CNN.com - Iraqi PM to Congress: Baghdad wants to be regional stabilizer - July 26, 2006

The address given before Congress today by the newly affirmed Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has given hope to many who see Iraq as America's most important ally in the Middle East. Speaking before a joint session, al-Maliki showed just how much the Iraqi political scene has matured since the fall of Baghdad in 2003, and in his carefully crafted address he made very candid and direct remakes on the failure of Islam to rise to the challenges laid before it by the realities of the modern world. In a manner uncharacteristic of Muslim politicians, the Prime Minister earnestly expressed his gratitude to the members of Congress, as well as family members of US servicemen that have given their lives in the last three years. If the entire Muslim world spoke with such a voice, united against terror, the Middle East would be much easier for American's to visit. That said, if the Israelis didn't act so belligerently it may be a little more enjoyable to live in the desert. If we don't change our Mid-East policy to reflect the reality of American self-interest, which is witnessing a free and mature Iraqi government emerge as our best friend in the region, bar-none.


Bush Veto's Hopes of Millions

New York Times: First Bush Veto Maintains Limits on Stem Cell Use

Bio-ethics is going to be an issue that politicians must confront for the remainder of human existence. Today's veto of a stem cell bill passed by the Congress is the boldest move yet taken by a politician in the United States to fundamentally hinder the natural progression of human ingenuity and innovative capacity. I believe the response from Tony Snow, White House spokesman, to reporters questions about why the President had decided to veto the bill was that, "The President doesn't believe in murder." Wow, can anybody else believe that? Not to mention the amateurish bluster of an otherwise distinguished and reasonable political mind, the White House is actually going to have that little regard for our intelligence? How could they have such nerve to paint this issue in such black and white moralistic terms, calling genuine scientific research which nobody argues is being conducted for the greater good of humanity "murder."

I wonder how many American's believe that to be the case? Now that I have asked the question I am scared to find out the answer.

Well, I've done the Google Search and I found this article in Forbes published yesterday, which puts the percentage of moral advocates at roughly 66% of Americans. This number isn't as frightening as I had feared it would be, but only 2-1 margin? The only excuse for such a large proportion of an educated and modernized populous to be totally ignorant to the realities of stem cell research and its potential is an absolute lack of effect conveyance of message by the organizations advocating its advancement.

I feel that the president probably did more damage to his party and his conservative agenda by forthrightly issuing today's veto, when it may have been more politically responsible to "table veto," or pretend to think about signing the bill, then after ten days of no action it is automatically vetoed. But who the hell am I, and if I were advising the president I would have urged him to sign it. I hope the next Republican president has the sense to undo what was done today, as well as rescind the president's 2001 Executive Order limiting federal funding for stem cell research, because the future of degenerative disease is hanging in the balance.


Sunni's Have Only Saddam to Blame

Many Sunnis now say they need U.S. protection - Africa & Middle East - International Herald Tribune

For twenty-five years Saddam Hussein and his Ba'ath Party ruled a secular Iraq with an iron fist, which is the reason why American policymakers have been reluctant to reach out to Sunni militants, who have shown an almost urgent desire to make peace and begin the healing process. It is hard to argue with US officials who are unwilling to compromise with terrorists, which I believe the insurgents truly are. However, three years on and bombs are still ripping through Baghdad cafes weekly during "peaceful" periods, and daily during times of terror and violence. Unfortunately for the Sunni militants, they bought into Saddam's bullshit, just like the rest of us, and for some reason our three weeks stroll into Baghdad wasn't enough to convince these seemingly reasonable men that they should sell-out the Ba'ath gang and jump on the Allawi-led secular bandwagon.

We in the west seem to have acknowledged the threat posed by radically elected anti-Western governments in the Middle East. What we have remained blind to is the even more disastrous possibility that an absolute majority, Islamic "sorta-fundamentalist" government (much like the current Shia dominated Iraq parliament). Ignorantly complicit in each others tragic miscalsulations, the Sunni-Arab minority and the American diplomatic mission have squandered three years ignoring historical political reality in Iraq and a truly unified interest in Iraq's success.

The are many possible explanations for the lack of intellectual imagination amongst foreign policy officials. My inclination is to think that the Pentagon has been doing most of the negotiating with the Sunni militias, and Marines aren't exactly known for their persuasive negotiation tactics. Marines are the finest killing force the world has ever known, and for three years the reality has been (despite whatever Hardball, Tucker, Katie Couric, Tim Russert, Rep. Murtha, etc...would like you to believe) the Marines have been killing and capturing Sunni "insurgents" with no formidable resistance. Most coalition casualties have come from random acts of terrorism in the form IEDs and kamakazi pawns strapped with C-4. Marines will always do their job, but politicians often fail to even realize theirs. Vietnam was a war against an ideology, so negotiation was never considered until Nixon and Kissinger brought some imagination to US foreign policy.

To be clear, there are absolutely Sunni-Arabs who are truly anti-American Islamic fascists, but Saddam was not one, and I suspect there are a great many Sunni's who flourished under Saddam's government because of their savvy, secular worldview which helped them understand the practical nature of government administration. Ihad Allawi, formerly interim-Prime Minister- was a man who understood this reality. This was not understood in Washington, but we have to play with the card we have been dealt. It is going to be years before a political system can be established which truly reflects our potential as a driving force for political freedom in the Middle East.


Looks Like War From Here

I find it absolutely amazing that the only American politician I have seen on television today that has been able to find it appropriate to denounce the actions of the Israeli government, which has clearly lost its collective mind! John McCain, Newt Gingrich, Chuck Hagel, and all of the rest of the Republican presidential hopefuls in 2008 have failed to show anything remotely resembling a reasoned approach to the escalation of violence over night in Israel. One need only watch the Israeli's destroy the infrastructure of their neighbor Lebanon, the government of which is not associated with the actions of Hezzbollah in any way, or at lest nobody has made that claim, while openly taunting the Iranians and Syrians to respond in some sort of provocative way so they will finally have an excuse to lay waste to the Iranian nuclear program and root out the Syrian leader, who has provided refuge to the leaders of Hamas, the terrorist organization that has now been elected as the ruling party in the Palestinian territories.

I am confused, so far everyone has said the same thing. The government of Lebanon is an innocent victim in this obsurdly belligerent show of force on the part of the Israelis, according to every expert, Senator and international diplomat that has been interviewed since the assault on Beirut commensed yesterday. It seems only logical that there would be widespread calls by US leaders in Washington for the Israelis to cease there onslaught, but no, they have done nothing but offer encouragement and veiled suggestions of escalating the conflict beyond Lebanon by attacking Syria or Iran. This course of action, if it were to replace the current actions taking place in Lebanon, would be far more appropriate, considering the general concensus that these two governments are truly responsible for everything Hezzbollah has done thus far.


Will Robots Inherit the Earth?

Will Robots Inherit the Earth?

This journal article was written over a decade ago, back when such thought was considered science fiction- but today the world is very different. Life extension, particularly the use of man-made technology as a replacement for our impermanent human bodies makes indefinite survival a topic that should be vetted in public discourse before it sneaks up on us. I have not given nearly enough thought into whether or not I see any ethical breakdown in the idea that all men and women should be given the choice to extend their own experiences beyond the natural lifespan. However, some of the world's most respected philosophers are currently tackling the subject, and as usual they are divided in their conclusions.

People's Daily Online -- Spain confirms first case of H5N1 bird flu

People's Daily Online -- Spain confirms first case of H5N1 bird flu

It is inevitable that the world will soon face a pandemic of horrific magnitude, and its effects will undoubtedly cause great shock in global markets, cripple large populations and cause mass hysteria, particularly in the developed world. Despite expansive efforts on the part of global politicians and health organizations, the effects of such an outbreak can only be marginally contained, and death on a massive scale is unavoidable. There is much that can be done to prepare through the implementation of a comprehensive plan for combating the outbreak from its source, but because of limitations placed on the use of intellectual property in the pharmaceutical industry, production of vaccinations for the most probable pandemic on the horizon, the Asian Bird Flu, has failed to provide ample stockpile to guarantee access to anyone outside of the individuals responsible for initial response. This could potentially lead to both a political and health crisis never before imagined. With the partisan posturing in Washington having reached a level of absolute absurdity, it would seem fair to assume that any outbreak would be immediately seized upon by leaders of the Democratic Party as evidence of the Bush Administrations negligent preparation and inadequate response plan (provided such an outbreak takes place while Bush is still in office). Given the media's general lack of humility, and considering the likelihood that during such an outbreak there is likely to be an overriding sense of hysteria and outrage, it is conceivable that the government could face extremely dire circumstances and the possibility of having to institute massive quarantines under Marshall Law. This could do great harm to the stability of the American political system and force the White House to take measures that would otherwise be considered abhorrent, such as media blackouts, market suspension and school suspension. The country has gone decades since its last great pandemic, so there is likely nobody around that can offer the American people the sense of confidence such a tragedy would demand and I fear this could lead to ignorance and irrational decision-making on the part of voters around the country who are transfixed on the health crisis and blinded by the irresponsible, fear-mongering rhetoric of the Democratic Party and its intellectually embarrassing army of hate-filled hipsters.
Some may think that I am paranoid, but hasn't anyone been paying attention to the overt politicizing of the Iraq War by the minority party, of whom only one Senator, Joseph Lieberman, has unwaveringly been in support of the military effort from the outset, despite the significant number of Dems who backed the invasion initially. We have all seen what Senator Lieberman's fellow democrats have done for him lately as he faces a formidable challenger in next months Connecticut democratic primary- effectively throwing him under the bus in favor of an absolute joke from Greenwich. Such utter disregard for their parties most respected member, likely bourne out of disgust for Lieberman's obviously close relationship with the President, leads me to believe that nothing is beyond their contempt for a White House they believe to be 'incompetent' on every issue it confronts. Maybe one day we will hear about the alternative policies the Dems have drawn up in anticipation of a resounding victory in November's midterm elections, which polls show will likely add to their share of the House at least, if not give them a majority. I reject this polling data, if for no other reason, because I cannot imagine a Congress under the control of the perky Congresswoman from Napa Valley, Nancy Pelosi. God save us from such a fate!


Lieberman Televised Debate

Senator Joseph Lieberman is currently facing the greatest political challenge of his career, and his uber-liberal, blog-hyped primary opponent is actually using this, the greatest opportunity he will ever have at making his mark on American history- and wait, did you hear him hearken back to the good-old days of Jimmy Carter wearing his cardigan talking about malaise? Who is this chump, how could the Democrats be supporting this joke against the most admirable Senator in modern politics; a role model to young, aspiring politicos from both parties. Old Joe should not have any trouble based on what I just saw, but if he loses his primary contest, this Midwestern Republican is making the trek to Connecticut to re-elect Lieberman. The integrity of the Senate depends on his participation, because everyone else has lost sight of their true responsibilities.

On Israel

It has always been difficult to bring oneself to put into writing the feelings elicited by the actions of the State of Israel. Personal feelings aside, does nobody see an Israel ruling today in the style of the wicked Eygptian pharoahs that the Jews escaped thousands of years ago? Recorded history has not witnessed a moment of true peril between religions, in which a God may be compelled to intercede. We better all to whatever devine entity in which we find solace, that Allah doesn't have a few plagues stuffed up his turbin, because it is starting to look like the Palestinians are ready to part the proverbial Red Sea. It would be wise for the Bush Administration to establish unequivically that the best friend of the US in the Middle East is Iraq, period. Maybe this would pump some life into the languishing 'peace process.'


Nuclear North Korea Bracing for War?

It appears as if Kim Jong-Il's much-hyped test of a Taepodong 2 missile capable of reaching the US has failed miserably less than a minute after takeoff. For many this may seem to be a pleasant development in a situation that was becoming increasingly heated between the North Koreans and their neighbors. However, I see this embarrassment from the North Korean regime as being the second worst possible outcome in a situation that had only one positive possible conclusion- no test at all. Clearly Kim Jong-Il has no qualms with the US and her allies labeling its actions as 'provocative,' which likely means he has thrown all caution into the wind. He could be hoping that we respond militarily so he can have an excuse to escalate the conflict and incite the thoroughly propagandized population to rise against the South and its foreign puppeteers. I would be willing to bet that it never crossed his mind that his little stunt would elicit muffled snickering from the White House, with National Security Advisor Stephan Hadley commenting today that the test was 'provocative,' but dismissing previous White House assertions that one missle threatened US soil, saying, "a missle that fails after 40 seconds is not a threat to the United States." Funny as the last weeks of hype now seem, I can assure everyone that Kim Jong-Il doesn't get the joke, and international embarrassment, though deserved in every way, is not an emotion that is going to result in many good decisions on his part.