“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Thursday, March 16, 2006

their every word is a lie

Later Thursday, Rice was twice shouted down by anti-war protesters as she spoke to students at Sydney University's music school.
"Condoleezza Rice, you're a war criminal," a young man shouted minutes Rice began her address. "Iraqi blood is on your hands and you can't wash that blood away," he repeated until guards led him away.
Rice drew applause with her response: "I'm glad to see that democracy is well and alive at the university," she said, adding that democracy is now also alive at universities in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq. – Washington Post

BBC report, 10 January 2006

“Text of report by Ali Ajjam headlined "Shi'i and Sunni extremists tighten grip over the cities of Mesopotamia, Iraqi religious parties have secured control over Basra and turned its universities into centres of mourning for Al-Husayn and its department into mobilization centres" published by London-based newspaper Al-Hayat website on 6 January

When the young female engineer who works in a government department in Al-Kut Governorate (180 km south of Baghdad) arrived at work, she was surprised to find that her male and female colleagues were absent. Soon she discovered that most of the employees had gone down to the parking lot of the office building. The department's director had called an "electoral allegiance" meeting, and every employee was told to participate in the meeting to show allegiance to the "Shi'i list" just four days before the last elections.

The scene stunned engineer "HA". Government employees, who had grown beards following their director's orders, were chanting slogans and reciting inflammatory vernacular poetry to raise enthusiasm among the audience. The director had also banned neckties. She recalled a similar scene with her former director. Almost three years ago, the former director stopped work in the same department and gathered the olive-uniformed employees who were carrying their weapons in preparation for the war, which ended with the fall of the former regime.

Exactly as she did before the war, when she decided to leave her job, once again she collected her papers and personal belongings and returned home. The picture of her director among his employees while chanting "Ali... Ali..." was chasing her. In addition, his harsh words urging her to wear a headscarf were reverberating in her ears.”


Brian Miller said...

Ah, let freedom ring!

You know, over on my main internet home, someone actually posted a comment complaining about how ungrateful the Iraqi people are for all the money we are spending on them. Just amazing the self-delusion of a good 70%+ of the American population. And, this is a bipartisan self-delusion. Clinton's Balkan war, it turns out, may have been no more justified than our current debacle.

Vermin Direct, LLC said...

While it is true that Clinton's war is discredited, the principle of opportunistic aggression remains solid, Brian. Like Bush, he had no intention of ever leaving the liberated territory -- see, for example, the majesty of Camp Bondsteel -- but he's a Democrat, and that ought to count for something. At the time, Vermin Direct, LLC argued that by virtue of being a Democrat, he was correct to invade, bomb, level civilian infrastruture, turn private military contractors loose on helpless children, empower a terrorist organization, the KLA, and generally act the villain. We paid dearly for our support for that. Vermin Direct, LLC, the brand perception managers who care, can't even give its services away on K Street these days :'-( It's small comfort that he felt our pain. Perhaps Hillary will give us a hand up in 2012, after the Republicans have exhausted the country enough that even she can get elected.

roger said...

Ah, well, I didn't think know what to think of that bombing campaign at the time. But I do know that Clinton was not happy about intervening. The accounts I've read, and the criticism by the liberal interventionists -- Mark Danner is a good example -- is that a lot of pressure was put on to make Clinton do a thing that he felt was going to be unpopular.

This doesn't excuse the Bosnian intervention, but -- vide my exchange with Paul -- I have no set idea about interventions that occur in actual crisis moments. This is why, even though I opposed the Gulf War, I did feel like the coalition should have gone to Baghdad at that time. This is an area where I disagree with Mr. V.D., I think, who believes these things always end badly. He may be write, but my notion is -- circumstances are, really, the most important thing here. Not principle. Because principle assumes that one can abstract enough from circumstances to find guiding, iterable factors. I think that just isn't so.

roger said...

He may be write...? Hey, I have just come back from a St. Pat's party...

Vermin Direct, LLC said...

*sigh* So misunderstood! At Vermin Direct, LLC, the blah blah blah who blah, it's the principle, the circumstances and perhaps most of all the track record that count. Hypotheticals are fine, and we do land office business in the trade, but it's cold hard cash from goods and services we appreciate most. We get some residual income to this day selling patent chelating medicines to people in the Balkan regions that were liberated with depleted uranium. Our children's godmother smuggles them in, bless her heart, and has not once kept an unfair share of the proceeds, even after her mother developed some dreadful blood disease. It's this triumphant spirit so close to home that warms the cockles of our heart. What's more, things close to this pattern have held true throughout our entire career in business. Though we blush to admit it, we got our start in brand management helping the grief stricken families of Vietnam veterans seek their loved ones in hidden camps in Laos. The happy faces of our native colleagues more than made up for sorrow, chagrin and rage of our clientele.

Amerigo Sciurofascista said...

Poor Vermin. I feel for the guy, even though I wish him no success whatsoever.

My standards are a little different regarding interventions and an activist, militarized foreign policy. The measure of what constitutes success, and is therefore, by some measure, worth doing, is set so low that the people in charge of it have no incentive at all to do a decent job of it. By comparison to the domestic programs -- which themselves need a great deal of help -- they're hideous by orders of magnitude. Much as I loathe great parts of the US, I and most of the rest of the country would never condone torturing wingnuts or destroying the infrasctructure they need to survive. What makes it acceptable to do that to people in other countries? This is such a basic thing and yet it is never, ever, taken seriously as part of the discussion. There's some handwringing, to be sure, and some attempts to undo the harm are made, though that's largely driven by Big Amelioration, which has its own less than wonderful constituency.

Interventions by the US have always been driven by ignoble domestic concerns, as well. There is a large, sociopathic constituency for them and they profit handsomely with each turn of the screw. They want to "inshore" the practices. People accustomed to treating others like vermin become morally desensitized. Privatized military response to domestic problems, privatized punitive systems and privatized control of citizens daily lives is incredibly harmful. I don't think a line can be honestly drawn between their global agenda and their internal program. Each cruise missile launched in name of liberal democracy stuffs a few hundreds into the g-strings of their congressional and senatorial subsidiaries.

roger said...

Mr. Scruggs, you make excellent points. I am supposed to write a Long Sunday post and I was going to hoard my nuggets of wisdom on this subject for that, but -- it does seem nutty to me, absolutely childish, to spend 200 to 400 billion dollars each year on the military and then pretend that we are stumbling, accidentally, into wars. While I am not a fan of FBI profilers, if I were going to make up a profile of a serially aggressive nation, a large factor would be - spends 200 to 400 billion dollars on the military, which is as telling a factor as torturing animals is for serial killers.

The first step towards world peace would be: spend 100 billion dollars on the military. Then spend 90. It is a twelve step program. De-tox is a bitch, but America might be pleasantly surprised to find that living with a military burden such as was normal from 1789 to 1941 is really sorta groovy.

Amerigo Sciurofascista said...

One of the arguments in favor of such largesse for military needs is the funding for tech and medicine. The theory goes that they benefit from the easing of regulations and the imperative of gaining an advantage in a life or death struggle. What's actually meant by that is people are willing to throw great gobs of money at any damnfool thing as long as there's a chance something will go pretty pretty boom boom on television. I say eliminate the middleman, in this case PR trained generals, and give the money directly to the universities and research centers. If the life or death thing is truly such a vital imperative, shoot a few researchers every now and then.