Friday, January 12, 2007

Different Strokes

I spent some time today talking with a coworker about some results from an instrument he had built. As time passed the conversation drifted to Iraq. Turns out he was an Olbermann fan because Olbermann advocated immediate withdrawal from Iraq. What, you say, another Lefty? Well, this guy had spent 1 1/2 years in Libya as a boy -- oil, I presume, I didn't ask -- and simply despised arab culture in all its tribal glory. He wanted nothing to do with it. As he put it, tribal family values went as follows:

Husband -- da Capo
Boy children -- family fighters
Girl children -- tools for building alliances
Donkey -- useful draft animal
Wife -- free labor and womb.

Hmmm. So I suggested that maybe we should simply set up shop and sell weapons cheaply to everyone. That way we could make a profit and the customers would do the dirty work of wiping each other out. He thought that might be a workable solution. No nation building or democracy spreading for him, in his opinion it was a waste of time and money.

Anyway, just posting to point out that there can be shades of nuance in the anti-war position. And sometimes I think we do forget that many Arabs are not the Fahdil brothers, many are ignorant farmers, herders, and villagers in a world rife with superstition, corruption, and aspiring Capos. How far we want to push the attempt to change the traditional culture is a legitimate question.


terrye said...

Well yeah, there are people over there who still save the marital sheets to prove the bride was a virgin.

And I think a lot of folks feel like the guy you were talking to... but even though there are a lot of things that I am not really fond of in Arab culture myself I am not sure I like the idea of just running away either. Because they won't see it as we got disgusted with them and gave up on them, they will see it as weakness and get cocky. Not good.

BTW, the other day I was talking to a someon myself through work, a Viet Nam vet.

He said he usually voted Democrat because they gave more free stuff to the poor. And he likes free stuff. He got his injury after his service but he always tells people he is a disabled vet because he gets perks.

He wishes he could have hanged Saddam himself, is tired of George Bush and thinks we should bring back the draft so we can draft a bunch of "niggers" {his word not mine} to build a wall to keep out the damn Mexicans.

He informed me that he was not a bigot, he just hates niggers and wetbacks.

And Hillary Clinton is ugly.

There is nuance everywhere.

chuck said...

"There is nuance everywhere."

Heh. I like these stories, it is good to be reminded that not everyone is ordered from the same catalog and delivered by Stork Express(tm). No wonder politicians have a hard time appealing to everyone.

terrye said...


Can't be done. Just think of how many folks out there are saying, eff em just nuke the bastards. And of course the politicians have to pretend there aren't really people like that out here.

Knucklehead said...

I've reached the point of beginning (well, truth be told I'm beyond the start line) to believe that maybe it is time to feed them light weapons and ammo and let them have at one another. Give it five years (while we support and undermine all sides equally) and then deal with the Last Tribal Loons Standing.

Rick Ballard said...

No need to arm them, Knuck. Iran is arming the Sadrists and the Saudis are arming the Sunni.

We should adopt the Kurdish attitude (while providing arms to the Iranian Kurds, the Azeri and the Baluchs).

The Saudis deal with China is great - a good civil war in Iran (why should the Iraqis be the only lucky ones) is now much more likely. It's going to be a lovely spring for vultures in the ME.

Syl said...

And sometimes I think we do forget that many Arabs are not the Fahdil brothers, many are ignorant farmers, herders, and villagers in a world rife with superstition, corruption, and aspiring Capos.

Doesn't sound all that different from some of Terrye's stories. You think all Westerners are free of superstition, corruption, or don't want to be Capos?

Sometimes we forget that not all Americans are as bright, tolerant, and wise as, say, Barbara Boxer.

So, of course, we should lump all Arabs under one cartoon umbrella and hope they kill each other off.

Yeah, that'll work.


chuck said...


If you want to reform Barbara Boxer I'll happily spend some money to support the mission. Is there a PayPal button somewhere?

loner said...

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) received the most votes ever cast for a candidate for United States Senator in 2004. I find this something of a smile (probably a smirk) because that was the same election in which President George Bush received the most votes ever cast for President and Senator John Kerry (D-MA) received the most votes ever cast for a losing candidate for President (and more than anyone else who'd ever won in the past), I once bet someone with whom I often argued politics that Mrs. Boxer would retire after a long Senate tenure (he thought she'd lose in 1998) and I didn't vote for her twice so far (I was in PA in 1998).

She'll hold the distinction of having the most votes cast for her for Senator until 2012 unless something really, really bizarre happens in 2008.

Is this a great country or what!


I'd forgotten what it's like to work a 40+ hour week. This week marks the first time in six years and almost five months I've done so and it's not over yet.

Be reading you.


terrye said...


Well consider the source. Boxer is still an asshole, nobody said she stole the election.

Now if I was a Democrat and she was a Republican I might be accusing of her of stealing the election but I am ready to admit that people actually voted for Barbara Boxer and Kucinich too.

And then of course there is that Klansman Byrd.

terrye said...


That was my point. Imagine how the Branch Davidians look to the rest of the world.

Imagine how some of the looters from New Orleans looked to the rest of the world.

loner said...


Bad week?

terrye said...

No worse than usual.