Archive for July, 2009

Time to call it as it is

July 30, 2009

Yes, Iraq still exists. There was a time when it was the biggest story out there. It was in a state of complete chaos, devastating bombings rocking the country on a daily basis and militias roaming the street day and night, terrorizing and killing anyone who visited the wrong mosque. The situation was labeled a “civil war” by the media and just about anyone who tried to prove the opposite—that hope was not lost— was dismissed as a neocon or a “warmonger”. That was the past.

Iraqi army soldiers

These days, the Baghdad correspondents who many Americans invited into their homes in the evening to tell tales of death and destruction have gradually disappeared. Often, a Google search of certain Iraqi cities will yield few results. With two successful elections this year, stunning security success, and a departure of US troops from major cities, Iraq is on track to succeed.  But, despite a dramatic drop in news coverage that trends opposite a rise in progress and stability, you can still find regular articles in the newspaper, on TV and on the internet about the” War in Iraq”; usually they are about troop withdrawals or an attack that the enemies of humanity—the “minutemen”, as Michael Moore termed them—manage to pull off against Iraq’s civilian population. Either you hear that, or you hear nothing…that’s an industry that’s supposed to bring fairness and accuracy to the American population at work for you. Quite an achievement in society, isn’t it?

Although there is much work to be done, its time for the media to stop referring to the situation as “the war” and focus instead on Iraq’s emergence as a sovereign country with a fully capable army and police force that brought law, order, and stability to major Iraqi cities that were once deemed “lost” to the insurgency by conniving politicians, like Harry Reid, and hatchet-piece news reports that have had an awful tendency to dot the front pages of the New York Times and the evening news. In fairness to the Iraqi people, whether or not Iraq is “at war” can rightfully be questioned. Misleading the public by portraying Iraq as something it’s not is detrimental not only to society, but to humanity. Its hard to argue that a stable Iraq is in everyone’s interest, unless of course it doesn’t fit into your zealous political aspirations.

The biggest indication that Iraq’s dark days are behind it is the face of the insurgency, or lack thereof. Zarqawi is dead. Abu Ayyub Al-Maasri, his replacement, has not been heard from since 2007 and reports suggest he is in Afghanistan.  Al-Sadr and his hiddeous deputy, Abu Deraa, have scurried off to Iran without even a whimper. As of today, every man who has taken a major role as a leader in the insurgency has been killed, jailed, or fled the country, leaving the so-called resistance without leadership or any form of  logistical organization. Running gun battles and ambushes targeting the Iraqi Security Forces are down almost one-hundred percent while the ISF rules the streets in Basra, Ramadi, and Diyala. Then there are the elections. Last January saw a peaceful and successful democratic election that gave Iraqis the chance to join other democracies without having suicide attackers and car bombs detonate as they lined up. Last week, Iraq’s Kurdistan region went to the polls in a peaceful and efficient election, bringing a death blow to the once-resilient criticism that Iraq could never become a functioning democracy.  In layman’s terms, it’s over…everyone who wanted to see the Iraqis fail at building a stable, democratic society has lost, pure and simple. And “everyone” covers a lot of ground, from the despotic Arab regimes that surround Iraq, to the still blood-soaked streets of Tehran, and the halls of Congress that were witness to countless resolutions drafted up congressmen and woman who sought to derail the success of Iraq and Iraqis to protect their political investments. The latter have both a (D) and an (R) in front of their names.

Iraq still faces trouble, particularly from its neighbors. As the uprising in Iran refuses to give up, its hard to predict what the regime in Tehran could do if 70 million people hungry for democracy and secularization bring it into its death throws. We all know the horror of what the Baathists, Saddam supporters, and Sunni extremists did to Iraq after they fell from power, there is no doubt that, if Khomeinism implodes, it could spew out the same terrorism—such as market and café bombings—and Iraq could bear the brunt of this, especially if the Mullahs and their allies sought to shift media attention away from their demise, which is becoming more of a possibility each day. Personally, I don’t think it’s a coincidence June saw an increased rate of high-profile attacks against Iraqi civilians as protests raged next door in Iran. Of course, a desperate and humiliated Al-Qaeda in Iraq was also eager to make it seem as if their attacks, not the June 30th deadline, were driving American soldiers from Iraqi cities and back to their bases. Despite rabid media hopes and speculation, the violence that hit parts of Iraq in June has not spilled over into July, and this month looks to be as calm as May, which was the calmest month in Iraq since 2003.

A congragulations and an apology to the people of Iraq from politicians across the United States should be in order. I’m not naïve though, and you shouldn’t be either. In the eyes of the Reids and Pelosis of the world, Iraq mind as well have spun off the earth’s axis. It was a subject that scored them a few cheap political points and could be swept under the rug when everything backfired. In fact, if it wasn’t for the financial crisis, I can’t help but feel that American voters might have seen what had been going on behind the curtains and rightfully voted against these people. It amazes me how a Senator can declare an effort lost and refer to a 4-star general as a liar without being ran straight out of office. 2010 could bring some solace to those of us who stood by Iraq in the most difficult of times, but the real solace comes in the continued growth and success in Iraq: the markets re-opening, the schools being built, and the brave young men and women who enlist into Iraq’s security forces and take an oath to protect their fellow citizens, so they can bring their children in a nation that could prove to be the Middle East’s greatest success story.

What has communism achieved?

July 26, 2009

What has communism helped us achieve? I think this is a good question. I’ve been hearing a lot about communism lately. From middle-aged veterans, like the ones you can find across Berkeley, to college students who have been indoctrinated into believing that the genocidal wisdom of Lenin, Marx, and Mao somehow has something positive to offer the world, communism and socialism are being put forward by some as the solution to the world’s financial difficulties.

A Maoist rebel prepares to attack in Bihar, India (photo from Topnews, India)

A Maoist rebel prepares to attack in Bihar, India (photo from Topnews, India)

When I get into debates about the subject, I always start by asking “What has communism done to benefit society? ” The answer to this question is an elusive one, because unless you consider re-education camps, Stalin’s Purges, or Kim Jong Il’s cult-like dictatorship a benefit to society you have few examples to provide. Capitalism has provided us with much of what we take for granted today—automobiles, railroads, airplanes, internet access, computers, toilet paper—the list goes on. However,  a lot of pro-leftist/communist sorts will talk about Fidel Castro and Cuba—its health care system, its infrastructure, its emergency-preparation—and how that system has helped the people of Cuba. Well then, if Cuba is such a stunning success story, why is it that so many people on the island are willing to attach themselves to floating objects that are far from seaworthy and paddle their way to America?

Even if it’s conceded that Cuba has built a successful communist system (which it has not), it has come at the expense of human rights and liberties that Castro’s defenders on US soil take for granted. After all, it doesn’t take more than mild criticism of the brothers’ Castro to end up rotting in some jail. Ironically, American leftists who defend Castro often rant about the evils committed by the US Government in Guantanamo Bay, which, compared to Castro’s prison system, would probably be a luxury retreat to the thousands of prisoners being held in Cuba. I’m not advocating or supporting the things that have happened down in Gitmo, but 3 square meals a day, regular health checkups, freedom to pray, and a clean cell are hard to come by if you get picked up by Cuba’s State Security Forces. Perhaps it’s no surprise that several Guantanamo inmates linked to the Uighur separatist movement  have made very clear they would rather remain in prison than be deported back to Communist China, a country that has all but silenced the Muslim population of their native Xinjiang Province.

Enough about Cuba though…I’d like to talk more about what communism has offered society, both in the past and today, that has been of benefit. Unless you are moved by death, destruction, and dismemberment, this list of latest accomplishments by communists and their sympathizers will not impress you.

Communism’s role in today’s society:

July  24th, 2009: The “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” executes a woman for distributing bibles and spreading the Christian Faith. She was executed last month despite a claim by the North Korean Government that the state guarantees freedom of religion.

July 20th, 2009: FARC rebels attack a town in southeastern Columbia, injuring dozens of people and killing three others, including two teenagers.

July, 2009: Maoist bombers take down 36 policemen in India’s remote East with multiple landmine blasts and a ferocious gunbattle.  A dozen more officers are seriously injured and several others remain missing. The assailants—the feared Naxalite rebels, are inspired by the communist teachings of “Revolutionary” Mao Zedong and Lenin

Meanwhile, the Naxalites have issued a threat against Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, vowing that he will meet the “same fate” as former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated in Sri Lanka by a female suicide bomber dispatched by the Tamil Tigers (LTTE). Considering that the Naxalites have begun to imitate the LTTE in other tactics, does this mean that they are ready to strap themselves in explosives and go after Indian politicians? The answer remains to be seen, but communists attacking world leaders with suicide vests is one of the last things this world needs right now.

So does this type of system offer us hope in a challenging economic climate? You be the judge, my friends.

The world awaits

July 15, 2009

Hey everyone,

I am still here, I’ve just been tied down with all of my busy work lately! As you can see, I have been doing my very best to update my twitter account often on an hourly basis, but I took a couple weeks off from blogging. At the moment, I am in the final stages of preparing for my trip to New Delhi next month. I’m leaving on the 10th and I obtained my 6-month Visa today. I already have the feeling that this is going to be the adventure of a lifetime.

While Delhi is sure to be amazing, I’m most excited about going to Kathmandu, Nepal, where I will be staying for 3 months. Nepal has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, including Mount Everest and the Himalayas. Then of course there is the culture–a spectacular combination of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam–all three of which I will be studying vigorously.

I’ll be posting about some of the most recent events happening in the world very soon. Until then, you can find me on twitter. I also plan to blog extensively about my trip.