Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Iraqi Blogosphere: Still Kicking

While we have seen the total number of English-language Iraqi blogs reduced in the last few months, nonetheless new entries have been added recently by the core of Iraqi bloggers. First, we've heard from the group of Iraqi bloggers who never left Iraq: Sami, Shaggy, Marsho, Sam (Interps Life), Iraqi Translator, Najma, Sunshine, Mama, Baghdadentist, and Sandybelle. Second, there are the Iraqi bloggers who left Iraq and have now returned: Morbid Smile and Caesar of Pentra. Third, there are the diasporic Iraqi bloggers living outside Iraq: Zeyad Kasim, Bassam Sebti, and Mohammed and Omar Fadhil. And finally we need to add Iraqi Mojo, an Iraqi-American who continues to blog from his perspective as an American who was born and partially raised in Iraq and who still has many ties to Iraq.

Yesterday Sami posted about an encounter that he had at the hospital where he works with a woman who was drinking a mixture of dirt and water as a folk remedy for a stomach illness: "Giggling." As usual with Sami, he describes the situation with both compassion and curiosity. Of all the Iraqi bloggers, Sami is the one who has done the most to try to understand the nexus between the personal and the cultural in the daily lives of Iraqis.

Caesar of Pentra, one of IBC's old favorites, asks a delicate question: Do Women Like Sex? For those of you who have been following Caesar's blogging career over the years, you know that this topic is his White Whale, but in this entry he offers evidence for his new views not only from authorities with Ph.D.s, but also from "That 70's Show." Caesar never disappoints.

Shaggy has started to take a few snapshots with his new cellphone. Here's his latest: Morning Jam

Marsho's last entries have offered her readers cooking recipes, but a few weeks ago she posted an entry about the situation of Christians in Mosul that got a lot of responses: STOP CHRISTIANS PERSECUTION IN MOSUL!!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

There's Something About Obama . . .

Updated 10/26/08

I have an election-year fantasy and it goes a little like this: a young and ideologically chipper-sounding volunteer calls and asks if I like new energy for America, responsible tax cuts for ordinary Americans, health care for all, renewing American diplomacy, and so on. "Sure, I guess" I say. The volunteer then asks if they can count on me to vote for Barack Obama. I say "No way!" The stunned volunteer asks me why and I say "Because he doesn't look like the other presidents on the dollar bills.... and he has a funny name!"

That has not yet happened, but I do have my early ballot in hand and I'm ready to connect the line for the other guy. I will do this, but I believe this act is futile for two reasons: first, I live in Arizona where John McCain is from and has been reliably republican red for as long as I can remember. My vote for either guy will not change this. Second, Obama winning the presidency is almost as certain as Saddam's re-election, when he was alive to run that show of course.

I am trying to get used to the idea of an Obama presidency. I am not hoarding guns or predicting the end times. Most times I think if I just stay away from the computer and don't watch the news I'd have a hard time noticing any direct effects on my life by the political climate. Obama's thin resume and hard-left record do worry me, but there is something to the notion of him being beloved by the domestic and international masses that means America's "image" may indeed be improved vs. that of the Bushitler Administration ... for as long as the honeymoon lasts.

Even so, I don't like him.

As I watch the political debate, I dislike his pre-emptive racist arguments, his radical and hatemongering associations, his lefty redistributionist tendencies, his promise to cut my middle class taxes that I don't believe, the creepy worship he's receiving from the media and fans and his party, and so on.

But that's all icing on the cake. The cake itself, and the real reason I cannot vote for him, is his position on Iraq. Oh sure, he had a nice anti-war speech before the war when he was not yet even in the US Senate. I can respect him for his expressed opposition at that time.

But since then, he has clung to that position in a way that has been irresponsible and dangerous, and does not reflect or seek to preserve the hard fought progress on the ground in Iraq.

Remember, he opposed the successful "surge" counter-insurgency strategy and wanted to withdraw US troops by March of 2008. How could that have been anything but a disaster? Such a plan only makes sense if one wants to childishly claim " I told you so" at the expense of a young democracy and Iraqi and American blood that would have only been wasted.

Even to this day, Obama pledges to "end the war" rather than "win" it. The war is mostly over as it is. In all likelihood McCain and Obama would draw down forces at roughly the same pace. However, Obama has given no indication that he wants to see a successful outcome in Iraq for Iraqis or our interests. He claims he would intervene to stop genocide, but is unconcerned that his withdrawal could increase the chances of a genocide.

Yes, he will be the next President of the United States of America. But not with my vote.

Update 10/20/08

Done & Sent. Now I just hope John McCain isn't linked
to any unrepentant abortion clinic bombers in the last few weeks of the election . . .

Update 10/26/08

Back in February, I submitted some questions to the Obama campaign. I never got a response to my questions, nor did I expect one, but I did get added to their mailing list. Yaaaaaay! I've not removed myself from the list out of a combination of laziness and curiosity about what they are saying to their supporters. The stream of ObamaSpam has been steady ever since, but they have turned it up a notch in the home stretch:

Here's what The One Himself had to say to me in his last email:

Holy Cr*p! half a billion dollars in fundraising later, as the election is all but a formality for Him, He is still asking for money? Gah. Better get used to it, I guess . . .

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