Eric Alterman: – Iraq is not Vietnam

MSNBC – Iraq is not Vietnam

Not that it matters as regards to a faith-based foreign policy endorsed by people with real values, unlike those snobby upper-West Side liberal latte swirlers who are ruining everything everywhere, but I read this story and this story and being a faith-based Real American myself, I was naturally inspired to consider all of the various ways in which this war differs from the one we fought in Vietnam. (Sorry I was not up to finding links for the rest, but I imagine they’re not too hard to find.)

Unlike Vietnam, our allies are treating the local populace well and are fighting effectively.

Unlike Vietnam, our troops are not torturing anyone or committing any atrocities anywhere.

Unlike Vietnam, our allies are committed to democracy, and are capable and experienced in carrying it out.

Unlike Vietnam, we are backing strong, independent leaders, rather than quislings and puppets whose power base rests with our military forces and economic support.

Unlike Vietnam, we are beloved by the people we are saving.

Unlike Vietnam, our president and his cabinet officers are leveling with the nation about the costs of victory and likelihood of defeat.

Unlike Vietnam, we have the support of the international community.

Unlike Vietnam, it is particularly popular in the region where the war is being fought, and among the alleged audience abroad we seek to impress with our wisdom and resolve.

Unlike Vietnam, our actions are not inspiring anyone to take up arms against us and thereby increase the level of threat we face.

Unlike Vietnam, dissenters within the government, particularly those with expertise in the history and culture of the people we seek to govern, are being heard with care and respect for their views.

Unlike Vietnam, this is also true for experts in academia and with direct experience in these nations.

Unlike Vietnam, our wise leaders have a clear idea of the cultures into which we have inserted ourselves.

Unlike Vietnam, we are not asking the poorest and least well-connected among us to the fighting and dying.

Unlike Vietnam, our troops are well-trained for their well-defined mission, (a particularly hearty congratulations goes to Colin Powell for so effectively preventing the same kind of abuse of grunts he witnessed in Vietnam).

Unlike Vietnam, our civilian leaders are taking seriously warnings and advice of more experienced military leaders.

Unlike Vietnam, those who point out problems with the present course are not being sullied as “counsels of despair and defeat,” and giving “aid and comfort to the enemy.”

Unlike Vietnam, we have the whole thing well-planned out.

Unlike Vietnam, this is a necessary war against an enemy that had the will and capacity to threaten our lives at home.

I could go on, but you’ll have to take the rest — on faith.

(Author’s P.S. To ed: Please save a version of this column, and we’ll do a “control H” on “Iran” for “Iraq” when that war becomes nothing like Vietnam.)

Fallujah Napalmed – FALLUJAH NAPALMED

And last night Tony Blair was dragged into the row as furious Labour MPs demanded he face the Commons over it. Reports claim that innocent civilians have died in napalm attacks, which turn victims into human fireballs as the gel bonds flames to flesh.

Outraged critics have also demanded that Mr Blair threatens to withdraw British troops from Iraq unless the US abandons one of the world’s most reviled weapons. Halifax Labour MP Alice Mahon said: “I am calling on Mr Blair to make an emergency statement to the Commons to explain why this is happening. It begs the question: ‘Did we know about this hideous weapon’s use in Iraq?'”
[note: that’s not what “begs the question” means.]

Since the American assault on Fallujah there have been reports of “melted” corpses, which appeared to have napalm injuries.

Last August the US was forced to admit using the gas in Iraq.

A 1980 UN convention banned the use of napalm against civilians – after pictures of a naked girl victim fleeing in Vietnam shocked the world.

America, which didn’t ratify the treaty, is the only country in the world still using the weapon.

Yeah, we’re there to bring peace and stability to the Middle East. With napalm.

I’d like to thank all the people who voted Bush in 2000 and 2004 for doing their part to napalm civilians in Iraq. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Rohrer Rocks On

The MUTE project is experimenting with a new fund-raising model based on project milestones. To read more about how creators can make a living post-copyright, read my essay, Free Distribution.

Here is how it works: I propose the next project milestone and set a corresponding fund-raising goal. The fund-raising goal is based on my estimate of the amount of money I will need to support myself and my family during the time it will take me to program the proposed features (we spend roughly $187 per week as part of our $10,000 yearly budget). If you think the features are worth it, you can donate a dollar to support my efforts. Once the fund-raising goal has been met, I will start work on the proposed features. As always, the results of my work will be released for free under the GNU GPL.

The first milestone was intended as a small-scale test, and the amazing success of the fund-raising effort (meeting the goal in only 9 days) demonstrated that this model can work. The next proposed milestone is more involved.

Nice bit here on another page:

Sure, I need to make a living, but I am idealistic enough to believe that there is more to life than just making a living. I feel that the means of making a living should be productive and helpful to society. There are many different ways to “make money.” Some of these methods focus just on making money (for example, playing the stock market), while others focus on helping people in exchange for money (for example, building houses). If everyone chose to work strictly at making money (for example, we all made our livings by playing the stock market), our entire society would collapse, since all true productivity would halt. On the other hand, if we all made our livings in productive ways, and none of us worked strictly at making money, our society would continue running smoothly and perhaps even flourish. Thus, all of those pure “money makers” are not necessary players in society—in fact, they are a parasitic burden.

UPDATE: Doh! I said “Tim Rohrer” instead of “Jason Rohrer.” Tim Rohrer worked on metaphor studies with philosopher Mark Johnson, and maintained for a while (maybe still does). Different Rohrer.

Fallin’ For Javascript

I just finished the “Core Language” section of the Javascript Rhino Book. , which I got via a birthday gift certificate from my family. I am completely falling in love with this language. Sure, it’s got somewhat ugly C-like syntax, no builtin foreach loop for arrays, and some minor warts involving primitive types, but the whole “everything is an object, even a function” and “objects are essentially associative arrays, like Perl hashes and Python dictionaries” thing is very cool.

I don’t have any practical knowledge yet — just the core langauge, not the stuff you actually use to do cool stuff in browsers, but I really like the core language.