Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Clawing at the lid of his coffin...

Nasty little joke, there.

Just so no one thinks I "hate America": I believe fervently in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I believe that America should be a beacon of moral behavior in its dealings with other countries, and a friend to the downtrodden wherever they may be. This does not mean I think we should be the policeman of the world. But I do believe we should ally ourselves with foreign leaders who are a credit to their countries, not a blight upon them.

I believe in the separation of Church and State (as an atheist, I have to). It may interest you on the religious right to know that our Founding Fathers were not so much Christians, as Deists. They believed in God, but didn't necessarily listen to him. They did believe in the teachings of Christ, but more as a philosopher ("do unto others, etc."). They all advocated keeping God out of government. Prayer was part of our public education system until a Jewish student objected to it, and forced a judicial, constitutional examination of the practice. This does not mean that students can't pray, or have religious clubs; it just means that government money can't be spent on it.

At the end of this post (and for quite a few posts afterwards, I will be doing a little history lesson on the subject of US intervention around the world over the last hundred years or so. These will be for the uninitiated into CIA/foreign intelligence culture and the way the United States has screwed up, again, and again\. I will list the presidents behind these policies. All of what I'm about to write has been sourced to a wide variety of historians, reporters, etc. I look this information up carefully. Much of it is available through the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA in future posts), via declassified government documents. In other words, these events are documented by our own government, about their own behavior. Or else revealed by whistleblowers who were directly involved. None of this will be innuendo or conjecture.

Currently, the most interesting thing in the news is the trial of Scooter Libby for obstruction and perjury. (remember, we're not putting him on trial for outing a CIA agent, we're putting him on trial for lying to the FBI about outing a CIA agent - same reason Clinton was impeached). If the witnesses are telling the truth, there's more red meat to come in terms of testimony that puts the current administration in a rather bad light. Well... a worse light, depending on your point of view.


Nicaragua - 1937 Anastasio Somoza Garcia was the de facto dictator of Nicaragua until 1954, when he was assassinated. His sons succeeded him. As President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, "he may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch." We supported him during World War II, through multiple rigged elections, selling him seized land and goods of other elites in Nicaragua for a fraction of their price. Any hint of popular uprisings were squashed. His sons were a tad worse.

Friday, January 26, 2007

What would John Kennedy be doing if he were alive today?

To recap:

My last blog on this sort of topic is now stuck in blog limbo. Forgot the password, or misspelled the e-mail address or something, but essentially, it's unchangeable.

Therefor perfect. Kinda like Marylin Monroe, permanently young and sexy (although dead).

Apparently, we are moving towards war with Iran, and the Saudis are pushing for it as well. This strategy is known as "the more we isolate them, the shorter the bombardment can be." Only one problem: it never works as well as you think it will. It tends to make people more resolute, especially if they are a people with a common heritage. Heterogenous cultures are much easier to mess with, as they tend to fall apart at the first serious shock. See Iraq.

We went into Vietnam with zero understanding of the culture. Like thinking that China would back them up in a war. Or that an elitist Catholic would be the best guy to run a country full of agrarian Buddhists. By moving them off of, and then destroying, their villages, we only showed them how little we understood them. By telling them it was for their own good, we proved how arrogant we were. By assuming that we could win a guerilla war by waging it with conventional tactics, gave them all the openings they could want into our armor.

Iraq has been a similar fiasco. Not realizing that, by having a domineering, secular dictator in power, the country was barely holding itself together. Only this time, the President was given plenty of opportunity to listen to experienced Iraq hands, and yet the only folks he really listened to were spinning pipe dreams of their own. He wanted a war he could win easily. And he got it. However, he also received a country that, without some form of strong leadership evident immediately in the aftermath, would collapse into chaos. He would have been told this had he listened to folks like Anthony Zinni and Eric Shinseki.

Instead, the policy and execution of that policy was hijacked by Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Dick Cheney, three neoconservatives with rather "pie-in-the-sky" attitudes concerning how easily democracy can be achieved. To that short list you can add people like Richard Perle, William Kristol, Rupert Murdoch, David Frum and Frederick Kagan, banging the drums for regime change in Iraq.

And now, Iran. A country that was quite moderate before we invaded Iraq, and was moving towards a more modern, secular society. The mullahs were more figureheads than anything, and the leaders were talking secular politics, normalization of relations with the West, etc. Then we invade Iraq and refer to Iran as part of an Axis of Evil. The people of Iran elect Tehran's mayor, Ahmedinejad, to the Presidency. And now he's on the side of the Shiia insurgents in Iraq. The Sunni insurgents, meanwhile, are being funded most probably by the Saudis. And the Saudis don't want us to leave, as they think this will lead to a bloodbath for the Sunnis.

And they might be right.


OK, any ideas?



For an answer to my headline, wait for the next post. If you have read Fight Club, you might know the punchline.