Sunday, August 13, 2006

Squirrel & Butterfly: The Remake


The present post is sort of a remake of this older post, but this time around, the butterfly comes first. This ceramic butterfly is in a tree near the intersection of SW Broadway & Burnside, downtown. I don't know who put it there or why, but I'm sure it must be Art.


Homicidal attack squirrel with a nut, in the North Park Blocks. Not the best squirrel photo ever, but it's what I've got right now. The squirrel was striking all sorts of cute photogenic poses, but the other photos didn't turn out so well. The usual blurry squirrel phenomenon. This time I blame the double espresso I'd just had a few minutes earlier.

As with the original post, now I switch gears and deliver a few random thoughts about the ongoing Lebanon situation. I see both sides have now reluctantly agreed to stop fighting as of tomorrow, although with all sorts of caveats about what the precise definition of "fighting" is and what "stop" really means. I have this funny feeling that this war isn't going to resolve anything. All the talking heads on TV were cheerleading for this war, saying it was World War III, the final war that was going to fix everything and set the world right, once and for all. Turns out it was an ugly, pointless, monthlong border skirmish, without a clear victory for either side.

The talking heads aren't going to apologize for shamelessly demagoguing this little conflict, though. They ought to, but they won't. They've been promoting this war as the grand opening salvo in the exciting new war they'd like the US to wage against Iran. Bush, Cheney, and friends seem to be totally sold on the idea, and there's no convincing them otherwise. For the latest, check out the new Seymour Hersh piece in the New Yorker, and these comments about it. You know things have gotten bad when even the LaRouche crowd are calling Dubya a psycho nutjob. Yeeesh.

Meanwhile, it looks like Darfur is on the back burner again, and various activists are demanding that Bush do something about it. I have to respectfully disagree here. Nobody seems to have a concrete plan on what to do, other than saying the situation is terrible and the world ought to do something about it. Encouraging Bush to send in the marines is never a smart idea, especially when the goal is unclear, and the means to achieving that goal are far from obvious. I'm not a pacifist, I'm not an isolationist, and I'm not exactly a foreign-policy "realist". There's room for idealistic foreign policy, just so long as the goals are clear and realistic, and you don't make the world a worse place in the process. Too much idealism is a recipe for more war, not less. I hate dictators as much as the next person, but a policy of bombing random dictators back into the stone age in the name of democracy and human rights is maybe not the best plan in the world. Asking Bush to "do something" means giving him permission to kill people, because diplomacy is to be scorned and ridiculed. Even if you personally just want nice happy-faced peacekeepers in blue helmets, handing out candy and making the badness stop, to Bush it's carte blanche to start bombing. Give Bush permission to bomb Sudan in the name of those poor people in Darfur, and he won't actually turn the place into an idyllic Sweden-on-the-Nile. It'll become another of his endless jihads-for-Jesus, with more roadside bombs, more Abu Ghraibs, all the fun stuff we've come to expect from him and his people. And then he'll blame it all on 9/11, just like Iraq. Let Bush have a war in Sudan, and he'll find a way to make a bad situation worse, mark my words. Yes, what's going on in Darfur is awful, there's no doubt about that, but right now I feel I have to oppose any new foreign adventures, anywhere, for any reason. I can't see changing my mind so long as Bush is in office. I'll wait and see who we get stuck with after 2008. If it's someone who helped get us involved in Iraq, Hillary for example, I'll have serious doubts about their judgment and ability as well.

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