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.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Because I make fun of the Bush Administration's use of the phrase "the terrorists" so much, it could become lost that there is a serious issue here. By any reasonable definition, "terrorism" is an activity that has been engaged in for all of recorded history and there seems to be no reason to think it is going to stop any time soon. "Terrorists," or people who practice terrorism, are thus unlikely to be defeated and hardly form any sort of coherent group.
An example that illustrates this is the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization, which the State Department designates as a terrorist group and says has received funding from Saddam's now deposed Iraq regime. Sam Dealey reports in today's edition of The Hill that U.S. Rep. Robert Ney "will ask Attorney General John Ashcroft today to investigate a charity event for ties to an Iranian terrorist group backed by Saddam Hussein... The organizers, led by the Iranian-American Society of Northern Virginia, hope to raise $140,000 to help survivors of the earthquake in Bam on Dec. 26, which killed 30,000 people. But a number of sponsoring groups have strong ties to the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), and the fundraiser may violate the prohibition on providing material support for global terrorism."
Sounds like a member in good standing of "[t]he terrorists and their supporters" until you realize that the State Department also says that the MEK has engaged in "terrorist attacks on the interests of the clerical regime in Iran and abroad" and "now advocates a secular Iranian regime" even thought Iran is a charter member of the "axis of evil."
In other words, whatever else can be said about the government of Iran and the MEK, it is safe to say that the two don't get along and therefore any political discussion conducted on the basis of realism, as presidential speeches almost always are, that involves talking about "the terrorists" as some sort of unified group is fucking stupid and the fact that Bush is not laughed at for making statements about how on September 11, 2001 "[t]he terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States" is a sad commentary on the current level of political discourse.
Of course Bush wants you to think that terrorism "will be defeated." He isn't calling for any significant changes in biopolitical reproduction or thinking about how history shows that at least some people don't like being constantly told what to do by "outsiders" and have a tendency to respond violently, and perhaps have a greater chance of causing carnage now than ever before due to a variety of factors, most notably developments in science, but we are going to get rid of terrorism because Bush says we are going to get rid of it. Why doesn't he just say we are going to eliminate all murdering. That has about the same chance of achieving success.
Team Bush has to know terrorism won't be forever banished from the face of this planet, so by making this the ostensible goal, they are laying the groundwork for a war that will never be won. it can go forever, which is what I suspect they want at least until they find a new justification.
Last night's speech was the usual bullshit but I did find it interesting that Bush both came out against gay marriage and for abstinence. Apparently those dykes and faggots should never fornicate.
Bush also said, "parents and schools and government... must work together to counter the negative influence of the culture, and to send the right messages to our children."
Apparently Bush sees himself and most people in the U.S. as at odds with "the culture," which is most certainly an interesting development.
In yesterday's Independent Noor Khan writes:
An American helicopter bombed a village home in southern Afghanistan killing 11 people, four of them children, Afghan officials said yesterday...The AP has more, while the Combined Forces Command Afghanistan says, "there is no indication that civilians were killed in that incident."
One of the main problems I have with proponents of war for "democracy" or "human rights" is there seems to be no interest in how much damage done to people is an adequate trade-off for the improving the situation for those who remain. If you had to kill all but 8 Iraqis in order to get "democracy" of a viable sort, I would like to believe that most honest advocate of invasions to improve the lives of people would concede that such a cost is too high for the United States, or anyone else, to just impose on a group of people. But where should the line be drawn? Seemingly this would be a very practical question for those like Christopher Hitchens who support wars of "liberation."
Recent events show "shows capture of Saddam Hussein has done little to weaken resistance," Patrick Cockburn reports in Monday's Independent.
"Three dozen mortar shells found buried in southern Iraq did not contain chemical blister agents as initially reported, the Danish army said yesterday," Rupert Cornwell writes in Monday's Independent.
UPDATE: There's a scene in "The Great Louse Detective," an episode from the fourteenth season of the greatest show ever, where, after discovering that Homer Simpson has pissed off quite a few people to the point that they want to do him physical harm, Sideshow Bob remarks, "None of this seems odd to you?"
That's exactly how feel about even this relatively decent analysis of yesterday's State of the Union speech. William Saletan appears to be intelligent yet he goes right along with looking at Bush's comments seemingly oblivious to the fact that Bush makes more than one ridiculous comment. And he isn't alone in this. Did I miss the memo about nobody can point out that Bush talks to people like they are idiots? 1:47 p.m. 01/21/04