Postmodern classic?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Roundup; back in the country and to work

Visited a lot of friends on my recent travels. It was a great couple of weeks, even if too much time spent in airports and airplanes. But so good to see people from all over.

But now it's back in the Middle East. Been deliberating a lot about whether or not I'll stay here in this capacity or not. I've got some other options, but at the moment the opportunities here outweigh the drawbacks. It's so important to see how my country deals with this and who is doing it, experience that most people don't want (and for good reason). I've got a few leads to follow, but it's safe to say I'll be here for a little longer.

Actually, I'm in the IZ for a day, it's a little different from the last time I was here. A little quieter. Although I'm always amazed by how the foreigners dress, especially the women- high heels, a short skirt, then body armor and helmet. And the guys with hair gel.... hmmm. Have to see it to believe it. A bunch of Germans around, guess that means the new government is changing their policy.

Quite an interesting time, although far from a ‘civil war’ that excited political elements back home seem to be wishing for. Evidently things were a bit hairy in certain areas, but nothing too dramatic. The Iraqi government has to work a few things out. It's amazing how different this place is from the breathless reports of death and destruction, even though diplomacy seemed to have worked. For me it's amazing how invested the media coverage seems to be in portraying the Sunni's, who made up the repressive Baathist apparatus of Saddam Hussein and now have a track history of assisting Al Qaeda elements, as innocent victims. One expects this from Al Jazeera, covering Saddam's trial and all (conveniently omitting interesting facts), but not elsewhere. At least not so blatantly. This little mosque bombing thing seems to be actively advancing this perception- somehow it's outrageous that the Shiites might try to take action to defend themselves. By any comparison, they haven't begun to answer the outrages committed against them.

That's not to say all Sunni's are bad. Not at all. But they suffer from the same 'tyranny of the majority' that paralyses the rest of the Muslim moderates. Makes people start to wonder if they're really there. Just having come from staying with friends of mine in Malaysia who were, Muslim (imagine that), I think that they're definitely 'moderate'. They definitely don't agree about certain things, but with respect from both sides we can learn a lot. But the information is not being put out there. And the hypocritical agenda of the radicals gets a free ride in the global press. This is displayed quite cynically in the furor over the cartoons- tolerance for one but not for others. Ones choices are to either believe what seems to be the multicultural agenda of the press, or to cynically believe everyone's full of shit- we'll read who we already agree with, and Muslims want to kill us no matter what we do. It require a credible press to counteract this. One that might put forward 'conservative' opinions, not 'conservative misinformation'. That might even expose some of the hypocrisy of both sides.

Getting back to catching up on the Internet. You might've noticed I've put a lot of links in this post, a lot more than I usually do. There's so much out there, good information to know...

There's some interesting writing about the whole 'neocon' thing, saying that their philosophical ancestry comes from the Trotskyites, a la Christopher Hitchens. I wouldn't go that far, but I do see much of it coming from people who come from the Left and wonder why it has not worked. Some people might be amused to know I came from 'The Left' (although not quite as far left as, say, Trotsky), even if I've obviously traveled quite a distance since then. The Left has some great ideas, but then it pushes these insane, suicidal ideologies that seem to have no practical basis. The idea of free speech probably came from a leftist, liberal (in the true meaning of the word) perspective. Is this what they meant? Or this? Can anyone tell me what we have to gain by having the Taliban's former spokesman getting a full ride to Yale? How good can those ideas really be if there is no one to physically defend them? Looking around at the various perspectives in the US, there's the liberal/progressives, the conservatives (among them the paleocons, the neocons), and many more. After looking through the various groups, I guess I'm a neocon. I've come to this belief as a result of my lack of faith in idealistic policy hoping that people will act better than they do, but believing that there are things worth fighting for. Does that mean I have to write a neocon manifesto or something? An interesting college columnist complains that Bush destroyed 'neoconservatism' by his incompetent bumbling, an interesting twist I've not often heard (neocons- the suited hippies?).

One of the premier neocons, Sec DoD Rumsfeld, has some interesting comments at a recent foreign symposium. Talks a lot about how to handle the media and what that means to the US and the military. Love him or hate him, he's quite a guy. He doesn't mind defending himself from hard questions. Who would win, in a fight between him and Cheney? Inquiring minds want to know, but I'm for Rumsfeld.

There's an interesting discussion on military reformation over at QandO, although it's no longer active. I'm rather negative about it, as politicians and their starred peons in the Great Bureaucracy of the Pentagon always seem to rediscover the same problems but do nothing substantial about them. There's always crap like John Kerry's military plan- get a whole lot of soldiers and call them Special Ops. Actually, I believe it was something better-sounding than that, to double SOCOM in what was it, 2 years? Unrealistic and juvenile. People want to ignore the problems in the military by putting more and more off on the SOF so they don't have to fix the rest. Then they wonder why it's so difficult to create more SOF. Fix the other problems first.

Anyways, the world is vast- no comment about the India state visit and the UAE deal (althought IMAO has an humorous post on port security advice). Or the likely upcoming conflict with Iran, if diplomacy fails (but it's been doing such a great job the past couple of years). Some of my friends are trying to convince me one day I'll influence these things, knowingly feeding my already feverish delusions of grandeur! Pity the world if their predictions come true, haha....


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