Friday, January 22
Thursday, January 7
"There's been a complete collapse of equality before the law."
."... a completely bifurcated system whereby the less law that applies to one group, the more micro-regulations applied to another."
-- Mark Steyn points up the hypocrisy during his talk with Tucker Carlson last night:
Tuesday, December 15
What is a "just" war in this era of drones and long-range missiles, when one side can fight without taking any risk whatsoever? In the December 21 issue of the New Yorker, Anand Gopal, as assistant research professor at the University of Arizona, raises many questions and struggles more for perspective than answers in "America's War on Syrian Civilians" (titled "Clean Hands" in the print version).
An important read that challenges the reader to think hard about a kind of warfighting that can be perfectly legal by the accepted rules of war but also unjust.
One caveat -- The Russian and Syrian armies would label as propaganda Gopal's characterization of the air-bombing of Aleppo. One thing is certain: so much propaganda has been generated by the Natoist/American side about the Syrian War that it will be many years more before independent investigators can establish the truth of what happened in Aleppo.
But Gopal is looking at a very big picture and so his mention, almost in passing, of Aleppo does not detract from the sincerity and worth of his allover observations. Here, a few excerpts from his writing:
What is the purpose of this war? Should it be fought, and, if so, fought differently? These are conversations that neither the military nor human-rights organizations appear interested in having.
... the focus on legality may have lulled us into a comfort with war itself. Human-rights groups have found the U.S. guilty of dozens of war crimes in Afghanistan, but most American killing has been lawful: a housewife wandering too close to a convoy, a farmer gunned down on faulty assumptions, a family made victim to the rule of proportionality.
Americans seem to become exercised about the miseries of combat only when the rules are flagrantly violated; as long as they are not, a war quietly slides into the background—even into a permanent state of being. If the Afghan war continued for another twenty years, it’s doubtful whether it would arouse much domestic opposition, even though the over-all suffering may be as great as a wanton slaughter that ended in a decisive victory. The U.S. cannot carry out such a slaughter without violating the law and provoking widespread opposition, and so the conflict remains at a perpetual low boil. The U.S. finds itself in a peculiar situation in which it can neither win nor lose its wars.
Saturday, November 21
Monday, October 26
Matthew Duss, writing for Foreign Affairs on October 22, lays out his case for establishing a commission to investigate the sins of America over the course of the Global War on Terror and recommend remedial actions so that America never does anything like GWOT ever again. (U.S. Foreign Policy Never Recovered From the War on Terror: "Only a Reckoning With the Disastrous Legacy of 9/11 Can Heal the United States.")
The catch is that to follow what he wants of a GWOT commission is like following a description of Russiagate, which maybe five Americans can understand (I'm not one of the five), or the Tale of Benghazi, which is so confusing that the public (those 5 or 10 still game for solving the mystery) is still trying to figure out what happened that fateful night, and why.
So many tangled tales have arisen since 9/11 that it's the tangles, not any specific situations, which hallmark not only the long war but also all the major incidents of the early part of this century. Indeed the best description for this era is Red Herring.
A commission of the kind Matthew Duss envisions would only add to the tangle, with the entire enterprise collapsing in a tangle of counter-accusations.
A simpler way to approach the problem would be to look at the genesis of U.S. military actions that eventually got lumped in with GWOT but at the start had virtually nothing to do with it. Libya and Syria fill the bill. Straighten out the story of those 'wars,' then use that as a lens to study U.S. actions across the spectrum of GWOT.
To get the ball rolling across the mounds of red herring, I recommend Libya, the Obama Administration, and the Muslim Brotherhood (Part 1) and Libya, the Obama Administration, and the Muslim Brotherhood (Part 2) by Vincent Amoroso for The Best of Africa.
Note the date of publication -- January 2020. Yes, this year. The basic story has been known for a long time to interested members of public but it took an awful lot of work and patience to fit the pieces together in a way that wasn't hopelessly confusing to a general reader. Often it would be years before an intelligence agency would cough up a bit of the story, to be fit with other bits.
Yet when it's all said and done, when all the pieces finally drop, we will be staring not at the United States of America but at a logo.
That, dear reader, will never happen.
Thursday, October 8
"Settle your issues with Iran, leave Yemen out": Houthi to Saudi Arabia and US
October 7, 2020
BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:20 A.M.) – The leader of the Ansarallah Movement, Muhammad Ali Al-Houthi, called on Saudi Arabia and the United States to “settle their accounts” with Iran, instead of targeting the Yemenis.
Houthi said in an interview with the German newspaper Der Spiegel:
"Saudi Arabia operates in the Arabian Peninsula as an American state that submits to Trump. The American president fixes the price that Saudi Arabia pays. The United States gives directions.
“We are not a terrorist group and fundamentally we do not recognize this term. The United States attaches the sign of terrorists to those who oppose its policies. Even the demonstrators on American streets have been described as terrorists by Trump. I ask myself why is this happening now? What is the red threat that we passed?"
Houthi continued, in response to a question about Western intelligence reports about the increasing use of Iranian missiles and drones by the Houthis:
“Why are Saudi Arabia and the United States fighting a war against us? On the pretext of our support from Iran? If we are funded by Iran, please, bomb Iran, the financing party. No, slaughter the Yemenis!"
This is exactly what we said to the Saudis and the Americans. If you have accounts with the Iranians, then settle them with the Iranians,” he added.
Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has led the Arab coalition, which has been waging intense military operations in Yemen in support of the Yemeni government loyal to President Abd Rubbah Mansour Hadi."
Thanks, Sputnik for catching her hard at work.
Monday, September 21
Mr. Xi’s “clean plate” campaign strikes at the heart of dining culture in China. Custom dictates that ordering extra dishes and leaving food behind are ways to demonstrate generosity toward one’s relatives, clients, business partners and important guests.
Such habits have contributed to an estimated 17 million to 18 million tons of food being discarded annually, an amount that could feed 30 million to 50 million people for a year, according to a study by the Chinese Academy of Science and the World Wildlife Fund.
Mr. Xi’s call is as much a warning against the dangers of profligacy as it is a reflection of the generational shift in values that has emerged as living standards rise.
[...]Many among the country’s younger generation, such as Samantha Pan, a 21-year-old student in Guangzhou, embrace being free from having to worry about saving food for a rainy day, and hold little regard for the state’s moral exhortations.
“This type of initiative is very boring and useless,” Ms. Pan said in a telephone interview. “I am entitled to order as much food as I want. If I just happen to love wasting food, it’s still my freedom.”
As we can see from Ms Pan's ringing defense of her freedom to waste food, not all of China is racing to tighten its belt. Yet China is now facing severe food insecurity, as detailed by the updated Times report and one from The Hill, Another famine coming? China struggles to meet basic food demands.
As with so many other kinds of crises that have arisen in this young century, the only viable course of action is for individuals to change their thinking.
Change or die; that's what the crystal ball is telling me.