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

Friday, January 30, 2004
What about all that freedom?

Via a link from Douglas Anders, I see that on January 21 Bush said:

The march to war affected our psychology and confidence. It is hard to be optimistic about the future when you turn on your TV screens and say, America is marching to war. War is not positive. War is -- it sends the signal that there will be uncertainty. We're not marching to peace.
Funny how in the same speech Bush expresses certainty about war:
We will never forget the lessons of September the 11th. We will stay on the offensive. We will win the war on terror, and make sure that America is secure and free.
Funny how I never learned "the lessons of September the 11th" let alone had a chance to forget them. Of course I don't remember what happened on "September the 11th." Was that the day Michael Jordan was going to announce that he was coming out of retirement?

And what about the freedom and liberty we can bring to people? You know the stuff that is "God's gift to humanity." Since we get to bring it God's bounty to the lesser parts of the world through war, why shouldn't it make us happy?

Bush has some explaining to do.


Another proud moment in America's fight for freedom. The only downside is we didn't get a war out of it.

And remember it is wrong to correct those who say, "We [Americans] have always stood up for freedom, in our own country, and for other people."


"President Hamid Karzai signed Afghanistan's new constitution into law Monday, putting into force a charter meant to reunite his war-shattered nation and help defeat a virulent Taliban insurgency," the AP writes. "The constitution outlines a tolerant, democratic Islamic state under a strong presidency -- as sought by Karzai -- a two-chamber parliament and an independent judiciary... the text also declares men and women equal before the law."

The Taliban isn't happy with this document and the same can be said of some members of loya jirga, the group that drafted the document, who say it has been altered from the one they worked on. George Thomas of Pat Robertson's CBN News says the constitution does not protect non-Muslim religious rights:

The 162-page document begins by declaring "Afghanistan is an Islamic republic." Article two of the constitution states that, "Followers of other religions are free to perform their religious rites within the limits of the provisions of law." But article three notes that, "No law can be contrary to the sacred religion of Islam."...

Under this new constitution, there is no freedom of conversion. A Muslim who converts to Christianity or any other religion could face the death penalty. Muslims and non-Muslims who dissent or criticize Islam are subject to blasphemy or apostasy charges.

Of course Thomas' concern isn't based solely on theory:
And, depending on how judges interpret Islamic law, Christian evangelism could be considered a crime. Under the new constitution, distributing Christian literature, holding Bible classes and raising money for Christian activities, could be considered against the sacred religion of Islam.
" Simbal Khan of Hi Pakistan reports that the document has been criticized by both Islamists "for lack of direct reference to the Sharia" and liberals "for failing to provide adequate guarantees for human rights." He also notes that:
...there have been few dissenting voices regarding the efficacy of the whole constitution building exercise. The panel of political analysts involved in the democratic and constitutional initiatives, conveniently ignored that such US-led foreign policy initiatives wreak violent changes within the target countries, affecting populations that are already undergoing tumultuous changes socially, politically, economically and culturally...

We know today that Authoritarianism comes, not from the absence of written words defining the rules of the game but rather from the absence of a strong commitment to the ideals represented by these words. Without fostering these ideals neither elections nor parliamentary sessions can create democracy from written codes alone.


The Afghan government's website is located at www.afghanistangov.org.


"The Pentagon is planning a new offensive in the 2-year-old Afghanistan campaign to stop remnants of the Taliban regime and the al-Qaida terror network, officials said Wednesday," the AP writes.

I'm shaking my head.

" The Bush administration, deeply concerned about recent assassination attempts against Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and a resurgence of Taliban forces in neighboring Afghanistan, is preparing a U.S. military offensive that would reach inside Pakistan with the goal of destroying Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network, military sources said," Christine Spolar writes in a January 28 Chicago Tribune story.

Plus it is a great way to support the government of Pakistan.


Robert Burns of the AP writes:

The Army's top general said Wednesday he is making plans based on the possibility that the Army will be required to keep tens of thousands of soldiers in Iraq through 2006.

Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, told the House Armed Services Committee that "for planning purposes" he has ordered his staff to consider how the Army would replace the force now rotating into Iraq with another force of similar size in 2005 -- and again in 2006.


In another story Burns writes:

Even with the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the bigger challenge in the global war on terrorism is the threat posed by extremists in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the commander of U.S. forces in that region said Thursday.

Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. Central Command, told a group of reporters that Pakistan has been a vital ally in the war on terror and should continue to receive as much U.S. assistance as it needs to defeat extremism.

He added, however, that it was not a matter that could be resolved by U.S. military power.

``It is a battle of ideas as much as it is a military battle,'' he said, ``and we've got to help him fight that battle,'' referring to Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who has survived two recent assassination attempts.

``In Saudi Arabia the same thing is taking place, and you see day after day an increase in military operations and terrorist operations in Saudi Arabia, and the Saudi Arabian government is working very hard to defeat the terrorist threat,'' Abizaid said.

Note Abizaid is not talking about the governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia but about groups within those countries. Of course continuing to support those governments means supporting repressive states, which isn't always popular...


Stephen Graham of the AP writes:

The U.S. military is ``sure'' it will catch Osama bin Laden this year, a spokesman said Thursday, but he declined to comment on where the al-Qaida leader may be hiding.
LOL for a number of reasons.


"I have a sense for things that are more important than people think - or sometimes less important," Glenn Reynolds says. (The quote is from Wired but I will assume it is correct since Reynolds links to it without a correction.) The sad fact is that there are a fair number of people who agree with him on this.