March 01, 2005

Bloody Hell

Pinko Feminist Hellcat with commentary on Bob Herbert's column on Maher Arar, the Canadian deported to Syria by the US for torture and interrogation. Let's see if the wiseacre in the comments of my recent post on Syria, who suggested that I admired the country's policies simply because I think the Assad regime is possibly smarter than the Bush regime, can figure out how I feel about that. (Hint: One correct answer rhymes with 'missed', starts with a 'p', and doesn't begin to adequately cover it. Bonus question: How much faith do I have in said commentor's reading comprehension skills? Hint: Answer rhymes with 'sherry brittle'.)

Dave Neiwert talked about the horrible killings in Chicago, where the husband and mother of a judge targeted by a white supremacist were found dead in her house when she got home. He has more to say about recently emboldened hate groups at large in America. Finally, read his post on the Bush family's ongoing history of making money off of, and/or allying with, dictators.

Majikthise tackles the repeated assertions that the Guckert/Gannon story is about homophobia.

Think Progress knows how to make Frank Luntz miserable, hat tip to dKos.

A dKos diarist explains that the abortion issue is about women, just in case anyone was confused.

Morgaine talks about the alarming levels of perchlorate rocket fuel in breastmilk. If I didn't already know for a fact that this was some silly pinko enviroweenie issue, I could almost trick myself into believing that it was a vitally important public health and family values concern.

For a real family values issue, head over to World O'Crap, where our intrepid author and her readers review Christian horror flicks.

Ms. Magazine notes that the 'where are all the women' discussion happened at no less respectable an outlet than the LA Times (it's not confined to the blogosphere), click over to read part of Susan Estrich's response. Also, a pointer to the definitive book on hating women in American culture, and a group of activist moms who decided to organize a support structure that allows busy moms to run for office.

Lisa Dusseault writes about the copycat suicide phenomenon.

Making light points to a pretty astonishing series of posts on mother drive-bys, the term for making nasty comments about other people's parenting.

Dave Pollard discusses the merits of balkanization, and takes some potshots at economies of scale.

And for our capper, the State Department's report on Iraqi human rights abuses in 2004 is out. This bit is just classic:

...The allegations of abuses by an Iraqi government installed by the United States and still heavily influenced by it provided an unusual element to the larger report. The report did not address incidents in Iraq in which Americans were involved, like the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, which came to light in 2004.

A senior State Department official said the criticism of Iraq was in keeping with the administration's approach. "What it shows is that we don't look the other way," the official said. "There are countries we support and that are friends, and when they have practices that don't meet international standards, we don't hesitate to call a spade a spade."

The official said Iraqi officials accepted that there had been problems and were correcting their practices. "The Iraqis are not in denial on this," the official added. ...

Well, I have to hand it to the new Iraqi puppet government for at least not being in denial about engaging in torture. That'll come when they get more practice, but for now, we can enjoy their refreshing frankness.

Posted by natasha at March 1, 2005 12:26 AM | Recommended Reading | Technorati links |

Perhaps you'd like to explain what makes a government that has been democratically elected a "puppet" government?

Posted by: Alois at March 3, 2005 10:33 AM

You refer to the new Iraqi government as a puppet government. Please provide evidence to support your claim. Apparently your overarching assumption is that all the otherwise-utopian world's problems have their roots in US hegemony, that Islamofascists are merely attempting to counter US policy and that if we left them alone, they would leave us alone.
You imply that the Iraqi elections were a fraud.
When was the last time one third of the US electorate went to the polls in risk of their very lives? Even Kofi Annan, champion of liberal global utopianism, has praised these Iraqi elections. See link to UN:

Posted by: Klaus at March 3, 2005 11:10 AM

I think it was a casual remark, not that big a deal. But it did suggest that Iraq's new government was installed rather than elected. I imagine millons of Iraqi voters would violently disagree. Iraq's capacity for sovereignty and self-government has been so badly miscalculated it borders on racism.

It's a paradox.The victims of a former Totalitarian Police State have their first tentative shot at a Democratically-elected government, which is good for Iraqi citizens, but their concerns are beside the point, we have a bigger crisis. It risks making U.S. foreign policy appear to support Iraqi self-determination, we can't have that, Iraq's elected government can't possibly valid.

Or, maybe it is a false election. Maybe millions of Iraqis flooded the streets and walked to their local polling places, being dragged along by invisible puppet strings?

Underestimating the seriousness of Iraqi voters is a bad idea. It's possible to disagree with U.S. foreign policy and support Iraq's emerging democratic voice without contradiction.

Posted by: michael at March 3, 2005 03:20 PM

michael said:

Underestimating the seriousness of Iraqi voters is a bad idea. It's possible to disagree with U.S. foreign policy and support Iraq's emerging democratic voice without contradiction.

Exactly. In spades

Posted by: Alois at March 3, 2005 03:41 PM

michael said:

"Underestimating the seriousness of Iraqi voters is a bad idea. It's possible to disagree with U.S. foreign policy and support Iraq's emerging democratic voice without contradiction."

I must take issue with a point here: One cannot separate U.S. foreign policy in Iraq from Iraq's emerging democracy. The election is a direct product of U.S. foreign policy. The election IS U.S. foreign policy. The two are inseparable. U.S. foreing policy alone is to be credited that such an election has taken place. U.S. foreign policy here is a GOOD THING. Perhaps it's time THAT sentiment came back into vogue.

Posted by: Klaus at March 3, 2005 04:41 PM

Perhaps none of you are aware that Iraq's recently elected officials haven't actually formed a government yet? US appointees are still running quite a bit.

And it's a bit rich to suggest that my critique borders on racism when numerous prominent right wing commentators and the entire lgf community engage openly in appalling racism that no one in the mainstream media ever seems to notice.

Yet that isn't even the silliest point in the blind nonsense I'm reading about these supposed put-downs of the Iraqi's ability to self-govern. Imagine, if you will, that a dictator rises up in the US and kills or exiles every single elected official, paid party apparatchik, and successful grassroots organizer in both the Democratic and Republican parties. Then this hypothetical dictator outlaws the Green and Libertarian parties, though they sort of limp along as loose affinity groups. For 40 years, this hypothetical dictator puts their own people in power, demands loyalty to his own party to have any kind of civil job (which in Iraq's system of state-owned industry meant a huge chunk of the available jobs), and kills anyone thought to be organizing anything against him. Now imagine that he gets overthrown and elections are called. Who do you vote for?

One cannot separate U.S. foreign policy in Iraq from Iraq's emerging democracy. The election is a direct product of U.S. foreign policy.

Actually, the direct election part was Ayatollah Sistani's idea. Bush was going to have nominating caucuses, the winners of which would then go on to determine the government. But Sistani kept pushing until they had to relent and consent to direct elections.

Still, it remains to be seen how independent the new government will be of America and Iran both.

America holds the lives of all these newly elected people in its hands, as I think much evidence indicates that insurgents are ready and eager to murder anyone working with the Americans as police or army trainees, translators, or participants in the new government. The question of whether any of these people would be alive 48 hours after a troop withdrawal is a pressing one, and I've no doubt that all of them know it. An indicator of policy independence from the Bush administration would be if they reversed Bremer's decree banning union organizing, allowed Arab media to operate in the country, or began insisting that reconstruction jobs go to the skilled but enemployed Iraqi population.

Regarding Iran, with whom the Shias have a very close relationship, everyone knows that Iranian influence is inevitable. The form it will take is unknowable, but the degree to which Sharia law is enacted and gender-based restrictions made mandatory will be one good indication of how close they are to Iran. External matters such as their relationships with Israel and Syria may also depend on how tight the new leadership feels they have to be with their influential neighbor.

I do indeed hope things go well for them over there, but considering their sentiment, I'm aware that the better things go for them, the worse they will probably go for the US.

Posted by: natasha at March 3, 2005 08:51 PM