Friday, September 30, 2011

Murder Most Foul

"Murder most foul, as in the best it is;
But this most foul, strange and unnatural."
- Hamlet, Act 1, Scene V.

Anwar al-Awlaki is dead.

The US Defense Department and the Yemeni Ministry of Defense announced that al-Awlaki had been killed by a missile fired by a pilotless drone aircraft. A "targeted killing," in the tortured parlance of the day.

The Israelis do targeted killings all the time, routinely picking off members of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad with only the mildest of strongly-worded letters from the United States. Of course, we expect such behavior from the Israelis.

Al-Awlaki was born in the United States, in New Mexico back in 1971. He held dual citizenship from the USA and Yemen. Nevertheless, having been born in the United States he was an American citizen.

Now, it is a matter of fact that he wrote and said many things that inspired, educated and justified terrorists and would-be jihadis.

But so have Glenn Beck and Bernard Goldberg:
2009 Pittsburgh Police Shootings
2008 Knoxville Church Shootings

But we can't target them, you argue - they're American citizens, and have the right to freely express their opinions! All they do is talk!


Just like Anwar al-Awlaki.

Probably right up to the moment the missile hit.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Mark of Cain

Straw polls don't mean much.

Back in the deeps of summer, Iowa held a straw poll. It was observed at the time that only the most dedicated, passionate, or just plain bullfruit crazy actually turn out to vote in a straw poll held at a state fair. It's so easy to get addled on deep-fried butter, it seems.

So the insane of Iowa chose Michele "Crazy Eyes" Bachmann.

Last week, the GOP candidate field assembled in Florida for yet another round of useless circle jerking before the actual primaries begin next year. After the 'debate' (of which more later), another useless straw poll was held.

And Herman Cain, the jiveass preacher/former Godfather's Pizza CEO/bullgoose loony/'safe' Republican African-American candidate, won. By double digits over the next highest in the poll, (p)Rick Perry of Texas. The Romneybot came in third, and the rest of the field - well, they were insignificant before the vote, and they're insignificant afterward.

Yeah, we're in for a rough campaign season.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The M2C Sports Desk - 2011 Season!

The 2011 NFL season started off with a bang, with last year's Super Bowl winner - the Green Bay Packers - beating the Saints on a Thursday night.

Things went crazy on Sunday when, amid the hoopla and solemnly overdone remembrance ceremonies for 9/11, the rest of the four teams in the NFC South failed to come away with a win. Of all the divisions in the league, only the NFC South came up goose-eggs.

Which made me laugh.

What made me laugh harder was that my favorite team, the Oakland Raiders, beat the Denver Broncos on a late Monday night game. The win breaks an opening-day losing streak going back to 2002 (which was the last year Oakland went to the Super Bowl) so the portents are good.

The Bucs and Cowboys and Miami lost. Hooray!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Question: What's the Difference Between 9/11 and a Cow?

Answer: You can't keep milking the cow for ten years.

Black Tuesday was a tragedy. Yes, it was a crime perpetrated by people who deliberately put themselves beyond the pale of civilized behavior as we understand it. While the radical's motives were unjustifiable to us, their motives were perfectly justifiable to them. They shall not be revisited here, in the interest of brevity.

However, what happened after 9/11/01 was not a crime. It was worse. It was a mistake.

As the dust and debris settled, the rest of the world stood with us. Even Iran and the PLO, for Cthulhu's sake, supported us. NATO activated the collective security clause of the North Atlantic Treaty out of sympathy for our cause. As the injured party (and there is no doubt we were injured on that day) we had the moral high ground.

We squandered that moral position, so badly that now not even the British trust our motives unreservedly any longer - so much for the "special relationship." We beat down the Taliban in Afghanistan, and had al Qaeda pinned down in the Tora Bora region. Then, we took the eye off the prize and went haring off to attack Iraq.

We had no business attacking Iraq. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, and none of the 19 hijackers were Iraqis (fourteen were Saudis, but we didn't invade Saudi Arabia for it). Saddam and Osama mutually loathed each other - Saddam considered Osama to be a religious extremist troublemaker, while Osama considered Saddam to be a socialist secularist apostate. I watched and listened to Colin Powell prostituting himself at the UN Security Council, and I was unconvinced that we had any casus belli in Iraq.

Shortly after we invaded Iraq, one of my coworkers (who gets all his news from Fox and told me that we were at war and that I should shut up and follow the President. I pointed out that that's a pretty slavish and servile thing to do in a democracy, war or not - and besides, I asked, if we were truly at war, why weren't taxes up? Why weren't we conscripting? In response, he called me a liberal (which is wrong on several fronts).

We gave up our moral position, and frittered away the respect that we once enjoyed. And anyone will tell you that respect, once lost, takes a hell of a long time to gain back.

We borrowed, hand over fist, with ruinous consequences for our economy. Osama said himself that he didn't NEED to defeat the USA militarily - all he had to do was bleed us white economically. I will state, here and now, that he won that fight, with a lot of help from a bunch of greedy bastards in this country and in Europe.

We have stretched our military forces - the finest body of fighting men and women on Earth - to the breaking point and even beyond in some cases.

We have vomited up some of our most cherished ideals, including the idea that we can be secure in our homes, property, persons, etc. from government intrusion. We have willfully violated international treaties, which under our Constitution have the force and effect of Federal law.

And so matters stand, ten years on.

Ten years ago, I quoted Aeschylus: "Cry sorrow, sorrow - yet let Good prevail!"

Good has not prevailed.