Postmodern classic?

Sunday, April 30, 2006

The convenience of immigration

Ran into this one at the Horses mouth. Since immigration is a big topic these days, we should think about it from the other side to understand it better. Which side is that? The American immigrants into Mexico, of course!

David M. Bresnahan
April 1, 2006

Dear President Bush:

I'm about to plan a little trip with my family and extended family, and I would like to ask you to assist me. I'm going to walk across the border from the U.S. into Mexico, and I need to make a few arrangements. I know you can help with this.

I plan to skip all the legal stuff like visas, passports, immigration quotas and laws. I'm sure they handle those things the same way you do here.

So, would you mind telling your buddy, President Vicente Fox, that I'm on my way over? Please let him know that I will be expecting the following:

1. Free medical care for my entire family.
2. English-speaking government bureaucrats for all services I might need, whether I use them or not.
3. All government forms need to be printed in English.
4. I want my kids to be taught by English-speaking teachers.
5. Schools need to include classes on American culture and history.
6. I want my kids to see the American flag flying on the top of the flag pole at their school with the Mexican flag flying lower down.
7. Please plan to feed my kids at school for both breakfast and lunch.
8. I will need a local Mexican driver's license so I can get easy access to government services.
9. I do not plan to have any car insurance, and I won't make any effort to learn local traffic laws.
10. In case one of the Mexican police officers does not get the memo from Pres. Fox to leave me alone, please be sure that all police officers speak English.
11. I plan to fly the U.S. flag from my house top, put flag decals on my car, and have a gigantic celebration on July 4th. I do not want any complaints or negative comments from the locals.
12. I would also like to have a nice job without paying any taxes, and don’t enforce any labor laws or tax laws.
13. Please tell all the people in the country to be extremely nice and never say a critical word about me, or about the strain I might place on the economy.

I know this is an easy request because you already do all these things for all the people who come to the U.S. from Mexico. I am sure that Pres. Fox won't mind returning the favor if you ask him nicely.

However, if he gives you any trouble, just invite him to go quail hunting with your V.P.

Thank you so much for your kind help.


David M. Bresnahan

© 2006 David M. Bresnahan - All Rights Reserved

Friday, April 28, 2006

The Future of War: Africa

I'm currently 2/3rds through this book on Mercenaries in Africa and it's all starting to blend together. Hard to keep events distinct from each other- it all blends into a revolution to replace a corrupt government, succeeds, differs from the previous in it's style of corruption and violence, then replaced by another revolution (in the meantime with advice and guidance from foreign mercenaries attached to neighboring states trying to undermine them). You can read about the 'West Side Boys' of Sierra Leone- brutal child warriors of the RUF, known for cannibalism. Not too much different from the seven other groups trying to wipe each other out at the time.

Anyhow, it turns out there's a lot of Ugandans over here in Iraq working for MNFI (Multinational Forces- Iraq). At first I thought it was an embarrassing farce, and it is a little. As a member of the 'Coalition of the Willing', they are here protecting the PX. Wow, I feel safer. Well, they do a bit more than that, working at some Camp entrances and other places, mostly (but not always) with supervision. Funny thing though- they don't come here directly by their government, their deployment is managed by different security companies in different locations. Makes you wonder if their presence here is just a matter of bribes, covered up in their home country.

However, they do their job well, and don't take shit at the checkpoints. All of them have a high understanding of English. And one would be stupid to underestimate them.

I was talking to one of those guards this afternoon, as my readings were on my mind- African war is quite different from this. Well, taking what he said with a grain of salt- every soldier is prone to exaggeration I'm sure, certain facts were true. According to him, he had been in the Army for 9 years- during that time he spent 2 years in the Congo and 3 in Sudan. For those unfamiliar with African geography, Uganda is a small country west of Kenya, east of Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) directly south of Sudan and north of Rwanda and Tanzania. Some of those names should ring bells- just think 'massacre' and some of the biggest ones have been around there. Idi Amin was from there...

I digress, falling into the same bloody history I was trying to avoid. There's so much the details really don't matter- unless, of course, you're going there. But for someone like me, listening to this former (or present, depending on his status) compare there to here, it was interesting.

He was happy that he was single- didn't have a wife and kids to feed or send back money to like a lot of the other guys in this situation. Seemed like a fun guy, although his eyes were a bit yellow (maybe previous malaria?), and yet I got this cold desensitized perception after talking a while. I have to attribute it to the veterans 'thousand yard stare'. It gave his claims credence, in the manner he spoke- not that of an inexperienced youth, or an impressed and overawed villager.

He got pulled out of school to fight Mobutu Sese Soko back in 1996, in the Congo. Bad stuff was happening, and it sounded brutal. But it was only 2 years and he survived. He had no 'post-modern' questioning of his duty, it was to protect his country. The same everywhere he went, he didn't like how the Army controlled him, but it was taken for granted that he did it for the 'better of the country'.

It was also taken for granted that Arabs (and all Muslims as well) are terrorists. They were in the Sudan when he went there, and that's the way they're treated at home (Uganda) too. To think otherwise is candy-eyed nonsense. There was an interesting story of working with an Israeli Mossad anti-terror team... probably something to it, even if it didn't happen to this guy. They are mentioned in my book as well as known to keep an eye on events such as Sudan, not to mention an interesting history with Uganda as well. But the Arabs or those who sympathize with them wouldn't leave the Christians alone and so they (the Ugandans) took part of southern Sudan. I'm missing alot, and my imagination is filling in the blanks with what I do know about how African states get 'involved' in their neighbors disputes...

Now he was done with that- earning big money by coming here to Iraq to guard gates. Afterward he would probably go back to school of some sort. In the meantime, he was kind of confused with how we treated the Iraqis, said we should 'just go and destroy their mosques, shoot them in the streets'. It sounded like these weren't idle threats, based on his experiences in Sudan. What would an army of these Africans do to a place like this if led? It's a chilling prospect to consider...

It makes you think; things have really died down here. Controversial political statement- I know, especially in light of the fact that people continue to die and danger continues to exist. The key word is clearly 'relative'. Relative to other places, relative to the past in Iraq even. But it is relative, even as there are holdouts and ongoing problems. Yet nothing like the dramatic upheaval that occurs cyclicly in the African conflicts.

I'm really not keen on Africa, but with things going the way they are, I don't see us being able to stay out of it. Ideally we'd go in with our eyes open, at the appropriate time. It's a different world there, very different. Hopefully someone else will think this through, not underestimating the Africans. It's easy to do, but one must also realize how we are looked down on for our 'kid gloves' in dealing with this situation here, someone similar to this Ugandan would wonder why we are so rich and powerful, yet so weak and unable to control things when they are 'relatively calm'.

I doubt my disjointed thoughts make this argument particularly coherent. In the end I wonder why I always end up with more questions than answers?

Update: an interesting debate developing in the comments of a related thread at the libertarian site Q and O.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A tired Wednesday afternoon

Lot of stuff going on- is it already Wednesday? Jeesh. Between reading, meeting the Secretary of Defense, running into old friends and people I know, searching for jobs, going to Baghdad, I've been busy. But the best was catching up with my brother this weekend. We've both been busy, so it's been a while since I've had a chance to sit down and hear what he's up to. All good, same old- but good to hear. He's working hard too- just figured a way to do it without getting shot at, which gets props in my book. Although don't know if I'd be here otherwise...

Did I tell you it's green outside and it's been cool and rainy? Weird weather for here, I'm told. It's almost nice. True, most of nearby is a dustbowl, but as you travel along Al-Furat (The Euphrates) towards Baghdad it can be nice- all the farmers and irrigation. Wonder if it can be developed into more, or if it's artificially that way. Hmm. It'll probably just dry up in the scalding summer heat.

So what's gone on. Well, was a bit tired after that multiday trip to the South last week, where I saw the camels (still have a few more pictures to post). Turned out I had a day off, so I read a few books and magazines I just received, watched a few movies.

The Robert Young Pelton book 'The Adventurist' is something I'll wait to post on later, pure travel porn for me- going to exotic warzones and such. A bit of a nut, although I wasn't totally impressed. I'm halfway through another book on modern mercenaries ('War Dogs: Fighting other people's wars') which is quite interesting, considering some people here know some in the book, and have different recollections. A lot of the guys here worked in Sierra Leone- most as British soldiers, others not. Pretty considerable stuff.

As for the movies; 'Walk the Line' about Johnny Cash- was pretty decent, mostly because of Reese Witherspoon. Joaquin wasn't bad, but he wasn't 'the man/ the legend', so despite a good story and a few other points, it was alright. Finished the 'Sonny Chiba collection' last week- some of his old ones (minus the Street Fighter series) which was pretty good, and also a 'History of Violence', which I disliked immensely. This guy was trying to leave his previous violent life, and in order to do it, had to rely on violence, and everybody disliked him for it- wife of 20 years, son, whatever. It seemed almost emasculating, how they demonized the fact that he was threatened and resorted to violence to solve it. I didn't see the point. I would really like to just shake that person.... 'Spy who came in from the Cold' last night was a thinker, even though I view John LeCarre in a dim light.

Met Donald Rumsfeld this morning at the American Embassy in Baghdad. Well, unfortunately 'met' is a bit of an exaggeration; he said 'what are you guys doing, standing in the bus line?' as he walked by with his big entourage. That was the man, in case you haven't noticed. That was in between running into a bunch of guys who I used to be with back in the military- 2 working in the Diplomatic security branch, 1 still in the military. It is definitely a small world.

Anyhow, got some admin done, tired and bruised from the ride there and back (second in a row). That's alright though. Looking for a job, and might have something started. Have to interview and do a few other requirements, but it sounds promising. Maybe later this year.

So you can see why I might be tired. No, it's not always like this, but it can be. I've always got a little bit too much going on for my own good, even though I mostly get away with it. Even if it's sometimes to the detriment of those who care about me, I'm afraid. Thinking of you all-

Friday, April 21, 2006

Southern Iraqi desert

You don't see these every day, but it reminds you that we're not in Kansas anymore Toto. Evidently, someone owned them, but they let them run free to graze and drink on their own. They sure as hell weren't going to do it, not much foliage around- amazing how resilient they are anyhow. They say the white ones are supposed to be more valuable... interesting. A nice break from other distractions.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Last word on the 'Generals Revolt'

Best to conclude with humor, eh? Just got back from a trip- should have some cool pictures up in the next week. But here is the last word about those generals...

U.S. Generals Call for Resignation of Media Leaders

by Scott Ott

(2006-04-19) — A growing movement of retired and active-duty U.S. military officers, angry at the mismanagement, arrogance and even deception that have hampered U.S. efforts to secure peace and democracy in Iraq, have begun quietly calling for the resignation of top leaders they blame for the difficulties.

“I believe that it’s time for them to step down,” said one unnamed retired three-star general. “The editors of The New York Times and Washington Post and the news producers at CNN, CBS, NBC and ABC should resign effective immediately.”

“They’ve formed a tight cabal that focuses only on news that reinforces their neo-journ ideology,” said another unnamed general. “Despite the urgent need for actual reporting from Iraq, they have failed to put enough boots on the ground in country.”

“As civilians, they make editorial decisions without any understanding of history or military strategy,” said another retired officer, “and they’re trying to run the war coverage from hotels in the cloister of the Green Zone, without consulting with our leaders and troops on the frontlines.”

The generals who all requested anonymity, in the words of one, “so I won’t be bothered by a bunch of calls from reporters writing redundant stories,” said the leading news media gatekeepers should be replaced by “more centrist voices” who will be honest with America, and not blindly devoted “advancing the neo-journ agenda.”

“We’d like to see leaders in there who will cover the Iraq story as Americans, or at least as those who believe in liberty,” said one active-duty general who has worked closely with reporters and editors.

Meanwhile, New York Times Publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. brushed off what he called “the incessant drumbeat of negativity” from opponents of his administration.

“You can’t relieve your top commanders while your side is winning,” Mr. Sulzberger said. “Frankly, the Pentagon doesn’t direct enough attention to the car bombings, sectarian strife and rumblings of civil war which show that we’re making progress in Iraq every day.”

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Links and etc...

Tired, a lot of stuff going on. And it's getting warm outside, warmer every day. I'll be out for a few days, but here are some of the things I've read recently.

Coming Anarchy has some interesting topics up- here's one on a new release from the Mitrohkin archives, how the Soviets were funding revolutions in the 3rd world. And another one about what the after-effects of Korean reuinification might be...

More on the 'Generals protest', haha... Zinni might have to make a correction on his stances, whichever one he's taking. Bruce Thornton at VDH's site has a look at what it means to the soldiers to hear Generals complain. Victor Davis Hanson puts it in a historical perspective. And there's an interesting thread at Q and O about the very same thing... Westhawk takes the generals protest to the logical conclusion- 'Do they want a Caudillo for the US?' And on a related note, here is the Tigerhawk post I mentioned in my last comment- Richard Clarke, Against all Solutions- another look at the pretty vapid opposition to the Iraq war.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter

Time flies here, thought it was Thursday until I checked my watch. Hope everyone is having a good time- was Passover last week, so makes sense that it's now Easter.

Was going to post some other stuff, but I'll just add it to the one below. Just my normal run of the mill stuff. Best to everyone-

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Passing the time of day

The Insurgency wins a Pulitzer

More analysis on Iraq- making it hard for Al Qaeda

Is this really happening in the US? Politically correct BS from the ones complaining of 'McCarthyism'

Tired man, even though we had a day off. Went running, it was warm out- gets warmer every day. The sun is starting to melt everything. Besides that, all well and can't ask for much more than that.


Here's some more on the manufactured 'Generals Revolt', including background on the disaffected generals. Zinni has been a big name for some time, as one of my friends pointed out. The more I think about it, the more it pisses me off. I can count on one hand the General officers whose opinion I would seriously consider worth listening to, suffice to say, none listed here. The Pentagon has a funny way of firing or limiting promotion of the real warfighters unless it's to pull their ass out of the fire, so the status quo is the 'Perfumed Princes' who have mastered the bureaucracy.

A good discussion here at Q and O about the same thing, and more discusssion at Blackfive about what impact Moderate Muslim's really have.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Regulations as a substitute for sound policy

Can't really get into the details, unfortunately. I don't want OPSEC/PERSEC info to be floating around the Google cache to haunt me at a later date, or whatever else could happen. However, I'll try to give a brief outline and you can make of it what you will.

Started last night- I had come back from dinner and we had a new Rules of Engagement (ROE) addendum to read. I wish I could tell you how absurd they are with some of these new requirements. Some politically appointed bureaucrat sitting at home in Washington DC trying to please his boss. Perfectly fine for operating in a stable, developed country that isn't a sectarian war-zone, like here. More hypocritical CYA regulation paper-fucking is all it is, so when someone fucks up they can blame it on someone else.

There was an incident that demonstrated something similar to this, happening earlier yesterday, which we found the details about today. To make a long story short, a convoy security company took some, uhh- poorly recommended choices in route navigation which took them through the nastiest parts of downtown. The first time they got ambushed, one person killed and another wounded, so they turned around and got ambushed again, resulting in a total of 3 dead and 7 wounded. And on the way, while they fought out of this contact they shot up a few cars killing 2 women and an Iraqi soldier. Kind of puts a bad light on it to be in the same league- ie: 'Security contractors'- as these guys. I know some good guys who have done convoys, but there is a lot of, for lack of a better word, 'cowboys' out there. But those stupid ROE wouldn't have done anything to save the civilians or the contractors. Law and order might have, but I digress.

Brings up the whole gray area of being here in a concrete way. I paraphrase Lenin when he said there were only two major questions- 'What is the problem and who is to blame.' We're really not responsible for the mess people have made of this country, and we provide services to assist those in charge. Do you take the structural argument and say it wasn't the contractors fault, they had to deal with the security here (ie US or Saddams fault for fucking up the country), even if they made poor choices? Or do you start clamping down on the 'cowboys', the poorly regulated and uncontrolled people (of, ahem, 'questionable' training and experience) making money escorting goods through the country?

I'm a firm believer in responsibility- a person must answer for their actions. Some are justifiable, such as mistaken shooting of civilians in a combat zone might turn out to be. But the ignoring of safety warnings and other considerations might reflect poorly for their case. We do our best to avoid those situations, with certain deliberate measures in particular, and hopefully won't have to deal with this. But the fact remains that these people are necessary- sometimes it's not even government convoys, local and multinational companies shipping goods in and out of the country must use these people to navigate through the country. People like me are regulated and controlled by the USG, though that shouldn't necessary be much more comforting.

All that mumbo-jumbo aside, a few more regulations won't do shit to help this country. It takes will and sacrifice. It is a delicate time right now, as the still unformed Iraqi government dances around these problems- I swear it seems no one wants to take any responsibility, the hint of it scares people more than any bomb ever will. In that vacuum of power, many other institutions arise to service the unmet needs of business, government and the people. Among them us- the security contractors, of whom many are expats. Sometimes American, British, African, Lebanese, whatever... but people not directly invested in the long-term good of this country. Not necessarily a bad thing... I have to repeat, bringing in outside expertise is mostly beneficial. But the more you have to do that, the less stable your national sovereignty will be.

I know I'm omitting some other fundamental questions that could be addressed. But I just wanted to show what it looks like from here. This isn't my negative Iraq war post, although it could be a part of it. Sometimes these things are just- embarrassing, especially in light of the sacrifices and efforts put forward by the people in the military.

Here's some other interesting things I found on the net:

Tigerhawk talks about the difference in coverage of Mubarak's comments about a withdrawal of Coalition troops from Iraq. Funny thing, the German paper was less 'nuanced', shall we say, than Al Jazeera. Hmmm....

Glenn Reynolds has his own look at Mexican immigration and an innovative alternative: Annex Mexico?

More gloom over Europe's future and prospects as witnessed in France and Italy.

Sage-like advice from the Shanghai taximan.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Another sandstorm yesterday

Got a bit nasty the last couple of days, but today nice and blue, got back up for some tanning. After a run downtown in the morning of course. The fabled summer is back on, after a few cool days. Will update more soon.

However, do want to ask one question: if one was to study, say, counterinsurgency/insurgency as a part of military history, where would one do that? What schools would be the best place to do that?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Haven't seen this analysis in the paper

An interesting report from Strategy Page, believe it or not, this is how it looks to me:

April 2, 2006: What you see in the Iraq news, is not what you get. The news business demands startling headlines, to attract eyeballs. It's business, as the eyeballs are rented to advertisers to pay for it all. But the reality of the news is less startling, and consists of trends. These are the current trends in Iraq.

After three years, the Sunni Arabs, who long dominated Iraq, most recently under the leadership of Saddam Hussein, are giving up. It took so long because of a quirk in Arab culture, one that encourages the support of lost causes. The term "cut your losses and move on" is not as popular in the Arab world as it is in the West. But even the slow learners in the Sunni Arab community had to finally confront some unfavorable trends. Chief among these was;

The Kurds and Shia Arabs have formed a national police force and army that is far more powerful than anything the Sunni Arab community can muster. Over the last year, Sunni Arabs realized that the police and army were in control of more and more Sunni Arab towns. This was a trend that could not be ignored. Added to that was the number of Kurds and Shia Arabs who had lost kin to Sunni Arab terror over the last three decades. Many of these people want revenge, and they all have guns. Many, especially those that belong to the police, or militias, are taking their revenge. The Sunni Arabs want protection, for they cannot muster enough guns to defend themselves. Now the Sunni Arabs want the Americans to stay, at least until there's some assurance that the Kurd and Shia Arab vengeance attacks have died down.

The alliance with al Qaeda was a disaster. These Islamic terrorists were obsessed with causing a civil war in Iraq, and they insisted on doing this by killing lots of Shia Arabs. The Sunni Arabs didn't want to kill lots of Shia Arabs, they wanted to rule them all once more. But that raised another contentious issue. While some Sunni Arabs were in favor of an Islam Republic, which al Qaeda insisted on, most Sunni Arabs wanted a more secular Sunni Arab dominated government. This dispute was never resolved, as the split between al Qaeda and the Sunni Arab community widened. At the moment, al Qaeda is not welcome in most Sunni Arab areas. That's "come near this place and we'll kill you" not welcome. This after al Qaeda tried to terrorize the Sunni Arab tribal leaders into compliance. Killing Sunni Arab tribal chiefs didn't work.

You can't kill enough Americans to scare them into leaving. Saddam, and most Iraqis, were convinced that, because of Vietnam (where 55,000 American died) and Somalia (where 18 died in 1993), the United States would withdraw if you killed enough of them. While that is sometimes true, it's good to remember that over a million Vietnamese died during the 1960s, and that 1993 battle in Mogadishu left over 500 Somalis dead as well. Moreover, this, "the Americans have no stomach for a fight" is nothing new. It's why Japan attacked in 1941, believing that if they beat up the Americans bad enough, the faint hearted Yankees would just go away. Hitler also believed the Americans would not fight. After three years, the Iraqi Sunni Arabs have discovered that the Americans can certainly fight, and the Yankees have also found ways to do it that involve extraordinarily low American casualties. This story has not really gotten the attention it deserves, but the Sunni Arabs have noticed. They have noticed that if you attack the Americans, chances are you will die, and the Americans will just keep on keeping on. It used to be that the Sunni Arabs could take heart from the occasional attack where they killed a few Americans. But no longer. Everyone knows the trend, and doesn't want to be another victim of it. Last month 32 Americans were killed in combat. The last time it was that low was in February 2004. Back then, the Sunni Arab tribes and al Qaeda had joined forces. Both of them had plenty of weapons, money and volunteers. Two years of bad trends have changed everything. The trend was that the Americans were much better at killing Sunni Arabs than Sunni Arabs were at killing Americans.

The economy continues to improve, except for those Sunni Arab areas where terrorists and gangsters are still out of control. Here's where it's all about money. Before Saddam fell, the Sunni Arabs had most of it. Since then, they have much, much less. The Sunni Arabs have been obsessed with getting their "fair share" of the oil money. When Saddam was in charge, the Sunni Arabs (who are 20 percent of the population), got over 80 percent of the oil money. Now they see themselves lucky to get 20 percent. Worse, all the oil is in areas dominated by Kurds and Shia Arabs. In response to this, the Sunni Arabs have continually attacked the pipelines that cross Sunni Arab territory. When paid to help guard the pipelines, some of the Sunni Arab chiefs just stole the money, and let the pipelines get attacked. The Sunni Arab attitude is one of, "if we can't have it, no one can." But now the Sunni Arabs have noted that much of the country is getting wealthier even without the oil. The Sunni Arabs have been living off oil for so long that they forgot there are other ways to make a living. The economic trends have been noted by the Sunni Arabs, and there is more willingness to do what needs to be done to bring some prosperity to the Sunni Arab areas.

Finally, there's the most important trend of all. How successful have Iraqis been in creating a civil society. This doesn't get much media play either, yet it is the ultimate goal in Iraq. A civil society is one that can run its own affairs without the constant threat of civil war or dictatorship. We take civil society for granted in the West, but in the rest of the world, it is more notable by its absence. American and British diplomats have been hammering away at the Iraqis for three years about how important honest government it. Many Iraqis agree. Yet the corruption continues, and three months after national elections, the various parties cannot agree on who will get what, and there is no government. That's because the lack of a civil society has the various ethnic, religious and tribal factions warily haggling over who gets what. There is not much trust, and the stealing goes on. Iraq's fate will ultimately be decided by how many honest politicians it has, not how many cops are on the street or what Iraq's neighbors think or do.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

How many different ways can you title 'boring'

Raining outside, not much going on. Had an interesting run through the country today, nothing too exciting. Switched positions, which should be nice for a break. Got to stay interested over the next couple of months.

One of my heroes pronounced this war over and Vietnam all over again. Martin Van Creveld, a prominent military historian, wrote a compelling article in 2004 making the comparison titled 'Why Iraq will end like Vietnam'. Disagree, but it's a concise and accurate portrayal of some things as they were and some could be. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of room for pessimism. At some point I might record my own misgivings about this whole effort. Although mine will be focused on the execution of the war (maybe even some Sun Tzu nuance about what is a war and all that), not the implied assumptions denying the reasoning behind it or the justification for any war. Some nastiness is ongoing, even with few bright points. I tend to fall into a Michael Yon explanation- civil war has been going on for the last couple decades, now it's on the other foot. Another thing is I don't believe you can fight a 'People's War' with the modern understanding of human rights. Civilization (as opposed to barbarity) is secured by people who will fight for it, not people who willl argue ineffectually at impotent (but well-intentioned) international committees or similar appeals. And barbarians, as some are well aware, only respond to force.

Have to have humor in this world. Humor you can find in the impeccable logic of 'fascism'- I'll know I've arrived when people call me a fascist. That means I'll actually be doing something, instead of immediately claiming victim status and hoping for mercy. Unless you're convinced by drivel like this (14 points of why America is a fascist state)... for the naive dupes of Chimpy McHitlerburton.

I have to add this video, sent by Caesar (all hail!), about the Snack Attack, mofo!

For the best news on the web, we then move on to Scrappleface (News Fairly Unbalanced. We Report. You Decipher). Up-to-date on the latest regarding the Captive Coyote Death and Humans Inability to Manipulate God! Will the resident theologian comment on the last one, please? Not to be confused with those theocrats who are always on the verge of taking over here but ending up in the Middle East (another PJ O'Rourke reference).

Oh, also in my ebook pursuit came across this website, Baen books, that offers quite a bit of selection in the sci-fi department. Reading this one series written by an Airborne guy, and it's odd... clearly written by an insider with a comprehensive view of infantry operations, but to me sometimes cliched, heavily gear-fetishization and odd character archetypes. Best scifi ever written is still William Gibson's 'Neuromancer' which I just reread, and now have on my computer. Sony, release soon!

And that's another day in Iraq.