Thursday, November 16, 2006

this is, to a certain extent, a leap of faith, me writing this, because i don't actually believe that anyone reads this blog, since i don't pimp it to anyone, even my friends. but i do believe that the logosphere (for lack of a better term) has something of a life of its own, and that an idea, once floated, can have an effect, simply by being out there.

i suppose what i'm saying is, in effect, that the tree does make a sound, even if noone is there to hear it.

so here's my brilliant idea for what to do about iraq. it's got a couple of moving parts, but it goes something like this:

first step, partition kurdistan and let the kurds have their own country, defended, if need be, by the same no-fly zones that we and the brits maintained to protect them from saddam. you never hear about it, but the kurds are the one good thing, aside from the actual ouster of saddam, that have come from w's war. they've got the beginnings of a representational democracy, enough oil to jump-start an economy, and the peshmerga for keeping their borders secure. sure, turkey'll squawk over it, since they love to oppress their own kurdish minority and don't want them getting any ideas, but maybe we can get the europeans to make it a part of the deal for entering the european union, which the turks would dearly love to do.

that leaves the sunnis and the shiites, who're already fighting a civil war, even if the western media refuses to call it that (kind of like they refuse to call darfur a genocide). whether we stay or not, it's going to get really ugly, and the sunnis are going to lose, because the shiites not only outnumber them by a factor of five or six, and have a few decades' worth of pent-up resentment from sunni oppression under saddam and his ba'ath party goons. we can't really partition them apart, because the shiites would get all the oil and the sunnis won't stand for that kind of marginalization.

so here's what we do: we relocate the sunnis, to america if necessary. it seems only fair, since we screwed up the chance for them to stay and participate in iraq's new beginning. sure, it would be expensive, but almost undoubtedly less so than maintaining our occupation in iraq, and it would buy us some much needed goodwill in the world, especially the middle east.

there are undoubtedly a million problems with this solution (just like every other solution currently on the table), but if we can obviate the sectarian tensions, then the iraqis have a much better chance of making it, and we can bring the vast majority of the troops home.

just a thought.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

hurray for the good guys, by which i mean the less-bad guys. like much of the country, if you believe the pundits' spin on the exit polls, what this guy wanted was for america to dtmfa. not that i believe that the democrats have a better agenda. maybe secretly they do (universal health care, anyone?), but they certainly lack the cojones to enunciate what's in their hearts with any specificity.
no, the reason this is good news is because america, like capitalism, works by not working. we've seen from the disasters of the last six years what one-party rule does for the country. without the check of an opposition (or oppositions) with real power, ideology trumps practicality, and shit stops working. america is, first and foremost, a framework for settling arguments, a set of rules by which competing factions that don't agree can split the difference and find a working solution.
checks and balances. they don't call it the golden mean for nothing.
this is one reason i've always had a bit more sympathy for democrats than republicans, even though classic conservatism (the old school variety) usually has a stronger intellectual argument. the democrats (minus the radical lefties, who are cute and funny), despite their many failings, are willing to hear other points of view, especially from each other, and even occasionally have been known to change their minds.
another upshot of the election, i hope, is the end of base politics in general, and republican base politics in particular. extremists aren't very good at working through differences and making compromises; they kind of need absolute power so as to carry out their agenda without adulteration or dilution of any sort, and we all know how well that works out.
so, anyway, hurray for america. the system works (sort of, anyway, enough to correct itself every now and again).

Friday, November 03, 2006

it's been almost three weeks since i quit smoking again, but only in the last couple of days has it really bothered me. for most of the time, it's been like a psycho ex-girlfriend: i missed it some, but knew i had to let it go, and the knowledge comforted me, provided that degree of distance and insulation you need to let your better instincts rule over your animal desires. what always killed me before was the anxiety, that gut-level panicked feeling that something was horribly, horribly wrong. today that feeling has overwhelmed me again. i can't think, can't string more than a thought and a half together. and while i know that it's just my biochemistry adjusting, and that it's actually a good thing, since all this shit would otherwise have lived inside of me forever instead of being processed out, the knowledge is intellectual, lacking the immediacy of lived experience. it's okay. i know it's okay, and that in the end i'll be glad of it, but right now i'm freaking the fuck out and i'm not really sure what to do about it.
that must be why i'm blogging, since i never blog. i only keep this thing open because i really like the name i put on it. i was sure that i'd post regularly, even though my internet access is sporadic. god knows i've got more than enough to say on my favorite subjects, especially politics. some people follow sports. i think it's kind of silly how into it people get, but i also recognize that i'm in the minority on this, and i hardly begrudge people anything that makes them happy, that puts passion in their lives and gives them something to relate to strangers about.
i just don't seem to have that gene.
i tell myself that i'm just trying to be an informed citizen, that i'm just doing due diligence, but there's definitely more to it than that. my behavior patterns vis a vis the blogworld and the universe of discourse have something of the addictive to them.
after all, if i was motivated by the desire to add to the discourse, to actually make some effort to change the fucked-up shit, instead of just yammering on to whoever happens to be willing to listen, i'd be doing more than just spending hours on end in the coffee shop riding the free wireless wave to the land of them what already agree with me, at least substantially.
but what?