Friday, September 29, 2006

U.N. Abandons Darfur

The U.N.'s Special Representative in Sudan, Jan Pronk, says that the world should stop trying to get a U.N. mission into Darfur, and should instead focus on bolstering African Union forces on the ground. Which is all well and good, except that if the African Union forces show any sign of being capable of stopping the violence in Darfur, I'm sure they'll find that they are no longer welcome in the region either.

Keep in mind, however, that this is not all Sudan's fault. The Americans and the Brits are guilty of "megaphone diplomacy", according to Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch Brown. He believes that this is not helping one bit, and instead endorses "ineffectual diplomacy", in which you make genocidal regimes feel good about their place in the world so you can get them to attend Very Important Meetings where they announce that there will be violence if your imperialist organisation invades their country. That's the kind of diplomacy that works, and this is why the U.N. has a long history of stopping genocides and other crimes against humanity.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Remember when they used to decapitate dethroned kings?

I never thought Paul Martin was a decent human being, so I don't have anything of his to shred. But his recent attack on the Afghanistan mission is obscene. He was the one who sent the troops there in the first place. Yes, the mission has become more dangerous in the past few months, but that's why we sent soldiers to the region. If everything was peaceful we could have just sent the best bureaucrats our nation has to offer.

The Canadian left is just lazy. Although they are the first ones to say that our national identity is being destroyed by the imperialists to the south of us, they seem to see nothing wrong in forever taking the American left's battles and making them their own (like bringing up abortion during election campaigns). They look south and see the great fodder that the Iraq war provides in attacking the Bush adminsitration. Bush got the Americans into a controversial war, for the wrong reasons and then ran it badly (they claim). You can't just take this analysis, stick it on top of the Afghan war and make Stephen Harper into George Bush. The far left has been playing this game for quite some time, acting like the Afghan war is a war of choice. But now it seems the likes of Paul Martin want to get in on it too. He obviously can't play the "I oppose this imperialist war" card that the pacifist set get to play, but he can claim that the war is being mismanaged by the incompetence of the current leaders, like Democratic congressmen who originally supported the war and now have to run for re-election.

It is helpful to recall that the Afghan mission is NATO supported, U.N. approved and came about after Islamic warriors took over a nation, turned it into a theocracy, and allowed terrorists to run training camps and use the country as a staging ground for an attack on our closest ally (an attack in which Canadians were murdered). There is also the little matter of the fact that they denied their citizens even the most basic rights, and turned the women into property. But I've seen no recent evidence that the Canadian left actually cares about helping the citizens of the world (whining about globalisation doesn't actually make people's lives better).

I don't quite understand why Paul feels the need to comment anyway. Yes, he was the one who sent troops to Afghanistan, but it's hardly like he has to protect his legacy as Prime Minister. Standing in line and waiting your turn does not a legacy make.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Don't they know they're moderate democrats?

The people of Kismayo, Somalia took to the streets to protest after Islamist militias took over their town yesterday (apparently they didn't read the Times this weekend).

The militiamen responded to stone throwing with machine guns and killed a teenage boy. But look on the bright side, just think what would have happened if the moderate forces weren't in control.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Meghan O'Rourke reviews Arianna Huffington's new book over at Slate:

Huffington is famously hard to pin down. For years, she was a Republican, a Newt Gingrich-backer, and a hostess on the conservative Washington circuit; now, she is a Democrat who hobnobs with Hollywood glitterati. While running for governor of California in 2003, she made cracking down on "fat-cat" tax evaders an important part of her platform, yet the Los Angeles Times reported that she had paid a mere $771 in federal taxes over the prior two years. She is anti-SUV, yet she uses a private jet... Is it possible to come up with a unified theory of Arianna?
Self-serving hypocrite?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Dear Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, I Like You, Do You Like Me? Check Yes/No

Jeffrey Gettleman has written an open love letter to the Somali Islamic Militias in today's New York Times. It seems the militias have brought peace and order and are headed for a democratic transition. The naysayers were wrong and the comparisons to the Taliban far-fetched to say the least. Sure, there are little matters like the as yet unsolved assassination attempt on the Somalian President, the murder of an Italian nun and the public floggings, but did you know that they are allowing people to play soccer and eat watermelon?

Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps this will all turn out for the best and I am just a horrible cynic who has come to expect the worst from Islamists through my own deeply held prejudices. Or perhaps the public relations campaign being run by the militias is evidence that they are getting smarter. Why doom your plans for a theocratic state right from the start when a friendly letter to the U.N. and some empty statements about democracy will get people off their guard. I hope that I am just being my usual jaded self, and that things turn out for the best for the people of Somalia. But I've been on this planet long enough now to know that when an Islamist militia manages to take control of the capital of a long failed state, the victory of the moderate voice is hardly the most likely option.

Site Changes

I thought I would take advantage of the recent changes to blogger to freshen up the site a little bit. Maybe it will distract you from the fact that there has been very little in terms of new content since I returned from my trip.

So far the biggest change is the blog roll (still in progress... it is causing undue stress), but in the next few weeks I might play around with the colour and layout as well. We'll see.

It's always good to start a fall project that will quickly be abandoned when work and school commitments become overwhelming (see also: half-crocheted blankets; unsewn patterns).

Update: So I've done some redecorating. Do you hate the new layout? Do you love the new layout? Did you do a double take and check if you were on the right blog and are as yet unwilling to accept my voice on this set up? Did you end up on my site hoping to find a place to buy Schweppes Bitter Lemon and are now disappointed? Comments are appreciated.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Shut up Jack!

Just watching the news and there was a segment on Jack Layton's meeting with Hamid Karzai. Jack met with the Afghan leader to tell him that if he had his way, Canada would have abandoned Afghanistan a long time ago.

I have never agreed with Jack Layton's politics, but until recent months I always thought of him as a decent human being. But, I am willing to admit when I am wrong.

I am also willing to admit that I need to learn to gain control of my temper when dealing with people with irritatingly simplistic political beliefs. Luckily for Jack, he wasn't in the room when I was watching the news this evening. So I took out my rage on the next best thing...

Sure, maybe it was a little juvenile... but it made me feel better.

Friday, September 22, 2006

When Hugo Chavez says "jump", I say "off which bridge?"

I'm not sure what it says about you that you take advice from Hugo Chavez. But you're probably not the type of person who'll be disappointed by his selection.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Say it Ain't So Condi

This better just be a case of the rumour mill in overdrive. I'm all for better Canada-U.S. relations, but you're one of the most powerful women in the world, surely you can do better than Belinda's castoffs?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five Years

Andrew Sullivan is commemorating the tragic events of September 11th, 2001 by celebrating the West's ongoing commitment to freedom.

Check in throughout the day for images and words that will gall Islamists everywhere, quotes that reveal tenacity and lack of fear, videos that expose the failure of the medieval bigots who struck five years ago, tributes to people who have stood up to these bullies and who have shown that we have not submitted yet; and never will.
That is the best way I can think of to remember the events.

Thinking back to everything that has happened since that day, it seems like a very long five years. But watching the memorials on T.V. and reading people's recollections of the day, it feels so immediate that it seems impossible to believe that so much time has passed.