Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Thursday, January 18, 2007
People have been saying since shortly after the ill-fated invasion of Iraq that the US would next strike at Iran. I've always believed it plausible but not likely. However...I sense something is coming.
The Bush Administration is rachting up its naval presence in the Persian Gulf with not one but two aircraft carrier groups. Bush officials have recently gone on whirlwind tours of the Sunni Arab states who perceive Iran has an enemy both for its increasing power as well as its Persian-Shi'a heritage. In Bush's "speech" about escalating the war, he sent veiled warnings to Iran (and Syria) and rejected trying to solve things diplomatically. Iran claimed earlier this week it shot down an unmanned US spy plane, and I wouldnt doubt thats true.
But even more telling is the sudden talking point being propogated by the right wing in all appearances, which seeks to blame everything going wrong in Iraq squarely on Iran. Rumor has it that if the Bush Admin is to strike, it will want to do so before the end of April when stalwart ally Tony Blair steps down as leader of the Labour Party, and thus Prime Minister of Britain.
And of course it makes sense, from the crazed perspective of the Bush Administration. Not just because Iran is (probably) seeking nuclear weapons; although I should add Iran has yet to do anything illegal and has the support of most of the world as uranium enrichment is an "inalienable right" of all signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which most of the world (save Israel, India and Pakistan) has signed.
But also because of Iraq. The US doesnt want a strong Shi'a Iraq, nor do all the Sunni Arab neighbors, most especially Saudi Arabia which has its own Shi'a minority residing over the biggest oil fields. Yet what can the US do? If the US pulls out of Iraq, which domestic pressure will force it too, then Iraq may not be turned into an obedient client state. It may seek friendship with Iran and become opposed to US-Israeli regional policies, and still remain a democratic state. The only solution, it seems, is to attack Iran and cripple it as a power. I suspect immediately after that the United States military will take it upon itself to "disarm" the Shi'a militias of Iraq, including Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army; no longer fearing the militias will have an Iranian ally to their east to call upon for help.
Of course, attacking Iran is not only illegal, it would be an utmost disaster. It will be the worst thing in the world the Bush Administration could do, and yet I fear its a possibility. If it comes down to it, I would encourage everyone to take it to the streets.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
I think the only solution in this situation is the transition, on our part, from passive protest and opposition to all out resistance. Civil disobedience. Stop the war.
On a lighter note, work is so mind boggling boring that I actually got into a dispute with a friend over whether I had used a word correct in a sentence. Refering to an arrangement of folders I said, in an email, "I thought you had them in perfect chronology". Now, I realize I could have said "chronoligical order" but chronology is in fact a word and I believe used correctly. He and I argued about this until I suggested we e-mail some English professors. So I went to the Syracuse English department and did just that.
The first response said something like "Grammar isnt so much the issue as common usage. I would say chronological order." Translation: I dont know the answer to your question. The other two were like that.
So I had a crazy idea. Why not try the world's leading authority on linguistics? He is, after all, a Professor and thus his email should be available. Much to my suprised, I got a response The exchange is below:
Dear Professor Chomsky,
I was wondering if you could help me solve a dispute with a friend. In
the sentence "I thought you had them in perfect chronology" is
chronology being used correctly? I argued that one could say yes,
because it is the same as saying "I thought you had them in perfect
order" or "perfect arrangement". My friend says you need the article
"a" to precede perfect in order for the sentence to be grammatically
correct. Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated. Thank
p.s. I understand one would be better off saying "chronological
order", as Ive been told, but Im wondering on the specific sentence in
mention. Thank you
The notion "correct" is relative to some specific choice of a standard. In my English, I wouldn't use "chronology" that way, though I'd understand it, if used. With or without "a".
While a pretty much insignificant e-mail, I've now had the honor of not only having an e-mail exchange with my all time personal hero, but got to ask the most famous linguist in the past 300 years a question on syntax! Boring to some, yes; but to me its one of life's unexpected suprises.
Many on the left, or just generally good hearted, who were against the war and are against it now, have painfully decided that we cannot simply withdraw from Iraq because the country would fall to pieces.
I'll once again reiterate the only thing we need to know: the vast majority of Iraqi's want us to leave, NOW! Polls done by the BBC, Pew Research, Gallup, British Ministry of Defence, DoD, State Dept... even the bloody Iraq Study Group stated their polls said the same thing. The passion is so strong that a majority of Iraqi's support attacks on US troops. So, now, whats the point of staying?
The US army is not just sitting there, guarding the green zone and getting picked off in car bombs. It is flying around the country on bombing raids, destroying villages in the hopes of killing a "terrorist". It is bursting into people's homes everyday and taking all the males, sweeping them off to secret prisons to be tortured and what not. Let us not forget that in the return to "sovereignty" the US had a number of caveats, one of which was retaining control of the Iraqi army (except for a single unit with no weapons for symbolic purposes).
So now everyone hates the USA in Iraq, and it has long appeared likely to me that the US would likely begin arming the Sunni militias who had originally started out as insurgency groups, in order to offset a power balance with what is perceived to be a Shi'a govt under the influence of the scary Ayatollah Khameini of Iran. Thus one need not be suprised by reports that Saudi Arabia is funneling arms to Sunni militias, first reported a month and a half ago. And as history tells us, when Saudi Arabia is arming someone it means its doing so with explicit authorization from the US government, which gave Saudi Arabia their arms in the first place (ex: Iraq in 80's, South Africa, Nicaragua, etc.)
The US Elite ruling class, so well represented by Jimmy Baker, has decided that the most important thing, after all, is controling Iraq's oil reserves. So why dont we takeover the Interior Ministry, get our troops the hell out of there. We'll give the Golan Heights, currently reaching a 40 year anniversary of Israeli occupation, back to Syria and throw a bone to Iran to get them to go along. The democrats cheered this.
But whats fascinating is the dilusional stance of the Bush Administration. The elite money class of the USA, that 1% with 90% of the wealth; who always loved Bush, who were lavished with tax cuts on capital gains, dividends, and for one whole year a complete vanishment of estate tax; have now turned largely against him because of his dilusions on Iraq. Their message is clear: You fucked up royally, now lets pull the troops out and keep diplomats everywhere so we can still get a stake of The Prize... if you keep at this too long we'll lose everything.
And Bush's response was: No, no. No. Dont worry. I've got a plan. More troops!
And thats his speech tonight.