"You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out." - William Tecumseh Sherman

Name: The General
Location: Sacramento, California, United States


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Saturday, September 11, 2004
  Apollo Tutoring
I came across an interesting piece on revamping our education system by Adrian Apollo. Here's a small part of it:
Imagine President Bush announcing the beginning of a new campaign trip, whereupon he waves, turns and then hops on the back of the Beverly Hillbillies' old jalopy. Or picture Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking past the television cameras in their space suits for the first trip to the moon and everyone applauds as they climb aboard a biplane built by the Wright brothers.

Bill Gates didn't strike it rich by working with mechanical adding machines, and Dale Earnhardt didn't become famous by racing one of those tall, old-fashioned bicycles.

All that sure sounds ridiculous, yet most every morning kids wake up and are sent to schools run in much the same way that schools were run a hundred or more years ago.
When most kids lived on farms, they attended one-room schoolhouses. Later, when the population demographics shifted and most people lived and worked in cities, our current system was developed. Now that we are transitioning into the Information Age, we are overdue for another educational overhaul.
Read on...

  Remembering 9/11
It's been three years since America was attacked on 9/11. Though many superficial things have changed, fundamentally we are still on the wrong course. By ignoring the root cause of the attacks on 9/11, fundamentalist Islam, we are wasting our resources in less important conflicts. Iraq is slowly turning into another Vietnam, where indecision and irresoluteness have paralyzed the most powerful nation in the world. Iran and North Korea are developing nuclear technology, without any threat from America. And to top it all off, the man who appears fated to win the presidential election, George Bush, is paving the foundation for a Christian theocracy.

It is therefore appropriate that on this day we remember an American founding father who loved this country, loved liberty and had no qualms about defending it. Unlike our president, he was eloquent, passionate, and knew how to inspire patriotism in his countrymen. That man is Patrick Henry. Before the Revolutionary war broke out, many in the Virginia House of Burgesses were calling for peace. After listening to their platitudes, Henry rose and delivered the speech that made him famous. We remember it today through his famous line, "Give me liberty, or give me death!".

No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free-- if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending--if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained--we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable--and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
  Triumph of Christianity by Tommaso Laureti
The inspiration for the title of the last blog entry came from this 16th century painting, depicting the destruction of secularism as embodied in ancient Greece, via a fallen Greek statue smashed to bits. In its place Christianity seeks to fill the void with the crucifixion - faith, sacrifice and death. Its a perfect metaphor for the Religous Right, who want to ruthlessly excise every hint of secularism and return to Theocracy:

The Triumph of Christianity
  "Triumph" of Christianity
With all the recent outrage over Muslim atrocities from Christians, you'd think they were as peaceful as the Buddhists. A great many articles decrying militant Islam come from militant Christians. Let's be clear here - I'm not implying that Christians are as bad as Islamists. They're not blowing up innocent people regularly, nor does the community promote or condone such activities. But in principle they are just as bad, and for America they are specifically. While they may shy away from suicide bombing, the Christian right has no compunctions about using the machinery of government to force people to conform to their mystical version of morality. And let's not forget Christianity's past, the Dark Ages and the Inquisition, both primitive and brutal periods reminiscent of many Muslim countries.

The difference between America's Christians and the Militant Islam is one of degrees: the Christians have emerged from the Dark Ages of faith and stagnation, while militant Islam has planted both feet there and refuses to budge. Unfortunately, since Reagan the vestigial horns of religious piety have been growing at an alarming rate. Faith, finally dismissed after Aquinas to a distant second from Reason, is on the rise again, loudly and shamelessly. Many Christian leaders want to take us back to Dark Ages, when the government was the church, and Christian dogma was the ultimate standard of truth.

But this is precisely what the Muslims are doing and seek to do; more so than Christianity, Islam does not recognize such a thing as a separation of Church and State. Islam does not recognize secularism; indeed it regards it as anathema and as a vicious evil. The danger here is that the Christians are slowly and quietly trying to sneak that very view in here. In the process they are slowly dismantling the glorious political system our founding fathers bequeathed to us.

The conflict that must be fought is not America vs. Militant Islam, but America vs. Militant Islam and Militant Christianity. They are two variants of the same mystical coin, just as Communism and Fascism are. Defeating only one will not save us.

Friday, September 10, 2004
  Cox and Forkum - That Day
  Good Riddance to Old Trash
The AP reports that Aryan Nation founder Richard Butler has died. Good riddance.
  Cox and Forkum - Heart Attack
My thanks and appreciation to Cox and Forkum for all the wonderful cartoons they've done. Their ability to translate abstract ideas into moving and sometimes humorous cartoons is magnificent. Go check out their website and see what I'm talking about. Thanks guys...

  Great Editorial in Wa. Post
I just finished reading a great editorial from the Washington Post that expresses the same sentiments I've been doing (albeit, in better form). Go read it - it's only a few paragraphs, but full of pregnant formulations. Here's a few tidbits:
There's no question that any military campaign against Fallujah or its neighbors will have to be carefully prepared; but there's no longer much question that it will be needed. The White House called off a Marine attack on Fallujah in April in the hope that a friendly local Iraqi force would step in and impose order, a decision that has proved to be a serious mistake. The hastily assembled local force never asserted control, and one of its commanders was recently captured and beheaded. A Taliban-like regime now rules Fallujah.

And continuing:
But the Bush administration, whose errors have done much to create this troubled situation, will only compound U.S. losses if it fails to act decisively against Iraq's Sunni extremists and the terrorists they harbor. The planned political transition, on which the chances for progress in Iraq depend, may well collapse if January's elections are derailed or discredited -- and elections cannot be held in the principal towns of western Iraq as they now stand. Even worse is the prospect of a terrorist organization conceded a haven in a country that the United States invaded to preempt just such a threat. The administration was wrong to allow that enemy base; it can ill afford to grant it three more months of grace.

It's wonderful to see a major newspaper criticizing Bush not because he's fighting strong against Islamists, but instead because he really isn't. And to criticize the Bush Admin. for not taking care of Fallujah in April 04, when it had the opportunity, is doubly pleasing. We need to truly be decisive, and that means fighting a war against these renegade cities.
  Cox and Forkum - Confronting Terrorism III
Thursday, September 09, 2004
  North Korean Weapons Program "Justified"
The AFP reports that North Korea feels justified in developing Nuclear Weapons:

SEOUL (AFP) - North Korea (news - web sites) has warned that South Korea's uranium enrichment experiment could fuel an arms race in northeast Asia, accusing the United States of practising "double standards."

"We view South Korea's uranium enrichment program as part of armament race in the Northeast Asian region," Han Song-Ryol, deputy chief of North Korea's mission to the United Nations (news - web sites), told South Korea's Yonhap News Agency Wednesday.

"It will be difficult to prevent the spread of armament race in the region due to the South's nuclear experiment."

Two facts that should come to mind immediately:

Even if South Korea were developing a full nuclear weapons program, this would not justify any kind of weapons program from North Korea. A dictatorship has no right to self-defense; any nation which violates the rights of its citizens forfeits all claims to legitimacy and to any "rights". Any free nation has the right to invade such a country to liberate it and vanquish its government; and any free nation has the right to pre-emptively strike such a country in self-defense.
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
  Cox and Forkum - Noms de Guerre
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
  Straight from the Koran
I've recently been reading an excellent book on the history of Muslim warfare against the West, Jihad.

It's well written, with little tidbits of humor interspersed throughout that makes it all the more enjoyable. I haven't finished it yet, but as I've been reading it I've come across various quotes in the Koran that seem almost unbelievable. So I decided to do a little research, and lo and behold I found that they were authentic! Here is a smattering of some of the juicier ones that I was able to find searching the Koran online:

Monday, September 06, 2004
  Bush Is a Coward
I've already talked about Bush's idiotic pronouncement that N. Korea and Iran are different than Iraq in terms of policy. But after reading this I just shook my head. That Bush has basically ruled out military action in favor of "diplomacy" is a disgrace; but that he is still part of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) "group" is a moral outrage. This is the group that under Pres. Clinton promised to build Nuclear Reactors for North Korea, in exchange for not building nuclear weapons (i.e., if you don't kill us we'll give you what you want). The AP article describes the Bush Administration's reluctance to continue the project, but they gave in to pressure not to trash the program. What a joke!

This is the same Bush who called Saddam Hussein a madman that had to be defeated. What, does Kim Jong Il not qualify (if not outrank Saddam)? He is certainly potentially much more dangerous to US interests that Saddam was. How can Republicans support this man as our defender, when he'll allow Islamic totalitarians and communist ones to develop nuclear weapons?

  What We're Fighting Against
AP published a story on Muslim fundamentalists who are recruiting the youth in Kuwait to fight the Jihad against the infidels. In case anyone mistook these people for freedom fighters, here's some of the changes they've started to make in Kuwait:

For more than a decade this Gulf emirate has been gripped by a struggle between liberals who want more freedoms and a stronger democracy and Muslim fundamentalists who favor full implementation of sharia, Islamic law.

Already the extremists have succeeded in separating sexes in university classrooms, discouraging public entertainment and keeping women from voting or running for office.

We're fighting for freedom and individual rights; our enemies fight for totalitarian theocracy.

  Assault Likely in Iraq Before Elections (AP)
The Associated Press is reporting that an assault on Iraqi militant strongholds is likely before elections take place in four months. Such an assault is exactly what I have been arguing for since day one, and is strongly needed.

What is surprising is the fact that at least two Iraqi cities are being controlled by the militants, Fallujah and Samara.
The rebel-held western city of Fallujah is the biggest obstacle, he said. The next biggest problem, in U.S. military terms, is Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad — and also in guerrilla hands...

Besides these centers of rebellion, large sections of Iraq remain beyond government control and out of reach of elections. These include Sunni Muslim areas north and west of Baghdad and, perhaps, southern Shiite cities like Basra, where sections resist U.S. or British troops.

I haven't seen any of this reported on any major news channel. Bush didn't even mention it at the RNC - instead, he implied that Iraq was rolling along smoothly, without any bottlenecks. Large chunks of the country in totalitarian hands is not a smooth transition to peace, and it certainly is not freedom. It is a disgrace for Bush and the Republicans to talk about Iraq as if had already become a free country when anarchy is really a closer approximation.

What needs to be done? The US needs to assault one of these "strongholds", it doesn't matter which one. We must go in "guns blazing", to use that offbeat cowboy term. We must not issue any ultimatums or demands - we simply go in and kill the militants holding the city, to the last man. We then issue a statement that we will continue these attacks on every city in Iraq, until the militants have unilaterally surrendered or are all dead. Once these thugs see that our resolve is principled and unwavering, many if not all will give up. The military power of the US is unequaled in the world, and unstoppable, but only if we are willing to use it.

Don't get your hopes up though; it seems our military (and our politicians) have forgotten all of the above:

The general[Lt. Gen. Thomas F. Metz] also said the Americans' August siege of Najaf could be considered a model for subduing rebel-held areas.

U.S. and Iraqi officials consider the three-week battle a success, although it left the Shiite holy city in ruins with hundreds of Iraqi fighters and civilians dead and nine Americans killed. Al-Sadr's defeated militia fled and the city is now under government control.

What a nice rewrite of reality. Our cowardly appeasement in the face of Islamic totalitarians is not a victory. Al Sadr and his troops left Najaf, that's true - but they left with all their weapons, and let's not forget that part of the agreement was the stipulation that we would leave Najaf first. Al Sadr was also granted amnesty for the case involving the murder of another Muslim cleric (who just coincidentally happened to support working with the Americans). That's a negociated peace; what we need is a unilateral peace. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - we must kill Al Sadr, and any would be thug who seeks to emulate him. A civilized society cannot coexist with such cretins left unmolested. Until the US (and Iraq) learns this lesson, I fear freedom will be far off.
Sunday, September 05, 2004
  Cox and Forkum - Political Stance
  What A Difference A Few Days Makes.....
I've been a little silent the last couple of days, and look at all that has happened since then. Now I'm forced to play catch-up:

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