Ranting and raving and carrying on

Just a few random thoughts about random stuff. Warning - may contain profanity

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Location: Toronto-ish, Ontario, Canada

Just a guy... Bit of a geek, but who isn't these days?

Monday, October 18, 2004

Ahh, that new computer smell!

So I got a new laptop for my impending jobchange. The new one is freaking huge - it's probably 50% larger (physically) than my old one, and about 3 times as fast. Of course, now comes the fun part of transferring all of my links and applications and whatnot over.

Preparations are continuing apace for my "world tour" - my first stop is in Minnesota, which isn't so exotic. I got to go to South Africa in August, though - my suspicion is that they suckered me in with the "internship" in South Africa, and I'll spend two years of my life in the American Mid-West. Not really my idea of fun.

Speaking of the American Mid-West, the election down there has really gotten out of hand. If I hear or see one more person comparing George W. Bush with either Hitler or the Anti-Christ I'm gonna go postal.

See, Hitler killed over ten million people, for no other reason than because he had some vision of Aryan purity and a "master race" (which he wasn't even part of). The "Anti-Christ", when and if such a person ever appears, will be the epitomy of pure evil.

George W. Bush, on the other hand, is a guy with average intelligence and human wants and needs, who was elected to the highest post of the most powerful country on the planet because the electoral process in that country seems to lead to only really big goofs being allowed to run for high office.

Kicking the Taliban out of Afghanistan was the right thing to do. And getting Saddam out of Iraq was the right thing to do. Both regimes had a history of oppressing their own people, and let's face it, UN sanctions don't really account for a lot.

The big problem the US has is nation rebuilding - they are great at tearing a government out of a nation (they've done it enough times since 1944), but not so good at ensuring that what springs up in its place is "triple-E" -- equal, elected, and effective.

"Peace at any cost" as an idea was proven silly back in 1939 (1941 for you Americans) - Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasement allowed the Germans to expand further into Europe than they should have been allowed to get. And yet, 65 years later, some people believe that this is still a viable option for "world peace". If you have a bully, do you try to keep the bully happy, or do you smack him down? Well, apparently you keep him happy, according to some people.

The facts of the matter with respect to Iraq are these: Iraq had possessed (and used) chemical weapons in the past, both against its own people and against Iran. Iraq had destroyed most of its stockpile, but retained the knowledge and ability to make more. Iraq had pissed around, trying to avoid obeying UN resolution after UN resolution. So the US invaded, together with a few other nations. The reasons the US gave for the invasion were flimsy, but Iraq certainly wasn't a happy little Middle East version of Disneyland before March of 2003. Post-invasion, horrible things are happening there, and the prison abuses are the least of it. People being beheaded with a dull knife (while some sadistic jackass videotapes it) just because they happen to be American? Confirmed presence of terrorist organizations (including Al-Qaeda) in the country? Car-bombings killing indigenous police officers? How are the Americans the bad guys there?

The prison abuses committed by the American soldiers are inexcusable. But they are understandable. You try flying half-way around the planet, live in fear for your life every day, and then not take payback when it's offered. The soldiers responded poorly to a situation they were not prepared for - this is a failure on the part of their command staff, both to prepare them and to monitor for this type of thing.

The kidnapping and murdering of foreign nationals, on the other hand, is a bad thing in every sense of the word - it's premeditated cold-blooded torture and murder. Every time that happens, the US should just carpet-bomb another city into the stone age. Ok, that's a little extreme, but the Americans learned (or should have learned) from the old Special Operations Group in Vietnam that the only way to perform true counter-insurgency is to beat them at their own game. Identify and asssassinate their leaders, and pretty soon nobody will want to be a leader. Of course, "we don't play that game." No, not unless you want to win, you don't.

Iraq should have received a royal smackdown the first time they used chemical weapons - twenty years ago. The only crime the Americans (and the world) took was waiting far too long for payback. Any country which uses lethal chemical munitions, against either its own people or another state, is not a legitimate government. If the UN isn't willing to be the "world police", then perhaps someone else needs to be?

And for those of you who think that Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" is a brilliant documentary: first, it's not a documentary, it's obviously full of Moore's opinions, whereas dictionary.com defines a documentary in part as "Presenting facts objectively without editorializing or inserting fictional matter, as in a book or film." Secondly, it's not even factual - there are over 50 known "deceits" in that film - things that are blatantly wrong or misrepresented. See http://www.davekopel.org/terror/59Deceits.pdf for more information about that. I won't be watching that film any time soon.