Archive for August, 2006

The Forgotten Terrorists

It is an interesting scenerio to see unfold as the crisis in Lebanon continues to move slowly towards possible settlement. Though I maintain that as long as nations like Iran continue to try and assert their own agenda along with the United States, peace will continue to be elusive in the region. However it is interesting to note that hardly any mention is given to the ongoing crisis in Palestine or Gaza.

Seems to me that simply because huge scale shelling and air attacks aren’t happening doesn’t lessen the war on Terror that is happening in Palestine or Gaza. Rockets, though considerably less than Hezbollah’s attacks, still fly towards civilian centres from Hamas Terrorists. Gaza is locked down and yet the major EU donors of aid to Lebanon are complaining that not enough AID is reaching Palestine or Gaza.

He said: “One point four million people feel as if they are living in a cage. The border crossings are really closed. They cannot get anything out, this is crippling their economy. ( full story )

I suppose I should have sympathy, but frankly I don’t. I mean they did knowingly elect a TERROR GROUP to be their government, not that Fatah wasn’t one as well. However Fatah was sort of sanitized by the Americans and they at least did acknowledge that Israel had a right to exist. Something HAMAS has not done, despite the isolation of their nation. However, the point is this, if the people are in need of AID, perhaps HAMAS as the Government should stop spending its money on Rockets and Bombs?

Just an idea, but I know that if I was starving and my Government was getting fresh new rockets from Iran and Syria instead of needed food and medicine, I’d be in the streets alright, but not to show my support but instead to show my OUTRAGE at those in charge.

Strange too is that frankly, AID to Palestine’s Terrorist Government does not mean that those funds will necessarily be used for Food or Medicine either. I mean given the sentiments of Hamas, it is more likely that any financial aid given to them will be squandered for more Rockets, more Bombs.  Somehow, it just seems to be stupid to provide even one dime of aid to them with that knowledge. So how come the EU members are willing to do so? Hell, wonder why even the USA is still sending some AID despite their earlier cutting off of aid?

Call me stupid, but the easiest way to get a Regime Change would be to deny any aid to this Government of Terrorists and then let the people make up their own minds. If they contiue to support Hamas, well so be it, but if not, then perhaps we can get a legitimate government installed that will work towards Peace nstead of more bloodshed and war? And at their choosing, not by force either.
By the way, I’d also suggest that any government that sanctions kidnapping as being an acceptable form, should be not only isolated, but condemned and left to rot before I’d give them a nickle. 

Gathering Of One’s Strength

I have said it before and I’ll say it again. This isn’t a ceasefire but is instead two sides taking deep breathes as they retool for the next round. This perhaps could be Lebanon’s last chance to escape being nothing but a bloody battleground between Israel and Hezbollah.

Hezbollah is refusing to lay down its weapons in defiance of UN Resolution 1559, approved in 2004, which calls for the disarming and disbanding of militias in Lebanon. The group has been blamed for rocket attacks on Israel, bombings in Beirut in 1983 that killed 241 U.S. Marines and 58 French soldiers, and an attack on a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994 that killed 85 people. It denies involvement in the bombings. ( full story )

With the European nations waffling as usual, France being France and all, it is a wonder that really any progress exists towards installing the Peace Force. Lebanese Army is moving in, but the question remains, Who Will Disarm Hezbollah and When?

While the Great Waffler demands Hezbollah release the two kidnapped Soldiers, he is also demanding that Israel end its blockade.

Israel should lift the blockade it imposed on Lebanon during the conflict, Annan said after meeting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert yesterday in Jerusalem. Israeli leaders have said restrictions will remain until UN and Lebanese forces are able to enforce an arms embargo on Hezbollah, a group the U.S. and Israel designate as a terrorist organization. ( full article )

I mean does he really think that the only protection existing right now from Hezbollah re-arming itself should be dismantled BEFORE his illustrious Peace Keepers are in place? Like from a military standpoint that is just plain stupid. I mean considering that this Peace Force is supposed to aid in disarming Hezbollah, would make better sense to keep the enemy weak so that it is not just easier to disarm them, but safer as well.

Course Kofi the Great Waffler doesn’t see it that way. In fact I think most of the world doesn’t get it yet. This is a war for survival, and while the Arabs can call on Tens of Millions willing cannon fodder, Israel can’t. It is in many ways a war of attrition, which perhaps is why Kofi wants to aid in re-arming Hezbollah.

Mankind is great at exterminating various animal species, this is just one of those attempts where it is attempting to exterminate an entire race… the Jews.  Hitler tried it and failed, now its Hezbollah’s turn. 

Though I think the Italians and other nations contributing troops might not appreciate it.

Sure, the concern if for getting needed food and medicine into the devastated region, but then too, is that what they really want? I mean as much as I hate to see anyone suffer, I wonder if this isn’t just really a ruse by Hezbollah? After all if they can hand out $12,000 in cash to bombed out people, why then can’t they simply pay for supplies? Obviously they have the cash.

Also have you noticed how lately in the media they refer to Hezbollah as a terrorist group, according to Israel and the USA. Like when did that make a group a terrorist only? Surely other nations call them that? Canada does. Kind of sounds like the media is hedging its bets, and is sucking up to me, but then the media is strange in how it reports things.

Lets face it, a Terrorist is someone or some group that deliberately targets civilian targets for death in order to create fear, and panic. Hezbollah might give out $12,000 to people, but it deliberately murders innocent civilians and aims its rockets at civilian targets, not military targets. That makes them by definition a Terrorist Group, no matter how many get elected to government. 

Given that Syria also calls placing of a UN/Lebanese Peace Force in Lebanon is an act of agression, you have to wonder if there is any sanity left in the Middle East. I mean the force is there to insure that others don’t meddle in, that Lebanese borders are kept secure and free of arms. So how in the hell is that an act of agression? Seems it is more preventive of further conflict, course we have to wait and see when this force actually begins to operate.

For myself, I feel that the hounds of war at straining at their leashes, ready for the next round. I wish peace would work, I truly do but until those in the region get off the notion that one group is better than another, ain’t gonna happen. Then too we have those who mis-use religion as the basis for their hatred, but you know, in reading any of the major religions books, I just can’t find where they say that GOD HATES anyone, or that anyone who is a non believer is any LESS GOD’s CHILD than those who do believe.

Seems to me that Kofi Annan and his Great Debating Society need to realize that you can’t just put bandaids on open gaping wounds. You need serious solutions and unfortunately that involves military troops to enforce those real solutions. Whether they have the guts to do so is another matter.

But as Jean Chretien said, until the nations of the world address the abject poverty of the region, peace is going to be only a dream. 

Super Power or Fading Star?

It is funny, was watching West Wing repeat episode again tonight, it is on three nights a week and frankly there isn’t anything better and it struck me, as they kept harping on how America is the only remaining Super Power left.

Are they?

I mean what makes a nation a super power in people’s mind?

Is it the ability to invade other nations at will? Or is there more to it. I mean what truly makes a nation be entitlted to be called a super power?

In the cold war days we might have accepted that Russia and the USA where the two competing super powers, and China as a  smaller super power than the other two, but were they?

Today is the big party in New Orleans, comemmorating the one year anniversary of Katrina and in about 13 days, it will be the anniversary comemmorating the horrible bombing of the Trade Towers. So is it the natural diseasters that make a nation a super power or their ability to weather those events and still have an impact on the other nations around them?

In repeated nods to the city’s extraordinary cultural past, Bush visited the home of the music legend Fats Domino in the Lower Ninth Ward and listened to a brass band. He talked about restoring the “soul” of New Orleans, even as he acknowledged that much of the damage had not yet been repaired. (full article)

You listen to the media, and the politicians speak and you keep hearing about the Greatest Democracy Ever, or the Last True Super Power, or some such bullshit and you look at New Orleans and the smaller communities and shake your head. Is what makes a super power the callous actions for its poor that gives them such status? If so, then YES the USA deserves its title, but if it is more than that, what is it?

I’d really like to know because I also think that in believing that hype, America tends to over extend its reach, and instead of being helpful, they become a hindrence. Take their actions in the Middle East.

In recent years their meddling into internal affairs of nations has led to a more fundamentalist shift in Islam, a rising insurgent of hatred towards the entire West and more hostile nations towards the west than ever. Iran comes to mind, and then we have the Sudan. Open warfare isn’t too far off there and who can ignore Iraq? Daily bombings and on average over 100 Iraqi’s die each day.

World Oil Prices have never been higher and yet I look at the Gulf of the States, Louisiana and Alabama and it makes me shudder. I see barges rusting away on land because Katrina washed them ashore. I hear about hundreds of millions wasted on trailers that never will make it to that region or millions paid out for phony claims and I wonder, is this what a super power is?

Mayors who should be held accountable, get re-elected when they should be tried for their complicity in the diseaster that was New Orleans failure in Katrina. At least a quarter of the police force left their post, National Guard troops kept idle for days, military troops kept in their barracks and all the time the head of FEMA was wondering how he looked in his new suit?

Fine for the President to accept responsibility for the failures now, but he isn’t running for re-election, so easy for him to shoulder the blame. Just one more reason to turf this bullshit term limit crap. Make these politicians accountable, let them stand for re-election but then they did re-elect Nagin, so maybe  they should have an intelligence test first or something.

I don’t understand it. America talks about its booming economy that is trillions in debt, housing starts are down, and worse, school test scores are dropping (see article) and this is what you call a super power? 

Brown outs in major USA cities during the summer due to unprecented useage, and yet the SUVs roll off the assembly line and conservation is a dirty word in the White House. Prices at the pump are rising and yet no single alternative fuel proposal exists on the federal level but hey, they still call themselves the Greatest Democracy Ever. Funny thing about that though, if it is so great, why does the President and his advisors feel the need to listen in on everyone’s telephone calls illegally?

Iran and North Korea threaten nucleur power and all the United States can do is refuse to negotiate with them? Like how does that solve the problem? Isn’t being a super power supposed to mean that you have more power than any other nation, or is that just in television shows? Even while North Korea threatens  to do a Nucleur Bomb test, the Us Military is wanting to reduce its troops in the region, because their intelligence tells them North Korea isn’t about to invade the south.

Is that the same Intelligence that said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and was about to use them?

Is that the same Intelligence that had no advance notice of a terrorist plot against New York?

Is that the same intelligence that cut funding to place like New York because they believe they are not a high target choice of terrorists?

Is this the same Intelligence group that has been hunting Osama for five years and think he’s in the Middle East somewhere?

If that is what makes a nation a super power, Lord Help Us!

When Is A Wrong A Right?

I am in one of those moods, and watched a previous episode of West Wing tonight that sort of got me thinking. I mean there has been a lot in the news about the courts ruling that Bush and his wire tapping was illegal and had to be shut down. Tonight’s show was about the shooting of a Foreign Minister from an Arab country who was helping a group of terrorists, and it all sort of mingled up in my mind.

I wonder, when does a wrong become a right?

Seriously I think we do way too much of making wrongs into rights, because we do it, and not the other guy. Or we use the excuse that in order to protect us from bombs or terror attacks we do it, and yet I don’t know. Doesn’t seem right in my gut and the episode of West Wing perhaps brought it into focus for me.

I mean if we are opposed to someone or some group like say Hezbollah, when does what we do become right if it is what they do as well? I mean we condemn them for it, so why does it become okay for us to do but not them?

Isn’t this just more double standards?

Like the United States abhors land mines, yet they have the largest field in place in the DMZ between North and South Korea. So why is that okay but not for say Israel and its border with Palestine?

Or how about the cluster bomb issue? I mean the United States willingly sells them to Israel, but not for use. So what, it is okay to take the money for the bombs, then be pissed because they are used?

How about the murder of a political leader that may or may not have ties to terrorists? Is that okay?

I know Israel goes on that assumption, which frankly I do have a problem with. To target individuals for murder seems uncivilized in some way, and yet in war time I know its a well used tactic. The resistance movement used it in WWII but are we at war today?

Yes, Israel is in a sense at war, but is it a declared war? The Korean conflict was called a police action, yet it really was war, just as Viet Nam was. So does this constant state of pseudo war make it okay for war time actions? And even if it does, is it right?

I suppose I am naive, maybe soft hearted as well, and yet I hate terrorists and liken them to scum, but does allowing ourselves to fall into the trap of using the same tactics against them that they use against us make us right or just as bad?

In West Wing the President said that by going after Shereef it made him feel like they were joining the ranks of the ordinary nations. Ordinary? I don’t know, but when does doing wrong suddenly become right, whether you are ordinary or not?

I talk about doing right a fair amount in The Locker and in some sense it might be considered the basic theme of the novel. I mean Dakota has a choice to make, and while doing right is what we would all like him to do, the question is, at what price?

Would you risk being beaten up, ridiculed and hounded in order to simply have the approval of another? Would you put your own life at risk so the one you care for looks up to you? Is that a price you would pay? It is Dakota’s dilema and yet in so many ways, it is a dilema being played out all over in many areas.

Whether its illegal wire taps, or holding prisoners without legal council indeterminately, it is a dilema of conscious. Do we bend over backwards to provide all protection under the law, even knowing that these murders might walk free to bomb us again, or do we lock them up and forget about them?

It is part of why I write these novels really, to express a viewpoint that maybe we lose track of. I think we spend too much time justifying our actions, and I wonder, if we need to justify them, are they right? If we know something is wrong, but do it anyhow, no matter the reason, aren’t we just trying to make ourselves feel better?

Doesn’t work for me, how about you?

There is no doubt in my mind that Doing What Is Right, doesn’t always mean you win, or that you escape paying a terrible price for it. But if we aren’t prepared to pay that price, how can we sit in judgement of others?

Is that not what separates a Democracy from the rest? 

If George Bush ,or any leaders, thinks that he needs to violate the US Constitution in order to protect American Society, what is there to protect when even the sacred Constitution no longer is honored?

Activist judges? I think not, I think simply they are men demanding that we are all held to a higher standard, one that we preach and one we need to adhere to. Activism? No, just trying to keep us from falling into being what we call our enemies.

Barbarians. 

The Great Waffler Arrives

So his nibs, Kofi Annan arrives in Lebanon to discuss the peace keeping and the brokered ceasefire talks. Was reading an article about his intended visit and it struck me as odd that here he is, the leader of the alleged peace maker organization and that this will also be his first visit to Iran since they elected a new President.

Reporting from New York, the BBC’s Mike Sergeant notes that Mr Annan has not visited Iran since the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president in 2005. ( full article )

Given how Iran has been at the centre of a major political storm this last year, it is amazing that the supposed head of an organization that is threatening sanctions and attempting to broker a deal with Iran, hasn’t bothered to visit that nation. But then again I suppose for appearance sake he didn’t, though when did appearance matter more than results?

I know Mike Pearson was not a popular Prime Minister or a very Public one, yet under his administration Canada brokered a Middle East ceasefire and he did arrange for our own Flag, not to mention National Health Care. So I suppose simply doing what is right is one thing, but in Kofi Annan’s case it is the APPEARANCE that matters more.

Frankly given that Iran has fired up its heavy water plant and tested a long range missile I would have thought that perhaps Kofie Annan would be a little more anxious to visit Iran. But then too, I suppose it all depends on who truly is pulling his strings? I mean it certainly isn’t out of any deep conviction that has him tut tutting and strutting around like some statesmen wannabee.

Oh in case you missed it, I really don’t like Kofi Annan as Secretrary General of the United Nations, nor do I have much faith in his Great Debating Society either.

Iran test fired a new submarine-to-surface missile during war games in the Persian Gulf on Sunday, a show of military might amid a standoff with the West over its nuclear activities. ( full article )

Looking at the situation over Iran, one can’t but help draw a comparison between Iran and Cuba. I mean both current regimes are in power thanks to the United States and its meddling in other nation’s right of self determination. Hell in Cuba, Castro was funded and even trained in the States and it sure looks like that went over well.

Now we have Iran today, the product of Jimmy Carter’s meddling when the Shah at least added some sanity and stability to the region. Something that I think America somehow forgets in its insatiable quest to dominate the region. Course one might wonder, is it to dominate the region or just assure its own supply of petroleum?

I mean with China rapidly advancing into the so called modern era, and cars becoming more noticeable, one has to wonder if all this failed Middle Eastern Policies of the United States will come back to not just bite them, but the rest of us.

I suppose that is what has me the most pissed with America. Not its arrogance but its selfishness and lack of understanding that what it does abroad, also effects other nations, such as Canada. Maybe not directly but it does have ramifications that frankly, I don’t think too many American politicians take into account.

Iran already is equipped with the Shahab-3 missile, which means “shooting star” in Farsi, and is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. An upgraded version of the ballistic missile has a range of more than 1,200 miles and can reach Israel and U.S. forces in the Middle East.  ( full article )

One has to wonder why the United States keeps ignoring the rampant arming of such nations, including North Korea. I mean let’s be honest, is there really any nation that can take those two dictators on? I mean the USA is so bogged down in Iraq, and is losing, that one has to wonder who can take them on. Will it be China or the watered down Russians?

And do either of them want to take them on? I mean North Korea is a shield really to China, so would China worry about North Korea’s planned Nucleur tests if say it was a USA Satelite nation like South Korea is?

Or Russia? I mean they have Afghanistan being hostile to them, and would they want Iran to join that club? After all Iraq supposedly would be a USA ally, so would they want the entire Middle East supporting the States? I don’t think so and then too their is the whole oil issue.

China is going to need lots more oil, and if the USA has the other Arab nations sewn up, including Iraq, would make sense for China to play nice with Iran as a potential source of petroleum.

Yet we expect Kofi Annan to help solve this problem? With George Bush’s prodding?

Christ are we ever in trouble!