Friday, October 27, 2006

Where is the "Movement"?

I need to check this more, but as far as I recall, at no stage during the Vietnam war was less than 50% of the public in support of the war. [And this was at a period of a better educated, and more news-paper reading public.] Now opposition to the War is vast, and the extent of the catastrophe, both for Iraqis, and general world stability, is evident to a majority.

So where is the "movement."?

Medieval Video from the 1980s

Noted by Andrew Sullivan 10/27/2004

Andrew has been running a whole series of links to YouTubes of Best and and Worst Eighties videos. Personally I found his link to Freddy Mercury and Queen's I Want to Break Free brought on many fond memories.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

New Jersey

Damn, this gay marriage thing was tough to understand and to decide what was best outcome at this time in New Jersey.

I did not want to give Karl Rove anything to stop the GOP getting screwed on November 7th.

And when I heard it was a 4/3 decision, I thought "damn, even New Jersey has three judges against us." Until I realized that the three dissenters wanted full marriage for gays in name also. The majority "just" wanted all the rights and privileges, but allowed the legislature to decided what name to give the institution, and told lesbian and gay people to get to work persuading their neighbours to accept them.

NO JUDGE DISSENTED from the decision that gay and lesbian couples deserve equality.

It's a brilliant decision given the timing: nothing to rile the Christianists to get out to vite, but it will create another civil union state.

Andrew Sullivan's prediction of a patchwork of development for gay marriage, made eight years ago, is coming true.

As a historian I know that social mores can change within a matter of months: but the trend to accept legal gay unions is probably now unstoppable in Western Civilization.

In the long run, Western Civilization will die. Later civilizations will have different sets of familial institutions and rules (clones can't marry clones, perhaps). Who knows? But in our episteme, "Gay is Good" is rapidly becoming "Gay is Boringly Normal."

It's a WIN all round for gays and lesbians.

Until the next episteme that is.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Messing Up Iraq

The US and its sidekick the UK have messed up Iraq. Saddam was clearly an awful thug, and he and his henchmen perpetrated war crimes such as genocide against elements of the population.

Despite that, for the majority of people living there, life was a reasonably secure one, in which clans kept social order, and where there were highly developed educational and professional streams. There was almost no sectarian violence, Christians lived freely, urban women did not wear the hijab, could drive, and life could go on.

It's hard to imagine the most pro-American/pro-British Iraqi thinking that things have got better in any way since the invasion. Indeed, one proposal tossed around the US media is to try to find strongman (like Assad, Saddam, or Mubarak) to get the country under control.

Either the US and UK need to get out now, admit their screw up, and stand by guiltily as the Iraqis forge some sort of order. Chaos never goes on for ever. I suspect that the main reason for not doing this is that Iran will emerge as a greater regional power.

Or perhaps the US and UK need to go to war. I mean really go to war to win, and commit enough forces to suppress insurgents.

Without Bush's (or more probably Rumsfeld and Cheney's) messed up initial war, the situation would be so much better now. They could have followed Colin Powell and sent 500,000 troops in.

And the US had the troops: it just did not use them.

The United States Army as of 2004, consisted of 494,295 soldiers on active duty, 342,918 in the Army National Guard (ARNG) and 204,134 in the United States Army Reserve (USAR). [Wikipedia]

The Marines as of 2005 had 180,000 active duty and 40,000 reserves. [Wikipedia]

The U.S. Navy currently numbers nearly 500,000 men and women on active duty or in the Navy Reserve and operates 282 ships and more than 4,000 aircraft. [Wikipedia]

The Airforce has 352,000 men and women on duty. [Wikipedia]

Altogether that is 2,113,000 active and reserve duty military. Perhaps another half million were available in potential coalition partners.

A real war, using the power available has not been fought, and it is a prime duty of those who engage in war to commit to winning it. In this above all, the "easy" air-strike wars of the 1990s lead to a massive misjudgement by the US leadership. It is this leadership which thus bears the direct responsibility for Iraq.

The choice now is not to "stay the course", but to either fight the war with the resources necessary to win, or quit.

The big problem with all this is that it may be too late. If it is too late, there is only one logical conclusion. Withdraw. Admit yet another American defeat.

And then settle down to dealing with Iran.