Monday, December 06, 2004

Forecast: More Lies on the Horizon

Apologies once again for the late start--yet another busy day here. Anyway, at long last I've been able to catch up with the blogs and the news...a number of links here have probably been seen by most folks already, but...

I began my readings over at Crawling Westward, who sent me over to Atrios. Dr. Black has been writing quite a bit lately. The story that caught my eye was a series of Washington Post articles about the death of Pat Tillman, the esrtwhile American-rules football player who was killed in Afghanistan. The crux is that the military deliberately withheld the details of Tillman's death--even to the man's own family--for a number of weeks, while choosing instead to propagate a myth that was a great deal more convenient than the reality: Tillman was killed by friendly fire, in the kind of accident that is unfortunately all to common in the "fog of war."

Of course, myths, once firmly embedded in the public mind, tend to overcome any unpleasant truths...

Speaking of myths, take a look at not only the latest set of photographs showing the military engaged in, um, less than heroic actions--but make sure to click on each pic for the comments. Gallons of Kool-Aid were consumed in the course of these writings. Juan Cole has some important comments on this. While at Professor Cole's site, go ahead and hit his main page for more about the ongoing violence in Iraq. Elections in January? As Cole notes, proceeding with voting at this point will do little beyond solidifying the armed opposition.

Over in Saudi Arabia, a US consulate office was attacked in Jeddah--which isn't particularly good news for the Saudis or the United States.

On the subject of fundamentalism, Hullabaloo links to an interesting article noting the similarities between Islamic and Christian varieties--paternalism, lack of pluralism, the importance of indoctrination, a longing for "the good old days' (which never really existed), and a rejection of history. These are taken from a study called The Fundamentalism Project, a worldwide effort focused on this type of behavior. Digby takes the position that maybe the liberal/left in this country can gain additional support by speaking out against the Islamic versions of this, hopefully relying on the implicit parallels among the Christian version to undercut the dangerous trends on the horizon here. That's a nice idea, but I wonder of the American public is ready to grasp something so subtle.

One thing that the public MIGHT be able to see, however, is the extraordinary degree to which the military is screwing those who volunteered for service--by "volunteering" them for additional time following the termination of their agreement. The New York Times reports on 8 individuals suing the government over the "stop-loss" back door draft, which is about as close to breach of contract as I've ever seen, well, with the possible exception of the military calling back IRR personnel, including those smart enough to resign their commissions. As one noted on 60 Minutes last night, he was told to report regardless of this fact--and, if he had, he would have simply "lost all rights." Welcome to the land of the not-so-free.

Of course, they've still got it better than the liberated Fallujans, who, according to this article, will be press ganged into work teams in order to reconstruct the city. Oh, and cars will be henceforth banned until further notice...

Patrick Cockburn has some interesting things to say about the mess in Mesopotamia in a Counterpunch interview. He notes that Fallujah, for all the hype, is actually a pretty small piece of the puzzle, albeit a piece roughly a half-hour away from the capital (and therefore of some strategic value). However, the rebel takeover of Mosul during the Fallujah operation was perhaps even more important, given that the northern city is far bigger in size, and far more prone to inter-ethnic strife--which the US is fomenting dramatically with heavy reliance of Kurdish peshmergan forces throughout the country.

Speaking of forces--DailyKos has the latest on the "coalition" troops. A grand total of about 24,000 (including the British forces numbering over 10,000) are participating in the grand adventure, although I rarely see any reports of non-US or British troops on the front line. Kos also links to this David Hackworth piece that shows the degree to which efficiency is cherished at the Pentagon: letters of condolence for families who've lost relatives in the wars are receiving not just a form letter--but a form letter with a machine signature. Rummy must be busy writing poetry.

Finally, I'll close this post by linking to today's Rude Pundit, who does a nice job of drawing an analogy of his own, noting that, while apparently abuse of Arabs and/or Muslims hardly seems to make the true believers bat an eyelash, it'd be interesting to see what would happen if the US adopted the same measures in order to "prevent another Oklahoma City." Funny enough, but I'll bet Oklahoma City isn't even on those folks' radar screens anymore...

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