Thursday, December 30, 2004

We Just Live on the Skin of the Onion....
This is the visual metaphor I was given way back in college, during one of the discussions we had in a Biodiversity class. The point is that the Earth is huge, and that little movements in the crust (which is as thin as the skin of the onion) which also floats on layers upon layers of dynamic molten rock can have disastrous consequences to us little humans on this skin. The death toll from the tsunami has now reached 117,000, with that number sure to double when various diseases hit the survivors. An incredible event which happened on a quiet Sunday morning....is it no wonder that many cultures have flood stories? Undersea earthquakes like this one must have happened many times in the past, and must have spawned incredible stories and superstitions, since so many civilizations thrived on riverbanks and on the coasts of the world.

Here are links to groups that are accepting donations:
American Red Cross
Doctors Without Borders
Oxfam Earthquake and Tsunami Fund
Save the Children
Direct Relief International

What these people need now is money, plain and simple. This gets medicines, water and food to those that need it. Disasters like this only point out the obscenity of spending billions of dollars on a missle defense system that doesn't work, when $20,000 can buy wave sensors that are equipped with quick communication abilities. An entire system of these sensors could be put into place relatively quickly for millions or tens of millions of dollars. Folks, this 'ol ball in space is very dynamic, and we have to learn how to adapt to life on the skin of the onion. It's all we've got......

Thursday, December 23, 2004

That is the question I'm asking these days, is "why are we in Iraq?" As more and more American familes are greeting the holidays with visits from military chaplains, there does not seem to be an end in sight. Are there insurgents who are hell-bent on killing and spreading chaos? Certainly, but what about the citizins of Iraq who are seeking revenge for their family members killed in the crossfire? If, say, Canadian troops invaded the U.S. in order to oust Dubya from office because he was deemed a threat to Canada's safety (nukes in Kansas!), 49% of this country would cheer, but if there were citizens killed by the Mounties (by accident or otherwise), we would retaliate, no matter how "free" we might be. I believe that this is a portion of what's happening over there, but it is easy to lump all bombings into the "insurgent" label. Add to that Dubya's simplistic worldview of "evildoers vs. white hats" and you have a public willing to accept casualties in Iraq. But for how long, I don't know. Kos sums it up nicely:

"Bush sends the troops into battle, claiming he had no choice. But Saddam had caved on every Bush demand (inspectors were allowed back in, his long-range missiles were being destroyed).

No WMDs are found. No ties with Al Qaida are found. No military capable of threatening Iraq's neighbors is found. Saddam's army collapses quickly and the country's defenders retreat into "insurgency" mode.

Bush declares mission accomplished. Bush taunts the insurgency. The insurgency kills our men and women. The commanders on the ground scream for more troops. They scream for armor. They scream for protected mess halls. Those screams fall on deaf ears.

More soldiers are killed. 1,320 Americans, 74 Britons, seven Bulgarians, one Dane, two Dutch, two Estonians, one Hungarian, 19 Italians, one Latvian, 16 Poles, one Salvadoran, three Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, two Thai and nine Ukrainians. The wounded number in the five figures.

Nevermind the innocent Iraqis who have been "liberated" to death. And while we scream about Saddam's torture chambers, we create new ones of our own.

So thousands die, for a war built on false justifications, managed poorly, with underequipped, undermanned, and under-armored forces. And to add insult to injury, we've had to pay for this mess, to the tune of $200 billion."

This clearly has been a huge gamble based on shifting sands of reasoning, built on the unsteady evidence delivered by exiles and yes-men. What will be the blow-back from this mess?

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