Tag Archives: Middle East


Sometimes it’s hard getting through a newspaper without having to grab a pencil and jotting down a few opinions. Sometimes they make enough sense and are relevant enough to post. More often they don’t, so I just lay them aside. When I read them later, I often toss them into the round file, but sometimes they strike a chord. Sometimes it depends on what things have been making recent headlines. And, then, sometimes I just go back through them and get all worked up again. When that happens, I think…yeah, post it.

Here are a few short ones:

Leave or stay in Iraq

Should we delay leaving Iraq? That’s a question we’ve been asking for a few years. Should we leave thousands, or even hundreds of troops there for yet another year to keep trying to arm, train and advise the Iraqis to step forward as one and protect their own? If we give guns to any three Iraqis, two of them will shoot either each other or the third. A bloodbath may be unavoidable whenever we do leave for good. Remember the chaos surrounding the last chopper out of Saigon? It’s a different world now with different issues, sorta, but the result may look the same. We have already delayed a decade even as we vainly tried to justify going there in the first place. Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution once said he would “wait until we have an Iraqi government, and do it with the Iraqis together.” Well, I suppose it’s conceivable there might be an efficient, effective Iraqi government someday, somewhere, just not in Iraq, at least not until sometime after Hell freezes over, although probably before there is peace in Israel. Unless another Saddam comes along and is allowed to beat and bash Iraq into the single nation we are insisting upon, one once again held together by the brutality of a steel fist, the chances of a unified, let alone functional, national government over all of Iraq is about as likely as one in Afghanistan.

Tribal Conflicts

I have come to the conclusion that the problems in the Middle-east, Africa, and most other areas in the world are not solvable by methods that the civilized world is willing to use. Those societies are still based on tribal law, whatever that may be. Problem is, with more than one tribe involved, more than one set of laws are pushed. Then it’s a matter of which tribe is strong enough to force their laws on every other tribe. No matter what advances these countries make, any disputes will be settled in the only way they know: by whichever tribe is strong enough to push their solution to fruition and God, Allah, or Zeus help the local innocents if either side has access to modern weapons. Civilized (?) countries may become involved because of natural resources or strategic locations that might affect their national security, but there is only one way to end the tribal wars that result in so much brutal slaughter. A national leader from the area involved, if it is to remain a sovereign nation, must rise to power and exert such brutality in his enforcement of whatever laws he deems appropriate that everyone else stops fighting and cowers in fear. Remember Sadam Huisain? When it comes right down to it, most cultures in this world cannot be trusted with weapons more advanced than sharp knives, and dull ones would be better.

Re: Complaints of women wearing yogi pants in Montana (did you hear about this one?)

One or more guys (I don’t remember just who they were) up in Montana got all worked up about women wearing tight–really tight–pants, the kind that don’t leave a whole lot to the imagination. I guess all those womanly shapes are giving them too many ideas; the kind righteous, married men shouldn’t be having. And, of course, the fault is all on the women, not the guys. Yeah! If a woman is assaulted it’s her own fault for putting temptation right out there where a guy can’t avoid it! Right? Yeah! Apparently, that’s the thinking behind all the good reasons the women in the middle east have to wear enough to make a person have to guess what gender they are, except that a man over there certainly wouldn’t wear such a thing. Over the centuries, even a lot of the women over there don’t feel comfortable unless they are covered over. Do all men have as much trouble resisting their own lurid impulses as those in fundamentalist worlds where a woman, a supposed creation of God, must always conceal her body beneath shapeless tents in order for men to not be exposed to temptation, or is it just the righteous few? Did God really create what He did and then give it all to men, and that everything is for men to use or abuse as they see fit? Are men really so great, so deserving? Yeah? Well, why? Is God really so petty and devious that He created women’s beauty to be a temptation against which men are tested daily? Is God really so small? Could a god so small create something as grand as the universe—or even conceive of it? Or did God, in creating the universe, create men and women and all the rest from tsetse flies and butterflies to vales and whales, from quarks to quasars, so that they all may exalt in the beauty and magnificence of all existence, and in so doing, in His? If there is a God, I would find this latter description much easier to accept of the author of all creation.

And, then, there’s this. Are we alone?

As inspiring as a lot of letters, papers and declared opinions might be regarding the chances, hopes, and/or fears (?) of ever discovering evidence of life anywhere other than Earth, they still present the concept of finding life “out there” as an “if” proposition instead of a “when.” Okay, I understand a fact is a fact only after it is proven, but come on!
Don’t you think it’s sorta presumptuous to think the entire universe was created just for us. We can’t even see a vast majority of it. Try this: Imagine some of the microbes on a crystal of silica containing exactly 147 facets in the middle of a southern California beach look out at all the other grains of sand close enough to see and opine that microbial life is probably there, too, given the vast number of potential grains. But, ignoring trillions of grains stretching out in all directions, other microbes reject that possibility, arguing that their creation in the deposit of whatever it was that plopped onto their grain could only have happened by divine intervention, thus they are unique on all the beach, plus on all other beaches, as some claim to exist, although probably in some other dimension since there is obviously not room in creation for more than one beach. And besides, they point out, in all the thousands of grains they have looked at, none are crystals of silica with 147 facets, which is obviously an absolute requisite for life to occur at all.
Could happen.

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