Pfc. England, Thy Name is Whitewash
No surprise that Lynddie England received a light sentence
for her role in the Abu Ghraid prison abuse scandal.
No surprise, because a)its difficult to send an undereducated redneck to the dock for a total breakdown in militray command, control and discipline, and b) I'm sure the powers that be are eager for this whole sordid chapter to fade into the background.
Understandably, Iraqis are furious at this apparent slap on the wrist. They want some justice for what was done to their countrymen. For that, however, they've got to go a lot further than a bunch of noncoms and private soldiers. I think the real tragedy here is how nobody with any authority
has been brought to trial for Abu Ghraib. In Sy Hersh's excellent book, Chain of Command
he outlines a very clear trail of responsibility that stretches right into the comfy Pentagon digs of Donald Rumsfeld, and perhaps even the President of the United States.
In other words, Lynddie's conviction and sentence is merely the tip of a large and very upsetting iceberg. And while the murky depths of this scandal have been explored, precious few seem interested in holding the folks in power to account. Besides the Iraqis, of course. I hope they'll translate Hersh's work and get to work on asking the right questions and getting some real justice.
Attack of the Killer Dolphins!
This has to be the most bizarre thing to come out of the Katrina fiasco.
is reporting that some 36 specially-trained, toxic-dart armed dolphins may have escaped from a secret US Navy training facility. The dolphins, intended to protect American ships from spies and suicide bombers, are now loose in the Gulf of Mexico.
Apparently, each of these dolphins are armed with sleep-inducing dart guns, designed to render an assailant unconscious and ready for interrogation. They are trained to shoot these darts at, well, just about anything wearing a wetsuit. Which is great, if you're out to stop a nautical suicide bomber. Not so good if you're a hapless Florida windsurfer doomed to drift out to sea because of a vengeful cetacean. Of course, the Navy has refused to confirm or deny the rumours of rogue dolphins patrolling the ocean.
I guess its true what they say...truth really is stranger than fiction.
Which General Am I?
| Chief Sitting Bull |
You scored 54 Wisdom, 61 Tactics, 65 Guts, and 39 Ruthlessness!
You'd make a decent guerilla fighter. You are a tactical genius and you
have the balls to back it up with some follow through. But that being
said, you are most likely unwilling to torture an enemy soldier for
information, because through all of the thick buffalo hides and that
huge f*cking headdress, you have a heart.
Chief Sitting Bull rose to prominence in the Sioux warfare against
the whites and the resistance of the Native Americans under his command
to forced settlement on a reservation led to a punitive expedition. In
the course of the resistance occurred the Native American victory on
the Little Bighorn, where George Armstrong Custer and his men were
defeated and killed on June 25, 1876. Sitting Bull and some of his
followers escaped to Canada, but returned (1881) on a promise of a
pardon and were settled on a reservation. In 1885 he appeared in
Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, but his championship of the Native
American cause was not at an end. He encouraged the Sioux to refuse to
sell their lands, and he advocated the ghost dance religion. He was
killed by Native American police on a charge of resisting arrest.
Other leaders like yourself include: Francis Macon
| My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender: |
|You scored higher than 18% on Wisdom|
|You scored higher than 40% on Tactics|
|You scored higher than 74% on Guts|
|You scored higher than 23% on Ruthlessness|
NUNC SCIO IN TRANSIT
Just a little heads up for anyone actively reading this blog (how are you both doing, anyway?) that Nunc Scio will be slightly intermittent over the next few weeks. While the blog remains rooted in cyberspace, its author is relocating to London, England for a year of study. So, if you're patient, you'll be rewarded with a fresh new international perspective
. If you consider the insane ramblings of a half-starved canuck in South London 'fresh', that is.
Guardian Gets A New Look
All you media wonks will be interested to note that the old stalwart of the progressive press is getting a facelift. Yes, for the first time since 1988, The Guardian
will be changing its layout. Looks good, too...very Fleet Street sensibility meets the graphic design savvy internet generation. Now it's both informative and easy on the eyes.
"In the Dark Times, Will There Also be Singing?
Yes, there will also be singing. About the Dark Times."
That quote- courtesy of Bertolt Brecht- is about the most appropriate thing I could come up with this morning. It seems we're in the midst of one of those weeks where the world is ending over and over again. It makes me sad, and it makes me feel very small.
I think we should all recognize that something has gone terribly wrong with the United States. Clearly, Katrina was a huge tradegy, a profoundly terrible human event. But the days after the storm are revealing a very rotten core at the heart of the American enterprise.
Most obvious is the complete ineptness of their elected officials, which is probably true of elected officials everywhere. This kind of stupidity transcends ideology, pro-war or anti-war...fundamentally, the American government is unable to make decisions according to the real needs and interests of their citizens.
But under the administrative problems lie some horrible dislocations which threaten the stability of the nation. Poverty comes immediately to mind, plus its obviously racial referent in the American context. Another social disease appears to be fundamentalist christians. A Little Bit Left
is reporting on some absolutely horrendous statements being made by Christian groups in the US. I'll spare you the idiocy of their arguments, but the upshot is that Katrina was God's revenge for abortion and homosexuality. One group went so far as to say the hurricane looked like an unborn fetus in satellite photos. To this I reply: F@#$ you. If that's how your God behaves, you deserve each other.
Finally, I think Katrina shows how America's social contract is in tatters. Things are so rabidly individualistic, so thoroughly divorced from any sense of community, that things immediately descend into chaos in crisis situations. I don't want to proselytize, but I couldn't see something like that happening in Europe, Asia or even- you guessed it- in Canada. Hell, most of Southern Asia was hit way harder by the Tsunami than New Orleans was by Katrina, and this kind of anarchy didn't erupt. I have to think this reaction to adversity has more to do with how a society organizes itself than with the severity of the disaster itself.
My heart goes out to Katrina's victims. And I hope the United States can find its way out some truly dark times...for the good of us all.
Western Separation - A Tale Told by an Idiot, Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing
If you ever want to see me descend into a paroxysm of rage, mention the phrase “western separation”.
I react badly to this suggestion for several reasons. First, I’m a big fan of Canada. I think it’s a hell of a good country, and it really pisses me off when certain people (usually members of what I call the “intelligence-free” right) suggest busting up a perfectly good confederation. And I’m not saying this just as a resident of Ontario. I was born in BC and lived in Alberta for nine years. I’ve seen and interacted with a lot of this country, and I’m pretty confident the whole thing works better together.
Second, I quarrel with the idea of western sovereignty because IT IS SO DAMN STUPID. Tallying up the false assumptions and bonehead logic that underpin this position is a monumental task, but here are some highlights:
1) The West is ‘alienated’
. Now here’s a classic sentiment. Whether Ontario is stealing oil revenue or refusing to elect Alberta’s socially conservative political party du jour
, central Canada just can’t stop screwing the West. Or at least that’s what everyone seems to think. The problem is, even if there was some evidence supporting this idea, nobody seems to know what it is. Take this conversation between my good friend who now lives in Alberta, and an Albertan he met in a bar:
Friend: “So why do you feel alienated?”
Albertan: “Because Ontario keeps screwing us.”
Albertan: “You know…by screwing us.”
Friend: “Right. So how would you fix it?”
Albertan: “By getting elected, going to Ottawa and making sure they stop screwing us.”
Albertan: “By making them stop screwing us.”
Friend: “I see.”
The fact is, everybody’s alienated and nobody knows why. Could it be a few hard-luck politicians who needed a horse to ride into power dreamed the whole thing up? And nothing spells “conservative election drive” like “a crusade without any referent to reality”. Just putting that out there.2) Alberta would be better off on its own.
True, Alberta is currently pumping money out of the ground, benefiting every time a war or natural disaster sends gas prices ever higher. So, as the argument goes, since we’re rich like bandits and hate sharing, maybe we should go it alone. A plan brilliant in its intricacies. Except for one thing: THE OIL IS GOING TO RUN OUT. SOON. I guess someone forgot to mention to the western separatists that oil is a non-renewable resource. Oh well, I guess a sovereign Alberta can always fall back on its thriving cattle industry. Ouch.
The fact is, both Alberta and BC have primary resource-based economies. If those resources dry up, or if people stop requiring them, economies of this type are in trouble. If these provinces separate, they won’t be able to relay on the mature industrial economies of Central Canada to bail them out. Say nothing of the fact that newly-independent Alberta and BC would become the 51st and 52nd states so fast, you’d start believing in manifest destiny again.
Alberta and BC do have legitimate grievances, just like every province in Canada. The intelligent thing to do is to work through existing institutions for a better deal, not by scrubbing the whole country and ensuring mutual harm. A good first step to building a better confederation is to stop hitching your regional hopes to socially conservative politics. Central Canada doesn’t vote Conservative because we’re trying to screw the West. We don’t vote Conservative because they suck.