Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Bob Barr Question

The Libertarian Party held its convention last week. After 4 votes, the delegates nominated former Congressman Bob Barr. Barr is a supposed born-again libertarian, now eschewing and apologizing for his votes in favor of, among others, the Iraq War, the PATRIOT Act, and the Defense of Marriage Act.

I do realize that people change their minds, but as of 5 years ago, before he lost his Congressional seat, Barr was just as much a family-values, big government, moral police, neocon as, say, Bill Frist. I'm just not buying that a person can change the very foundation of their political philosophy in such a short span. I simply don't get it.

What is Bob Barr after?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Why the Iraq War Has Nothing to do With the "War on Terror"

I haven't quite figured out why we went to war in Iraq yet, but I can certainly tell you it wasn't to fight terrorism. It definitely was not to avenge the victims of September 11, 2001, and it was 100% not to catch Osama Bin Laden.

But this post isn't about trying to figure out why we went to war, it's about why this war has nothing to do with terrorism or September 11.

Saddam Hussein

Up until our 2003 invasion of Iraq, that country was ruled by a man named Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti1, more commonly known as Saddam Hussein. Hussein was a long-time member of the Ba'ath Party. The Ba'ath party is a Pan-Arab, secular, nationalist, socialist organization. Did you catch that? Yes, I said secular.

But but but but but.....if the Ba'ath Party is a Pan-Arab organization, wouldn't that automatically make them Muslim fundamentalists? Give me a break. That's like saying "all Germans are Lutherans!". While many Germans are indeed Lutheran, many are Catholic, Jewish, Atheist, etc. Like the word German, Arab identifies an ethnicity, not a religion. Upwards of 10-12% of Arabs are, in fact, Christian2.

OK, OK, you say. But c'mon - the Ba'ath Party must be Muslim, right? No. The Ba'ath Party, the Party of Saddam Hussein, was established by one Michel Aflaq, an Orthodox Christian3 . It is similar in ideology to other nationalist parties, such as Francisco Franco's nationalist movement in Spain4 .

So far in this little lecture we have a secular nationalist dictator, whose religion happened to be Islam.

Let's look at our other character in this drama, shall we?

Osama Bin Laden

It is widely accepted that a man named Osama bin Muhammad bin 'Awad bin Laden (aka Osama Bin Laden) provided the funding and facilities for the attacks of September 11, 20015. Bin Laden is a radical religious (Muslim) fundamentalist. His goals are to make Islam and its laws the dominant force in the world. While Bin Laden himself is an Arab, 1.5 billion people worldwide identify themselves as Muslim - this includes Indonesians (the largest Muslim population in the world), Africans, Americans, British, French, German, Chinese, and more. Just about every country in the world has some population of Muslims.

So What?

Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were completely at cross-purposes to each other. On the one hand you had a guy that could care less about religion, who just wanted power under the guise of unifying Arabs; on the other hand you have a guy that just wants power under the guise of making this world a world under Islamic law. I dare say, they probably hated each other. They probably thought each one was nosing into the other's business.

If the attacks of September 11, 2001 were about Islamic radicalism and creating one world, under Allah, then why did we push all our eggs into the Iraqi basket? Why did we send those young soldiers there to die in a country ruled by a secular nationalist who was completely at odds with the people that committed the attacks on our country? Why is Osama Bin Laden still free? Why aren't we putting everything we have into capturing him and his deputies?

Why is the American general populace hoodwinked so easily into thinking Iraq was behind the deaths of 3,000 of our fellows on September 11, 2001?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


When talking about the Declaration of Independence and American law, I often feel that the word "inalienable" is glossed over. To me, that one word in the Declaration is far and away the most important. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are fantastic ideas, but the word inalienable lends these words the weight they deserve.

Inalienable, as defined by Merriam Webster, means: "incapable of being alienated, surrendered, or transferred"1

Sometimes dictionaries irritate me. That definition just doesn't get across the gravity of such a concept, so I thought I'd lend my own.

Inalienable, in the context of the Declaration of Independence, means that the rights ennumerated in the document are guaranteed. That just by being born a human being on Planet Earth, you are entitled to Life, Liberty, and property. That these rights are not granted, not given, not a "privilege" - they are absolute and inherent, no matter what.

I am, therefore I have rights. Simple concept that is often forgotten.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Good for Banksy

My new hero.

Banksy, I would like to donate money for paint supplies. How can I do so?