Friday, May 28, 2004

"He's mad, I tell you!"

Anybody else notice that John Podhoretz's reaction to Gore's speech is extraordinarily reminiscent of the stereotypical scene in most detective-style movies where the villian, upon accusation from the protagonist, starts yelling "he's mad!"

How else to explain this?

was wrong. There is no way of knowing how he would have responded, because it is now clear that Al Gore is insane.

I don't mean that his policy ideas are insane, though many of them are. I mean that based on his behavior, conduct, mien and tone over the past two days, there is every reason to believe that Albert Gore Jr., desperately needs help. I think he needs medication, and I think that if he is already on medication, his doctors need to adjust it or change it entirely.
There is no way, whatsoever, that that could be taken seriously. Saying Gore is wrong is one thing... that I could understand. To claim that former vice president Gore is "crazy" is so bizarrely wrong that it defies explanation.

It just seems like they aren't even really trying anymore.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Nice Name

In case you were wondering, however, Rising Hegemon isn't me.

Nice stuff, though.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Rummy in Iraq

So far, this hasn't been overly impressive. Other than the "hoooooah" bits, it's been the standard "support the troops" stuff and Rumsfeld obliquely blaming the media for everything.

Yes, it sounds like the troops back him, but keep in mind that they've likely been carefully screened. Anybody who would scream "you sold us out, you bastard" is no doubt elsewhere.


Anybody else notice the title and thrust of this english language Al-Jazeera story? "Bloggers doubt Berg execution video".

Huh. that connection was something I didn't expect. I don't think it's quite accurate- most of the doubting has been by discussion forum denizens and not blog writers- but the specific story isn't as important as the fact that someone writing for Al-Jazeera, of all sources, built a story on "bloggers" instead of either using them as unacknowledged background or within the context of "what's with these weird online guys". No doubt that this is because Al-Jazeera is pretty eager to shift the blame for this thing; they want to keep the thought alive that maybe the Americans killed their own.

(I personally think that's damned near impossible, by the by. The propaganda benefit by that would be dwarfed by the potential damage were it revealed.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

The Video

You know what I'm talking about.

Yes, I've seen it.

Yes, I really wish I hadn't.

No, it really doesn't change much, objectively speaking. There have been rather a lot of deaths of innocents (and combatants) in Iraq, and this one poor victim doesn't really change that. It doesn't change the challenges and problems of the situation, although I expect that the media is going to be all over it tomorrow. It will almost certainly harden American hearts towards the Iraqis, as people blame the whole country (and the prisoners, many of whom are innocent) for what happened, and begin to excuse the treatment of the prisoners by claiming that this was worse.

(They're right in that it is worse, unless there were even worse aspects to the torture that haven't come out yet, which is actually possible. They're wrong, however, in believing that this changes the morality of the treatment of the prisoners).

Rationally, I know that this is par for the course in warfare, and the biggest difference is that the internet allows things like this to be disseminated... and that we don't often get an unfiltered look at the reality of warfare. I know that this is the world that we must face, and that whether we face it or not, it will remain regardless.

That knowledge, however, isn't going to help me sleep tonight.

Monday, May 10, 2004

New Blogger Interface

Welp, once again they've rejiggered the thing. Seems roughly the same, except with more rounded tabs and a different color scheme.

On the plus side, though, I really like the preview trick.

Edit: Ok, some of the stuff that they've added is actually pretty compelling. I've been thinking about switching templates for a while, and the comments system may turn out to be of more use than the (admittedly aging) YACCS system I've been using for a while.

Plus, a template shift would be in keeping with the name change and tone change that I've been contemplating as well. The situation in blogdom is very different than when I started, and the condition of conservative intellectual hegemony that I originally started this blog to combat has given way to an online reflection of the brutal polarization that is taking over American political culture. (And, to a lesser extent, world political culture.)

(Note that the hegemony wasn't really taken away, but just sort of given up; conservative bloggers have been astoundingly uninteresting, formulaic, and trite over the last while.)

On the other hand, redoing all the links is going to be a hassle.

I'll figure it out soon enough.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

The Abu Ghraib Issue

I'm not about to blog on this issue extensively; it's been well covered by other bloggers, especially Josh Marshall (latest entry here).

What I will mention is that this is going to throw the perceived hypocrisy of the democratic North (in the eyes of the rest of the world) into sharp relief. The core of the "we like Americans, but don't like their government" concept is that while the United States (among other states) considers democracy and human rights precious within its borders, it is perfectly willing to sacrifice them outside said borders to forward its interests. Hence the reason so many people loathe the United States' foreign policy at the same time as they're desperately trying to immigrate; they know that democratic ideals often lose out to raw realist "national interest" once you cross those lines.

This was always the dangerous part about using humanitarian arguments for justifying the intervention. They were always plausible, theoretically, as long as the United States could be seen as having its collective "heart in the right place", even while it was prone to mistakes caused by cultural ignorance. (Such as tromping around Mosques in army boots and the like). Even the horrible pictures and footage that show up on Al Jazeera could be explained away as "collateral damage" or tragic mistakes. These photos, obviously, are not tragic mistakes, and will be seen as systemic failures no matter how many cries of "isolated incident" rise up from those whose careers depend on people buying that argument.

Without that flimsy veneer, the humanitarian arguments are valueless, and at this point nothing else is left. Except maybe for the "removing a threat to Israel's security" bit, and having a huge unstable hole at the centre of the Middle East isn't in Israel's interest, any more than it is the United States'. Thus, the United States is left fighting a war without any real purpose, except trying to fend off the consequences of invading in the first place. Nobody is going to accept that, and the realities of trying to fight such a war is going to make the situation, if anything, worse than Vietnam.