Friday, May 27, 2005

Light Weekend Reading

U.N. Forces Using Tougher Tactics to Secure Peace
NAIROBI, Kenya, May 22 - The United Nations, burdened by its inability to stave off the mass killings in Rwanda in 1994 and by failed missions in Bosnia and Somalia, is allowing its peacekeepers to mount some of the most aggressive operations in its history.

The change has been evolving over the last decade, as the Security Council has adopted the notion of "robust peacekeeping" and rejected the idea that the mere presence of blue-helmeted soldiers on the ground helps quell combat.

Comment: Hope about some robust peace enforcement in Darfur...

What is Torture?
An interactive primer on American interrogation.

Comment: This is an excellent, well researched product from fellow mil blogger Phillip Carter. Worth a look.

War a Classroom for Veterans
The professor asked them all to give an impromptu speech on a life experience, and Daniel Wise listened, in agony, as five of his George Washington University classmates stood up one by one. The last one giggled through a speech about her summer job scooping ice cream. When it was his turn, he threw his shoulders back, stared straight ahead and, in his best hardened-soldier monotone, told them about fighting in Iraq for the U.S. Army.

Comment: I wonder if one of the great divides in our generation will be the GWOT. What's funny is that in the 60's, the bommers participated. They fought in Vietnam or they protested. My dad tells me that most kids didn't spend everyday of their lives worrying about it, but it mattered to them. They knew people who were in the war. The movements and changes were important, and they participated in far greater numbers than kids do today.

What does my generation have? What are we doing at home that's important? The margins on both sides are active, but the vast majority in the middle seems to be more concerned with Britney Spear's baby that the war. Which one will have the the most long lasting global consequences? Unless, Britney gives birth to anti-christ (which I'm not ruling out), then we'd better collectively pull out heads out of our asses and get to work.

Afghans left out of their own rebuilding
SAROWBI, AFGHANISTAN – Along a construction detour for the new highway between Kabul and Jalalabad, four unemployed Afghans stare out as trucks struggle up a dusty hill. The men are angry that the two Chinese firms in charge of the paving project haven't employed them or many of their compatriots.

"The Chinese are not hiring, and there are other organizations building schools, and they do not hire us, either," says one, Gula Jan.

Comment: Er, "the Chinese are not hiring". What wrong with that picture?

Mil blogs in the news
Imagine some of the soldiers who survived the Battle of Gettysburg stopping the next day to write their dramatic tales — and people around the world instantly reading them. If that battle had been fought today, no imagination would be necessary.

Comment: Good job guys and gals.

WWJD? Not this, I'm guessing.

N.C. pastor stands by sign saying Koran should be flushed
(FOREST CITY) - A Baptist minister in Forest City refuses to apologize for a church sign saying the Muslim Koran should be flushed.

The Reverend Creighton Lovelace of Danieltown Baptist Church says he believes it's a statement that the Bible is above any other religious book "that does not teach Christ as savior and lord."

He says he knew some people would disagree with the sign but his church needs to stand up for what's right.

Comment: I'm no biblical scholar, but I'm pretty sure that Jesus wasn't an asshole. I'll die defending Mr. Lovelace's right to free speech, but I'm getting tired of cleaning up the messes that the intolerant dickheads of the world--on both sides-- leave behind. I wish that he'd realize that his actions actually make it harder for our troops to win.

Something Bigger Than Ourselves: Bobby's Thoughts on Life, Wealth, and Service
There are times when I realize just how out of touch I really am with my generation. I usually realize it when I'm surfing through the television channels-- for example, I am stunned that "Charmed" is broadcast anywhere, let alone on prime time. I have seen soap operas with better writing and better plots. (I know, I know, any show with Alyssa Milano, Rose McGowan, and Holly Marie Combs is going to stay on the air... but if that's all that's going to do it, why not scrap the whole theme and just have them do some kind of Cheerleader Nurse Academy?) Or while I acknowledge that the antics of Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie are amusing, I just don't see the point of watching their ridiculous behavior on television-- it's, like, what's the point...? That's hot.

Comment: Bobby nails it.

Just For Fun:

Terrorists might...
Make you laugh your ass off.

An American Barbecue Pilgrimage
I am obsessed with barbecue, America's greatest contribution to global cuisine. Before I go any further, I should make a point that will be obvious to many: What most Americans call barbecuing is not barbecuing. When you throw some charcoal on the Weber and sear some T-bones and burgers, you are "having a barbecue" but you are not "barbecuing." You are "grilling." When you grill, you cook fast over high, direct heat. But when you barbecue, you cook meat slowly, over low heat (as low as 170 degrees), and with smoke. Grilling is a transatlantic flight on the Concorde. Barbecuing is a cruise on the QE2. Grilling is a quickie on the kitchen table. Barbecue is tantric.

Comment: Homeboy travels all over the country looking for good eats. Travels through Houston but skips Goode Company BBQ, moves on to Austin but doesn't go to the Salt Lick, and then goes to Cooper's in Llano and doesn't get the pork chop. That's dumber than a bag of hammers. But, its still a good series. And I can confirm, after being stationed at Fort Campbell for four years, that Tennessee BBQ sucks.

Flashback Friday: Remember all the controversy over Americans With Disability Act way back in the '90s? It was going to destroy small businesses... blah, blah, blah. Well, the small businesses are still here, and as a new dad, I find all those handicaped ramps make it easy to tote Zane around in a stroller. Funny how being decent to people has its side benifits.


At May 28, 2005, Anonymous Bobby said...

>> I wonder if one of the great divides in our generation will be the GWOT.<<

I've been wondering the exact thing for a quite a while now, and I don't quite know what to think yet. But I strongly suspect that when all is said and done, there is going to be a tremendous amount of resentment between those that served and those that did not. I see it in emails from dozens and dozens of friends in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, the Philippines, this feeling that they are alone in service while others back home are reaping the benefits, ignoring them, and disrespecting them.

I'm not saying I agree with it, and I really don't believe that we'd ever see anything like Jean Larteguy's _The Centurions_, but it's hard to say the fissure isn't there.

At June 06, 2005, Anonymous Marty, Princeton NJ said...

The intolerant dickhead stuff sounds all too right. Not all of us on the left are Michael Moores -- the intolerance here at home can be insufferable sometimes. Thanks for sticking to your principles while you're over there doing all the hard work! Peace. Marty


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