Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bloggery pokery

People ask why I write a blog that no one reads.

I think my mom still reads it. There are a lot of better blogs than mine, and quite a few worse ones. I really do wish I had the time to read more blogs, separate more sheep from goats, and link to good stuff. Right now, I'm working on my thesis/World War II censorship book, some historical consulting and research work, doing much more around the house, and writing a few magazine pieces. Until last week, I was home with my littlest kid every afternoon. I really enjoyed that, but my three-year-old won't tolerate computer use. I did, however, develop some expertise on Dora the Explorer.
Anyway, maybe this isn't a real blog, in the sense that it is part of a "blogosphere" of inter-connected Internet pundits. On the other side of the coin, I'm not a Tory blogger, or a Liberal one, or an NDPer. I'm a libertarian who supports the war in Afghanistan but thinks Iraq is a mistake, a conservative with a belief that poor people can work together and get out of poverty through co-operative business and housing enterprises, and a centralist who believes in self-determination for Quebec.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

At one time you mused about setting up a hit counter on your blog. You should do it.

johnny maudlin said...

I liked you better before you identified yourself, Mark. How the hell can you support the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? Write about that please, and maybe dispense with the-because-I-oppose-wife-and-child-beating Taliban rationale.

You will have noticed two reports:

- the Taliban are posed to make a comeback, with the support of the Afghani people, if the security needs of the average Jarfar don't improve real soon

- upwards of 600,000 Iraqis don't feel safer in Bushworld. They do, however, feel deader.

Do you think the military and political objectives in Afghanistan can be achieved Mark, and if so how so, with some specifics please...

Anonymous said...

Mark, I doubt you'll bother entering into a debate on both Afghanistan and Iraq with some whacko who works in "human resources". Before you even think about it, note that johnny moron immediately bought into the Lancet's recent "study" that extrapolated 654,965 deaths based on 547 actual deaths.

As has been noted elsewhere, their imaginary number:

- is larger than the total number of Americans killed during combat in every major conflict, from the Revolutionary War to the first Gulf War.

- is more than double the combined number of civilians killed in the bombings of Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki.

- is a larger number than were killed in Germany during five years (and 955,044 tons) of WWII bombing.

It works out to something like 700 innocent civilians killed every day since the American incursion.

How can you discuss anything with people that stupid?

A Baghdad blogger ( http://politicscentral.com/2006/10/11/jaccuse_iraq_the_model_respond.php ) :

"This fake research is an insult to every man, woman and child who lost their lives. Behind every drop of blood is a noble story of sacrifice for a just cause that is struggling for living safe in freedom and prosperity."

johnny maudlin said...

Anonymous

The tell tale sign of someone whose nuts are caught in a vise, of some description, is name calling.

If this study is so wildly irrelevent, why your over reaction? Cut the number in half, if you like, or into fourths. It does not change a simple truth and one that that ordinary morons like myself have been able to discern from the get go:

The war on terror is producing more casualties and threats to security than it is preventing. The world is not safer and Afghanistan will not be settled or rebuilt by the Canadian military.

If you support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, you're wrong. Simple as that. And generally, when the surface is scratched, your ilk will be discovered to harbour some kind of religious belief system or moral code that is entirely irrational as the basis for your support for these wrong headed interventions.

Hence the comment about wife-and-child-beating Taliban. Everyone knows the Taliban are zealots. There are many societies that don't conform to western "norms". Are you gonna change all of those societies? No, you're not.

So instead of pretending democracy is exportable, maybe Canada ought to do a better job of dealing with our own home grown deficits.

But pricks like you will no doubt be revealed to oppose social programs and anything else that interferes with capitalism's cure.

Anonymous said...

You're a fool, your post is full of so much dogma and unsupported statements of fact, including the good old demonization of capitalism, that one does not know where to start. You have nothing constructive to say, your tip-toeing around isolationism is laughable. Why don't you lay out for us your ideas as to how we should improve our relations with the Islamic world? Tell us what you think about Israel while you're at it.

I stand by my contention that you're a moron. I had no "over reaction [sic]" to the Lancet's lies, I see it as the fakery it is. Your leap regarding my opinion of social programs is also pathetic, it has no basis, just a stupid digression from out of nowhere. Your thought processes seem kind of wonky, disjointed.

Ottawa Watch said...

I support the war in Afghanistan because it is a proper and fitting response to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. I don't care about the Afghans. They can live as they please. I want the Sept. 11 planners brough to justice. If the Taliban handed over bin laden and his senior people, they could, and probably should, be part of a new government. They do have some political support. But, again, that's for the Afghans to decide.
As for Iraq, it was well contained before the invasion, and the effort expended in Iraq took away from the war against al Qaeda.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you, OW. September 11, 2006 was an act of war against Western democracies. Afghanistan is lucky there wasn't simply a volley of nukes headed their way.

Instead we removed a regime and are now involved in a reconstruction that will in all likelihood take between 5-20 years to complete.

If Afghanistan (via their overt support of Al Quaida) did what they did in the early 20th century do you think the Western response would have been remotely as diplomatic?

We are warring with one hand behind our back. Only time will tell if this is us taking the moral high road or simply a way to slit our own throats...

Anonymous said...

Oops - 2006 was a type-o...

johnny maudlin said...

Mark and Anonymous

And by the way, Mark is one without his thumb up his ass. Anonymous is the one with his thumb up his ass.

At what point do you accept that this modality of bringing the 911 planners to justice isn't quite working? How many Canadian soldiers should pay the price while Osama Bin Laden grows his beard longer in a cave on the border?

And Mark, I don't think the mission is what you've identified. I think the mission is to re construct the country and make sure the Taliban does not re take control.

Now, the fellow with his thumb deeply occupied. You are a funny and silly little bugger, aren't you. My thinking is "sort of wonky"? Make a committment for God's sake. It's either wonky or not.

Better I should be a clear thinker, like you, dragging my knuckles along the ground, snorting steam puffs, imagining how lucky those brown folks are we did not send nukes their way.

Don't be such a damn toss pot. Tell us what denomination of Christian you are and let's move on, because this is clearly what's behind your increasing frustration with the opposition to an ill concieved impossible war.

johnny maudlin said...

My plans for better relations with Islamic fundementalists

- Appoint Anonymous ambassador to all of Muslimdom for Canada. Sorry anonymous, I know how you dislike formality, but if you're going to represent your country, we'll have to capitalize your name.

- All Canadian troops off of Muslim lands unless there at the invitation of a government that is not a puppet of the United States of America.

- All foreign troops out of Mecca and Medina

- No Israeli settlement in the West Bank. None. None means not one, anonymous

- Elect a Canadian government with a leader other than Harper, who has demonstrated the same kind of supposed moral compass that is kept in a drawer with the holy water and crucifix.

Unfortunately, the brighter Ignatieff will not do because he has shown even a bright man can be totally wrong on foreign policy. Elect Rae.

- Have Canadians study the Koran a little. Like another book of what are essentially fairy stories, the Koran is interpreted by whomever however they want. Bring whomever and however to justice. But don't use the Canadian military for this task.

Anonymous said...

Johnny - Anonymous #2 here. I'm an agnostic so I'll let you figure out what denomination of Christian THAT is. I love how you lefties tend to compartmentalize everything. I guess it helps you make sense of the world if everyone to the right of you can be simply dismissed as a Catholic nutter.

Good of you to impose peace on the world when you yourself can't even have amiable discourse in the blogosphere. I shudder to think what sort of violence YOUR conduct would get us in an international context. You can't even have a conversation without having it degenerate into all-out warfare. A diplomat you are not, sir - you are more like Bush than you think. Perhaps your disdain of him arises out of the fact that there are aspects of your own conduct you do not like.

I was simply making the point that this war would have had a different outcome in any other era. If you attribute this to "knuckle dragging" forgive me if I don't believe that all of the world's woes can be solved with a hug and a hot orange toddy. You can wax philosophical all you like from your vitiolic pulpit but the fact of the matter remains that only the advent of time will tell who is right on the matter of Afghanistan. I was simply making the point that selective dismantling and reconstruction is a relatively new strategy in the art of war. Germany and Japan were beaten to the ground to a greater degree prior to any reconstruction taking place.

johnny maudlin said...

Anonymous (Number 2)

Let's see if we can mend a fence or two. You write reasonably well, and that includes your sentence construction and spelling.

So you have some education. That's good, I guess, except that I am often confounded as to why an educated person can be so stupid.

Your constructs of left and right are very yesterday, daddio. I am right, if you like, on matters of law and order.

But if you must use these constructs, we'll agree that I am right and you are wrong.

Violence?

The reference to dropping nukes and the reference to Japan and Germany being "pounded" prior to re construction suggests that I have accurately identified you as the city dwelling Sasquatch breed of which you are a member.

Should we discuss these thousands and thousands of dead and broken brown bodies in a polite fashion?

Now I understand you would like to dismiss the Lancet report out of hand. It allows you to ping from their overestimation and pong to your complete disregard for this straightforward and well documented fact:

More Americans have died in the so called war on terrorism than died in the crime for which the war is a response. Want to know why that is, my knuckle dragging friend?

Because there is no war on terror. That construct is something a toddler can see through. Who is terror? Where are terror's boundaries? What are the specific and demonstrable objectives that will let us know the war on terror has been successful?

It's comic books for adults like you, who never left the playground and the blind devotion and obedience to Mommy and Daddy, whether your own or George Bush.

You support this war on terror because you are pant pissing afraid to accept the alternative construct. Which is that the Islamic fundementalists have a legitimate set of grievances, like them or hate them, like their religious belief system or no (it's not substantially different than homo hating born again Christianity accept they will chop your head off because they happen to be quite frank in their methods)and a legitmate power base.

They are a fact of life. It surprises me that fact lovers, or supposed fact lovers of your ilk cannot come to terms with this.

They exist. All over the fucking world and it is the hidden agenda, of this I am certain, of latent racists like yourself to wipe them out. Why else the boner in your shorts about nukes? Why would you even go there?

Because you're intellectually impotent, that's why.

The war on terror, Iraq front and Afghanistan front, are already over. Folks know this, in the west and east, but it will take some time yet for those folks to weasle their way out the back door.

Anonymous said...

Johnny - latent racist? You are as astute as you are vitriolic. My close friends of the light brown persuasion are just a ruse. I plan on burning crosses on their lawns before any significant snow flies this autumn. That and I have to wait until Hedy Fry is in my area to bear witness to my KKK marshmallow roast.

Support for Afghanistan does not mean that I support the war in Iraq. You do realize that these are two different countries, right? One is a worldwide initiative and the other is a US quagmire...

A hardon for nuclear weapons? Once again, you rise to the rank of FBI profiler in probing my psyche, although my midlife colorectal probes have admittedly been more pleasant. I can't think of any better legacy to give my kids than a nice mushroom cloud.

Your claim of my tenuous grasp of "right" vs. "left" rhetoric is particularly bold in light of the fact that it was you who dismissed me as a Christian zealot for espousing right of centre views.

I will concede that not all of the fundamentalists' grievances are unfounded. I am sure that untowards conduct is going on in the Middle East in the name of capitalism. However, I don't think total eradication of the infidels some of the zealots are espousing is particularly constructive. Imagine the havoc on the US economy if they simply witheld their oil supplies. There's no need for bombs or terrorist attacks. Oh great, all this talk of more peaceful resolutions has left my private parts flaccid.

NOO - CUE - LAR WEAPONS. Ah, I'm back - this is better than Viagara....

johnny maudlin said...

Anonymous

We are making progress. I sense your knuckles have risen from the ground, by about a quarter of an inch.

That you have a wife and children is all the more reason that you smarten the fuck up. You and I happen to live in the land of good fortune, and we ought to set an example for others by making this land a better place for wives and children.

You are not totally clueless, anonymous. You have correctly, in one of your previous pieces of sniffery, identified me as an isolationist.

I am. One does not have to be happy to admit we have no real answers for the unfortunate humans in other places. Just intelligent.

It is dumb, nothing more complicated than dumb, to think you have the strategies or resources to change the way things are (and have been) in Afghanistan.

Mark my words, knuckle man, in five years Canadians will be out of that country and the country will be run by some form of Taliban style theocracy.

Ditto Iraq. Time will prove me right. But you don't have to wait, you are free to admit that now. And I think you and I can both submit an invoice to Mr. Bourrie for services rendered to his blog. Thank you. I am remain yours in the flame...

Anonymous said...

Johnny - I wasn't the poster calling you an isolationist. Credit goes to someone else for that one - although I don't think castigating you on a personal level was called for any more than your own ad hominems.

I wish I could revel in your isolationist utopia. Societies throughout history have taken it upon themselves to impose their will on others. Your ostrich stategy would only delay an inevitable Ottoman-esque confrontation.

Isolationist economies have empirical evidence refuting their efficacy - the most prosperous economies are the ones that engage in commerce with others. But since you called me "stupid" I am sure you are well versed in trade theory and finance with your opinions being predicated on same. Surely you can come up with an isolated economy that has prosperous and gainfully employed citizens....

johnny maudlin said...

Anonymous

I called you "stupid" in the loving way a teacher calls an errant student stupid. You have chosen to engage here and I shall honour that.

And you are god damn right I know about economic and trade theory. I know enough to know I'm late for work and will get traded to another company if I don't release the computer.

I shall respond when I am done earning a living and re paying my borrowed money, thanks to the wonderful system you appear to have affection for...

Yours in the snidery of cyberspace...

johnny maudlin said...

Anonymous

Quickly, because you have provoked me: are you insensate? Do you really truly believe we are looking down the barrel at the rise of a new Ottoman empire?

Christ. This is worse than I thought.

Because I want to trade running shoes for wheat, I must follow George Bush into the suicidal killing fields?

Let's trade for heroin then. Osama has some friends who have a bunch. Don't let's make this completely cartoons, anonymous.

It is not black and white, you know that and so do I. You think we should be out there cleaning up the mess? Let's get to Darfur then, and on the double, soldier.

By the way, if you are so fucking fond of guns as the solution, why are you not over there yourself? Does that seem too crude a question to ask? It's not.

It's the basic. If you love your own children then how dare you send other's to an unwinnable war?

Anonymous said...

Mark,

So you'd have no problem with Ian going off to war? Really?

johnny maudlin said...

Anonymous

I think you and I have extended Mark's blogspitality enough. We won't agree. Let me leave it this way; things are not black and white, really, very often.

Constructs like left and right and centre have less meaning now than even before. A new language is required for these discussions.

I am a rude bastard.

Let's see...what else:

Take note of the comments tendered by the top soldier in the U.K. and please let's not dismiss this man, on the one hand, and on the other pay endless lip service to military folks being the court of last resort.

I saw Bob Dylan play last night. His Masters of War was never more relevant. Best to you and your kids, and sort of sorry for the unnecessary roughness, but it's only cyber and roll...

Ottawa Watch said...

Do I like what's going on? No. I think a lot of people like my who have studied military history know why Iraq is a mess and Afghanistan has dragged on too long.
To win a war, you must put boots on the ground. The enemy must be overwhelmed and his ability to continue to fight must be destroyed. Hit-and-run tactics do not win wars. Wars are not won from behind "green lines".
If you do not commit the ncessary resources and willpower, you cannot win. In Afghanistan, that required the deployment of several mechanised divisions to control the roadways and open areas, plus the deployment of overwhelming numbers of infantry, supported by airpower. It meant chasing the enemy, no matter where they went. And it meant declaring victory not when the country was rebuilt, but at the time the enemy was destroyed. Quite simply, it meant playing to win.
There were enough military resources in the West to win a limited war against militant Islamicism in Afghanistan (i.e. killing Taliban fighters). It was unreasonable to expect the Afghans themselves to radically change their society, but a regime like Karzai's could have been installed, and disarmed Muslim conservatives do have teh right to be represented in any Afghan government that claims to be democratic.
By stretching this thing -- a peacetime war in a time of tax cuts -- to include Iraq simply cannot work. Two major campaigns require a restructuring of the economy into a wartime economy, and it requires conscription. Now, everyone knows the wheels would completely come off the Bush administration if it brought in a draft and a wartime economic management system. The reason's clear: the war in Iraq does not have the public support -- the public anger -- that is necessary to justify such a major wrenching of society. What is the Afghan war about? It's supposed to be about avenging 9-11, catching and/or killing those responsible. What is the war in Iraq about? I honestly can't say. The US attacked one of the few secular poswers in the Mid-east, paving the way for an Islamcist, or several Islamist, successor states. At the same time, Iran, an Islamist state which we know funds terrorists, including Hezbollah, and is busy building weapons of mass destruction, is under far less pressure than Saddam was before the Iraq invasion.
In the end, another 9-11 is as possible today as it was five years ago.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant analysis, OW...

johnny maudlin said...

Mark

You're saying, if I may be so bold as to summarize your post, that this effort in Afghanistan has not worked. It seems to me it's fair to measure war, like any other enterprise that promises results, by it's results.

In about one hour the Canadian army will likely announce another of our soldiers has died in Afghanistan. For what, Mark?

Given all the evidence that this effort is failing, and for the reasons you have highlighted, why should one more young soldier die?

Ottawa Watch said...

War can only be measured by success or failure on the battlefield. The only way a soldier's life is worth anything is if his country and his comrades do as much as they can to win.
What is the goal of Canadian troops in Afghanistan? Is it to kill and capture guerillas in southern Afghanistan? And when, and by what means, can success be measured? These are questions that need to be answered by policy makers.
I do believe that the military forces of NATO and other countries, under the auspices of the UN, can, if the will is there, kill tens of thousands of al Quada and Taliban, destroy their provisions, root out the opium crops that pay them, and cut off their supplies and reinforcements from foreign powers. The will, so far, is not there.
I do not believe conservative Islam can be rooted out of Afghanistan, nor do I think we have the right to try to do that. We can, however, make sure that any Afghan who wants to work with the likes of al Quada will be very, very worried that he will die for doing so.

johnny maudlin said...

Mark

For God's sake, what do you imagine the consequences might be for killing this many Muslims?

Do these folks impress you as fearing death? They line up for the chance. You want to accomodate them?

Do you think they can find Ottawa on a map? Your children's school? The local mall? A bus anywhere,anytime?

It's madness to try and fight their fire with our own. We cannot and will not win. The alternative is to show them, directly and indirectly, and show the people everywhere, what we can offer here. If this is the freedom they want, then let them fight for it the way we have.

Anonymous said...

But.......you haven't answered my question.

What if it was your son?

Ottawa Watch said...

I would be very sad, especially if my son's life was wasted in a half-assed PR exercise, instead of a real attempt to solve a problem. In this case, the problem is Afghan and pakistan-based terroprist attacks on the West, sponsored with Saudi money.
I would also cry if my son was killed in a bomb attack on a subway, or my daughter was blown up while visiting Parliament Hill. The very first job of any government is protecting its citizens. About 150 Canadian sons and daughters -- all innocent non-combatants -- were murdered on Sept. 11 by terrorists whose leaders are sheltered by the Taliban and Pakistan. What do we tell their parents?

johnny maudlin said...

Mark

We tell their parents to sort the fucker out themselves. That sounds mean and dumb, I suppose. But that's what we tell them.

If you don't like the Taliban then take the bastards down yourselves. And if they say the Taliban will kill them, then we say, apparently.

What more do we need to see? These religious zealots look the same as anyone else. They melt down and re constitute themselves.

They will probably come into some faux peace talks in a year or two, agree to stop being such pricks and then get on with the Buddha statue demolitions and wife and child beating program the minute we are back to Tim Horton's and Hockey Night in Canada.

It's dark, but there it is.

We're done, like dinner, Mark. No win situation, even Jesus is on vacation.