Sunday, December 17, 2006

world wide war of the flea

Perhaps, to follow up on my last post, Iraq is not keeping the insurgents at bay. Perhaps, Iraq is where the terrorists have the USA pinned down, while they re-establish themselves in Aghanistan, Somalia and other countries. Perhaps we are seeing a the early stages of a global insurgency. The strategies of the United States in Vietnam failed, and those same strategies are failing in Iraq. But from an insurgents point of view, they can spread beyond the borders of nations.

Mr Bush's commitment to protect the Bin Laden family, and the oil interests they, other Saudi's and the Bush family share, may have not only embroiled the United States in a pointless war, but allowed the jihadi's to grow in strength. Now, bled of wealth and force of arms, the US cannot fight effectively the broad, small unit counterinsurgency war that it must. A war where nation building takes almost complete precedence over war fighting. A war where economic development is the only viable strategic weapon. And a war where national boundaries are virtually irrelevant to the insurgents.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Those who slept through history class...

In 1965, Robert Taber's book War of the flea was published. It was a study of guerilla warfare and looked at how insurgencies win, and even occasionally lose. Taber's book seems prescient as regards Iraq, but in fact he also predicted the course of the Vietnam war, three years before the Tet offensive revealed the cracks in industrialised warfare รก la the U.S Army.

Taber felt that vested interests, primarily U.S fruit and coffee companies were setting the stage for similar hopeless wars in latin america. Taber ultimately said that "revolution cannot be suppressed" any more and needs to be channeled. Rather than spending money on a huge military presence, Taber argued that the USA should create latin american and african Swedens [my interpretation] to forestall revolution(Taber p.188).

It was as I read this that I realised that the US cannot do this, create liberal bourgoise welfare states, because Cuba and other leftist authoritarion states a provide examples in a false dichotomy of domestic U.S. political rhetoric, examples to maintain the domestic status quo.

"If we don't stay true to American values, we're gonna be just like Cuba." The US doesn't want to see a more "european" Canada either, because many american citizens might want to see such changes in their own country. Oddly enough,Cuba's Fidel Castro is just the boogy man the US needs to intimidate its own people. Fortunately, Venezuala's Hugo Chavez has appeared to say "boo" just as Fidel's health has begun to fail.

It's a pity that the "vulcans", as Rice, Wolfowitz ,et al styled themselves, didn't heed this book. As for the U.S. president, he is doomed to repeat history, himself a botched chimera of Teddy Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A hierarchy of rights

The student union at Carleton University recently passed a motion banning student groups who oppose abortion. Their arguement is that a women's right to choose abortion is violated by groups who advocate" right to life" policies.

These groups are now suing under freedom of speech provisions in the Canadian Charter of rights and freedoms.

Are all rights equal or should some trump others?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Pathologising life

If life is the slowest way we can die, could we say that all mental activity is a sign of mental illlness or unbalance?

General anxiety disorder used to be called " being a worry wart".
Depression used to be called malingering.

If behavior we used to consider bad is now but a sign of mental illness, then what constitutes mental health? If chemical unbalance defines mental illness, then what is the state of chemical balance? How do we know this?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Triathlon, philosophy, music oh my

Hmmm, my blog's title states that I'll talk about politics(check), booze(check), philosophy(check, because everything is philosophy), but I've yet to mention triathlon or music. And to be honest I haven't explicitly mentioned my interest in phenomenology and aesthetics as a means to answering questions raised by Kant and addressed inadequately 'ahem' by Schopenhauer.

I've returned to the gym after a 5 year absence. The new Downtown YMCA in Montreal was a victim of it's own success and after working there as a fitness instructor for a few months, I left, all the while pining for the old arrangement with the cardio and weight rooms on seperate floors. The new Y had too many members and was excessively crowded all the time.

My wife and I took out memberships at a private Gym in Gatineau, and it has that good feeling of being active, without feeling crammed.

As for my training, I completed a half marathon last year, and I want to do a marathon in 2007. Oh but how the conditioning has slipped. My performance is Slow, Painful and with Much Work to do to regain my former speed and endurance.

As for music, I'm still writing and looking for other musicians. Sheila is a wonderful drummer, but hates playing live. As soon as myspace figures out how to allow canadian registrations, I'll post some mp3s of our originals.

If you happen to drop by why not leave me a note?

Monday, December 04, 2006

The mouse that roared

Stephane Dion came from the hinterlands of the previous liberal cabinet to become the new leader of the opposition. The pundits from Quebec and the West mostly say that he a) can't speak English properly and b) everyone in Quebec hates him.

In fact, when Dion declared himself a Canadian and lead the charge towards the Clarity act, the liberals actually rose in popularity in Quebec. The problem is that the nattering classes in the rest of Canada listen too unquestioningly to the nattering classes and the political elites in Quebec. These groups are predominantly nationalist, if not outright sovereignist. As a result they slander any Quebecois who embraces confederation. However, we must remember that when given a vote, the majority of people in the province of Quebec have twice chosen to stay in Canada. Moreover, quebecers respect a passionate intellectual with a strong opinion, not necessarily a rockstar- and M.Dion fits that description.

As for the reports of his weakness in English, that's bigotry from the Right out west. Stephane Dion speaks with better english grammar than M.Chretien(which isn't hard)and with a broader fluency than Ralph Klein. His accent is strong but hardly difficult.

As for charisma, Pierre Trudeau was considered uncharismatic early on in his political career. Besides, his chief opponent is Stephen Harper, who hardly counts as charismatic.

I'm hardly one to endorse the liberal party, but the current criticisms against Stephane Dion border on sophmoric, if not simply adolescent. Two-bit criticisms do nothing for Canada nor our country's political discourse.

I'd like to know how M.Dion proposes to grow an economy while shrinking energy use- and how to do it in the face of the supporters of (excreable) tar-sands projects.

"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster