Sunday, July 16, 2006


My Cat, "Big Brother", WWIII

My cat is really aggressive with other animals. It's fun to watch him go after my brother's dogs, when he stops by. His hair on his neck and back stands up and his tail turns into a thick brush. He goes into attack posture (picture the classic halloween black cat: standing sideways with back arched, ears laid back, teeth showing, hissing), waiting for an opening. Suddenly he'll fly across the room at the offending dog and start biting him on the leg or ear or wherever. Then he'll flee to relative safety under the kitchen table, to lurk around the legs and rungs of the chairs, watching for his next opportunity to attack. The poor dog hasn't got a chance; even if he dares fight back, the cat just gets more emboldened. Finally, we'll have to separate them.

I've watched every Big Brother season since it began. BB7 is turning out to be quite interesting; bringing back some of my favorites - George, Will, Janelle(!), and best of all, Howie. It was so funny watching him go after one of the other players last year (I don't even remember which one). This season, he's going after Will - flirting with him, and doing an aggressive "in-your-face" gay sort of come-on, really pushing for a physical/emotional reaction. Will tolerated it at first, but lately he's started to wear thin, lamely using a "I'm -the -smart -sophisticated -rich -guy -patiently -having -to -deal -with -this -obnoxious -overbearing -dumb -jock -bumpkin" response to him. But Howie is undeterred. The years haven't been good to Will. His snappy-insider-joker personality of Season 2 has turned sour. Botoxer indeed! What a skimmer! Let's not even talk about "Boogie".

Cello note

I'm diligently working on my new second position exercises; trying to learn the relative finger locations using the sounds; patterning my muscles to move the exact distance from the various known first position ringing tones. Slowly it's starting to click. While playing the target practices and finger shift etudes, my fingers are finding their new spots on the strings more accurately, and I pick up the rhythm as I play them over and over and faster and faster, till my hands start to cramp up. Making progress, slow and steady.

Iran and World War III

I think Iran has been planning for this war since 1980 - the day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated, when they had to release the hostages from our embassy in Tehran. They knew Reagan would invade. They knew they would lose. But that would change. They vowed that the next time they had a direct confrontation with us, they would not be backing down. They were going to export their terrorist tactics across the muslim world to one day fight their war in a radically different way. They intended to breed and indoctrinate a whole generation of fanatical followers who would not care if they lived or died, and consequently would never retreat or give up the cause. Their global strategy started with establishing and funding charities to be run by local fundamentalist mosques, opening and staffing madrassas for the children, infiltrating the clerical ranks.

The Arab world was backing the PLO as the high-profile voice for the Palestinian movement, which has been the Arab 'cause celebre' since 1948. Iran was a relative newcomer to the field, having so recently devolved from a westernized capitalist powerhouse into a fundamentalist islamic theocracy; it had never commanded much respect in the Arab world. To advance their islamic agenda and eventually dominate the region, they had to slowly change the focus of the popular causes and regional strifes from the longstanding Arab vs. Jew to Islam vs. non-islam infidels. They knew it would take a long time time, a lot of careful planning, and an immense amount of patience to pull this off.

It appears that they now feel ready to fully assert themselves and take on all comers.

First, they needed to carefully ease the PLO off its perch. So these fundamentalist clerics looked through the rank and file mosques in the region and came across a few like-minded local mullahs to slowly encourage with charitable support along with weapons, training, and tactical advisors. In southern Lebanon, using their Syrian allies as a go-between, they setup Hezbollah. Across the border they quietly started building up Hamas into a force to be reckoned with.

Syria is the only Arab country which has switched sides and plays the quiet "little-brother" role in Iran's war plans. They are taking quite a payoff, and in return they've been given free reign to testout various terror tactics in Lebanon, as long as they keep up the pressure on Israel and in recent years on the US in Iraq. In previous blogs, I've discussed these hidden ties between Iran and Syria and how they've been cooperating in Iraq. Neither country bemoans the loss of Saddam Hussein for one second, no doubt they loathed him like everyone else did (Iran's disastrous war with Iraq nearly cost it a generation of children - used as human minesweepers to clear their battlefields before committing their armed troops), but after his downfall they found themselves in a fortuitous position to be able to use his "legacy" to field-test their various terrorist tactics against the US forces in Iraq, all the while appearing to be staying above the fray.

Al Queda was also a secret and indirect recipient of Iran's largesse. This needed to be kept under deep cover; I doubt more than a handful of people on either side of that deal know much about it. This has paid off for both sides. I'm convinced Osama is hiding out in the eastern Iranian desert along their common border with Afganistan. He's been there from the beginning. The western media has bought the ruse hook, line, and sinker. That's why we've never even come close to nabbing him. The US has no choice but to play along because up until now we haven't dared go into Iran looking for him, and the Pakistan cover story is all we have.

While Iran has become one of the most powerful influences on the planet, they operate best in the murky shadows of their principle benefactors, China and Russia. China and Russia needed a proxy to take on the west, and Iran was more than willing to destroy itself in the process, and they'll eventually do it with or without their help. That gives Iran an element of control over their relations with these military mentors. Iran successfully plays these two against the middle, allowing them to follow their own agenda, while letting Russia and China come up with their own reasons for protecting them at the Security Council of the UN.

I don't think the US has done all that well in dealing with these new tactics. It's not easy, since our culture is fundamentally repelled by their callous disregard for their own people, their own families, even. Look at Iran's use of its own children to clear minefields in their war with Iraq; blowing up innocent civilians in the marketplaces, mosques, and bus stations; basing their operations deep within their cities and neighborhoods, completely integrated into the population. This forces the west to face up to the difficult moral dilemma of inflicting civilian casualties while trying to root out and dismantle their terrorist cells. How else do you do it, if they are willing to use their own people as hostages, their own homes as bases to fire missles, store ammunition, and shoot at their enemies? To make it worse, they then cynically take full advantage of video footage of any civilian casualties as part of their all out propoganda war.

Israel goes after the terrorists wherever they hide, and chalk up civilian casualties as unfortunate consequences that cannot be avoided. The US is slowly and painfully learning this lesson in Iraq. Europe just doesn't get it and still considers any civilian losses as abominable. Russia clearly doesn't care much whether or not they kill their own civilians when they go after the Chechen terrorists. Look at the Moscow theater hostage situation several years ago, and just over a year ago the school shootout that led to the death of so many of the kids. China couldn't care less; to them, civilians are mostly a nuisance to be tolerated, anyway.

More later...

It's lame, I know, posting a comment in your own blog, but I just reread this post and realized I didn't quite get my point across about civilian casualties. There is no good excuse for civilian casualties, and yet I fear that we humans have not evolved far enough to avoid them. Certainly not if the fighters on one side use their own civilians as shields and think nothing of sacrificing them in their cause. The other side could very well be horrified (who wouldn't be?) at the very thought of this approach to war, but if they don't fight back, they will not survive.
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