Vox Rodentae

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Win One For The Gipper

They're at it again; the Powers That Be in this world seem to be steering us toward an 80's redux now - Israel duking it out with Lebanon, Iran waxing megalomaniacal, Europe going down the can, the UN demonstrating new and creative ways to be even more corrupt, Russia telling the US to get stuffed, China telling everyone to get stuffed, North Korea bullying the South and Japan, and over it all, the threat of nukes wafting gently on the evening breeze. If you close your eyes, you can almost hear Stacey Q in the background...

Well, at least the music was much better in the 80's (Violent Femmes, Erasure, pretty much everything off Just say yes/da/yo/mao). But we're missing something critical right now, something that could make things come out right: Ronald Reagan, actor, patriot and former president, RIP, and Baroness Margaret Thatcher, Britain's famed "Iron Lady" - almost a superhero duo, especially when compared to most of our damp-eyed, appeasing and dhimmified politicians and diplomats of today. Under Reagan, we got a chance to get a breathe of fresh air and be patriots again. When Reagan did something, he did it and didn't waste time afterward justifying himself and apologizing. And the Iron Lady made him look a complete girl's blouse, not stopping for so much as a by-your-leave when it was time to do what she had to do.

No, if we can stave off the padded shoulders, frightening prints, and chinese calligraphy that no doubt kept the citizens of many a Chinatown in tears for ages, not to mention the worst of the 80's pop, an 80's redux might not be so bad: We desperately need to find a good way to dredge up some of that chutzpah. There's nothing worse than a ditherer, especially when he's the person in charge. I don't care if their owner has to be rolled into place; we need someone with big, brass balls to order up a no-holds-barred blitz on the heartland of Islamofascism and obliterate it. I know that many innocents were killed in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (as well as Dresden), but in the end, their losses prevented much greater and more horrific losses should Operation Olympic (the invasion of the Japanese homeland, should the bombings not have worked) have been ordered into effect. And although this proves me unspeakably violent and evil, I have to say that in a land where hatred is fed to babies with their mothers' milk, there are no innocents. We (meaning the US, UK, Israel, Australia - whoever'll stand up with us) need to get our gear in order, get over there, do everything that needs to be done (without regard for the sensitivities of world opinion), pack up when it's all over, and come back home. If someone complains, we can kick them in the backside and send them packing with the message that any further complaints will be handled in a far less amicable manner. The time for pussyfooting and appeasement is over. It's time to get in there and win one for the Gipper!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

In The Midst Of The War Zone

Where did the idea come from that the only casualties in war are supposed to be those of military combatants? For some time now, I've been hearing the wails and cries of various groups bemoaning the horrific number of civilian casualties in the War On Terror, obviously from people with no memory for history.

Civilian casualties and deaths have ALWAYS been a deplorable side effect of war. As a matter of fact, it was only in the 20th century that the concept of the "civilian" or "non-combatant" came to be recognized and acknowledged - before that you were either unlucky or a fool to be caught in the war zone. Indeed, traffic with remaining civilians (generally in the forms of rapine and looting) was considered a form of payment in kind to soldiers way, way back in the day. To believe that you can fight a war, especially a war with the guerilla-type battles our forces fight in currently, while easily avoiding any civilian casualties is nothing short of the grossest stupidity. Even if they weren't all hiding amongst the skirts of their women with babies, along with the little children, which would obviously be asking too much of them.

Yet there is still a distinct difference in the Western policy versus the jihadist one: if/when there are civilian casualties as a result of our military actions, they're never deliberate; they're considered a failure of sorts, a mistake, and deplorable. To the jihadists, it's a cause for celebration and one of their main policy goals. (This exact same can be said for Israel vs. H'bolla - to the Israelis, any loss of life other than that of the terrorists is regretable, for the Hebl's it's just par for the course.)

And we're still the bad guys because... why, again? Oh, because we still haven't noticed how much Cindy suffered dwindled because of her fast, we've let slip our subscriptions to the NYT, and now the Administration's imposition of a merciless Christian theocracy has opened the door to our new, brutal age of Bible camps, sing-alongs, and the barbarous imposition of a barbaric new, crafts-based trade economy (Yarn weavings, and popsicle crucifixes and the like - the horror, the horror...).

For my part, I'm sticking with the Fashionistas: DOWN WITH ISLAM!! SAY NO TO HIJAB! TOSS THE BURQA ONTO THE FLAMES!! Not only are the damn things unfashionable as hell, but they clash like the dickens with my jackboots, and I've only just started to fit my Stormtrooper uniform again. (And, it would be SO mortifying if I kicked in someone's door and tripped on the damn thing on the way in!)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

America Doesn't Raise Us For Death Cults...

In my travels of late, I've heard many a discussion that pulls me back to the Cold War days, as Iran With Nukes* looms on our collective horizon (*this could have been the name of a cool 80's garage band, if it wasn't such a sinister idea). The main question goes something along the lines of: "Do you think the Russians will use their nukes against us?", to which you'd get various answers such as "Probably", "Damn straight they would, commie bastards!!", and of course Sting's song immemorial "If The Russians Love Their Children, Too"(I'm not one for politics in music -with some notable exceptions- but I did like the music for this one). As the Cold War progressed through detente to its drawdown, I think we came to accept that neither party was particularly keen on the idea. Now as I hear the same questions posed about Iran, the answers don't seem quite so straightforward when you toss militant, death-loving jihadis into the equation.

There's a lot of hype (on one end of the pendulum, PC/pro-jihadist CAIR-type org's who insist Islam is the Religion of Peace {huh.yeah} and muslims are Victims of Islamophobia [of which more later], and a vicious smear campaign to suppress them; and on the other, hard-charging Christians and severely patriotic Americans -the love it or leave NOW!! crowd, who are seeing their First Amendment rights disappearing faster than a guinea pig can chew up a carrot) about all of this, which goes far toward obfuscating the real matter at stake here, which is basically this: 1) How are we to deal with the immediate situation between Israel/ Hizbollah, Hamas, Lebanon, Gaza, Syria, and Iran? and 2) Can we come to an accurate estimate of the risk that Iran will or will not use whatever nuclear material (whether it be "dirty" or "clean" and fully developed) against either Israel or US/ Western interests? To answer what is basically one long question in a "to be continued" form, we have to be able to look at ourselves through the eyes of our foes, and therein lies our problem.

When we try to understand the people of the Arab and Persian worlds, both currently and in the recent past, we cannot ascribe our Western views and Judeo-Christian morality to a group of people of whom we have no understanding how they really think of or perceive the world.

Our foes (the muslims involved in this jihadi mindset) are effectively functioning as members of a cult. Their religion, especially as interpreted to them by their controllers (read: mullahs), teaches them that Death is the preferred end state for their current situation (ie. a world currently dominated by non-muslims, which can be won "back" to Islam through the sacrifice of their lives). In reading the Qur'an, or any of its many interpretations, Paradise is a lush and beautiful place, full of material rewards and comforts for the worthy warrior for Allah. For many people in the Arab/Persian worlds, this provides a vital meaning and context to lives that have been informed by little else than the misery of their material situation (face it; even the nicer parts of the Middle East are filthy and miserable, and look even worse from up close), a zero-sum mind-set, and a culture in which the jealousy of a "have-not" for the trappings of a "have" are designed to arouse not a sense of grievance, but an obligation to acquire those specific trappings from the "have" in question.

Nothing in our society or culture prepares us for dealing with an ideology this alien. The founding of our country is based on the diametrically opposite proposition; Ours is the only revolution in history generated to enable men to keep their own property, rather than to gain the property and positions of others.

Until you can really understand that the person who embraces you in love and friendship, looking you lovingly in the eyes and pledging eternal solidarity can also be conspiring with other people to bring about your destruction and probably your death at the very same time, you will never be able to begin to comprehend the Arab world, let alone deal with it, especially on its own terms. I mean this very literally - you really have to jump into the full thought and feeling of this with both feet; in my several brushes with politicking among Arabs and a lone Persian of once high standing (in many cases I was unaware I was even involved in such), there were a good several times I came out distinctly at the bottom for being unknowing, incapable of, or unwilling to indulge in the kind of behaviour that not only would have enabled me to come out on top, but is considered standard in Arab society. It's like meat and bread to them - the tapestry-like weaving in and out of family, social and political threads, coupled with a nearly invisible but highly distinct hierarchy of favours, gift-giving, hospitality, and of course, feuds. The average American has little if any experience with this type of culture, let alone the mindset behind it. Yet it's very important that we learn to decipher this dichotomy, because we're already behind the power curve in addressing our concerns.

In my view we're long overdue in acknowledging and working to fully comprehend this topic. We've tried the measured approach (ie. diplomacy, appeasement, conciliation, and baksheeshing huge amounts of "protection money" to suspicious men with a taste for strong cologne) for the last 30 some-odd years, and this is where it's gotten us. A new approach is obviously in order; might I suggest a trip to the attic to see if we can find where Teddy Roosevelt stashed that Big Stick of his?