Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Well it's certainly nice when the Bushies do something right. Handing over power early was a great move. Now my question is whether Iraq descends into civil chaos (or, so to speak, whether "domestic fury, and fierce civil strife shall cumber all the parts of [Iraq]").

Thursday, June 24, 2004

I've had one central concern all along about the war in Iraq. The Kurds. I've been wondering from the start about what happens if the Kurds declare an independent Kurdistan. What would we do if Turkey invades? What would we do?
Of course, if the Kurds don't declare independence, all my concern is for naught.

It's obviously difficult if not impossible for anyone to really know what's going on in Iraq via the internet. One can read all one wants, but one can't really get a sense of things. So I didn't know what was going on with the Kurds. Then, last week, I saw this picture on yahoo

I'd never heard of Ghazi Talabani, but he was apparently an official with the Iraqi oil company. And he was a Kurd. While his death is undoubtedly a tragedy for all who knew him, that's not what jumped out at me. Look at the flag, the one on top of his body. That's the key thing. I didn't recognize that flag, but I had my suspicions. It's the flag of Kurdistan (which doesn't officially exist as a country, mind you).

Seems to me that if the Kurds are burying their people under the Kurdistan flag, Iraq (as a united country) is in trouble. To me, that looks like nationalism and patriotism.

My problem is not with the Kurds. I'm rather impressed at what they've done. Personally I wouldn't mind an independent Kurdistan, if it could be worked out. The problem is that Turkey and Iran would be extremely unhappy, and would likely both try to invade Iraq. And if that happens, all bets are off......

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I was talking to some people about whether the Lakers should be hated like the Yankees should be hated. I say no. The Yankees are always competitive because they have the most money *by far*. Their payroll may end up being nearly double that of the second highest team in baseball. That's a ridiculous margin.

The Lakers are often competitive not because they have the most money, but because they have Jerry West. And there aren't a whole lot of people on earth who know more about basketball than Jerry West.

[As a sidenote, Jerry West may be the best front office guy in the NBA, but he better be careful, because Joe Dumars is looking like a pretty good judge of talent himself...]

Monday, June 14, 2004

Is Saudi Arabia going to become the French Revolution?

This is my understanding of the French Revolution: The extremists kept getting their way and chopped off the heads of those who were nominally in charge, but once they got their way, someone more extreme popped up, who chopped off the heads of the previous batch of extremists, but then someone even more extreme turned up, etc. etc. There was no central authority, so it all sort of slid downhill. Madness begat madness.

When viewed in these terms, the parallel to Saudi Arabia is worrisome, I think. The House of Saud struck a deal with, uh, the devil years ago. The Wahhabi clerics would espouse their ideology, but they would tacitly support the House of Saud as it got fantastically rich. The House of Saud would let the clerics spout off. The young men who'd been indoctrinated would go off to fight the in Afghanistan, or Bosnia, or wherever.

But what if the extremists start killing the moderates and take over? It's easy to imagine the next batch of extremists being much worse. What if they become nationalists, and decide to cut off the oil spigots? If the people of Saudi Arabia destabilize it, we're all in trouble.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

As I see it, there is one simple question now pending about Iraq:

Will Iraq dissolve into civil war?

I fear it will. Recent reports of government ministers being assassinated do not bode well.

As I have questioned before, what will we do if we are ordered by the "sovereign" government to leave? Would we dare walk away? Much as I was opposed to going to Iraq, I think that *someone* has to stay there.
I'm not sure that anyone else would be better--who else would go? Turkey? Laughable. The Kurds would revolt immediately. Iran? Ditto. Maybe a multinational force from the Arab League? Riiiiiight. Oh, what about the UN? Can't they take over? Well, they could, I suppose, but the UN doesn't have an army, and would have to round up 150,000 troops from somewhere? And remember that the UN was outgunned in Uganda ten years ago. This would make Uganda look like a (dry and dusty) picnic. How about NATO? Sending NATO would be functionally identical to keeping the US troops there.

I hope someone in our government has some good ideas, but based on what we've seen so far, I'm not optimistic... Unfortunately, we may be the best, and only, option.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

I'm still against interleague play. Aside from the sentimental fact that it cheapens the World Series, it's not fair, now that we're burdened with three divisions. Different divisions play different opponents, which matters in the wild card.

For instance, the AL West is a tough, tough division. The AL Central is not as tough. The NL Central plays against the AL West, while the NL East gets a chance to beat up on the AL Central. In the wild card race, a team from the East is going to have an edge over a team in the NL Central, just because it's faced the Tigers and Royals instead of the A's and Angels.

It's not fair, but neither is the fact that Bud Selig's been pocketing the revenue sharing money himself instead of spending it on players. Commissioner Bud's never been about fairness.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Oh yeah, Chalabi is turning into a real ace. How many other ways has he screwed us? Where are his defenders now?

The sickening thing is that even a fool like me, who doesn't have any connections to anybody and whose sole source of information is the internet knew that Chalabi was a worthless ally. Granted I didn't think he'd be selling us out to Iran, an original Axis Of Evil Member, but it wasn't a big secret or anything that he was a bastard.