May the new year be happier than the last.
… I’ll meet you ’round the bend my friend, where hearts can heal and souls can mend…
Friday, December 29, 2006
End of Another Year…
You know your country is in trouble when:
1) The UN has to open a special branch just to keep track of the chaos and bloodshed, UNAMI.
2) Abovementioned branch cannot be run from your country.
3) The politicians who worked to put your country in this sorry state can no longer be found inside of, or anywhere near, its borders.
4) The only thing the US and Iran can agree about is the deteriorating state of your nation.
5) An 8-year war and 13-year blockade are looking like the country’s ‘Golden Years’.
6) Your country is purportedly ‘selling’ 2 million barrels of oil a day, but you are standing in line for 4 hours for black market gasoline for the generator.
For every 5 hours of no electricity, you get one hour of public electricity and then the government announces it’s going to cut back on providing that hour.
7) Politicians who supported the war spend tv time debating whether it is ‘sectarian bloodshed’ or ‘civil war’.
8) People consider themselves lucky if they can actually identify the corpse of the relative that’s been missing for two weeks.
You’ve heard of the Tennessee Waltz. Now, it seems, there’s a Tennessee flip that’s not nearly as much fun. In fact, if it’s as described, it’s downright scary.
You probably didn’t notice (there was no press coverage in the U.S.) that the five stans (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) finally signed the treaty to set up the Central Asian Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (CANWFZ) this past September. After four years of dithering by France, the United Kingdom and the United States about whether or not they’d sign a protocol to guarantee that they would not use nuclear weapons to attack these countries, the stans decided not to wait any longer and just went ahead and did it. The U.S., for its part, didn’t even send a representative to the signing ceremony. So much for our commitment to non-proliferation. Actually, when you consider that Kazakhstan was a major testing gound for nuclear weapons when it was still part of the Soviet Union, the CANWFZ doesn’t just address proliferation, it signals a reduction.
John Edwards went to New Orleans to announce that he’s interested in being elected President of the United States. Although I didn’t hear his presentation word for word, at least three positions are a disappointment.
First there’s his attitude towards the federal government’s failure to take charge of the rebuilding of New Orleans. If Edwards doesn’t understand that the primary function of government is to deal with natural and man-made disasters, events for which no individual or group of volunteers can adequately prepare, then he’s pretty hopeless. Yes, in the absence of a competent response by a government that we’ve already paid for, the unemployed and parti-time do-gooders are trying to take up the slack and that’s why so much time and psychic energy has already been wasted. If we want a government whose agents haven’t a clue about their obligations, we can just stick with incompetent Republicans.
Sometimes numbers are good. Let’s see if I’ve got these straight.
There are 26 Ministries in Iraq of which Moqtada al Sadr controls 3.
There are 150,000 armed men in the Facilities Protection Service, just a tad more than there are armed U.S. troops, many of whom have tasks that keep them on base.
The FPS has been a known problem for over two years and the new York Times chooses to bring it forward on christmas day in a story that includes two year old Congressional testimony. So much for current events.
If these forces are evenly distributed and each ministry has 6,000, then al Sadr has 18,000 men or, at least, government revenues to sustain that many. The other ministries have over 132,000. And then there’s the Army we’re supposedly training and equiping.
If we are still buying the incompetence meme, then we are truly fools.
God forbid people should be identified by their proper function.
What would happen if the Iraqi oppostion were referred to as the resistance and the U.S. military as an occupation force?
Oh, yes, I forgot. The U.S. doesn’t do “occupation.” The U.S. military consider themselves to be guests, ready to leave at any time at their host’s request. Which suggests that if the U.S. military is in Iraq as a guest, then the war is over, and all we are waiting for is a request that we depart. Guess the Mujahideen Shura Council doesn’t qualify as a host.