03 September 2010

Them's Fightin' Words Son

In an interesting side note to the ongoing Iranian nuclear drama, France has warned Iran to quit making disparaging remarks about the wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. No, this isn't from The Onion- you can read more about it here. The diplomatic row was apparently sparked by the world's foxiest First Lady, Carla Bruni, who voiced her opinion on the death sentence by stoning of Sakineh Ashtiani. The Iranian newspaper Kayhan called Ms. Bruni a prostitute who deserved to die.


I don't think it's very nice to call a man's wife a whore- I especially don't think its' very bright when that man is President of a nuclear armed power (no, not like the Iranians building one out of "Nuclear Weapons for Dummies"- the real stuff.) Say what you will about the French, they are the only people probably as bat shit crazy as the Iranians when it comes to affronts to personal honor.

This sorry episode just screams with story lines- the beautiful wife of the French President who has, let's be honest, a bit of a past vs. a bunch of sexually repressed mullahs in Iran living somewhere back in the 1100's. She is the the Euro uber MILF and they despise her for it and everything she stands for. As a strong, independent woman she threatens them to their very core. The fact that she is beautiful just adds insult to injury- they hate what they can never have. Okay, perhaps I'm getting too Freudian here.

Forget Sarkozy, Carla might just bitch slap Ahmadinejad on her own.

02 September 2010

Going to the Dogs

I want to get a dog. I grew up with dogs, love dogs and feel that a dog would be a great addition to our family unit- after all, every little boy should have a dog, right ? Despite my best arguments, pleadings, whining and general bitching, my wife has shot down the subject each time that I have brought it up. She’s not a dog girl, she’s a cat girl as evidenced by the three freeloading felines that lounge around our house (okay, to be honest one of them was mine before we were married but at least he catches the occasional rodent.) I can see some of you rolling your eyes right now. Just be a man and go buy one, right ? I actually thought that plan through a couple of times but kept coming back to visions of me and my new pooch sleeping in a tent in the woods behind my house. Besides, it needs to be a family decision since a dog is a big commitment in terms of time, exercise, vet bills and everything else that comes with owning a pet. So, I was resigned to daydreaming about one day, someday far in the future, taking my imaginary dog for a walk in the woods.

Unfortunately, something happened to make my case.

We live in a quiet suburban neighborhood where nothing much ever happens, at least until a week or so ago. Neighbors of ours had their home broken into in the middle of the night by a gang of four- two broke in, two were waiting in the car. The scariest thing about the incident was that the family was sleeping in the home at the time. The intruders, apparently driven by drug addiction, were caught by the police after the owners woke up and phoned the police. Fortunately, nobody got hurt but the incident shook us to the core. It also reminded me that a few weeks before, being a very light sleeper, I had awakened at around 3 AM to the sound of a car slowly cruising our neighborhood.

Suddenly, my wife seemed a little more interested in the whole dog idea. I have two weapons in the house. I keep a loaded magazine in a drawer by our bed and one of the rifles (an AR-15 carbine) under the bed in a locked case. I have no doubt that I can quickly load the weapon and shoot an intruder (or intruders) inside of my house- the mechanics of it are muscle memory, the result of training and practice. The question of whether or not I could actually shoot somebody, however, is a big one for me. The Karma risks of killing another human being are just too great for me to discount and the potential risk to my family are also worrying- a 5.56 mm round could easily penetrate our home’s walls and endanger everyone else involved. I suppose one of our cats could serve some defensive purpose but that would involve throwing them at an intruder and they aren’t very aerodynamic.

So, we are back to the dog. I have settled on either a German Shepherd or Shiloh Shepherd (an American variant of the German Shepherd.) Big, strong, alert and loyal seems to be made to order for our requirements of a good family pet that is also loud and imposing enough to scare off the occasional crack or meth addled intruder. A curious thing I have noticed while looking at different breeders has been the requirement for filling out applications to buy the dogs, giving references etc. These are steps I never had to take in having a son, yet dog breeders seem hell-bent on examining every aspect of your life to see if you are qualified to buy one of their dogs. In the old days, it was look in the newspaper, drive to the local farm and drive home with your new puppy. I suppose it is for the best. The breeders want to make sure their “children” are brought up in good homes. If only humans were so careful.

01 September 2010

Tony Blair- Man of Action

In other news today, Tony Blair, former English Prime Minister, admitted to OCWI (Operating a Country While Intoxicated) and also called for attacking Iran if it developed nuclear weapons. I'll leave it to you to draw your own connections between the two stories.

Iran & Musings on Insanity

I like to listen to Podcasts during work and have recently been enjoying Dan Carlin's "Hardcore History" and "Common Sense" programs. Both shows benefit from Carlin's rapid and sharp delivery and I especially enjoy how he pillories politicians from both parties equally. On a recent show he made an observation that nicely fit some of my own thinking lately, namely that if the U.S. attacks Iran we will have a final, and very clear, indication that the leadership of this country is insane.

Turn on Sean Hannity on any given night and I can almost guarantee that a reference to stopping Iran's nuclear ambitions will come up. It isn't only the right wing that is beating the war drums- our dear leader, President Obama, has also (sort of) reversed his earlier statements on a nuclear armed Iran in 2009 (he hinted that it might be acceptable) to those he made in 2010 (he hinted that it might not be acceptable.) With a full on drubbing of the Democratic party on tap for the fall midterm elections, the possibility grows that the President just might move forward militarily to shore up his own dismal approval ratings.

War with Iran would be an entirely different animal than war in Iraq and Afghanistan. First of all, Iran is a large country- at nearly 640,000 square miles in area it is larger than Iraq and Afghanistan combined. In fact, if you combined those two countries you could also add in France (actually, not a bad idea when you think about it) and Iran would still be larger. It is one of the 20 largest countries in the world and with 68,000,000 people is also one of the 20 most populous. The scale of the country makes it far more difficult in terms of targeting, and hitting, what is probably a very long list of military, communications and other infrastructure targets. It also makes it easier for the potential target of all of these massive air strikes, the Iranian military and government, to find places to hide and ride out the attacks.

Let's back up a second. Why exactly would we attack Iran in the first place ? Supposedly, the threat of a nuclear armed Iran is so frightening to Washington that it would justify a very nasty war that would produce far more casualties than anything we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan. I can somewhat see the Israelis point of view- as a much smaller nation, diametrically opposed to the Iranian regime, a group of nuclear armed mullahs in the neighborhood is probably somewhat unsettling. But what strategic threat would a nuclear armed Iran pose to the U.S. ? If we are so worried about unstable regimes having nuclear weapons when are we going to bomb Pakistan ? How about next week ? Pakistan has the weapons in their bunkers, a massive humanitarian crisis from recent flooding and an intelligence agency that has actively worked against our efforts in Afghanistan. Throw in a big dash of unemployed young men living in poverty, whipped into a frenzy by religious zealotry, and you may start wondering why they don't start reworking the targeting maps.

As I have argued in previous posts, I say the best thing to do to the Iranians is let them have the bomb. Let them realize how utterly useless it is to throw billions of dollars down the drain to develop and deploy one of these expensive paperweights. The Iranians will quickly learn that MAD isn't just a magazine and that any use of nuclear weapons would result in their country being blasted back into the stone age. I don't agree, either, that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would be in some great rush to use the bomb once he got it in his hands. Like all despots I would imagine that he knows its better to be a living despot than a dead one.

A war in Iran would quickly escalate into something far beyond what we have experienced in Iraq and Afghanistan. Any strike on Iran would result in their Hezbollah proxies attacking Israel from Lebanon- which would result in Israel invading Lebanon while fighting the Iranians, which could draw in the Syrians, which could draw in the Russians, which could...well, you get the picture. The U.S. military has been stretched by fighting two wars and the prospect of the even crazier North Koreans threatening to start something with their neighbors to the south. You want a nightmare scenario ? Imagine the U.S. fighting the Iranians, cleaning up in Iraq, fighting in Afghanistan and the North Koreans suddenly deciding that it would be a great time to take advantage of the situation.

The U.S. is in the midst of one of the worst recessions in its history, the Federal debt has ballooned to unimaginable levels and I believe that the real unemployment rate lies a few dozen or so points north of what the government claims. Fighting an unecessary war, killing more of our best and brightist and inflicting violence against a population that is young and actually quite pro-American is insane. Better to let history run its course and hope that another series of uprisings similar (and larger) to those in 2009 topple and consign Ahmadinejad and his fellow religious nutcases to the ash heap of history where they belong.