Ramblings From the Ragged Crumbling Edge Of The Reality-Based Community

Friday, January 19, 2007

A Question (Or Two) (Or So) 

...we have been told, over and over time after time, that we could not establish a date certain for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq because that would encourage all the terrorists, insurgents, dead-enders, and other bad guys to melt into the scenery, chill out, go doggo, and otherwise disappear from the landscape. In their hideouts, spiderholes, and hovels, we were repeatedly told, they would patiently and peacefully wait for our departure from the scene, after which they would burst forth like the furies of Hell and ignite the Middle East in a molten cauldron of conflict and probably - a few of them, at least - follow us home to make red American blood run gutter-deep in our own streets...

How is it, then, that we are embarking on a "surge" of troops intended to pacify the streets of Baghdad to which our own leaders
are assigning a probable end date? Isn't that telling the militias that the "surge" is coming to crush that they should put the ol' AK in the back of the coat closet and melt into the population to wait out the summer, when the "surge" will recede and they can take up where they left off killing each other?

Welcome To Oregon - As Long As You Speak English 

...of all the prettily-worded initiatives that armor the leading edge of racism in this country, the "English Only" gambit is probably the most cleverly disguised. It sounds perfectly reasonable; after all, you had to learn English and I had to learn English, so all these other people can darn good and well learn it, too. Superficially it makes perfect sense, which is why it was only a matter of time before state Rep. Donna Nelson and several other Oregon Republicans - gone from power but committed to not being forgotten - would introduce some version of this sort of legislation that is so widely favored by the White Right...

Aside from being the sort of unserious diversion that finally has led Oregon voters to shake their heads and fill in the circle beside Democratic legislators' names on their vote-by-mail ballots, this legislation offers the opportunity to stir up emotions and consume valuable time in the legislature while actually not really doing much of anything. Aside from making multilingual services voluntary (except where required by law), it does nothing to facilitate resources and access to programs where non-english speakers can learn the mysteries of the subjunctive verb.
(Entire text of bill here) It's nothing more than a feel-good tidbit to soothe the fevered brow of all those good white folk who just know that those migrant farm workers in the grocery store are talking about them. The Oregon legislature has a plateful of serious issues to address this year, and this isn't one of them. This is, however, a convenient snapshot of why Democrats are now in the Majority in both chambers of the Oregon Legislature...

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Gang Who Couldn't Hang Straight 

...if I were George W. Bush, anxious to surge 20-some thousand troops into Baghdad to try to quiet things down so that my legacy could end up somewhere at least slightly north of Millard Filmore, I would probably be reaching for the phone right now to let al-Maliki and the rest of the Shiite Iraqi leadership know that I would bomb their headquarters before I would tolerate them to carry out another hanging of one of Saddam's cohorts. Their ability to do nothing more than pile insult upon insult in what should be the dispassionate execution of state-mandated justice is serving no other purpose than to inflame the very Sunni minority that must somehow be convinced that there is a place for them in a new democratic Iraq. This is sour news for Gee Dub, but it bodes even more ill for the troops that are supposed to step into harms way and try to pacify the country...

Hanging is a form of execution
with a long tradition and established standards to avoid the sort of mutilation to which Saddam's half-brother Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti was subject. The fact that the executioners just weren't good enough isn't going to matter to folks who don't want it to matter, especially on top of the vidicive look that Hussein's execution had. Neither of these guys that got strung up today has all the power and cachet that Saddam Hussein had, but they were known persons locally, and the botched effort to execute al-Tikriti will have an impact locally that will be another roadblock to convincing Iraqi Sunni's to come to the light and be part of a brave new Middle Eastern democracy. There were enough problems faced up against efforts to chill things down in Iraq - particularly in the Greater Baghdad Metropolitan Area - and all this 'bringing to Justice' action that the Shiite leaders have been carrying out over the last couple of weeks isn't helping one little bit. Unfortunately only people as tone-deaf and reality-blind as Gee Dub and his minions can find a silk purse in all of this, and the sad part is that American soldiers - rather than Gee Dub and his minions - will pay the price for that deaf blindness...

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