is older than it's ever been and now it's even older


The attack begins

Two days ago, the US began bombing Afghanistan. Much has been said about the war on terrorism, but little of worth. I have been going for information from Rebecca Blood, a super-blogger whose desire to follow the story has overwhelmed her desire to stay the hell away from the computer the last month. Obviously, more than can be said for me.

I am not a pacifist. I do not believe there is any inherent value in forswearing the use of violence; in fact, violence is a tool that can be used as necessary. That being said, violence is not often the most effective means at the disposal of a human or country, and thus it disappoints me when it is used when other means could be used to achieve the same aims. I regard the efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to be illuminating in this regard. While Dr. King may have had profound ethical and moral reasons for pushing for nonviolence, it surely didn’t escape his notice that nonviolence was obviously the superior strategy to undertake in the United States because of our nature as a republic. The Civil Rights movement didn’t achieve its aims by annoying southern politicians; it won by winning over the majority of the people of the United States, and a good amount of that public support was gained by seeing people of color attacked by dogs and thrown flying when water cannons were trained on nonresisting columns of people.

For once, the United States government obviously is concerned about what the rest of the world thinks about us. Yet, the attempts to stay on the good side of the world, especially the Arab world, appear nothing short of lame to me. The food drop, for instance, is so pathetic and transparent that I wonder why they even bothered. I have this image in my head of a meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where these gruff lifelong military men are discussing the campaign, and at the end they get to the subject of PR, and throw out the idea of the MRE drop. Did I mention they didn’t use parachutes?

Philosophically, my bent towards utility inclines me to not look with much favor on what our current policy is. Reading the situation with a mind for history shows that we engendered major hatred in Afghanistan when we gave them arms and then abandoned them after the Soviet invasion. If we think we can bomb without nation-building and expect to not repeat the cycle, we are fooling ourselves. The Republicans that rail against the nation-building we’ve undertaken irritate me as much as the lefties that were against the US policy before one was announced. Bombing to deter and retaliate against terrorists empirically doesn’t work, period. I am disappointed that Colin Powell and his broad based diplomatic, intelligence, and financial approach to the war against terrorism seems to be losing out to the typical “bomb them back to the stone age” approach that has never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever worked. When can our policy be pursued for effectiveness and not ideology?

Law School, too

The last week at school has been one where students are more and more willing to put themselves out on a limb because of their particular pet cause or beliefs. In Torts yesterday I had a woman become very angry with me because I downplayed the likeliness of her claim that women are often forced to become heroin addicts in the US for the purposes of the sex trade (as I told her, I don’t dispute that this may happen, but I certainly don’t think that there is a massive epidemic of this phenomenon in the United States; to back me up the professor indicated that he had never heard of such a case, and he’s old enough to have a broad sweep of experience). Then, two people all but declared their fealty to Scalia today. I am not going to join a camp of interpretation at this point. It seems counterproductive to pick an ideological filter at such an early point in the curriculum – I imagine that these textualists cannot help but discount to some degree all opposing theories of interpretation, and it seems that not maintaining an open mind decreases the breadth of learning.

JC Watts, Oklahoma’s highest ranking Representative, threw a tantrum about violating security rules at the Oklahoma City airport. He put the ticket between the officer’s chin and badge and told him to “take care of it.” Arrogant people who consider themselves above the law are among my biggest pet peeves.

More law and sports conjunction: the man who caught Barry Bond’s homerun was robbed; a group of people pulled the ball from his glove and another person came down with it. Armed with videotaped proof of his claim, the man has now retained a lawyer. I bet he has a good case; did I mention the ball is probably worth seven figures?

Sean Meade, a good blogger friend, has downgraded Hobbsblog II's position on his sidebar. He's been blogging almost as long as I have, and he was my first link, and for all this time I've been his #1 link. No longer. I hang my head in shame.


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