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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] [OT] the poetry of donald rumsfeld

From: Tom Lord
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] [OT] the poetry of donald rumsfeld
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 2004 16:10:21 -0800 (PST)

    > From: address@hidden

    > You know my whole complaint even before this whole thing got started was
    > that President Bush, or his advisors, made a tactical mistake in making
    > this about WMD.  Do they exist or not?  I don't know, and for the most
    > part I don't care.  They were a bad excuse to begin with and I expected it
    > to come back and bite the President where he sits, in the long run, before
    > it ever began. If they had just made it an issue of going in after
    > terrorists and those supporting them, I think that would have been
    > sufficient and reasonable.  But operating from the WMD position was weak
    > and really makes it look like he was finishing Daddy's fight for him.

When Kerry (most likely) wins in november -- I think that will
represent just about 0 change in foreign policy and military policy.
The rhetoric will shift wildly but, frankly, you couldn't ask for two
candidates who are less differentiable than these two.  Oh yeah, sure,
the Kerry presidency will be the occaision of some shifts in domestic
and fiscal policy --- but those would more or less happen in a Bush
second term too, just with a different emphasis.   (Incidentally, I
suggest voting for Kerry.   Part of Bush-43's party role is to placate
US's fundamentalist nutcases and Kerry can be far more effective at
putting those nutcases in the closet.)

The "WMD thing" is a joke.  An insult to the American people and the
world.  A "dumbing down" of the strategic conclusions that led to the
invasion and occupation.  Abstractly, yes, it's a critical issue.  In
the particulars?  Get real.  Why the US military cooperated in this
exercise?  Not even on the map.  Nobody takes it seriously except as a
marketing strategy.

    > I think the daily killing currently going on in Iraq with car
    > bombs,

Jeeze yes.   It's a total swamp.   In my view, the only question is
whether _not_ wading into this swamp would have left us equally or
less swamped.

I don't know the answer.  I don't know that we Did The Right Thing.
And I do have a (big) place in my heart for a _completely_different_
and far more peace-oriented approach to foreign policy.   I'm a big
fan of the "win-win" scenario and, at the moment, USian foreign policy
is really challenging that.   I _really_ don't mean to be an apologist
for the current or past administrations.

But:  It's a very hot day.   My impression of the current
administration's policy is, basically, that they want to just simplify
the situation.   I don't think that's insane or, necessarily, evil.

I'm not offering them a "cart blanche".  There's plenty of aspects
that are unambiguously wrong.  But: uh, getting over explosive
implementations of nationalism by starting with "taking over" (in
military terms) the middle east?  I have yet to figure out what's
wrong with it.  Oh, I know -- plenty of folks there think "you
imperialist assholes" -- but I think they will be pleasently surpised
(if they can get past ego issues) with the profundity of our
_withdrawal_and_subsequent_support_.   Fingers crossed, anyway.

    > road-side bombs, and walking bombs, is fairly good proof that at least
    > now, there are plenty of terrorists in the country.  

My take is that, by establishing such military commmitment there, we
made a little honey-pot.   "Bring it on."

It blows and is tragic that a particular nation wound up in that role
because of decades of failed despotism.  We're locating the
battleground _there_ as best as we can, recent events in Spain being
an indication of our lack of success.

    > This unfortunately
    > seems to be the only aspect of Iraq that "our" (the American) media seem
    > interested in focusing upon.  How about a little more attention to what
    > day-to-day life is like for the troops there or for the appreciation that
    > they are being shown by the majority on a daily basis?

Shh..  that's a secret.  I think the growing and overwhelming
skepticism in the USian press, even if a bit naive, is very healthy.

We ain't there for glory.   We can loose our collective USian mind if
we stop hating the fact that we're there at all.

Hopefully, 20 years from now, we'll be hearing about how much good we

    > There are many people I know that are just returning from Iraq, some of
    > whom have been there for nearly a year, and they don't seem to be
    > reporting that everyone is mad that the government was overthrown from the
    > outside.  To the contrary it sounds like most of the peoples of Iraq were
    > thankful and just want to see a national government peacefully
    > established, so everyone, American, terrorist, etc. can go back home and
    > allow them to be Iraqis again.

Thank you for the report/anecdote.   I'd inferred that
between-the-lines of news stories and now you've given me a new data

    > I happened to be in Minsk, Belarus on September 11th.  The people on the
    > street would recognize us as Americans, stop, clench us to their breasts
    > and weep out loud because they understood, probably better than many, what
    > had just happened to our country.

Don't get me started on that event, but, yeah --- The People Around
the World are different form the soap opera on the news.

    > If you know nothing about Belarus, it is a place that has been invaded and
    > repeatedly pillaged for centuries by who ever was the power in the area. 
    > Virtually everyone there has family members, grand-parents, etc. that were
    > killed during WWII, many in prison camps.  

Culturally speaking, the WWII generation is quite interesting.   My
rule of thumb is that, as far as all of the survivors are concerned,
the world ended round about 1945.    Successive generations?   We're
to a large extent starting over from scratch.

BTW, I strongly recommend "Gravity's Rainbow" by Thomas Pynchon.
Quite a good study, there.

    > For years the USSR forbade them
    > to be Belarussians and made them speak, eat and act Russian.  They have
    > one of the most corrupt leaders in the world and they know it, but they
    > are glad to be Belarus again, for the first time in centuries.  Are things
    > perfect, no.  Are things "up to" American standards, no.  Would they have
    > supported us going into Iraq, probably not.  (A lot of their oil came from
    > Iraq.)  But, their neighbors, Russia, have to deal with a terrorist war as
    > well.  So, at least they would have understood, if only our leaders had
    > had the guts to prosecute a war against terrorists instead of just going
    > after easy targets to give the appearance of doing something.

May I encourage you, just for "fun", and if you like writing --
write something good about your experience.   Pass it around a little
and get some editting help.   And then make a [OT] post here.   Just
for "fun".

    > I only wish we had someone with integrity running for national leadership.
    >  Someone who was willing to make the hard choices even when they aren't
    > popular.  Someone who knew their principles and stuck to them no matter
    > what.  I can dream, can't I?  Hey!, Tom have you considered running for
    > President? :-)  (I had to get some levity in this post.)  Unfortunately,
    > it is apparent that our leaders are all to comfortable compromising and
    > would rather do things that give the appearance of security, while
    > continuing to negotiate with those that started Islamicist terrorism in
    > the first place.

I think it's "clearest thinking" to regard our leaders as "spokesmen"
for some very complex organizations.   As individuals, they don't have
a lot of degrees of freedom.

It's not quite literally true but if you can imagine how ideas and
efforts flow through political elite......  it's operationally true
that these guys are just mouthpieces.

So far, I have the impression that Bush and Kerry are spokesmen for
the same meta-organization.   There's very little essential
difference.  Vote for kerry because that helps to kill the religious
lunatics and the laise faire lunatics.

    > (Sorry, it was OT and you touched a sensitive spot of a relative
    > conservative that has seen to much and wishes there was a good choice in
    > the upcoming election.  I'd vote for just about anyone that had some
    > honest integrity.)

Don't be so personality oriented.   Until the green party can float a
really compelling grass-roots movement, the political process is just
a little A.I. program that you're adjusting the score of some node
for.   As a voter, you don't count for much.

Meanwhile, (my advice, anyway) interpersonally --- give peace a
chance.  Once our foreign policy can get votes on a platform of "Can't
we all just get along" we'll be golden, everywhere.   Um, so,  as my
small incremental contribution to that effort, I must sign myself:

Yrs with love,

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