Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Friday, January 20, 2006

Time and Place
White House press secretary Scott McClellan at yesterday's White House press briefing:
MR. McCLELLAN: And as I indicated, clearly, the al Qaeda leaders and the terrorists are on the run. They're under a lot of pressure. We do not negotiate with terrorists. We put them out of business. The terrorists started this war, and the President made it clear that we will end it at a time and place of our choosing. We continue to pursue all those who are seeking to do harm to the American people, and to bring them to justice.

We will end it at a time and place of our choosing? You mean we are in control?
Question:
Why not now? Why, if this is true, didn't we end it in Afghanistan in 2002? I mean, it seems only logical. Why not "choose" to end it right now?
I heard a very interesting comment on PBS's News Hour last night. Jim Lehrer was interviewing Mamoun Fandy, a Middle East specialist at Rice University, about the latest bin Laden tape. Make of this whatever you wish, but here is an excerpt from the interview:
MAMOUN FANDY: Right, but this particular tape is not terribly inspiring, just looking at the language of it. This is the first tape of bin Laden that has no single verse from the Koran. It does not have the flowery language of Arabic.
It seems to me that it is written in English first, and then translated into Arabic. It is very western style of tape. It is not very characteristic of bin Laden, at least it tells me that the non-Arabic speaking within the al-Qaida network are taking over the organization --
JIM LEHRER: You mean he didn't write this is what you are suggesting?
MAMOUN FANDY: The Arabic speakers in al-Qaida, the parts that are coming from the Arab world, are losing to the non-Arabic speaker, so it's really becoming more of a South Asian organization, rather than an Arab organization.

Terrorism is politics.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Neo-Liberal Neo-Con

William Kristol is calling for military preparations for the liberalization of Iran and the greater Middle East.
"What about the hopes for a liberal, less extremist and less terror-friendly Middle East?"
Well William, what about the hopes for a liberal, less extremist, and less terror-friendly America?
Whose side are you on, anyway? Ah, yes, that's right. You are the son of Jewish Trotskyist-become neo-conservative Irving Kristol and Jewish Victorian conservative Gertrude Himmelfarb. Your uncle Milton Himmelfarb was a prominent Jewish figure.
Why is it that when it comes to people like Kristol, the crossover between "liberal" and "conservative" becomes so blurry? What is there here that I am missing? Someone help me out here. If American conservatism really is trying to eliminate liberalism as they often claim, then how is it that these neo-conservatives who have such a strong voice in the Bush administration can speak of "the hopes for a liberal... Middle East"? There's something I missed in history class and I'm not quite sure where to look to find it truthfully explained. In what fringe of the political landscape do liberal and conservative philosophies merge? Wherever that is, Kristol must already be there if the new Iran Iraq War will liberalize the Middle East.

Iran

So Bush calls Iran part of the "Axis of Evil" prompting the Iranian people to elect a hard-line man off the streets as their president to talk tough against the superpowers, and now we're faced with Iran wanting nuclear ("nucular") power. Another Bush administration success. Now we have justification for continuing on with the PNAC agenda laid out even before 9/11 and the Bush hijacking of 2000.
To top things off, this street-wise Iranian president Ahmadinejad has been insulting and provoking Israel. When I first heard about this, his supposed call to wipe Israel off the Middle East map, my reaction was that this nutcase must be either insane or working for the Freemasons. Why would the leader of Iran dig his nation even deeper into the hole it's in? I don't have the answers to that question, but I'll speculate.
1. Iran wants nuclear power plants, not just as a cover for developing nuclear weapons but also as a source of energy for a developing economy. Word has it that Iran is supplying electricity to Iraq now and there's every reason to think that with the rising price of oil and natural gas, Iran could be making money on the international market for all three forms of energy, oil, gas, and nuclear-generated electricity.
2. The Iranian people in general feel that they have a right to defend themselves against aggression. I have a sense that even the neo-cons know this time that American tanks would not be welcomed with roses in Tehran. If the Americans went into Iran the way we went into Iraq, the war would be a whole lot messier than it now is in Iraq. Iran wants and feels that it deserves a first line of defense, a deterrent defense, a good reason for any aggressive superpower to not launch an attack. It worked for the Soviets and China. It's worked so far between Pakistan and India. It seems to be working for Israel. And it seems apparent to the Iranians that their only hope to prevent American aggression is just such a defense. The primary reason for Iran's desire for nuclear weapons is the current very real aggression of the United States.
3. Iran recognizes that the primary reason the west doesn't want them to have a nuclear defense is their proximity to Israel. We in the west assume that Iran would want to use nuclear weapons preemptively against Israel. That seems to me to be a very naive perspective for us to hold since it assumes that the Iranians are suicidal as a culture. It's not very likely to be true. Iran is no different than any other nation. They want their own nationality. They want to survive. But they don't want to submit to any western superpower. They want self-determination. They don't want nuclear annihilation, but at the same time they are willing to do whatever it takes to defend themselves.
4. Iran recognizes the new threat on their western border, American-occupied Iraq. Iran knows that the American presence in Iraq is a far greater threat to them than Saddam's military ever was. There's every reason to believe that the US is poised in Iraq to launch a nuclear attack against Iran, a massive tactical nuclear attack against advancing Iranian troops should a US air strike or invasion lead to an Iranian conventional-weapon counterattack in response. There's every reason to believe that the US is developing in Iraq the same kind of defense it used against the Soviets in Europe during the Cold War. Tactical nuclear weapons are an integral part of the US arsenal against advancing enemy armies. Iran knows it.
5. Iran knows that the UN is not the solution. Iran watched while the UN disarmed Iraq, thus leaving Iraq defenseless against aggression. The Iranian people don't intend to let that happen to them. They know they can't depend on the UN to keep the superpowers at bay. They have to defend themselves.
6. Iran knows that the attack is coming. They know that if they don't submit to Israel and to the western corporate economic powers, their government will be overthrown and the same economic process now being forced onto Iraq will be forced onto Iran. It has happened before in Iran and it will happen again if Iran is not able to develop a deterrent defense.
All things considered, it makes sense for Iran to develop its defenses. What doesn't make sense is that Iran seems to be baiting Israel to attack. How can that possibly support Iran's future as a nation? How does it fit into Iran's defense?
One reason that makes sense to me is that Iran is drawing the name of Israel into the Middle East War. President Bush has declared that it is irresponsible and partisan to suggest that Israel was a motivation for the Iraq war. Iran's president Ahmadinejad has changed the rules for Iran. He has made it impossible to claim that aggression against Iran is not motivated by the defense of Israel. That in itself is a defensive maneuver for Iran, a deterrent. What looks at first glance like insanity is actually a clever diplomatic move on his part. What he is telling the west is that if we do invade Iran, there's no way it won't implicate Israel. There's no way the people of the Middle East won't hold it against Israel. And there's every reason for Israel to not want that. Israel has enough enemies in the Middle East already. They don't need to be perceived as the real reason for US Middle East aggression.
I fear that America's blind fear of the Middle East will drive us into a war of aggression that most of us will live to regret. It seems to me that the time for debate is now. We made some serious mistakes while we debated Iraq before we attacked. We clearly cannot trust our leaders to make the right choices. In a time when we should be debating and negotiating with Iran rather than dictating to them as we now are, we ourselves, the American people, should be openly debating our future. Do we really want to be the superpower that forces its will on the rest of the world? Do we really want to pay that price? Or is there some way to secure the world that doesn't demand our presumed moral superiority and our dominance?
These people that we are trying to dominate are not the barbarians we assume them to be. We'd see that if we'd take off our blinders. We have come to see the Iraqis as enemies. We have long thought of the Iranians as our enemies. But they are only our enemies if we insist that we are dominant. If we could free ourselves of that insane notion and begin a dialog with these people that sees them as our actual equals in humanity, maybe we could begin to shed the fear we have of them. And maybe, just maybe, if we did that, they would respond to us with peace.

Spray-On Mud

For the SUV owner who has everything (except the great outdoors) now there's Spray on Mud.
That's the antithesis of good Republicanism, isn't it? Right-wingers like the appearance of clean even if everything inside is dirty. That's the whole point of closet homosexuality, closet bigotry, and even fundamentalist Christianity. Clean on the outside is what you are when you deny that America tortures prisoners. Clean on the outside is what you get when you say "We almost got him" when you send in missiles in the night and kill innocent men, women, and children while they sleep. The appearance of clean is what you have when you claim Jesus died to pay the penalty for the sin you did, are doing, and yet will do.
Spray on Mud, though... That must be for all the liberal SUV owners? I'll have to give that one some thought.