Discourses

This blog will serve as a forum for... me, a 23 year old curmudgeon and graduate student in History. I will complain a lot, and in the process waste my time and yours. Enjoy

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Kissinger of Death

Hitch's latest peace is a beaut.

The addition of Kissinger in the Bush White House may provide some much needed diplomatic skill to a group who lacks it. However, Kissinger's foreign policy track record can be read as a practical application of the destructive principle that lives are expendable and cheap and can be used to purchase stability. It can also be used to keep Republicans in power. As long as Kissinger is a phone call away from Cheney, there is no way the American presense in Iraq will end before 2008. Hitch says it better than I.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Holeygate... erm, Foleygate

I'm not gonna talk about it but....

Hannity is a dick.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

How History Will Judge Us

It is just too easy to condemn Rumseld, Rice and Ashcroft on this issue. Ignoring reliable reports that the threat from al-Qaeda was "imminent", just two months before September 11th, borders on criminal negligence. My concern here is to speculate on how History will judge our current period.

One of the great things about the American government is that this stuff gets out- eventually. We now know about things like the overthrow of Arbenz and Operation Mongoose, which, had they been known and spoken about at the time, would have seemed blashphemous.

If a historian were to compose a dispassionate history of the Bush administration with what evidence is available now, the Bush administration would not look good. In fact, it would probably read a lot like Woodword's book. But what about 40 years from now? If we know now that many of those in the Bush administration ignored repeated warnings about an attack, and that Rumseld threatened his staffers with unemployment if they mentioned a post war plan, what is going to be exposed when the archives are open in the George W. Bush presidential library? Moreover, how will one judge this admistration when they did not live when 9/11 occured, and thus have no direct emotional connection to the tragedy? If it is anything similar to my critical judgement of the American government during the Cold War- which may be a product of my utter lack of fear during that time- it is going to be a very, very harsh judgement. Better start burning your personal papers now fellas.

Radio Free America

I think Yglesias is right.

The great paradox of the last 20 years is that access to information has increased exponentially -with 24 hour cable news, the internet, talk radio, etc.- but people seem to have less than a clue as to what is going on. Now, this is partly because people have a lot of other stuff that fill their days. Few can afford to spend hours on the internet and read every political magazine that comes their way. However, I don't think this is the problem.

The problem is that because of the massive increase in the amount of information that is readily available (or, TMI), there are less and less sources to go to that synthesize all the relevant, important, and honest news. More of the intellectual legwork is placed on the consumer, and those with limited time constraints simply don't have the resources to sift through the mudslide of information piled on top of them. The effect is that anyone can have a voice, and the ones that are heard are usually the loudest and most obnoxious (read: Hannity, Moore, etc...). The end result is a cacophonic cauldron if intellectual garbage served to a hungry yet morbidly distended public.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Holocaust denial is not a genocidal river in Egypt

Re: this story in Time.

In some ways, i'm about to defend Holocaust deniers. First of all, Holocaust deniers do not deny that the Holocaust actually occurred, but rather that the amount of Jews that were killed by the Nazi were in reality much lower than the 6 million figure tossed about, and that the Jews were not specifically targeted because they were Jews.

Now, as a matter of sheer historical record, they are very likely incorrect. Although there are exceptions, the vast majority of professional historians agree with the 6 million figure and the deliberate targeting of Jews.

But the more pressing and intersting question is what is sooooooooooo wrong with denying the Holocaust? It does little to justify the Third Riech, which could easily be condemned on pure warmongering alone. Also, challenging historical othrodoxy is an act many people have made a career out of. This has been supported by the rise of postmodernism and skepticism, which has demonstrated that there are no hard and fast historical facts, and that everything has room for interpretation.

Denying the Holocaust seems to me to be no more immoral or intellectually irresponsible than denying the following: the massacre of Amerindians, the slaughter of all those peoples under colonial rule, the fabrication of the justification of the Spanish-American war, or the overthrow of democratically elected Presidents in Latin America, by the United States, and the subsequent installation of brutal military dictators.

After all, don't we all wish the Holocaust deniers were right? Or am I missing something?

Haven't I been saying this for weeks?

Link here.

I think so, but of course you don't, as I have no archived blog posts to support this notion. All the more reason to record my thoughts- just in case one of them happens to accord with reality, I can go back and advertise my prescience on the internet.

This story in Iran should be no surprise. The Persians (that's right, holy Shiite, not all darky looky people from hot countries with oil are Arabs) have a history of revolutionary sentiment and hopefully won't tolerate the extremism of their fraudulently elected President. Unlike Iraq, they are also a PEOPLE, with a common history and culture, not some postcolonial agglomeration of various religious and ethnic identities unified only by their fear of the iron rule of the ruling despot (or foreign 'coalition' of white people). A 'people' tend to have the capacity for nationalist sentiment, and hopefully this could be exploited via some cold war style covert counterinsurgency operation. This may be what is going on now, although what European country is funding it?

Back to politics in America, why would this ostensibly conservative site titled 'confederate Yankee' cheerlead this story and claim that the news media don't want to cover this story? It seems to me that the view of a politically disunited and dyspeptic Iran is in discord with the Iran the Bush administration wants to present- that of Third Reich, part deux.

I'm back.

After some self-goading and advice from my roommates I have decided to resurrect something that was never really alive -this blog. Hopefully I'll avoid a miscarriage this time.