Saturday, September 11, 2004

September 11, 2004

Was looking at blogs and reading comments when I read the following comment. I was wanting some sort of appropriate 9-11 post; something that wasn't just blasting "the evil" or just supporting The War in Iraq; something in other words, that gave some perspective, and a glimpse into what it all means.

I think this comment does an admirable job:

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

I remember being at work, a consulting assignment for a major electronics retailer, and sharing a cubicle with a consultant from Egypt, of all places. At some point in the morning I noticed people sort of streaming down the hallways of the large open cubicle area, first in onesy-twosy, and then pretty much everybody, headed in the direction of the cafeteria, where there was a big-screen TV. My co-worker went to go check it out, and hadn't come back right away, so I went too, finally. I was probably one of the last on my floor at the company to see the images of the towers being hit on 9/11/2001.

Then about fifty cell phones rang in rapid succession, and I knew what it was. People in the National Guard being called up. One of the big-wigs at the company was making an announcement that employees with Guard or Reserve military obligations were free to go to their units for their emergency meetings and roll calls.

When the news anchormen describing the attack mentioned the terrorist hijacking situations, I could see my Egyptian co-workers countenance just SINK. It's like he instantly caught pneumonia or something, and he didn't look well. We walked back to his cubicle and he told me a little story.

When he was in Egypt he had a favorite uncle pass away, and he was really sad about that, so he started spending time at the mosque--reading the Qu'ran, reflecting on life, etc. At some point a "doctor" with eyeglasses came up to him and started helping him in his scriptural readings, and started to interpret the passages to him. Over time he seemed like a life mentor, sort of like a Muslim version of "Mr. Miyagi" in The Karate Kid. Yasser's life changed as a result of the man's teachings, and he started to grow his beard, and yell at his sisters whenever they dressed in a way that pushed the boundaries of Shariah laws.

As it happened, Yasser's father worked for Egypt's version of the FBI. This father pulled Yasser aside and asked him why it was he had been "acting wierd" lately? What gives? Yasser explained to his father the nature of his visits to the mosque, and then Dad asked the name of the man he had been meeting with, and he answered, he said "as your father I FORBID you to meet with this man ever again. He is TROUBLE, I tell you. BIG TROUBLE. Do you hear me?" In respect for his father, Yasser stopped visiting the man at the mosque. Over time, he stopped yelling at his sisters for inappropriate dress, and he shaved his beard. Back to "normal" for a young man his age in Al Kahireh (Cairo).

Well apparently the name of that man Yasser had been meeting at the mosque was one of the ones mentioned on the TV as a terrorist mastermind working under Osama bin Laden for these attacks. The unease he expressed was due to a sense of how close he had come to getting wrapped up in that whole "world". It piqued my curiosity. I asked him what it was about it that made it feel so right for him at the time? He explained.

Our conversations went on for days. Our fingers were whacking out program code, but our mouths and brains were engaged in going over what it was about radical Islam that had appealed to him so much when he was a young man in Cairo. I won't clog this post with all the points of what the attraction was, but I will say this: Yasser came from a very wealthy family, and his case handily dispells the myth that it's "economic desperation" that leads young men to that movement. If anything he would have been sacrificing his family's resources if he chose to follow that group and get disowned by them. My best attempt at summarizing the big appeal is that it was logical from the perspective of a belief in the Allah of the Qu'ran: you are either submitting to Allah, or you're not. If you're not, Allah has no use for you in this world. Yasser dispelled the myth that it's all about "hatred". "It's not for hatred of Americans or even hatred of Jews, but rather, but love of Allah." He explained the rewards in heaven that are said to await someone who becomes a martyr in Jihad. It was tempting to him, a RICH young man, because, as he said, "I had riches in this life, but what about the next? Maybe if I don't join up with that group I would be poor in heaven?"

A father's restraint had virtually knocked sense back into him and pulled him back from that precipice of zealotry. Ironically, honor of parents is ANOTHER core tenet of Islam, and when there was a conflict between the Jihad preachers and the Islamic value of honor for parents, he chose the latter. What I glean from this is that a lot of people are similarly met with choices regarding the Jihad warrior stance, and the peaceful stance, within Islam. It's not a choice we Americans can make for them, as certain Democrats very arrogantly claim we can do. We can provide assistance to mosques for the peaceful faction of Islam, and that would help, but ultimately the debating sides between "let's kill those who aren't like us" and "let's be peaceful and not let our worship of Allah become murderous of others", will have to settle between themselves what it is that Islam will ultimately BE in the world. If Jihad Islam wins, a war of total annihilation will be upon us, whether we choose to recognize it or not. Even if we don't fight them in that way, they will be fighting us in that way. If Peaceful Islam wins, we should see the results in the form of less and less support for al Qaeda. They won't necessarily gravitate toward western-style Democracy, but they'll also reject terrorism if their side wins.

A struggle for the Islamic soul is going on within Islam. There are people like Yasser's father; and there are people like Musab al Zarqawi. If the latter sort of people prevail, 9/11 will just be the first in a long string of increasingly devastating attacks, and the attackers won't care if entire Muslim nations get bombed to smithereens as retaliation for it--they'll accept the martyrdom and sacrifice as an honor (on behalf of those about to be sacrificed, that is).

There is a similar struggle for the American soul, on this side of the world's oceans. With copious arguments we've seen what that struggle is. On one side there is the very worst element of western society, demanding that America hamstring itself with international influences, strictures, and speed bumps on the way to effective defense. The reward they offer for this set of restrictions, is that France or Germany might send a battalion or two of blue-hatted metrosexuals to some Area of Operations to watch as our guys continue to fight. On the other end of the American struggle, we have reservation of the right to act with broad coalitions when they CAN be brought together, and without them when they CAN'T, and to keep the eyes firmly on the prize of victory. I think I'll go with the latter, myself.
1:04 AM

Thanks Cigsmokinman. fb

Wizbang: Is This How It Started?

This was too good to pass up.


Wizbang: Is This How It Started?

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

On the Prescient Nature of The Glob

From The Archives
Iraq Attaq
March/April, 2003
By Mark Connolly
Editor, Dallas Bureau

The following article was written before we had actually begun the War in Iraq. Many misgivings were had regarding this war; only The Glob had the journalistic courage to raise the issues at the time. Lo, we were a voice crying in the wilderness, yet, the concerns are eerily laid out.

As an editor's note, the primary concern at the time of this article was with the endgame, the lack of which even now plagues our nation. We believed there were WMD, along with most. But, how this was to be carried out was a concern. This article from the past is offered as a cautionary notice: Heed The Glob in important matters. We have thus far failed in our goal to be bought out by The Media Conglomerate and transformed into millionaires, and so our paper (for now) still serves the common man. Take advantage of it while you can.
Continued from Page 1: Iraq Attaq
Is anyone else concerned, a little confused, perhaps dismayed by the apparent inevitable march toward war? I sit with an open mouth as I watch the news commentary, listen to co-workers, hear on the radio, the gradual inexorble shift from IF to WHEN we attack.

My concern is the lack of a defined measurable objective that is achievable, and final. The objective of "getting Hussein", really just a step in the process, does not define the endpoint. The primary question after the getting is "what then?"

Not that Hussein may not need "getting". In fact, Uncle Buck, an almost mythical figure known only to a select few, can give cogent reasons as to why. I has asked him, "so, what do you think about this apparent inevitable march toward war?" I didn't ask about his thoughts regarding the lack of a stated "official" endpoint. With that caveat, I offer his lucent comments on going to war:

Your inflammatory rehtoric has got me thinking...

War is not inevitable. It is not "forced upon us." It is something we choose (or not) as a sovereign nation that has a DUTY TO ITS CITIZENS to defend the national interest.

War is expensive. War is an ugly hell. If we go to war, people will die, the innocent along with the guilty. In my mind there are two main reasons for war:

1. Preserve our way of life as Americans.
2. Prevent greater bloodshed if nothing is done.

Preservation of the American way of life means more than keeping the cost of gas under $2.00 a galon or saving the airline industry. Is Saddam capable of fostering or encouraging an attack on the US in a way that endangers the Republic? How much "police state" can exist, how much individual liberty can we surrender, and still legitimately say we live as free Americans?

How much "proof" do we need to act against a perceived threat? I ask you: how many lives would have been spared in World War II if we had attached the Japanese fleet in 1940?

The individuals who actually start wars rarely do the dying; asking other people to go in harm's way is an awesome responsibility. Is it possible that President Bush has access to information that he can't share with Dan Rather? I think he has. Sometimes none of us can know the "right" decision until after it is made. This is when we pray to God for an ethical leader with some integrity and inner strength, not for an opinion poll watcher.

History will be our judge in this "war on terror."

That said: history teaches me that TALK not seen as serious and CERTAIN TO BE FOLLOWED BY ACTION is not only a waste of time, it damages our national security by revealing a weak political character. We would be wise to follow TR's advice to "speak softly and carry a big stick." If it becomes necesary to use that stick we better swing it with both hands, for everyone's sake.

While I share Uncle Buck's sentiments regarding reasons and methods for waging war, and the need to protect our way of life, the missing part of the equation is the definition of success.

We don't seem to have a plan beyond "Get Hussein." War without a defined endpoint becomes a drawn out horrendous bog.

Here's what is bothering me. I can see going after and destroying his capabilities to use chemical and biological weapons. I can see stopping his efforts to gain nuclear capability. But, do we really want Imperial America?

That may be an inevitable consequence of starting down this path. We will have to set up a provisional government, and then prop up whatever leader takes the place of Hussein. Doing such is not a long term solution. In fact the longer we are there, the more destabilizing I believe that will be to the rest of the region.

What are the long term plans, and their repercussions? How far down the road are we thinking? I've heard nothing about how ending this is defined. In fact, I recently read that "planners" had come late to the problem of "after the war"!

And another thing. Just how exactly does this address Osama Bin Laden? It seems we have forgotten about him. Is he in Iraq? Maybe he is. Or was. What country do we take over next?

Desert Storm was crystal clear. Get Saddam out of Kuwait. We had a defined endpoint. The killing stops when Iraq leaves Kuwait, and when Saddam meets certain clear demands.

I understand he has since reneged on the treaty. And I understand something needs to be done. But, how is success defined? When does the killing stop?

See Iraq on page 7

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

"Only 8 Weeks?"

Kerry Goes on the Attack

RACINE, W.Va. — In the deadly serious game of campaigning for the Presidency, Kerry seriously ups the ante

Democrat John Kerry, with fresh campaign advice from the Comeback Kid, hammered President Bush anew Monday on the economy and Iraq, determined to break the GOP momentum.

“The ‘W’ stands for wrong,” Kerry said of Bush’s middle initial. “Wrong choices, wrong judgment, wrong priorities, wrong direction for our country.”

In response to the Swift Boat Vets, he then added the following devastating comment in his trademark measured cadence- "I'm rubber and you're glue. Whatever you say bounces off me, and sticks to you."

This was followed by the coup de grâce - "Infinity! No take backs."


Monday, September 06, 2004

Walmart Unveils New Format,
New World Order

By Mark Connolly
Editor, Dallas Bureau

Dateline: New Jersey

The latest concept in the Walmart Universe opened last Thursday in this idyllic suburb of New Jersey. Heinz Klempt, The Regional Manager, gave a rousing speech prior to the store's opening. He explained the new format, and their designs for the future, to an enthusiastic crowd.

"We have ways of making you shop!" he said. Cheers and clapping. "Our customers will have what they want, and what they want is what we want them to have. Our needs are intertwined; what is good for ÜberMart is good for the Homeland!" More Cheers, and foot stomping.

In a symbolic gesture demonstrating their committment to low prices, a minimum wage employee was thrown to the crowd. Amid cries of "Higher Wages mean Higher Prices!" the crowd efficiently convinced the employee to be Happy In His Work.

Flushed with pride, Mr. Klempt ordered the ribbon cut. The crowd marched in, methodically chanting, "ÜberMart! ÜberMart!" Their shopping privileges had begun.


Sunday, September 05, 2004

Blogging Dilemma

A Letter from The Editor.

The Glob does a self evaluation.

In the beginning, there was a form newsletter sent to my family. It was the result of a two-fold desire.

  1. I was playing with my brand new 286 computer and figuring out what could be done with WordPerfect 5.0.
  2. I was wanting an easy way to stay in contact with my far flung momanddad and brothersandsisters. So, using the mail-merge function of WordPerfect, I created a couple of letters with current happenings and things like inserting their names all in caps so that letters looked like:

Dear DOREEN, as you are my favorite mom/dad/brother/sister I wanted to send you and only you this update on my life.

That provided minor diversion for a few months, when I found a desktop publishing program that used the concept of frames to make layout etc. easy.

The Global Exclaimer was born, complete with 2 whole issues over a 2 month period. It was a tongue in cheek exercise in fun for me, with some serious thought put in on parts of it, and pure nonsense on others. Then life intervened, and something like 5 years went by. At various times people would say, Hey, when's the next Glob coming out. And I would always say something non-committal. But, truth is I wanted to write it, and regularly.

Then I got MS Publisher, and started up again, printing a record 5 issues in a row, to rave reviews from me. I also shared it with family and a wider circle of friends. Then my hard drive died, taking The Glob with it. After much flailing about, wherein I changed operating systems only to find that the driver in W2000 wouldn't drive the duplex function of my printer, I struggled now and then with trying to put out the next rag. Weeks turned into months.

One day on a local sports radio show they were talking about Mark Cuban's blog. Mark Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks. I thought to myself, what is a blog, really? I'd heard of it, but didn't' really know, so I thought, google will tell me. And I found

I envisioned somehow recreating my news paper look and feel. Here is what the front page looked like:

The Global Exclaimer front page.

But, it just didn't work out that way. The interface is good for what blogs are, which is basically an online journal. But, I still want to have more or less a newspaper. And I think I may have found a way to do that, but it will take a bit of research and doing. While I have been jacking with that concept, I have found myself mostly commenting on other blogs, instead of writing on this one. And found myself in a whirlwind of political commentary. Which, while very interesting and enjoyable, was not my initial intent.

Hence my blogging dilemma. For now, I intend to pursue the faux newspaper angle of this thing, and that will include silliness and non-political articles that will nevertheless be some sort of social commentary. Please feel free to comment away on this redirect. It will also involve an attempt to capture some of the front page look from my print edition... Success seems far away, however. Lastly, it may also involve using a feature Blogger has that allows for posts to have a kind of summary paragraph, with a link to the full article. We'll see if that works or not. If it does, then I and the Staff of The Glob may try to compile weekly editions that will be posted over each weekend. Naturally, hot topics requiring immediate posts will be accommodated.

Toodles for now. fb