Blimp deflator: Letting out the gas

The challenge is on Earth, not in space

Posted in uncategorized by Blimp deflator on July 24, 2009

The challenge is on Earth, not in space
This cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of July 21, 2009. Yes, despite the economic downturn, the rich West is still living in a fool’s paradise.

Dick Cheney still battling apoplexy

Posted in uncategorized by Blimp deflator on July 21, 2009

Dick Cheney still battling apoplexy
I love these Dick Cheney cartoons. This one is from the Manawatu Standard of July 15, 2009.

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Crescent International, July 2009

Posted in religion by Blimp deflator on July 11, 2009

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As Zafar Bangash asks in the above edition of Crescent International, “. . . why is there so much noise about Iran’s elections and wild charges of vote “rigging”? He then answers his question as follows: “Surely it cannot be the West’s sudden liking for the Iranian people. The real reason is that Iran is being destabilized for breaking out of [the] Western stranglehold by establishing an independent Islamic system and government. The Islamic revolution ousted the West’s favourite puppet, the Shah, from power It is the first country to have defied the international order imposed by the victors of the Second World War. Over the last 30 years, the West has made strenuous efforts to bring Iran to heel but failed.”
Australia/Israel Review, July 2009The first sentence of the editorial by Colin Rubenstein, in the July 2009 edition of Australia/Israel Review (pictured at left), says it all: “The sight of hundreds of thousands of Iranians protesting the rigging of their recent presidential election instilled hope in many that the Islamic Republic of Iran might be going the way of the Shah.” (That the election was “rigged” is, of course, beyond dispute.)

Iraq a Failed Imperialist Venture

Posted in uncategorized by Blimp deflator on July 4, 2009

The article below has also been posted as a reply to the item headlined Iraqi ‘independence celebrations’ at https://hourglassera.wordpress.com/2009/07/02/iraqi-independence-celebrations/.

Published on Friday, July 3, 2009 by The Toronto Star
Iraq a Failed Imperialist Venture
by Haroon Siddiqui

American troops were not welcomed with flowers in Iraq but their departure from cities and towns has been.

Iraqis celebrated National Sovereignty Day Tuesday as U.S. troops were yanked out of populated centres and put into remote bases.

In time, even that hidden presence will begin to grate on the Iraqis, just as a U.S. military base in Saudi Arabia had spurred Osama bin Laden and others.

Yet this limited troop pullout is being hailed as a triumph. One is reminded of Richard Nixon’s 1973 boast of “peace with honour” in Vietnam. The 1973 Paris treaty that led to the U.S. troop withdrawal was a face-saving formula.

In Iraq, too, the U.S. has little choice but to get out.

Not only did the Iraqi invasion and occupation prove the limits of military power, it also exposed how incapable America has become at nation-building. Its postwar incompetence was stunning.

America plunged Iraq into chaos, shattered the infrastructure and destroyed the society, reducing human beings to their basest instincts. They turned on each other and found safety only in family, tribe, clan and sect. Shiites and Sunnis, who had lived together for ages, ethnically cleansed each other’s neighbourhoods, which to this day remain separated by barricades, walls and checkpoints.

Having unleashed the forces that put Iraq’s three main communities at war with each other, the U.S. toyed with the idea of dividing the country into the Kurdish north, a Sunni centre and a Shiite south, much like the British had divided India in two in 1947.

Having created the chaos, violence and jihadism, the U.S. said, in colonial fashion, it had to stay to curb the chaos, violence and jihadism. Having crippled the state, it had no choice but to prolong the occupation until the natives were ready to govern themselves.

Iraq exhausted America more than the 1917-32 British invasion and occupation sapped the British. It also created killing fields on a vast scale.

Yet Iraqis have been brushed out of the American narrative – Iraq is free of Saddam Hussein, it is democratic, it is stabilized, it is this and it is that.

There’s nary a mention of how many Iraqis are dead (between 100,000 and 1.2 million, depending on who’s counting), how many maimed (not known), how many displaced (4 million), and how many tortured with Saddam-like methods in Abu Ghraib and elsewhere (not known).

Besides the damage to U.S. credibility, and not just in the Muslim world, the Iraq adventure empowered Iran far more than the U.S. would ever acknowledge.

Finally, the quest for oil may also turn out to be a mirage.

This week, Iraq’s oil minister, Hussain al-Shahristani, a U of T graduate, put development rights up for international bidding. No more no-bid contracts for U.S. firms, unlike under the Bush-Cheney domain.

Nor did George W. and Dick get what they wanted out of the Status of Forces Agreement. Passed by the Iraqi parliament last fall, it stipulates that all U.S. troops must be out by Dec. 31, 2011. No U.S. military operation can be carried out without Iraqi consent (a provision Hamid Karzai can only dream of). Iraqi soil cannot be used by the U.S. to launch a war on any neighbour (Iran).

Iraq is the imperial adventure that both Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff, one a neo-con hawk and the other a liberal hawk, fully backed. A monumental failure in judgment, their common stance was, and remains, an affront to the collective will of Canadians.

© 2009 The Toronto Star
Haroon Siddiqui (hsiddiq@thestar.ca) writes a regular column for the Toronto Star.

Iraqi ‘independence celebrations’

Posted in uncategorized by Blimp deflator on July 2, 2009

Iraqi 'independence celebrations'
Here, as usual, the Iraqi “radical” is portrayed as the cause of his country’s problems, while the real cause of the problems – the US occupation, as represented by a sober soldier in an armored personnel carrier – is portrayed as the patient, restraining influence. The cartoon, which is from the Manawatu Standard of July 2, 2009, is thus in the same vein as The White Man’s Burden by Rudyard Kipling:

    Take up the White Man’s burden—
    Send forth the best ye breed—
    Go, bind your sons to exile
    To serve your captives’ need;
    To wait, in heavy harness,
    On fluttered folk and wild—
    Your new-caught sullen peoples,
    Half devil and half child.

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These notions of European racial and cultural superiority, which allow the “civilized” European to see the “native” as “half devil and half child”, are as prevalent today as they were in the 19th century.

US troops pass on the baton in Iraq

Posted in uncategorized by Blimp deflator on July 2, 2009

US troops pass on the baton
Again, this is a gross over-simplification of what is happening in Iraq, and one that attaches far more importance to the military “handover” than it warrants. Sadly, for all concerned in the Middle East, the occupation of Iraq will continue. (Who remembers that “limited sovereignty” was restored to Iraq on June 28, 2004, or that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announced on January 1, 2009, that Iraq had “regained its national sovereignty” by taking control of the Green Zone in Baghdad?)

The cartoon, by Tom Scott, is from the Dominion Post of July 2, 2009.

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The Christian obsession with Babylon

Posted in religion by Blimp deflator on July 1, 2009

The obsession with Babylon
“The whore of Babylon or “Babylon the great” is a Christian allegorical figure of evil mentioned in the Book of Revelation in the Bible. The Whore is associated with the Antichrist and the Beast of Revelation by connection with an equally allegorical kingdom. The Whore’s apocalyptic downfall is prophesied to take place in the hands of the beast with seven heads and ten horns. There is much speculation within all Christian religious perspectives on what the Whore and Beast symbolize as well as the possible implications for contemporary interpretations.” (From Wikipedia.)

The article is from the June 29, 2009, edition of Challenge Weekly, New Zealand’s Christian newspaper.

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Book closed on Iranian election

Posted in uncategorized by Blimp deflator on July 1, 2009

Book closed on Iranian election
Once again, the conflict in Iran is seen in simplistic terms, as one that pits fighters for democracy against forces of repression. The possibility that this is primarily a conflict between rival factions inside the ruling regime is not considered.

The cartoon, by Tom Scott, is from the Dominion Post of July 1, 2009.

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