Category : News

2005 September 2

Help refused!

Dear God. The news actually finally has me frothing mad. The Canadian government offered New Orleans a blank cheque on disaster relief assistance, and Bush refused:

Canada will send the United States any help needed in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, Prime Minister Paul Martin told President George W. Bush on Thursday....

Martin said Bush didn't ask for help, but predicted he will. ...

[Gen. Rick Hillier, chief of the Canadian defence staff] said Canada could provide transport planes or helicopters, electrical generators, water purification systems, small boats for navigating the waterways of the region and engineering equipment and expertise.

He said his staff are planning to load a selection of such gear about a warship to be ready in the event Washington asks for help.

It's best to be prepared, he said.

"We want to help. We believe that's what being friends and allies is all about."

For the record, disaster relief is one of the things the Canadian military actually is pretty good at. DART, the Disaster Assistance Response Team, is specifically tasked with rapid response to catastrophe, anywhere in the world. In particular, it has a field hospital and an aircraft-portable water-purification plant, last deployed to Sri Lanka after the tsunami. I'm playing armchair general here, but how can this stuff not be fucking useful in the bayou right now? But I guess the Pentagon hasn't finished figuring out what they need.

It's goddamn inhuman. Can we have some fucking adults back in charge, please?

[via Making Light]

2004 April 9

Occupied Iraq: One year on

This is the sound of a conservative hawkish supporter losing her patience. Tish Durkin writes:

Bitter Baghdad Seeing Disaster As Rebels Rise: In short, for the purposes of Iraq after the war, this administration is the women and children.

... Apologies, hats off and hosannas to the C.P.A. exceptions, who do exist and who deserve nothing but praise. Even they, however, cannot help but be caught up in the rapidly spinning hamster-wheel of illogic on which their institution runs. It is, for instance, treated as an article of faith that for any C.P.A. employee to venture out of the Green Zone is for that employee to lay his life on the line. Thus, most employees do so with great caution and little frequency. In the many cases of jobs that depend upon verification or inspection or interaction with any Iraqi who does not work for the C.P.A., this means that they are paid serious money for jobs that they are strongly advised not to do. Meanwhile, to the cost of these employees’ salaries and living expenses is added the cost of protecting them with security that, no matter how expensive for Americans or offensive to Iraqis, is invariably deemed inadequate. As a result, the team that America has sent to put to the Herculean task of building Iraq a democracy is basically divided between those who realize that they have no idea what is going on outside their gates, and those who don’t realize that they have no idea what is going on outside their gates.

This does not encourage hope that the current crisis in Iraq will be finessed back into its bottle. (If crises aren't kept in bottles, they should be.)

Meanwhile, Bruce Rolston has been on fire this week -- your one-man warehouse for tactical analysis, reading between the lines of newspaper reports, and essential historical context. What do you know? History began before 1939.

THE HATED EMPIRE: "All this will involve great sacrifices and the expenditure not only of much money, but of more of the English blood of which the noblest has already been poured forth. And we are not so strong as we were. At first all nations sympathized with us, but now they look on us coldly and even with hostility. Those who were our friends have become indifferent, those who were indifferent have become our adversaries; and if our misfortunes and disasters go on much longer we shall have Europe saying that they can not trust us, that we are too weak, that our prestige is too low to justify us in undertaking this task."

--Salisbury again, same speech [1885, on the occasion of an Arab uprising in Egypt]

2003 October 16

Dark galaxies

Astronomers find first 'dark galaxy': Astronomers have found the first "dark galaxy" - a black cloud of hydrogen gas and exotic particles, devoid of stars. . . . It appears to be rotating so fast it would fall apart unless it contains a strong, hidden source of gravity. The researchers therefore argue that the cloud must be at least 80 per cent dark matter.


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