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Let’s start Monday morning off by talking about things in the wonderful US colony of Iraq. Dahr Jamail wrote an interesting article today concerning sectarian violence, claiming that it is mostly the fault of the occupation. Jamail says that in the early days of the war, when he would ask people if they are Sunni or Shia they would respond by telling him that they are Iraqi and Muslim and that was it. There were many mixed marriages between the two groups and most places in Iraq consisted of both sets, living side by side. As with any groups of people, there were conflicts but never was there such violence (or a civil war) as there is right now. Jamail tells a story about a US military commander who came into a mixed Sunni/Shia town and set up a meeting between all the tribal and religious leaders. When they all gathered, the commander ordered them to divide up; Sunni on one side Shia on the other, and so it began. Maybe this was part of the plan from the beginning; divide up the two groups, keep them fighting each other thereby giving the US troops a reason to stay as the fat cats continue to pack on pounds. No one bothers to look into the situation like Jamail does (and no mainstream newspaper dares publish this article) and therefore people simply accept sectarian violence as a main reason why our troops must remain over there. However, in September the UK pulled out all 500 of their troops from Basra and violence – since then – has gone down ninety percent. So, why are we still over there?

                No matter the reason, I think anyone in their right mind can agree that Iraq has been badly damaged and the brunt of the blame lies at the hands of the slightly insane leaders of the United States. Afghanistan – while not making the news quite as often – has also been made less safe by the US. I believe the definition of insane is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results; keeping that in mind, the US is debating whether or not to send troops over to Pakistan. It is true that Pakistan is probably where Bin Laden is hiding, and it is also true that they are a country with nuclear weapons that are in danger of being taken over by radicals. Putting aside that fact that the US could have already captured Bin Laden, the “war on terror” is an endless fiasco that allows US troops to go wherever they want, and besides; we let Pakistan get these weapons that we now fear. How many more enemies do we have to make before realizing that killing people does not make them want to hurt us less? Not to mention, Pakistan does not want our help; their top military spokesperson has said that if Pakistan needs help, Pakistan will ask for help, which they are not doing right now. Unfortunately, no one’s opinion matter unless it is what our commander in chief wants to hear, so if he feels a need to send troops to Pakistan, there will be troops in Pakistan. Then, when 9/12 happens people will shake their heads and wonder, “Why do people hate us so much?”

                The many-armed monster that is the US military industrial complex does not only interfere in the Middle East these days, but is also trying to shake things up in Eastern Europe. Plans were announced last year to build missile intercepting units in Poland and the Czech Republic in order to prevent Iran from hurting any of our “friends”. From the beginning, Vladimir Putin has been very outspoken in his opinion that this is starting another arms race; he has also made threats that, should the US shoot off an interceptor, the Russian sensors might think they are under attack and shoot off a few missiles themselves. Poland – who until recently was blindly going along with the idea, regardless of cost and how it would effect their relationship with Russia – has a new government and a new stance on the issue. While they are not outwardly refusing to allow it to continue, they want further study to make sure that it is worth all the trouble; especially since they feel absolutely no threat from Iran or any other Middle East country. Just as individual people need to stop acknowledging the US’s power, so do whole countries, in order for anything to even begin to change. Poland has a great history of joining together to overcome oppression, so there is reason to believe that if they decide they do not want the US to build anything, the US will not be building anything.

                William Kristol wrote his first opinion piece for the NY Times today and it was everything I was expecting it to be. He begins by thanking Barrack Obama for defeating Hilary Clinton in Iowa and thereby sparing us of another Clinton presidency; I can’t argue with him about that. However, he then goes on to call Obama a liberal Democrat and ask who is going to save us from him. The answer? Mike Huckabee. Apparently, electing someone like Barrack Obama would “increase the scope of the nanny state, we don’t want to undo the good done by the appointments of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, and we really don’t want to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory in Iraq”. William Kristol is truly amazing; snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory? I wonder what signs Kristol sees that leads him to believe victory is anywhere near. I wonder what his definition of victory is. Kristol then goes on to call Huckabee a “likeable regular guy”. A guy who thinks having gay sex is the same thing as sex with a child or a dead person and who wants to put all people with AIDS on a deserted island somewhere, is likeable to William Kristol. I guess this makes sense coming from a person who thinks we need “to be saved from” someone who wants to end a war in which almost 4,000 US soldiers and over a million Iraqi citizens have been killed.

                While people are still being killed in Kenya, a solution seems to be in the distance. Mwai Kibaki (the controversially elected president) has announced that talks between himself and Raila Odinga (the opposition party leader) will begin on Wednesday and be mediated by Ghana president, John Kufour. Odinga has apparently put aside his demand for Kibaki to admit he cheated before any talks are held and has also called of a planned protest and urged his followers to end the violence. On the humanitarian side, aid workers have been able to get some food to the stranded and hungry people who have been displaced by this conflict. It is nowhere near enough to feed everyone, and even the people who will get food will only get enough for two days. Both men – Kibaki and Odinga – are showing great character by agreeing to have a sit down meeting in order to end the violence and save many of their fellow countryperson’s lives.

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