Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Saddam's Paramilitary Sows More Confusion

Iraqi troops are being accused of faking surrenders and disguising themselves as civilians. The meme being used by all the 24-hour news channels, no doubt invented by Pentagon psy ops, is "dirty tricks." And a marvelous job that is.

I wonder though, if these tactics are really "dirty." Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but my guess is that they aren't banned under any Geneva Convention or grounds for putting someone before a war crimes tribunal. I base this hypothesis on the fact that they quote international treaty and law in condemning video of American P.O.W.'s being interrogated by Iraq, but do not do the same when criticizing "dirty tricks."

My guess is that hiding troops as civilians is about as "dirty" as hiding spies as civilians or hitting below the belt in a fight. There are some who think that targeting genitals is major no-no in a brawl. I'm not of that mind. Unless government passes a law making a low blow illegal, your testicles are mine.

A word to the wise: piss me off and you better start wearing a cup.

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Sunday, March 23, 2003

I just saw Faux News having "The War on Terror" as text accompanying coverage on the war in Iraq. Now, I present to you five phrases you should be using.

1. Schlock and blah. This is not strictly for political parlance. One can use it to describe anything from American Idol contestants to George W. Bush.

2. The coalition of the bribed. Actually, John Kerry called it a "coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted," but even truncated, it sounds way better (and more accurate) than "coalition of the willing."

3. Axis of Peace. If you're tired of that whole Axis of Weasels crap (I refuse to use the word "meme"), then try this on for size.

4. Free the Kurds. Play taunt the Turks with suggestions of an independent Kurdish state. Stand up for the right of a people to self-government. Mark the conquest of Iraq as a failure if the new regime results in a decrease in the political freedoms of the Kurdish people.

5. Regime Change in 2004. Say it with me. It shall be the war cry of a new election. Buy my bumper stickers.

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Friday, March 21, 2003

I've basically turned into that guy who says things that other people wouldn't say.

What's fun about NASCAR? Car crashes. Surprise violence.

What do I want out of Bush's Blitzkrieg on Baghdad? Something, anything, that's surprising. I just want one major thing to go vastly contrary to predictions. I don't care what it is. I don't care if it helps or hurts Saddam Hussein. I just want some unpredictable thing to occur, making all the talking heads on 24-hours news television scramble for something unscripted to say.

This is pretty much a scripted war. Joe Millionaire was more spontaneous than the TV coverage of this war. I have a mild amount of respect for the propaganda skills of the Bush regime. They know what they are doing.

But, yeah, I want something unpredictable to happen. Saddam Hussein is captured and is revealed to be a woman or an alien. The Turks actually seize Kurdish oil fields right here, right now. Someone sets us up a nuclear bomb. A reporter gets up during a press conference and slaps the hell out of that assclown Donald Rumsfeld.

If you think I don't care about the lives of American troops, there's probably some truth to that. I don't want them to live, I don't want them to die. I don't fucking care anymore. It's total apathy. Personally, I'd be amused to see media reactions if one of those live pictures of Baghdad showed a U.S. plane being destroyed. This is purely out of academic curiosity; I'm interested in the effect such depictions have on the American public.

I've pretty much chosen to emotionally detach myself from the death of war. Oh, I still retain intellectual positions on what ought to be done. (Regime Change in 2004, folks.) But I'm not going to cry when people die. I don't feel bad that I'm the kind of guy who laughs at a funeral.

I'm even the kind of guy who laughs during war.

I'm laughing right now.
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Wednesday, March 19, 2003

I'm on the road, but I can blog a bit.

Take this war thing. The left tends to come off as a a bunch of whiny types who can't move on. Ironic, given the success of moveon.org. For example, the left spends way too much time whining about the exploits of that freewheelin', Happy Meal-eatin', election-stealin' son-of-a-gun. 2000 is in the past. Yes, it ought to be remembered, but there are plenty of present-day situations one can use to nail the president of Oceania, George W. Bush, and his Inner Party. By moving on from 2000, one can look forward to regime change in 2004.

The whole stop-war effort has lost. The new battle is what happens when the war is over and where the next war will be, and trust me, there are people out there planning for the next war. More in the Middle East? North Korea? Venezuela? Colombia? What will a conquered Iraq look like? I don't think anyone doubts that the U.S. military will eventually roll over Saddam Hussein.

If the left keeps whining about peace, it is dead. If it adopts the stance of "given that war will occur, what now," then there is hope. I'm not saying that the left ought to abandon opposition to war, just that it not expend too much energy flailing at a political battle that is already over. Once, people cried "Remember Goliad!" and "Remember the Alamo!" Now, heading into 2004 is the time to yell, "Remember 2000" and "Remember that damn fool in the White House who tried to wreck the U.N. by waging a war that many not have been necessary in a manner designed to get other countries to turn against us." Well, ok, the latter slogan is unwieldy, but it is true.

So, move on, oh left, move on. Don't try to refight past battles. Instead, take the initiative and choose the next battleground.

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Friday, March 14, 2003

I'm sure it's only a matter of time before someone on the internet decides to write some porn stories based on Elizabeth Smart. Well, I don't read the stuff, but I know people who do. The person I linked to once admitted in his blog to using a name derived from Bard's Tale 3 in posting porn to alt.sex.stories. Actually bothering to google for it is an hour of my life I will never get back, but it might have been worth it had I found anything.
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Thursday, March 13, 2003

A Just War Theory Primer

With an impending war in Iraq, I think it might be a good time to go over the Catholic just war theory that I studied in high school. This is especially relevent since the Pope has come out in opposition to a war in Iraq.

The just war theory goes all the way back to St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and Hugo Grotius and can be found in such statements as The Challenge of Peace, a 1983 pastoral letter issued by Catholic bishops. The theory sets several conditions for a war to be just.

The original theory of St. Augustine had three criteria. War must have a just cause, that it be used for defense and not agression. War can only be fought to protect life. According to some, this rules out pre-emptive strikes.

Augustine also believed that war required legitimate authority. In his day, sanction came from the emperor. These days, some consider the United Nations to be a legitimate source of authority for wagging war.

Finally, Augustine believed that war requires a proper motive. In his belief, this was Christian love. For Augustine a war fought for a just cause, but improperly motivated (i.e. for financial gain) would not be a just war.

A just war must follow a principle of proportionality. The good resulting from the war must outweigh the damage that is necessarily a condition of any war. The level of a military response must be proportionate to the aggression that is being addressed. The latter is often interpreted as ruling out the use of nuclear weapons. Proportionality is a difficult thing. Assessment of the good that may come from a war is often based on hypothetical situations that may not come to pass and from an assumption that anything is better than the status quo.

A second principle of a just war is that non-combatants are not to be targeted. This poses difficulty in a modern technological era where destructive weapons cannot be wielded without a rational expectation of "collateral damage." One could say that a military force is required to absorb additional casualties in order to prevent civilian casualties.

War is to be a last resort. Taking lives is a sin. One should only resort to killing when all other options have been explored and discarded. So long as a non-military possibility exists, that possibility must be actively pursued as an alternative to war.

Because war is horrible, it should only be waged if there is a reasonable probability of success. One should not kill if it makes no difference. A futile war is not just.

I leave it to my readers to evaluate a war on Iraq in these terms.

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I've changed the title of this blog slightly, from "Two Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company" to "Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company." Although I'm still interested in politics, religion, and the intersection of the twain, I no longer feel like I have to limit my brand of snarkiness to those fields. Expect occasional musings on pop culture rather than a separate blog for that.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2003

I posted this comment to The Answer Guy, who was musing on "Freedom Fries," but I think I'll post it here, just because it fits in with the whole snarky nature of the blog.

Renaming French dressing for Ronald Reagan makes some sense, since French dressing is normally made from ketchup and Reagan tried to get ketchup declared a vegetable.

Ah, the irony. Who's the vegetable now?

I've been expecting G-Dubs to follow in Reagan's footsteps by getting Bloody Mary mix to be declared a vegetable as well. Lord knows, it would instantly make the Bush twins a couple of healthy eaters who get a regular intake of veggies.

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Monday, March 10, 2003

To date, there aren't too many statements by an actual St. Bonaventure player in any news story. Robert Cheeks is on the record, noting that the coaches and administration were unwilling to inform the players of what was going on.

Most commentators seem to castigate the players for voting to not play. Cowards and quitters, these players are called. Well, put me in the column of voting yes to boycott the last few games if I were a player.

I think it quite appropriate to protest being jacked around by refusing to play the game anymore and just simply walking away. It's exactly what I would do. It's exactly what I have done in other circumstances.

Walking out sends exactly the message that needs to be sent: we refuse to take part in a corrupt system any longer. The only thing I might have done differently would have been to delay a walk-out until the minute before the tip-off of the next game.

In college sports, all sins are forgiven so long as they can be hidden and the team is winning. Now, it's quite possible that these are a bunch of petulant children looking for an excuse to get an early start on spring break.

On the other hand, this can be the ultimate expression of "You fuck with us, we fuck with you." I'm an advocate of scorched earth policies. Seek and destroy. Bring the house down. There are rumblings that other Atlantic-10 schools want to explore the option of tossing the Bonnies out of the league. Alumni money will come to a halt. The school rep is ruined. I'd like to think that the players wanted to create this level of chaos. Lord knows, if I were on that team, that would be my intent.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Millions Raised for Qaeda in Brooklyn, U.S. Says

Colin Powell to appear before U.N. Security Council to make case for a resolution authorizing the use of force against the borough.

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Monday, March 03, 2003

Terror arrests came amid active plots

U.S. officials were hopeful that Mohammed and Al-Hawsawi would be able to detail how Sept. 11 was put together, answering long-standing questions about the origins of the plot: Who chose the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as targets? Who picked Sept. 11? How was it paid for?

Well, my guess is they went to Wal*Mart and paid cash. Then they used Orbitz or Travelocity or Expedia or maybe even CheapTickets. They picked September 11 because there was an airfare sale that covered that time period. The person who picked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was some guy who suggested, "If we're going to fly planes into buildings, we should pick large buildings because those would be easier to fly a plane into."

Well, that's my theory anyways.

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An Illinois woman is sueing Loews Cineplex Entertainment Group.

My suggestion...go out to the lobby and play some archaic video games like Galaga or Ms. Pacman.
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