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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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)
Blogs that for one reason or another Holmquist would like to read on at least something of a regular basis (always in development)
Monday, February 09, 2004
"Who the fuck is that?" I thought to myself seven days ago. I had just woken up. The evening was in full swing. It was sometime between 9:30 and 10:30. Sean Hannity was interviewing someone who was complimenting George W. Bush and I knew I recognized the voice.
"Oliver North," I said silently a few seconds later having recognized the voice. "How can this guy seriously be interviewed about issues that involve integrity? Oh yeah it happens in the same society that treats Sean Hannity like he is an intellectual."
The commission has come into existence but don't expect anything valuable from it. Its title -"Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction"- says it all. It will look at the processes of intelligence gathering and analysis. It will not consider whether Bush and friends actually believed Iraq was a threat or whether or not they acted accordingly. (On a related note, I don't see any merit to the praise that has been bestowed upon Tim Russert for his interview with Bush on Saturday. While maybe not "another softball game," Russert's interview was anything but hard hitting. A performance worthy of the subject would have to include plenty of instances where the interviewer said something tot he effect of, "you did not answer my question...")
The commission I have appointed today will examine intelligence on weapons of mass destruction and related 21st century threats and issue specific recommendations to ensure our capabilities are strong. The commission will compare what the Iraq Survey Group learns with the information we had prior to our Operation Iraqi Freedom. It will review our intelligence on weapons programs in countries such as North Korea and Iran. It will examine our intelligence on the threats posed by Libya and Afghanistan before recent changes in those countries.And then a day later:
The commission I set up... is one that will help future presidents understand how best to fight the war on terror, and it's an important part of the kind of lessons learned in Iraq and lessons learned in Afghanistan prior to us going in, lessons learned that we can apply to both Iran and North Korea because we still have a dangerous world. And that's very important for, I think, the people to understand where I'm coming from to know that this is a dangerous world.The legitimate anger of Team Bush's dishonestly has been channeled so as to strengthen the "war on terror," a project that is based on that dishonesty.
The commission, which includes John "The president of the United States, I believe, did not manipulate any kind of information for political gain or otherwise" McCain, will most likely conclude that mistakes were made but that Team Bush was generally correct to have made them and that it is time to move on.
And, as much as this angers me, most people will. It will probably become acceptable to say that those who haven't as conspiracy theorists. Unless something unexpected happens, Team Bush will get away with their deception.
This situation used to puzzle me more than it does now. As recondite as this might sound, "terrorism" and "threat" only exist in popular discussions in the United States when coupled with a campaign, which is widely considered reasonable, to eliminate the threat in some way. Virtually nobody was worried that Saddam might get into the preemption business and attack the U.S. before the U.S. invaded Iraq because considering that possibility means acknowledging that risks of the sort that the “war on terror” is ostensibly designed to eliminate do exist and that nothing is being done about some of them. Saddam and his weapons of mass destruction could only be widely talked about as a "threat" because there was a "solution" on the table – the invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Saddam’s government.
The case of North Korea illustrates this. Ruled by a dictator who has abused "his own people" and may be a "madman" (Bush has described Saddam as a "madman"), believed to have weapons of mass destruction, said to be sponsoring terrorists and a charter member of the "axis of evil," North Korea is every bit as much of a "threat" now as Iraq was. And yet Bush has said:
...the reason why I felt like we needed to use force in Iraq and not in North Korea, because we had run the diplomatic string in Iraq... in North Korea, excuse me, the diplomacy is just beginning. We are making good progress in North Korea.Magically enough not advocating attacking North Korea is not seen an act that "hurt[s]" "national security."
Across the board, the same phenomenon can be seen. When a plan to counter a "threat" is suggested by the executive branch, the "threat" increases to the point of being a primary concern. (For example of this phenomenon that has lost all direct or practical applications due to the events of the past year, see the December 12, 2002 entry "If you don't favor war with the United Kingdom, you support the Official Secrets Act.")
When I woke up to Ollie's voice, I was on the floor. I'd been on a couch when I went to sleep. Normally all of this would be a depressing experience that would make me think I really need to be more productive and stop wasting so much time. But I was in a waiting room of Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, Michigan. My father was having back surgery done. It had been planned for months and appears to be going well so there is no need for concern there.
Hospitals seem to be about death to me. It appears like nobody, outside of the maternity ward, can express joy even in situations where it would be appropriate for fear of offending others. And there is the transient nature of the hospital. Yes there are employees, but the majority of "civilians" don't want to be there. Unlike airports, there is nobody in a Hawaiian shirt to lighten the mood as they loudly say, "I missed you so much... I have to tell you about this great bar & grill..." Waking up in a place other than where I went to sleep during the mid-evening and hearing the idiot who I remember wearing that goddamn uniform to testify before congress didn't seem all that bad given the circumstances.
For a long time I believed that life is easier for those who believe in some God or Gods that they deem to be just. Life would have inherent meaning then, I thought till last week.
Although there may be some religion that I don't know about that makes sense, all of those I have looked at do not. The contradictions and illogical nature of their narratives are too much for me. It seems that looking past these contradictions would be as difficult as believing in any grand narrative. Perhaps that indicates something about me.
In particular I suspect that it indicates that I will have trouble finding any meaning in life that I can fully believe in. When you get right down to it, the lack of an after-life does mean that no punishment for what is done can be greater than what can be doled out. There is no meaning other than what you produce in the realm of subjectivity.