October 27, 2003

Centennial Post

Posted by shonk at 02:51 AM in War | TrackBack

Quick on the heels of a rocket attack on the hotel where Paul Wolfowitz was staying in Baghdad, there have been more bombings in Iraq. Colin Powell protests that "We did not expect it would be quite this intense this long," and goes on to marvel at the sophistication of these attacks. Which makes one wonder what exactly he was expecting. As Fred Reed says:

I don’t think that Americans quite grasp that countries don’t like having foreigners bomb them. We tend to justify our wars in terms of abstractions: We are attacking to defeat communism, impose democracy, overcome evil or, now, to end terrorism. The countries being bombed, devastated, and occupied usually think they are fighting invaders who have no business being there. The distinction is lost on many. I know aging veterans who to this day do not understand why the Vietnamese weren’t grateful that we had come to help them fight communists.
On a related note, check out The Liberators by my friend George Potter.

On the topic of Vietnam, the Toledo Blade has done a heroic job uncovering the story of Tiger Force, an elite unit of the 101st Airborne which committed probably hundreds of serious war crimes in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam in 1967 (thanks to George F. Smith for the link). Not that the fact that war crimes were going on other than those committed at My Lai should come as a great surprise to anybody, nor that they should be covered up so completely, but it's still rather discomforting to read all the details.

Quickly, I'd like to follow up my globalization post from last night with a link to this article on offshoring from CNET and point out this post on the frenchification of English.

On a lighter note (this is, after all, the 100th post to this blog), I am very grateful to Puerta del Sol Blog for two excellent links. The first is to this collection of greguerías by Ramón Gómez de la Serna. A greguería is, as Jonathan Holland at PdSB says,

...an aphorism that freely associates words, ideas, and objects, defined by their inventor as "metáfora más humor"; the form, which has been compared to Japanese haiku and Rilke’s Dinggedichte, is defined thus in the Diccionario Real de la Academia Española: “Agudeza, imagen en prosa que presenta una visión personal, sorprendente y a veces humorística, de algún aspecto de la realidad, y que fue lanzada y así denominada por el escritor Ramón Gómez de la Serna”.
They are tiny, beautiful and, unfortunately for most of my readers, written in Spanish. Still, if you know the language, I strongly recommend looking into them.

The second link is to whichbook.net, which will, based on input as to what sort of book you would like to read next, give you a list of books that might be to your liking and (if you're in the UK), tell you what local libraries have those books available. Please tell me someone is working on integrating this algorithm with Amazon's recommendations algorithm.

And, finally, thanks to Davezilla for linking to the county-by-county data for what people call soft drinks. As you can see, I grew up saying "pop", went to college where if it had bubbles and didn't get you drunk it was "coke" and now live in the land of "soda". This, my friends, is what we call deep and meaningful research.