Sunday, November 29, 2009

Have you tried Google?


The droids we're googling for, originally uploaded by Stéfan.

Acronym War: 4GW vs TIMN

The Committee of Public Safety has an interesting(and wide-ranging) critique of fourth generation warfare as a different way of analyzing the evolution of social groupings, arguing essentially that we've entered the network age where globalization ties people together more by networks of interest and commerce than by national or ethnic interests.

Something to mull over...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Semper Fi

Last week was the 234th anniversary of the United States Marine Corps.

I'm an Army brat and my experience is that all soldiers tend to be gung ho, but Marines are over the top by any standard.

But when it absolutely, positively must be dead by midnight, I can think of no one I'd rather call on than the U.S. Marine Corps.

Oo-rah has a nice post about what it means to be a Marine.

Get some!

A third path for Afghanistan

This weekend I caught up on some of my educational programming on the DVR and I thought Rory Stewart's suggestions on Bill Moyer's Journal for how to approach the Afghanistan problem were insightful. Decide for yourself.



I think Mr. Stewart is correct that Obama has put himself into a box in terms of policy decisions with no way out but to accede to the military's desire for evermore troops and ordinance. Such a waste.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Defensible

The party of medieval romanticism

Juan Cole's supplies a larger context to the Republican resistance to trials for Gitmo inmates.

Predictably, Republican critics vowed to fight [Obama's decision to try Al Qaeda detainees in New York District Court], since they much prefer to hold people forever without trial while torturing them, sort of the way some English kings did in North America before there was that pesky American constitution.

In fact, on a whole range of issues, the contemporary Republican Party is a party of medieval romanticism. Its disquisitions on when the human person begins are theological in character and rooted in assumptions even a lot of medievals would have questioned.

Its faith that bankers would never steal from us and so do not need to be regulated is a form of mysticism that medievals would have applied to saints. And its fascination with arbitrary arrest and imprisonment and with torture more recalls the star chambers of yore than the deliberations at Philadelphia over 200 years ago. |The Only Anchor - Informed Comment|


I'd never really thought of the Republicans as being this reactionary, but Professor Cole makes an interesting connection here.

Ever since George Bush characterized the Iraq War as a crusade, I've wondered how many of the more fundamentalist Christian members of the US Armed Forces view our actions in the Middle East as a modern day crusade.

A few days after [September 11, 2001], George W. Bush... [s]peaking spontaneously, without the aid of advisers or speechwriters [described] "This crusade," he said, "this war on terrorism."

Crusade.

I remember a momentary feeling of vertigo at the President's use of that word, the outrageous ineptitude of it.

The vertigo lifted, and what I felt then was fear, sensing not ineptitude but exactitude.

My thoughts went to the elusive Osama bin Laden, how pleased he must have been, Bush already reading from his script...

Contrary to schoolboy romances, Hollywood fantasies and the nostalgia of royalty, the Crusades were a set of world-historic crimes. I hear the word with a third ear, alert to its dangers, and I see through its legends to its warnings.

For example, in Iraq "insurgents" have lately shocked the world by decapitating hostages, turning the most taboo of acts into a military tactic. But a thousand years ago, Latin crusaders used the severed heads of Muslim fighters as missiles, catapulting them over the fortified walls of cities under siege. Taboos fall in total war, whether crusade or jihad. |The Bush Crusade - Alternet|


Putting heads on pikes and using them in catapults, now those were the good ol' days!

Cartman takes a page from Glenn Beck's Playbook

Friday, November 13, 2009

New Blog: Legal Search and Rescue

I've started a new blog, Legal Search and Rescue (LSR). The Fireside Chat will remain my primary personal blog while LSR will be an outlet for my interests such as disaster law, law enforcement & military powers, martial law and other legal research topics.

Rules of Gunfighting

Fun post on rules of gunfighting over at Everyday Gun Blog.

Who knew there were so many rules?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Riparian


Sun on the west, originally uploaded by Katarina 2353.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A more perfect Union, the EU after Lisbon

The ratification of the Lisbon Treaty last week creates the potential for a stronger, more assertive Europe, but the character of the new President and Foreign Minister of the EU will have a profound impact on the role that Europe takes.

[T]he Lisbon Treaty has the potential to herald the emergence of a new world actor – a Europe that can look upwards and outwards and is equipped with the bureaucratic tools to do so. In his recent speech, British foreign minister David Miliband laid out why this matters. Without greater coherence – and an integrative system in place – European countries, however big, will become bystanders in a G2 world run by China and the US. A coherent framework for cooperation will help Europeans get a clearer sense of each other’s priorities and to develop a shared idea of the foreign policy challenge they must confront. Butterflies are beautiful, in part because they take time to develop, and at no stage during their caterpillar period look as if they can emerge colourful and lithe. The same is the case for common and effective EU foreign policy.|Lisbon Treaty Passes, Europe Might Emerge As A New World Actor - GovMonitor|


It will be interesting to see if the new President can paper over European differences and make the EU more powerful.

Foreign Policy has a short post on the four most unexpected consequences of the fall of the Iron Curtain, one of which is Europe's geopolitical weakeness.

Monday, November 09, 2009

This Cyborg Life

Gizmodo has invited Aimee Mullins to be a guest editor. I love their tag This Cyborg Life.

Here's Aimee's recent presentation at TED.



Aimee's impressive modifications that make her taller, faster, better.

Arguably I am a cyborg already because of my constant interface with the Internet through the elegance of my Iphone and the clunkier reality of the 3-5 desktop computers I use on a daily basis.... but I won't really feel like a cyborg until I get a mindjack.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Mad Men

Do you ever wonder if anti-depressants are so common because almost most every person on Earth has some form of mental illness? If not organic mental illness, then traumatic stress disorder.

Even the odd sane person has the misfortune of being a sane person in an insane world... which makes that person a guard in this asylum we call Earth.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Spam Poetry

I just received a piece of spam mail with the reference line: sad love words filthy ass whore...

This juxtaposition of sentiment amuses me.