Monday, June 16, 2014

Iraqi Tribalism

Iraqi Tribalism
I have already written about my notions of tribes and tribalism:
See-- What is happening now in Iraq, but also in Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, is tribalism writ large. The groups armed and dangerous, pretend to represent a religious viewpoint, but mostly, they represent a manic desire for power of one tribe over another (see the 12th century). Within these regions, and in places such as northern Mexico, Columbia and a few other South American regions, there is a related phenomenon that most closely resembles organized crime. In Afghanistan, for example, the Taliban are, for all practical purposes an organized crime ring, masquerading as a religious tribe. They make their money through the sale of illegal drugs, much as the Mexican drug lords, and they kill anyone who gets in their way.  Similarly, the Iraqi Sunni (ISIS) have been busy looting banks, stealing equipment and killing folks who get in the way. They impose “Sharia law” but mainly that is their way of imposing their own power over the populace.  Mainly, they are thugs.
Here, we have an activist GOP who seek to undermine our President. In the current context of American tribal warfare, they wish him to insert our military, so long, of course, as their own sons do not have to be inserted. Of course, had Obama decided to send in troops, or to bomb the ISIS thugs (assuming he could identify them) the GOP would have objected and threatened impeachment.

Mainly, though, I wonder how we can act rationally to prevent the thugs from killing innocents beyond those already dead. It is not at all clear. When tribalism raises its ugly head, especially when laced with generous heapings of religious fervor, indiscriminate killing is sure to follow. Short of invading Iraq (see George W. Bush) I cannot imagine what we might do to calm things down. I assume that John McCain wants us to send in troops, but John always wants us to send in troops. John is still trying to win the war in Vietnam. Perhaps it would be useful were NATO, Russia, Iran and China to meet and decide to impose international order on the Middle East regions currently in disarray (say, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan). But, after everyone finishes laughing at the absurdity of that idea, try thinking of an alternative (stopping short of turning the region into a nuclear wasteland, of course). All ideas should be submitted to Sarah Palin for vetting, before being submitted to Eric Cantor, before being submitted to John Boehner . . .

Sunday, June 8, 2014

What Would Obama Do?

What Would Obama Do?

Thinking About that old saw, “what would Jesus do?” Then it struck me; it guides life without actually thinking. So, I finally figured out how republicans decide what to support and what to oppose. They just ask, “what would Obama do?” Then they do the opposite.  It provides them with definitive guidance that will always please their constituency.

Had Obama decided to leave that soldier behind in Afghanistan, they would surely have been attacking him for leaving one of our guys behind. Having decided to trade our guy for five of their guys, they attack him for negotiating with terrorists (unlike their sainted Ronald Reagan who traded arms with terrorists in exchange for hostages and then used the money to buy arms for right wing terrorists in Nicaragua).

So, Obama is in favor of providing health care to folks currently without health care—they are of course opposed.
Obama favors public education; republicans want to kill public education;
Obama favors Social Security; republicans want to kill it by transferring it to the care of the hedge fund traders.
Obama favors using science to combat climate change; republicans favor continuation of polluting industries.
See, it’s not complicated.

Soooooo . . . maybe Obama needs a new strategy.  How about reversing course and announcing that:
  • Pollution is in
  • Education is bad for Americans
  • Old folks don’t need help, let’m live with their kids
  • People without health care? Too bad.
  • And guns? Force every kindergarten kid to come to school armed with RPGs.
  • Oh, and the LGBT community? Move to France.

And then relax in front of a fire, with a nice glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, and watch the GOP sputter and fume and then, change their position. Hahahahahahaha . . . wouldn’t that be fun?