February 28, 2007
Behind the Sunni-Shi’ite Divide — Thursday, Feb. 22, 2007 — Page 1 — TIME – to understand the division between Shiite and Sunni – this article in TIME illustrates that it is not a conventional religious struggle but a historical one? Brothers in faith, yes, but is the spirit of humanity as alive in their spiritual leadership as it was in the soul of the young man who dived into the river and saved several Shiite pilgrims from drowning before, he, himself lost his own life (as did about 1000 pilgrims).
Othman al-Obeidi, 25, Sunni – should therefore be remembered and given recognition as an example of brother helping brother. The rift that suicide bombers tear open can not be closed with more bloodshed. It can only be closed by acts of extreme bravery and sacrifice like this one. But one saintly act can be easily undone, as appears the case for Sunni who have since been affected by Shiite militia death squads. In other words one good deed may repair the violence of the past, but it is quickly undone by violence in the future.
To bring peace between Sunni and Shiite may become the way in which this war on terrorism is won, finally. Lobbing morters across suburbs is no way to bring peace.
The Iraq war was mishandled by the US military strategy. For this, George Bush will be remembered as more than just a poor strategist. His priority was blind revenge against Saddam. Finishing the job his father started.
Another way of looking at this is that Sunni extremists were behind 9/11. By returning Iraq political power to the hands of the majority, Shiites – a wound was struck and reignited the ancient fued between Sunni and Shiite. It was not just an illegal war – or a stupid one – it was bound to foment ancient hatreds. You see, the real problem is too much death of young fathers leads to endemic dysfunctionality as their children grow up with weapons and bent on blind revenge.
February 26, 2007
Asia Times Online :: Asian News, Business and Economy. – who is pulling the strings behind the Oil Shocks of the 70s and the contemporary ones – the petro-dollar linkage of Saudi oil money and the US economy – the committee that rules the world meets once a year, is very secretive and involves political leaders, bankers and the excessively wealthy seeking to control the value of their assets via the linkage of the price of oil and the US dollar.
In the long term, this arrangement will see the take over of Saudi Arabia by the Americans. That fear could be behind the rationale of al-Qaeda to destabilise the US grip on the world economy.
February 25, 2007
Iraq Rebel Cleric Reins In Militia; Motives at Issue – New York Times
– Moktada al-Sadr is becoming pivotal to the temporary peace in Baghdad that Bush needs to say that his troop increase is working, but is it? By sacking leaders who take orders from Iran al-Sadr is showing a new political agility.
From the American point of view, the acts of al-Sadr are those of a “firebrand” – I think that means that they see him as a rebel and military leader whom others will follow. This leader had inherited his army and commands alligence to his father and from an early age. For the Americans it may seem that he is brash and unpredictable. It seems that he is coping as well as he may, being a young leader who may have not sought a political stand, but finds himself relied upon as a symbol of Shiite power in Iraq.
February 24, 2007
Senate resolution has combat troops out of Iraq in a year – CNN.com – Joe Biden is playing his cards early. This is a strategy of scene setting – although he is a viable choice for President, America is not as fearless as he.
Could Gore’s road to the Oval Office begin in Hollywood? – CNN.com – CNN has been reading Disturbing Trends again. It is of course a logical conclusion. If Al Gore waits until after winning an Oscar, as is a logical conclusion, then the Democratic party will put him in the White House. If he does not win, then forget the Democrats have other aces and sleeves to hide them in – does this now mean that Bush has so damaged the Presidency that Hollywood has more effect on Politics than the other way around? Perhaps not. But it is nice to think that Life does what Art tells it. The last great President the Republicans put into office was a Hollywood actor. This time it is not as if Al Gore has no political experience. Perhaps he will wait until his presidential approval ratings exceed Bush. Hence, if he wins an Oscar…
February 22, 2007
BBC NEWS | Middle East | Concern over Iraqi chemical bombs – the use of chlorine gas by insurgents is not a sign of WMD – the chlorine is common and used to kill bacteria in the water. The delivery vehicles are being hit with explosive detonations that have an added extra cloud of gas that burns skin and if inhaled just a few breaths can cause death. If chlorine has been an available resource, why it is only now that it is being used to amplify the carnage potential? Probably nobody thought it was feasible to risk the water supply used by the locals and insurgents as the occupying forces most likely have their own water supply. So destroying the chlorine may burn a few more soldiers but it may kill thousands if there is an outbreak of typhoid.
Suicide bombers in Iraq – what are you doing to your Muslims brothers?
February 20, 2007
George Monbiot explains what is wrong with all those conspiracy theories that are convinced the US Government was involved in 9/11 and who pluck convenient “truths” and “proofs” from their own conviction that things must be that way because it is all so unbelievable.
A wrong answer is simply that. Wrong. A right answer is usually the simple answer. That it was just 19 Islamic extremists driven by Jihad and social memory of the Ottoman days of glory and funding of Osama bin Laden is simpler than a requisite grand orchestration for the sake of public opinion. Bush already did that when he rigged his way into Presidency in the first place. Now, that does not mean that the Bush/Cheney cabal are not involved. But to also involve the army, air force, navy and entire government is complex and therefore unlikely.
The problem is that the conspiracy theorists make genuine opposition to the madness of the Iraq war seem unintelligent. Using the X-Files as a basis of political argument is not going to find the truth out there – this is the real world and the Bush cabal and what is driving it to “keep America great” does have strong and real intentions and these do not benefit the majority of Americans, nor is their “New World Order” beneficial to progress or civilization.
Yes, there are elements of the story that could show Government complicity (mainly by inaction and ruthless politicking against President Clinton) – these truths are useful in convincing its audience that something is wrong. But the Cabal behind the Bush Administration is probably more like what the conspiracists breathlessly fear than the Government that they pretend to be, and it is their authoritarian needs that drove them into the irrational war in Iraq. But to accuse them of creating 9/11 is to cloak the entire Left as nutters.
The truth is the truth. There is no need to dress it up.
See COMMENTS…edited paragraph 1 to change ‘complicit’ to ‘involved’ as comments revealed to me that the argument that ‘Bush/Cheney were complicit in 9/11’ seems likely, but shed doubt on ‘US Government involvement’. Wow – did I buy it from those who reject George Monbiot.
February 18, 2007
A good telling off should put Mr Bush back into line with the rest of the world. He has had too much nodding and the deadly smiles of the likes of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney’s rippling grimness. His cabal of approval has been broken. How he has to contend with a Democrat Congress.
Mr Bush has to listen to the people’s elected representatives who are now telling him to pull his horns in. His view is becoming the isolated minority but can the Democrats produce a cohesive plan or do they want the voters to decide what that will be. Here is a range of candidates defined by their Iraq strategy.
This way of ranking candidates is not valid. Remember there is no valid logic behind the war and if one could consider that Bush may have run again anyway in 2004, if Al Gore had served a first term elected President in 2000 – as he was voted to do by a slim margin according to the news media reports of discounted votes and interference with Florida voters. If Bush was a first term president he would only now be considering his Iraqi invasion options. In other words, increasingly, this is Bush’s war and nobody else will want to fight it.
About bloody time someone got Bush to defend his rationale before accepting that this man who has got nearly everything else wrong should be now getting anything right.
February 16, 2007
Pressing Allies, President Warns of Afghan Battle – New York Times – even Bush himself acknowledges that the efforts in Afghanistan may come to nothing if the military success of the American presence there is insufficient.
Compare the American contribution to Afghanistan of 13,000 troops with the 170,000 Bush wants in Iraq and the scale appears out of whack. The Taliban established they were prepared to protect Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, giving America adequate reason to attack militarily and establish a more moderate Government in Afghanistan. But instead of acting forcefully to promote democratic ideals, the US Government has underfunded completion of the military goals, and now with the once avoidable expense of Iraq to contend with, the problem is larger than it was before.
Strategy can not be shot from the hip. This man exposes the singular logic of an all powerful Commander in Chief being in control of these wars. Bush is convinced that he is right. Perhaps he needs to be. But one must wonder if Bush is best man for the job, since it must be done by one man, perhaps Bush should retire. So far his record is a testament of exactly how not to win a war.
Bush will continue to lead America by the nose into conflict. Not that he wants to, but that he has blundered his way into a quagmire and is unlikely to have the smarts to conclude the mess gracefully as the months count down to zero, the same realization will dawn on the American electorate.
The republicans best nominate an anti war candidate. How the winds of politics are turning.
February 15, 2007
The Seattle Times: Opinion: How to bury global warming – the idea of burying carbon absorbed from the atmosphere is one way to tackle “global warming” and “regulate the climate”.
Climate control with an atmosphere that has less CO2 will nonetheless have plenty of other pollutants. We have to stop putting CO2 into the atmosphere because we have to stop loading it with carcenigens and poisons. We must stop destroying biodiversity if any life is to have much of a hope of living out the next few hundred years.
America has been compared the Romans on more than one occassion. Like Nero, they fiddle as the atmosphere is subject to abuse by greedy economics that only benefit a tiny fraction of the very wealthy. Stop CO2 so you can keep polluting?
Stop greed to save the world.
It is possible to win the war on terrorism. In this example local Phillippine troops are now having some succss against Abu Sayyaf.
“Perhaps most acute is the need to channel funds into poor communities like Panamao, where schoolteachers say they haven’t been paid for over a year.” this kind of community development is necessary to create a future society of thinking individuals who do not resort to evil to make their political point. Individuals who do not believe in the death cult of Al Qaeda or any other perversion of their faith or culture.
February 13, 2007
PM has no plan for Iraq, says Rudd | Herald Sun – the Opposition leader of Austrlia, Kevin Rudd points out that the Australian government has no “exit strategy” to bring Australian soldiers back from the dangerous war in Iraq. Should the troops stay in Iraq or should they be brought home. The newspaper features a little flash movie with made up quotes arguing the merits of “keep troops in Iraq” or “bring our boys back” advertising their message boards. That the discussion is defined in these terms by the media sets the stage for unripe policitians to follow suit. It is defining language – either you are on this side, or the other one.
Australia is backing the US in the war so its actions are a private contract between it and the USA. It does not really matter what the conditions are on the ground, but if there is a US withdrawal, then the Australian army would probably leave. That much is clear from the PM’s silence on exit strategy.
If all the soldiers were killed by friendly fire or insurgent attack, then they would not be coming home. And technically they would not be remaining in Iraq as they would be dead and their bodies returned.
That much is clearly what constitutes John Howard’s exit strategy for Australian troops given to the USA’s illegal effort that seems to fuel sectarian violence.
What John Howard has yet to outline is what he is going to do if American does not leave Iraq and the insurgency just carries on the way it has for hundreds of years. Why has George Bush enabled Iraq towards a Shiite revolution? John Howard has got to keep asking himself that question. Why is Australia etching itself into the minds of war children, the future of terrorism emanting from war scarred Iraq?
February 11, 2007
Click the heading, but be warned, graphic films of war.
The advent of YouTube as a medium shines many lights on what we previously relied upon propaganda to bear witness to – in this case, it illustrates pretty much what we have written about over the last four years about the real effects of war.
The day of judgement is neigh because 5,000,000 Americans can not bear witness to their own military war machine at work. It is the tactics of soldiers that ride roughshod over the rights of civility. You got to kill the terrorists! It is advantageous to eradicate threats, but it is wise not to give them reasons to rise up and make America into the enemy. A peace treaty between Sunni and Shiite is not only necessary, but nobody is talking about it. They are too busy preparing for the day of judgement, it seems.
There is something awful and death cultish about sending people off to fight to their deaths, positively medievel. As films start to align with computer games, marketing fodder with comic book characters intimitely detailed, calligraphically dynamic – we have everyman with a handicam presenting the real world, shocking reality alongside “reality shows” like the famous Lonleygirl15 of YouTube fame. Won’t catch her in Iraq, but her story arc seems to have its own fantasy Blair Witchy appeal.
But as an eyeglass to war? Youtube is indeed a revelation.
You do not have to be in the pay of global oil to cast doubts about the scientific veracity or otherwise, of global warming. Indeed, all the Northern Hemisphere of the Earth have to do is experience the great frosts and ice overs this year to see for yourselves that global warming is some kind of myth dreamed up by left wingers who just want to get their own back on people who drive larger cars than they could ever afford.
There is a theory brewing that politics is a science of trying to defeat reason by extrusion of wacky arguments. The wackier the arguement, the more that its opposite must be defended, or so the theory goes. Today’s world is a product of wacky ideas in conflict. The real world is not as wacky as the world we invent.
Science is less wacky but often surprising, but it is conclusive. Politics tends towards the wacky, over focused arguments that are not conclusive.
It is understood that the Sun’s rays are the primary cause of the Earth’s weather. No doubt about it. And it is also understood that fluctuations in the Sun’s intensity would have a major effect on climate. That is not in dispute.
But to argue that because these effects trump man made pollution is facile. It does prove nothing.
The atmosphere is a fragile self correcting eco-system – our excessive pollution and aggression has wiped out a very large number of species and ecosystems that took millenia to evolve. They did not belong to us to devour. We are a part of it and we undo the chain of events that result in us at our folly.
To state that unusually harsh winters disprove climate change is wrong. Pollution is changing the consistancy of the atmosphere. Yes, the sun does it too and is capable of producing larger effects due to its far greater energy. Our atmosphere mitigates the effects of the sun. But if we fill it full of pollution, we will ruin nature. Trees will die. It will then get much warmer, and we risk sea levels ignoring certain low lying cities.
It is not a risk worth taking. Just start working to stop the pollution of our home. We share it with other life forms and have no right to murder them.
During the cold war it was the USSR (15 states ruled by the communist government dominated by Russia) that had a secretive, imperialistic state with objectives to assimilate and control more wealth. It fully needed to, inefficiency set in as a tradition of cheating the hated state was blurred by winter vodka consumption and death due to a crippled infrastructure. What goes one the most is that the world protects its corners which the center is full of hopeless and staring people, but when a government is involved in food production, then it all goes to hell. So our adventures into socialist caring are limited and tempered by a times when the economic engine can be stoked and capital accumulated in corners.
Putin’s invitation to think is a voice that should be heeded. Putin is the most sophisticated politician in the world today, now that Tony Blair is most probably a spent force. His words, if they do result in thinking in the Democratic nomination universe, are an endorsement for Barack Obama perhaps. John Howard, the Prime Minister of Australia, attacks Barack Obama for saying that he would withdraw troops from Iraq. The Democrats will not elect Barack Obama, unless he solves Iraq before the election. He probably will try.
In the meantime, when will George Bush define what “winning” in Iraq means?
February 9, 2007
February 6, 2007
Iraqi Gunmen seize Iranian diplomat – we hope this is not a spark that reignites the Iraq-Iran conflict with America involved. I do not think the American Command has this one on their game plan.
One day we were all kids. Now we are adults, it is our responsibility to provide for our children and this includes a world in which they must live.
All this ill considered political nonsense about being “one people” therefore requiring “one flag”.
New Zealand is 4 million individuals who have many groupings within the spirit of our land. We are democratic – that means that each voice has value. There is more than one voice. There is more than one people. Some seek to collectivize others into their kind. They want to be all inclusive and then criticize others for not abiding by their cultural norms. It is okay to be different to these people It is okay to be oneself.
Constantly crowing about “one” creates an illusion. It is a propaganda. It says “you must agree, it is true”. It contains a threat of exclusion by making any who disagree not “part of the one”. We are not “one” – we are many who accept each other joyfully.
Those who limit imagination by a claim of unity attempt to silence dissent. That is simply not the way to peace.
We are not “one” people. We are, by treaty, two peoples. By fact, we are many peoples.
February 5, 2007
The Politico – we are not the only publication that sees Al Gore rise above the crowd – but whether he runs or not may not depend upon the politics of destiny, the choice is his alone to make.
The signs are that he is well placed to do it. Being away from politics means that he did not vote for the Iraq invasion. If he wins an Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth it will only encourage voters to see him as a leader. The one they should have got in the first place. Of course the danger is the reintroduction of old thinking but Al Gore was VP when American was suffering from one huge surplus after another. The main problem was the stupid Republican attack dogs savaging Monica and Bill. That was an extraordinary time designed to convince America to lurge toward the right far enough to let a fundamentalist Christian into the White House to delivery on the Book of Revelation. So far, Bush has brought the Doomsday Clock back to single figures – if he had finished Afghanistan before lunging into Iraq, it would be a sunny afternoon, but instead American needs the second coming of Al Gore to save it from its reaction to the terrorism medicine.
It is no longer a question of the Democrats fielding a believable warrior or war hero, it is the intelligence and focus, it is the solution to the problem of the multi-headed wars on terrorism. Many are also terrified of what climate change is doing to the world.
Al Gore – America needs someone with out fear and with conviction to change the way it is to the way it will be. The future with an Al Gore presidency is a clear choice. The future with any of the other potential Democrat candidates does not have that advantage.
Democrats should run with their best choice and not consider what the republicans will do all that much. John McCain is more credible than Guilliani. Who is the in the lead there may determine the VP choice – but if Al Gore steps forward we are looking forward to his term as President – and we also predict that this is a likely outcome and that the Iraq / Iran / Israel situation stands to have some progress in the next twenty years.
KRT Wire | 02/03/2007 | Bush administration rejects demands for caps on greenhouse gasses – Bush perceives that it is hard to support the Democrat position as caps on greenhouse gases will not stop climate change. Capping gas emissions will create other pressures in the economy, and for that reason may be made ineffective. Measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have to be both smart and permanent. It is also not enough to pray! What is so horrible about government investing in enough naturally occurring environmental energy (wind farms) and paying for it with taxes so we do not have to pay to warm our homes? If every home in America did not consume power by dint of “naturally occurring energy”, it would introduce some latency into the atmosphere and discussion rather than further radicalize it. Bush wants to save the world from peril but lacking imagination, he proposes force, and when it does not work, more force.
The free market has failed in the conservation of our home. Bush is in denial. The Democrats are accused of lacking imagination by militant Republicans who have even less imagination except when it comes to explosions, and the bigger and nastier, the better. The Democrats need to take a deep breath and not merely use climate change as a political weapon. Continuing to damage the Earth’s atmosphere in measured doses is still a path to climate change. Not polluting the atmosphere, mankind having a plan that takes full responsibility for its actions as a species and inhabitant of the good Earth – is the only path to avoid economic devastation. Bush is not right to think that reducing gas consumption will work. We have to stop burning it fast, probably NOW. How? What are all these scientists and billions of dollars of military spending for oil by the US Government worth, if Katrina were an everyday occurance?
However the Bush argument is bound to stand, because rejecting a demand for something that is “ineffective” is not unwise. But real leadership is required here – unimpeachable brilliance to get us out of the fog. For this reason, Al Gore’s identification with this issue makes it a Democrat priority, it may even cut a path to the White House.
Caps do not solve anything. It is not how many degrees of global warming that matters, it is the resultant costs of having to live in a completely different world map and conditions. It could bankrupt Austrlia and the USA by desertification. It could make the UK into the new Bahamas.
Rain would become scarce, this would mean that the majority of the world’s crops could fail. Winds could become more severe. The effects of these environmental changes could spell the end of civilisation was we know it.
Or we could spend the US military budget on windfarms, make electric cars mandatory and stop pollution internationally.
All it takes is a decision and authority.
Al Gore for President!
Al Jazeera English – Americas reports an ex-US general warning against the US launching an attack on Iran. The consequences for security in the region were severe, the retired army lieutenant general Robert Gard said. He is a former military assistant to US defense secretary, Robert McNamara, and he urged the US government to “engage immediately in direct talks with the government of Iran without preconditions.”