, they do not say, "Oh, we'll respect what your parliament says and come from another direction".

The United States is the ultimate guarantor of world order, just the way Britain was before us and who knows, maybe somebody will be after us. But, the world order of which the United States is a guarantor, to use a word that has been even more perverted than neocon, is a liberal order, in which America participates in to preserve the autonomy and individuality of free nations. Now, that doesn't mean we respect the right of every tinpot dictator to rule his country the way he wants to. I think that the sovereignty of a country like the Netherlands, where the leadership is elected, is a different thing from the sovereignty of a country like Iraq under Saddam, where the sovereignty was stolen. America does and ought to defer to the sovereignty of other nations, especially free nations, and that's just the opposite of what an empire does.

A lot of (at least ostensible) confusion in the world, and in this case, results from different definitions of a particular term. If having an "empire" means controlling every aspect of the possessions of the Empire, then the U.S. does not appear to be seeking an empire. (Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's Empire (Harvard University Press, 2000) and Chalmers Johnson's Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (Henry Holt and Company, 2000) provide two very different alternate treatments of the term.) If it means not allowing countries to do these things that weaken the empire's position in the world, as it can quite reasonably be defined, then Frum's own statement suggests that the United States is building an empire.

Autonomy and sovereignty are respected except when doing otherwise benefits the Empire.

Frum gives two examples of this in the interview. He says he favors a "Palestinian state" but only one that doesn't conflict with the interests of the U.S. And he opposes European unification. The frogs, Frum writes, "have their own ambition to build a kind of European superstate as a counterweight to the United States. That's partly for reasons of national vanity and partly to protect their not very competitive national economy. This would be a terrible mistake for Europe. We need to rethink the traditional American position of almost unreflective support for unification. We have to understand that the wrong kind of European reunification can create real problems for the United States."

It is not in our interest so it must be mistake for those involved. And if it isn't inherently, we will make it one.

But perhaps I should just take Hawkins' word on the matter. In what Frum calls "a brilliant piece," Hawkins -who as far as I can tell has no War State power of any kind- argues that the U.S. is "not an 'empire'" and has "no desire to become one" because "[o]ur ancestors came to America in the first place to GET AWAY from everyone else in the world."

I'm sure Ethan Edwards felt the same way.


To Frum's credit, he does acknowledge in the interview that U.S. support for dictators does have costs. Of course he does not consider the option of eliminating support for these countries without trying to control them. Intervention apparently is a given in the “war on terror” and the construction of an empire that dare not speak its name.