It is a time of freedom and fear, of Gaia and of borders, of many paths and the widening of a universal toll road, emptying country and swelling cities, of the public bought into privacy and the privacy of the public sold into invisible data banks and knowing algorithms. It is the time of the warrior's peace and the miser's charity, when the planting of a seed is an act of conscientious objection.
These are the times when maps fade and direction is lost. Forwards is backwards now, so we glance sideways at the strange lands through which we are all passing, knowing for certain only that our destination has disappeared. We are unready to meet these times, but we proceed nonetheless, adapting as we wander, reshaping the Earth with every tread.
Behind us we have left the old times, the standard times, the high times. Welcome to the irregular times.
Thursday, August 29, 2002
Mother Davis rolls her eyes a bit and summons the high spirits of critical thinking when she asks,
By what criteria is the Bush Administration defining the "success" of their invasion of Afghanistan? I thought that the whole reason that the U.S. slaughter of conscripted troops and bombing of the International Red Cross, airial attacks against wedding parties, killing of children and their mothers who happen to have their homes in the line of fire, and all that was considered justifiable was that we were going to be able to destroy the Al-Quaeda organization and make our country safe.
Well, according to the Washington Post, the United Nations has written a report that cites evidence supporting the belief that Al-Quaeda remains in good, healthy operating condition, with plenty of funding and an intact leadership structure. Osama Bin Laden appears to still be alive and traveling with impunity through Pakistan with a large contingent of supporters, planning his next move.
All this war and destruction, and the one supposed goal of the whole violent enterprise hasn't been achieved. Perhaps, folks, war is not the only solution to this problem. Simplistic little me wonders if there might be some underlying problems (economic? social? cultural? political? religious?) that encourage desperate, impoverished people in undemocratic nations to provide support to dangerous groups like Al-Qaueda. It sounds like a possibility worth exploring, maybe with just a small task force funded with a few thousand dollars (as opposed to the billions of dollars bombed away in the fruitless war in Afghanistan).
Well, apparently the Bush Administration doesn't think so. Smash-bash-hack-bomb until you get the evildoers seems to be the strategy of choice these days. Is this how we raise our children to behave?
Oh, but I'm just a silly little American mother who doesn't understand these big issues in the way Mr. Bush and all his very smart advisors do, I'm sure.
Shrugging her shoulders,
Wednesday, August 28, 2002
Mother Davis shakes her finger in the air as she warns,
Well, it looks for now as if the American public is finally waking up and daring to think critically about George W.'s plans to wage a holy War On Evil (W.O.E. for short) on any oil-rich Islamic nation for which he can come up with some kind of flimsy rationale.
Let's not pat ourselves on the back, and assume that we've prevented a war. G. Whiz may not be the smartest dude to occupy the Oval Office, but he's got a team of very clever advisors, and I wouldn't count them out yet. I'm thinking back to the tactic they used before the debates in the presidential election. They let the press think they were scared to allow George W. to debate, and didn't put up much resistance when everybody in the country was calling George W. an idiot. The strategy, of course, was to let the expectations for their candidates to be so low that he'd surprise the American public if he didn't pick his nose on stage. Of course, the stragegy worked. George Jr. was inarticulate and evasive, lacking a compelling presence on stage, but because he wasn't a complete idiot, he looked good in comparison to what people expected of him.
Now, I'm always chiding the younger people here atIrregular Times not to get suckered into making predictions. The fact is that almost all predictions are off the mark. Oh, we've made some remarkably accurate predictions here on Irregular Times, like the one where we predicted right after George W. was appointed that before his first term was out, our boy president would:
1. Use a war against an obscure country to gain popular support
2. Cut taxes to reward his corporate sponsors and rich folks
3. Exploit family values to give himself the appearance of fatherly gravity
4. Shore up his base in the extreme right wing by trying to merge government and religion
Well, we got those predictions pretty right on (they weren't mine, incidentally -- they were made by our old man here, Theodiclus Lock). But that's not my point. My point is that predictions, in general, are dangerous to make. Would I make a prediction that global warming is going to continue for the next decade? Nope, cause I don't know that. Would I make a prediction about whether George W. will find a way to stay in the White House for another four years? Nope. Would I even make a prediction that a war against Iraq will result in heavy American casualties. Nu-uh. My crystal ball is not open for service, folks. I hate making predictions. Instead, I prefer to talk about what makes good sense, and what doesn't.
That said, I'm going to make a prediction. The Bush White House is going to continue to allow itself to get slammed around for a while longer on the whole idea of invading Iraq. The most common critique, that W. and his advisors have not made a substantive case for the need to invade Iraq, is a pretty solid one. Bush's most cogent argument so far is that Saddam Hussein is evil. One evil man, and so we send 200,000 troops to invade a foreign country? No wonder the American public thinks Georgie is baked on this one!
Part two of this prediction, though, is that George W. will finally speak, and reveal some extra-special super-duper threat from Iraq that was previously undisclosed. Heck, we know how much this White House loves to keep secrets. This revelation will shock and frighten the American public, and it will make those who oppose war look naive. Have you noticed how scant George W. is on the details? I think he's saving up to drop a really big shoe and make some noise. Expectations about the support for an invasion of Iraq, just like with the debate, are lowered, so that he can come in and surprise everyone and look fairly sensible doing it.
Now here's the kicker - prediction part three: this revelation will be based on intelligence from a detainee (you know, one of those people that the American government is holding hostage, I mean prisoner, I mean in detention, without charging them with a crime or observing their human rights established by international law). This detainee will spill the beans, which will allow the government to uncover other evidence of a terrifying connection of the Iraqi government to all things EVIL. But, President Junior and his amazing administration of advisors will not be able to disclose the identity of the detainee or the source of the evidence. In other words, there won't be a scrap of actual verifiable proof that the evidence, the detainee who provides it, or the evil Iraqi plot to destroy us all exist at all! That information will remain classified for national security purposes. When questioned about it, the Bush Administration will in effect say, "Trust us. This is not the time for argument. We're at war!"
You know what else, I'll bet that the American people will buy it. They'll be too scared to think things through, and once again will choose security over freedom. We've seen over the last year what kind of cockamamie schemes Bush and company can get away with when the American people are scared.
Okay, now I don't know for sure that this is going to happen, and you can feel free to call me on it when it doesn't, but I just have a little feeling that we're all being played by a lower-the-expectations public relations maneuver. Am I wrong? If you think so, please feel free to write me a little Irregular Retort and give me what for.
Monday, August 26, 2002
The corners of Mother Davis's mouth turns down as she considers:
The big story this morning is that the Iraqi government plans to make an American invasion of Iraq difficult by forcing the American military to engage it in street warfare in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities. The idea is that although the Americans would win, the Iraqis would have the chance to inflict an awful lot of American casualties.
Now, a lot of people regard this news as yet another reason that the United States should not try to invade Iraq. I suppose they're right, but what comes to my mind as I read this news is that when folks use the threat of American casualties to try to deter war, they're playing into the very mindset that favors war in the first place.
Ask yourself this question: if the United States could invade Iraq without the loss of single American life, would you support it? For that matter, if the United States could invade whatever nation it wanted to without the loss of a single American life, how many countries would you support an invasion of?
My sense is that the Bush Jr. Administration is counting on the fact that Americans don't care how bloody and cruel a war is unless Americans get hurt. I hope they're wrong.
Maybe I'm just a big old bleeding heart, but I've just got to wonder what kind of nation we are if we only oppose the horror when people from our own country become victims.
There's a big difference between protesters who chant, "Hell no, we won't go" and those who would chant, "Hell no, we won't let the bombs go".
Wondering how bloodthirsty my neighbors are,
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