Friday, December 16, 2005

TEHRAN, AGAIN?

So the Iranian president denies the Holocaust, so what? He is first and foremost a politician, then a diplomat, if at all, next. He is under no obligation to be nice about the Holocaust. Of course, he is being tactless and crude, but does this amount to the level of belligerence? I don't see it that way.
When Dubya decided that Saddam had to go, and that he would bring Iraq to its knees to achieve his aims, the world agreed largely with him. Thay had no qualms in allowing a nation to invade another on the flimsiest of suspicions that even American prosecutors would have thrown out of court, no matter how badly the Judges were stacked against justice.
What everyone fears is that Tehran will one day have a nuke to lob at Israel. But, history shows us that only one nation has ever nuked another. India and Pakistan, implacable foes since the mid-fifties, now possess nuclear weapons, yet they aren't about to go to war with each other. I don't see how Iran could possibly go to war with another nuclear power. It would be suicide.
While Tehran has supported suicide bombing missions to Israel, there is no evidence to show that some of the bombers were Iranian. A nuclear war would be suicidal for them. What really gets the West's goat is that Iran learnt from Iraq's mistakes. Just when Iraq's nuclear facilities were about to go operational, Israel blew them to kingdom come. Unfortunately, they had located them in one area, easy to find and consequently, easy to bomb. Iran, cheekily, has dispersed all its facilities precisely because they will be harder to find and bomb.
Such tactical dispersion removes any disadvantages Iran might have in terms of conventional military defenses. It is this lack of tactical advantage for Iran's potential foes that makes them mad. Iran is refusing to play by their rules. They are not placing themselves in harm's way and the Americans are not happy about it. Further, Iran being such a difficult nation to penetrate, what with its peculiar popularity for a clearly demented political system, could it be that the West and Israel are finding it difficult to locate all of Iran's nuclear facilities. This would explain why there is so much talk of a 'democratic wave' sweeping the Middle East as a result of any potential success in Iraq. But such hope is mere speculation. Iran so far has not shown the same desire as the other regimes in the region for Western-style democracy or systems. That is ultimately the paradox of Iran. And the reason why all talk of an imminent invasion is just that-TALK.

Strength

What do you admire most about your political heroes? Or just about any of your heroes? I don't have a political hero, but I can identify what I admire about certain political leaders even though I loath and detest the whole lot of them.
Mr Raila Odinga is leading us down a dark and dangerous road. He knows this, but in his mind it is clear that he must do this to win. And he will do this until Kibaki and his cowboys see the error of their ways. The days of Kibaki Tosha are well and truly over; now we are in the days of uncertainty.
However, whatever I admire about Raila is the way he is determined to chart his own course in the murky waters that are Kenya politics. He vowed to break Kanu and this he did right before the last general elections. He has now vowed to have a general election before the end of 2006. he may very well do what he has promised. His political currency is all that remains of a shortlived and stormy relationship with Kibaki's cowboys.
Strength is to be admired even when it is employed in dubious and nefarious activity. Nyayo was a strong man and he wasn't afraid of taking hard decisions. Dubya is a strong man-he went to war knowing that he was right. He didn't let the little details worry him. These were to be managed by the likes of Powell and Cheney and Rummy. His job was to win at all costs. Strong Presidents will send you to die for the most flimsy of reasons. What makes them exceptional is that you will not rebel when they do so.
Kibaki does not have any strength of character. Thatcher once said that leadership, by definition, is not consensus. Dubya has demonstrated this and so did Moi. But Kibaki has been running a coalition government rather that leading a country. Perhaps he may yet pull the rabbit out of his hat, but his performance so far does not inspire confidence. The people who have exhibited any will in his previous government were not the ones who should have done so. Kibaki failed the country by failing to reign in his cronies. They didn't get him elected, but his 'coalition-partners'. Everyone else is a hanger-on.
Now look at what has happened. Murungaru embarrassed himself such that he is persona non grata in capitals that Kenya needs to court assiduously. Doubts are being raised about the integrity, if any, of Kibaki himself. This can only create more unwanted pressures, especially in the area of budgetary support from the West.
It is hard to admire a man who, while in a leadership position, exhibits weakness and uses profane language to shore up his confidence. What makes it worse is the the sycophants around him are given enormous powers to act as they please, and their agenda is not to chart out a different path, but to please the man. Their indifference to all but their constituents doesn't make them leaders, but tribal hitmen.
I will always admire people like Raila, not because they make things happen, but because the morality and the expedience of the situation doesn't impress them. When they want something they will impose their will on an entire nation to get it. Kibaki, for all his strengths, will always remain a follower, never a leader. After all, Moi fired him twice because of his weakness, and the Old Man was rarely wrong in his assessments.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Separation of Church and State

Now the Church want to meddle again in the constitutional mess. I can never understand why religious leaders think they are the moral arbiters of society when their own society is so fucked up. Child abuse cases, financial shenanigans, murder-you name it, they have done it. And now they want to play politics. For this they must give up the cloak. They can't have their cake and eat it too.
When they were given an opportunity, they shied away from taking a stand. Everybody was on the bandwagon, one way or the other, yet the Kenyan Church was fence-sitting and playing possum when they were supposed to be telling their flock how to vote. The phrase, "foolish like sheep", describes the Kenyan congregation perfectly. When they wanted to oppose sex-education in schools, they did not hide their feelings behind sophistry and cant. They came out fighting, even though their opposition to the exercise was wrong, both morally and religiously.
Today, they want to play both sides against the middle. People of Kenya, wake up to the reality that the church treats you exactly as the sheep that you are. Think about it: this is the same question I ask about politicians. Would you allow a religious leader into your house and heart? The answer may be yes, it may be no. But you will never trust them to make the right decision on your behalf. At least, you shouldn't. They haven't demonstrated behaviour that calls for my trust. They can therefore, take a position in the pantheon of the charlatans and false prophets of this world.
The way forward in this matter, is to look at it logically and dispassionately. Put as little faith as possible on all the various leaders claiming to be our messiahs out of this mess and trust your instincts. Ask for a Draft thay will make your life better, not a Draft that will please your local strongman and self-proclaimed prophet of doom. Don't think about hypothetical children and grandchildren you don't have. Think about those who are here now and whether you can look them in the eye with love and confidence. For you to do that, you must give them the gift of a Kenya free from greed and corruption, one in which they shall be in a position to be counted as humans.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The law vs. politics

There is a fine line to be drawn between the law and politics. They feed on each other and they rely on each other for effectiveness. For there to be laws, the politicians must work together to craft Bills in Parliament. For there to be effective political governance, there has to be a structure to regulate the behavior of politicians.

When Kibaki fired his entire Cabinet and prorogued Parliament indefinitely, he was well within his powers. He did not act ultra vires vis-a-vis the constitution. If he were to call for snap General Elections now, he would still be acting well within the boundaries of the law of the land. Those who are whining at the Rais' sudden evidence of backbone should take the good as well as the bad. They wanted the referendum to fail. Now they must face the music. The man who controls the calender, under the current constitituion, is the president; not Parliament and not the general public.

Wanjiku has spoken, now it is the time for the politician and other 'experts' to act. We want a draft that encapsulates our aspirations, addresses our fears, and gives a roadmap for the future. More importantly, we do not want the likes of Kalembe Ndile and Maina Kamanda to be involved in crafting a new draft, or even revising the old one. The same goes for Agwambo and Co. The Mt. Kenya Mafia should employ their spectacularly expensive legal skills in other less intrusive areas like trying to legalise miraa or something.

This is my idea and it is pretty radical. When the PanAm flight was bombed over Lockerbie in Scotland, the Americans, British and Libyans agreed to let the Scots handle the trial of the Libyan suspects. The parties agreed with the verdict of the court. It is time we tried something similar. We can't trust our politicians to play fair over this process. So lets give the Scots a chance to do it for us. And those idiots who will start yelling about a lack of patriotism at this idea, I will remind them, "Patriotism is the last refuge of the vicious."

Sunday, November 27, 2005

So who actually won in the referendum war?

The Noes have it but the pro-Referendum guys might actually come out on top. Think about it. The Narc camp is not sleeping in one tent, but the Kanu machine is punching solidly behind Uhuru Kenyatta. There is no confusion as to who is top dog in Kanu, but unless Kibaki runs again in 2007, here is no alternative. Raila, despite his popularity, is not a national icon. Neither is Kalonzo or any of the other pretenders to the throne. Even Tuju with his strategic move to create an alternative power-centre in Nyanza will still be seen as a Luo leader rather than a national one.

When they began the campaign to oppose the Draft Constitution, it quickly deteriorated into a personality clash. It was seen a battle between the rebels in Kibaki's Cabinet and the Official Opposition, such as it were. Now that the battle is over, the war over the 2007 Elections still looms. The Narc coalition stands divided and the Opposition is busily consolidating its base.

Where, as a nation, do we stand after the Referendum? Some might thinkthat it is an opportunity to reflect and create a new Kenya. The mwananchi know better though. We leave the Constitution-making to vampish, selfish politicians and there is no new Kenya to wait for. We will get screwed over and over until we learn from our mistakes. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it; those who do not learn the proper lessons are simply doomed.

Do we really want to go for another voting exercise in two-years time? The numbers of those who voted this tie round speak clearly. There was less than 60% voter turn-out. In two years' time, this number will be less. And this should be a warning for all them politicos. They want my vote, they have to stop telling me why the other guy is worse than they are. Instead, they should outline a clear programme for what they require from me and how much they are going to sacrifice to achieve a country that we can be proud of. Otherwise, I will always think of them as whores who don't know how to keep their knees together.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Leave Iran the fuck alone!

I read that the US is afraid that if Iran gets the bomb then Israel is history. So the fuck what? I can't think of one nation that has made life so difficult for so many people more than the Israelis. If they were to be removed as a political power, the world would have one less festering headache to deal with. Ever since they were given a homeland in 1948, mind you they were given, they have been a thorn in the flesh towards the goal of international peace and security. Everybody goes into paroxyms of fear whenever a threat is issued against that state. If that state weren't there, we would be concentrating on other more pressing issues, like hunger in Africa and cheap energy for the whole world.

Now Iran has gone and put the cat among the pigeons, calling for the total destruction of the Zionist State and going ahead with plans to acquire The Bomb. I don't know if their president is foolhardy or foolish. Either way, he makes me point out that The Bomb is a brilliant campaign tool, but as a national priority, it is very expensive. Look at the Indians and Pakistanis, they got the Bomb but now they cannot feed themselves or secure their borders against petty smugglers of all hues.

What the Americans are afraid of is that the Iranians will use the bomb to bargain with them for a realignment of power in the Middle East. I don't see it that way. Let them have the bomb and watch them bankrupt themselves like all those other morons who have the bomb. It costs money to make and keep the bomb and the US knows this better than anyone else. So why are their fucking knickers in a twist over this simple issue? All they have to do is sit back and watch two idiots destroy each other over an ieology that is frankly a recipe for disaster. So the Islamists think they are the only true faith and the Zionists think they deserve world sympathy because Hitler wiped out a significant proportion of their populations in Europe. They are both wrong.

What the world today wants is a healthy environment, peace and security. We want more money, more love, more everything, and the West Asia Crises are keeping us away from the good stuff. Get rid of the Arabs and the Zionists and two-thirds of the world's headaches go with them. And that is my two-cents worth for this bulletin.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

WHOEVER WINS WE LOSE!

When the dust settles on the Referendum tomorrow, the government will be in an unenviable position. Kibaki's boys have played dirty for the last one year, calling Raila and Co. names and playing hardball on virtually everything.

The fact of the matter is, when we vote tomorrow, only a minority will decide a destiny of a nation. An absolute minority. Do the math: there are 31 mllion Kenyans, 15 million of whom are adults and 11.5 million of them are registered voters. Even if 60% of these voters vote yes or no, they will still be a minority, an absolute minority!

So now that we have that uncomfortable detail out of the way, let's deal with the nitty gritty. The Draft has so many lofty ideas that if implemented, Kenya will be the land of milk and honey. But there's a catch: Parliament has to approve everything. And Parliament, in our experience, has more loose nuts than a Studebaker. Do you really see Maina Kamanda reading the proposed amendments to the Bill of Rights and coming up with a credible position? Or Mwenje? Or Kalembe Ndile? My point is this, if a country deserves the leaders it gets, then we are an accursed nation.

There are clearly clever people in Parliament today, but they are Machiavellian rather than Lutheran. They think and obsess over power and its retention rather than the empowerment of the peoples of this nation. If you think Mssrs. Kiraitu and Co. give a flying fuck about you then you need a bed at Mathare Mental Hospital. Pray that you get leaders you want, not deserve, because we want progress and not protests. We need a leadership that will take us the new Canaan, and not a new Constitution. A Constitution will not help if MPs can still promise 'miraa' airports!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

of conventions and bitches

"She has a lot of sleeping around to do if she wants to attend the next COP". And that statement says it all about the state of affairs at the seventh session of the Conference of theParties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). You must have met one of those pushy women who use whatever wiles they think they got to wangle a few plum jobs here and there and favours galore. They tend to rub you the wrong way, especially when you'd like to think of yourself as a straight arrow with few enemies in the world.

Boy was I wrong. Being a goody-two-shoes is not a good thing 'cos people think they can walk all over your arse and get away with it 'cos you ain't got the stones to fight back. Boy did she get it wrong. I am lawyer and we are a mean-arsed bunch. We hate people who think they know more than us and we will crucify you when we get the chance.

I am delegate at this conference and I'm getting paid to be here. So when some bitch decides to meddle when I am about to get paid, I get pissed. I stand my ground and point out that she ain't the paymaster and she can go fuck herself. Of course she has it in for me for some reason. I keep outta her way as much as possibe, but she keeps trying to meddle in my affairs, even so far as going to lie that she has the authority to bar me from certain meets. I hope she's having nightmares cos I am 2 on 2 over her skinny little ass on ugly legs. I am in the meets she doesn't want me to attend.

And now she's getting herself an army. I am prolific commentator at this COP. I write daily for the ECO and now there are murmerings that I am getting too much exposure. Those other arseholes don't wanna write and now they are pissed that I do so every single fuckin' day. Screw 'em. I ain't their keeper. They gotta problem with me, they'd better tell it to the man or put pen to paper and stop whining. I ain't asking them for permission and I ain't apologising. They got problems, well I got some of my own and so I can't take time outta my busy schedule to hold their hands across this road. Fuck 'em all!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The NARC Downfall

This Kibaki regime is going down. This referendum isn't going to do anyone any good. You have the so-called Raila camp on one side singing their own praises and the Government forces are responding in classic-Moi style: with an iron fist and a blank cheque. So who wins in this contest?

The mwananchi is merely a specatator and, at worst, an active dupe out to get paid to make mayhem. Why the fuck should anyone listen to a rabble-rousing politician with his own selfish agenda? Ask those morons now getting charged by the cops for rioting and causing other senseless mayhem. The images on TV, if they weren't so tragic, would make for excellent political comedy.

This the question you must ask yourself: would you vote in the referndum? And if so why? The answer should not be to appease your political masters, elites et al. The answer should not be because you are in the Orange or Banan camp. the answer should reflect whether you think your vote will make a difference, and whether that difference will mean an improvement in the conditions of your life. If you cannot answer this question adequateley, two things come to mind: a) you are an idiot and you deserve what you will get, or b)you are too lazy to think for yourself and you still deserve what you will get. Either way, you are doomed.

Personally, I do not wish to register as a voter or even vote in the referendum. I think the whole thing has been fixed so that the people outside the political machinery will get screwed whether they vote or not. Think about it. Murungi is on record stating that the Draft Constitution is a Government project and that the Government is within its rights to spend public monies to ensure its adoption by referendum. Raila says it is not a Government project and that the only way the process can be fair is if there is a level field for political competition. What about the sentiments of Wanjiku? Has our voice become replaced by the voice of a group of people who by their very nature are selfish and capricious in nature? I shudder to think where we are headed.


Disaster is within our grasp and we need only continue being passive and uninvolved for the political class to push us into chaos. Whether we want to be involved or not, it is time we drew the line on the sand and told the politicians, "no more." It is time the people rebelled against this sheepishness we are exhibiting today and completely removed the Ndolos and Kajwang's from the process of Constitution making. If the Constitution is to be truly representative and wholesome, then the influence of an influence-peddling, lying, cheating, selfish, thieving political class must completely be nullified. We sent them to Parlaiment to present our case as a people. If they are incapable of this simple task, it is up to us to remind them that we are not sheep, nor idiots, nor cannon fodder for their political wars. We are a sovereign nation and when we want to, we can start our own "Orange Revolution" without their assistance. This referendum is not a political contest, but the culmination of a national attempt at creating a more equitable, more honest, more correct political, social and economic system for the benefit of all Kenyans and not a small minority of men and women we wouldn't trust to look after a six year old child.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Democracy v. Religion

We are at a crossroads-the politicians keep fucking up and the religious bigwigs are cheering them on. I can understand why there are those who would oppose the Kadhis' courts as a matter of principle. I can even understand why they would lie to project their line of thought. What I cannot for the life of me understand is why the so-called Kenyan church would align itself with a body of people who are by their very definition liars, thieves and cheats.

It is presumed that the Kenyan church isn't independent, that because of the enormous amounts of dollars they receive from overseas, especially the USA, they are not in a position to chart an independent path of their own. That they will always parrot the latest conservative line from their foreign paymasters. What we eed today in Kenya is not just a separation of Church and State, but a complete removal of the religious fundamentalists from the political process.

The so-called contentious issues are to be applied in respect to the entire nation, which means all Kenyans, and not conservative Christian Kenyans alone. And this is the line Kenyans need to draw in the sand, the Rubicon. I am a christian; practicing or otherwise, I object to the role the church has arrogated itself in Constitution-building. They may be right or wrong on a host of issues, but it is undemocratic of them to impose thier views by fiat on a majority of the citizenry who go to a different church, so to speak. If they are displeased by the issues expressed theirin, it is within their right to organise and campaign for alternatives. But for them to declare that they are the only ones are right or their view is the only right on is not only undemocratic, but I would argue, unchristian also. That these views are probaly not indegenous to Kenya makes it even worse.

A growing trend worldwide since 9/11 has been a gradual and inexorable shift towards conservative views, following the lead of the US. and the Kenyan church seems to have sensd this shift and followed suit. What is strange about this apparent shift in Kenya is that it is being led by those churches that have been associated with American churches, who are by and large conservative in nature. The churches represent a small percentage of the Kenyan congregation, indeed of the population as a whole.

Therefore, for the influence the church enjoyed in the constitutional review process, they should have had a much bigger constituency on their side. As it is, I believe that while the church shouldn't be ignored, the level of accomodation made must be reduced to a realistic level. After all, if the church really had the numbers it claims to have, then it could actually make a play for power.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Separation of church and state

The argument of the reigious right in Kenya are as absurd as they are wrong. I do believe that the church and state should be separate, but we should also realise that the minority voice in this country are bound to be marginalised if a weighted importance isn't given to them in this majority-Christian nation.

The argument that the Kadhi's Courts shouldn't be incorporated in the Constition is wrong. As a minority, the Mohammedans haven't been incorporated in the mainstream. Their ghettoisation continues, 42 years after uhuru. To argue that they are a part of the mainstream comes as an insult.

It is equally true that the Islamic faith is substantially different to the other faiths worldwide. That some of their practices are retrograde is of little cosequence because in Kenya the law disallows coercion in professing any faith. Therefore, people are free to choose whether or not they wish to be Moslems or not. Ergo, the creation and incorporation of the Kadhi's Courts to deal with limited facets of Islamic personal law is in line with protecting the rights of minorities in Kenya.

The church has taken upon itself to fight the Muslims, because that is exacly what they are doing today. Perhaps they do not realise that the sharia to applied in the Kadhi's courts will not infringe upon criminal or civil law, but will deal only with the area of family law relating to marriage, divorce, succession, adoption, guardianship, and wakf (charity). Sharia will not deal with criminal law, law of contract, civil law, matters of state, and other maters that the general sharia deals with. Sharia alone will not be able to amend the constitution, overrule the Court of Appeal, ignore res gestae and res judicata, or the rule of precedent. Sharia will be subordinate to the constitution. The elements of sharia to be applied only recognise the unique nature of Islam in Kenya today and seeks to protect and preserve the minority from majoritarian totalitarianism.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Why hate isn't such a bad thing

If you could get over the sanctimony about hate, you'd see it wasn't such a bad thing after all. Dubya hates Saddam, Blair hates the Tories, the Russians hate the Chechens, The devil hates God-it's one unhappy family. My pet hate of the yeat is the Indian, in all his forms and shapes. The cop, the grocer, the lecturer, the clerk, the bus-conductor; but most of all the cop.

He is stupid, corrupt and dangerously malicious. I have had the most harrowing 2 weeks in India, and I can unhappily pin all the blame on the cop. I am supposed to be outta this shithole tonite, but no, some bureaucratic-minded policeman will employ all his skills in keeping me here. I can't figure out what he stands to gain, but I hope one day the tables are turned on his malicious fat ass. And that's what makes him so dangerous-his malice, that is. If he was just stupid and corrupt, I could pay him off and be on my merry way. But no, he has a dose of the malicious in his soul and thus takes perverse pleasure in tormenting me. And that does convince me again and again, only God almighty will make me come back to this godless country.

The one thing keeping me going is the rage fuelled by my hate. It is slowly pouisoning the well of goodwill that had sprung up in my heart over all these years. But today, that well is overflowing with the bile of my animosity. I hope it never runs dry. I really hope not. I wanna hate the them until the day Pakistan drops a nuke on their ass. Then, I can feel magnanimous and condemn their pain. Until then, I shall continue to imagine the level of pain that attack will inflict upon them.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Politicians, cops and godmen:The scum of the Earth

Ever wondered where we would be if there were honest politicians, cops and decent godmen? Well, I have. I am convinced that the reason there is so much turmoil in this world is because the scum that is meant to lead, guide and protect is as much to blame as fate. Think about it: do you know an honest politician? or cop? or godman? All wars are were either religious wars or wars started by politicians. Even Dubya's war in Iraq is a quasi-religious war, hence his good v. evil speeches.

How do we deal with these people. First, we must admit to ourselves that they are not superhuman. we must recognise that their charisma in no way makes them infallible or omnipotent. They are men (and women) who have the ability to inspire us to be better or worse. After all, how can one explain why the Germans supported Hitler or the Ugandans Idi Amin when it was quite clear that they didn't have the people's welfare at heart.

A pragmatic and emotionless approach towards all leaders or persons in leadership positions is the order of the day. That way when they stray, which they inevitably do, we can punish them appropriately without feelings of guilt.

My biggest beef isn't with cops, because there isn't an honest cop alive today. Therefore you don't have to worry when dealing with them. All have a price. No matter what they say, all policemen have a price. So you can trust them to be dishonest even when there is no cause to be so. Their dishonesty is oddly comforting. It reminds you that life is unfair and that the people meant to make it fair are the ones perpetuating unfairness. Thus, you don't have to play fair unless it is beneficial to do so. You can screw over everone guilt-free knowing that that is the code of conduct fo leaders and the led alike.

No, I have a bigger beef with politicians and godmen, and by godmen I include all priests, preachers, gurus and so forth. These are by far the most ruthless users of humanity. They make serial killers look like choir-boys. And the fact that they have so much power without responsibility makes it worse. They think they know better. They may be right, they may be wrong. They, however, don't have a right to dictate to us how to lead our personal lives. Someone must tell them, they can urge me not to kill, lie, cheat or steal, or commit any number of crimes, but they cannot tell me whom to marry, how to marry , what to think, how to protect my health, how to defend my castle when they fail to do so. In other words, things that affect me and me alone, I must be allowed to decide alone. The politicians and godmen cannot impose their will on me.

Think about it. If a woman has the right to choose what happens to her body, who gets hurt? And the argument that abortion is wrong because they are killing the unborn child is specious. Until that child is born, it is not alive but for the grace of the mother. If it could survive independent of the womb then it would deserve the full protection of the law. But it cannot. Therefore, it is upto the pregnant woman to decide. The same goes for homosexuality. If it caused injury to anyone, then it must be banned. The argument that it will weaken the institution of marriage is patently false.

The rate of divorce in most western societies is now around 40%, but the number of openly gay realtionships is still below 7%. So, there is at least statistical proof that all those failed marriages are not ending up in gay realtionships. The institution of marriage is bound to self-destruct all of its own. The fact that a person is gay doesn't necessarily make him a sexual deviant in another sense. The fact is, most of the sexual offenders convicted are heterosexual.

All I want, is the opportunity to lead a quiet life, without the posibiliity of coming into contact on an intimate level with politicians, cops and godmen. they would be the death of peaceful co-existence.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Abortion and Gays

Conservatives amuse me yet their cause is anything but amusing. Abortion and gay marriage are very personal, at least to people who want to carry out abortions or have a gay weddings. But, the so-called moral majority has a different plan. They intend to impose their will on other free peoples in the name of religion and morality. They would do well to remember that religious wars have killed more people than the two world wars combined.

But why oppose abortion and gays at all? I think it gives them a sense of power to believe that their views are the only valid ones. But let us take a moment to reflect: the world is not a monolithic entity with similar views or opinions. There will always be differing opinions. I dare say there must be those who do not subscribe to the same religious or moral values of the conservatives or Moral Majority. If this point is conceded, then it must also be conceded that the only way to co-exist without undue conflict is to agree upon a minimum standard of law, not morality or religion. Law is based, at the very least, on the concept of accepting the differing views of the common weal. However, the law also agrees that protecting the rights of the minority is as important as the views of the majority. However, because we are so different, the standard of law cannot be morality or religion, but the common good and the protection of minority rights.

In this case, the minority constitute women who want the right to choose what their bodies will be subjected to and people of an alternative sexuality. Subjecting them to discrimination on the basis of religion or some such other standard is not only immoral but also flawed. All religions preach tolerance, yet their interpretation by religious leaders is increasingly narrow and dictated by the logic of denial. They spend more time time telling people 'don't' rather that teaching them to be better humans. The world would be a better place if people were encouraged to treat their fellow humans more fairly and honestly rather than being denied rights that if enforced would not cause pain or suffering to anyone.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The Case for Narcotics

The US has a military budget in the hundreds of billions of dollars. If even a fraction of this money is spent by the Drug Enforcement Agency, the US must be a formidable opponent. Yet, the US is not winning the war on drugs. The worst ever evidence of this was when the US was obliged to arrest a serving Head of State by military force, that they had installed to serve their interests against the Soviets, because he had become the biggest drug-peddler into the US.

Europe on the other hand, has a more pragmatic recognition of the situation. They are taking baby steps towards a more realistic policy towards narcotics. To be fair, they still consider the 'hard' drugs to be a menace, but the steps towards the decriminalisation of marijuana are laudable.

We must take this process towards its logical end, that is, the complete legalization of all narcotics. In one fell swoop, resources otherwise employed will be released for more urgently needed programmes. And the revenue benefits cannot be ignored either.

A DEA study estimated that the global worth of the narcotics economy was around $300 bn. Now, even if this is a government statistic that has been underestimated, it represents a sum that can pull many Third World countries out of poverty. Imagine if such a sum was taxed at a rate of 16% annually, this would release $48 bn, an amount that is not to be sneered at.

George Bush would have additional resources to fight his wars, Blair would be able to wipe out poverty in Africa, India and Pakistan would find a reason to co-operate in Afghanistan, and Latin America would cease to be a warzone.

However, let us not ignore the fact that drugs have crucial side effects that are both long-term and difficult to treat. But by recognising this, governments shall be in a position to invest in research into the use and misuse of narcotics along the same lines as in pharmaceutical research. The involvement of the private sector in this area shall release a level of talent that shall guarantee both solutions and progammes for the long-term. The benefits far outweigh the costs of decriminalization.

Government and Morality

The Government, to survive, must at the very least provide for the welfare of the citizen. When the Government fails in this basic duty, it will fall. The Government is not a moral authority in as much as some of its actions are, at best, amoral. For instance, the death penalty is at its very core an imoral act, because it involves the deliberate taking of a life. But the state shall not hesitate to impose such a penalty if it is in the best interests of the citizen. Hence, morality has nothing to do with, rather, the selfish interests of trhe state are to be served.

In this, I will come into conflict with the members of the religious right, libertarians and sundry members of the moral majority. They shall condemn me for not insisting on a moral duty of the state and its government. But I would argue that the things we expect from the state shall be moral in their outcome but not moral in their creation.

It is the duty of the state to provide at least three things: security of the individual, the capacity to create private wealth, and the ability to keep and enjoy such private wealth. It is not the duty of the state to promote any religious agenda or moral programme. It is in providing for the former that the state acts at its most moral; when it seeks to interfere in trhe latter, it will eventually be deemed as immoral. Witness the theocracies of the Middle East; it is no coincidence that in their desire to fulfilla religio-moral duty thet they have failed to provide good government or even guarantee a standadised moral line to be adhered to by their citizenry. Indeed for a majority of them, the desire to break free from the shackles of imposed orthodoxy reveal the desire for government and not state-directed morality.

If you accept my hypothesis that good government is more important than moral government, then it folllows that morality shall be relegated to the private domain, with the guidance of the individual, religion and civil society. In this case, the government shall only be responsible for providing and safeguarding the tools for craetin and retention of wealth, and the citizen shall be responsible for his own happiness, which to a large extent is based upon his moral values.

To this end, the state cannot have a religion. It may, however, have a code of conduct. thsi code shall determine the behavior of the government but not its values. So, if the conduct of the government reduces the ability of the citizen to make, keep and enjoy his wealth, then the government shall have failed in its duty and shall deserve to be overthrown. On the other hand, if the behavior of the government does fulfil the beforementioned duty, the government shall have succeeded, regardless of whether such behavior is moral or not.

And it is in evaluating the impact of government behavior on the creation of wealth that the argument for or against a moral standard shall lie. The morality or otherwise of a government act shall be determined only after evealuation of whether in the end the citizens gained or lost. Therefore, it is in our own interests to obey a government that, to put it crudely, makes us money than a goverment that preaches on the evils of money.

Government and Morality

The Government, to survive, must at the very least provide for the welfare of the citizen. When the Government fails in this basic duty, it will fall. The Government is not a moral authority in as much as some of its actions are, at best, amoral. For instance, the death penalty is at its very core an immoral act, because it involves the deliberate taking of a life. But the state shall not hesitate to impose such a penalty if it is in the best interests of the citizen. Hence, morality has nothing to do with, rather, the selfish interests of trhe state are to be served.

In this, I will come into conflict with the members of the religious right, libertarians and sundry members of the moral majority. They shall condemn me for not insisting on a moral duty of the state and its government. But I would argue that the things we expect from the state shall be moral in their outcome but not moral in their creation.

It is the duty of the state to provide at least three things: security of the individual, the capacity to create private wealth, and the ability to keep and enjoy such private wealth. It is not the duty of the state to promote any religious agenda or moral programme. It is in providing for the former that the state acts at its most moral; when it seeks to interfere in trhe latter, it will eventually be deemed as immoral. Witness the theocracies of the Middle East; it is no coincidence that in their desire to fulfilla religio-moral duty thet they have failed to provide good government or even guarantee a standadised moral line to be adhered to by their citizenry. Indeed for a majority of them, the desire to break free from the shackles of imposed orthodoxy reveal the desire for government and not state-directed morality.

If you accept my hypothesis that good government is more important than moral government, then it folllows that morality shall be relegated to the private domain, with the guidance of the individual, religion and civil society. In this case, the government shall only be responsible for providing and safeguarding the tools for craetin and retention of wealth, and the citizen shall be responsible for his own happiness, which to a large extent is based upon his moral values.

To this end, the state cannot have a religion. It may, however, have a code of conduct. thsi code shall determine the behavior of the government but not its values. So, if the conduct of the government reduces the ability of the citizen to make, keep and enjoy his wealth, then the government shall have failed in its duty and shall deserve to be overthrown. On the other hand, if the behavior of the government does fulfil the beforementioned duty, the government shall have succeeded, regardless of whether such behavior is moral or not.

And it is in evaluating the impact of government behavior on the creation of wealth that the argument for or against a moral standard shall lie. The morality or otherwise of a government act shall be determined only after evealuation of whether in the end the citizens gained or lost. Therefore, it is in our own interests to obey a government that, to put it crudely, makes us money than a goverment that preaches on the evils of money.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

A suicide note a day keeps the blues away

People take suicide way too seriously. If a person's time to die has come, not one of you can do anything to stop him. Just treat suicide as any other form of death and all will be well. Learn to accept the fact that not all people will go quietly in their sleep, or of ill-health, or, God-forbid, get taken out by an angry postal employee with an Uzi. Death is death; deal with it.

Think about it. People die horrible deaths everyday-from poverty, indifference, ignorance or stupidity. Yet, we give suicide a bad name simply because it is the ultimate act of free will. Suicide victims are not insane or mentally disturbed-they have problems like you and I, and they decide how fate will treat them. It may be that they have given up completely, but, so what? It's their choice. What I can't abide by is someone pushing them into making that choice-hence free will.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

An Open Suicide Note

Dear Everyone,
This will a most perfect Suicide Note. I am not going to blame anyone for what is to pass. I will not blame myself either. I will not blame God, the devil, evil spirits, low spirits or all those commonly referred to causes for suicide.

I can't imagine why anyone would want to take their life. It seems such a cowardly way to avoid taking responsibility. But everyone has their breaking point and I am at mine own. I can't see why it would be a good idea to go on; I have no wife, no children, no girlfriend (or boyfriend, for that matter), no job, no income, very little in the way of success (or failure), my family is disappointed in me, I am disappointed in myself and, most importantly, I do not matter. I am a shadow that everyone sees but does not acknowledge. I am the guy who everyone pretends to know because it assuages their conscience. I doubt they will notice my departure, or the reasons behind it. A year from now, no one will even remember my name or cause of death.

Now tell me, isn't that the only reason to die?

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Win by attrition

I am not a military man, but you win wars by finding and destroying the enemy. Everything else is mere smoke and mirrors. You kill the enemy when you have more forces than he does. Technology is a necessity-better equipment means you can kill more of them than they can of your forces.

What you don't do is deceive yourself that the enemy is not what it is or as large as it is. Bush is burying his head in the sand and deceiving himself that the Iraq War will end soon with an American victory. We invented guerrilla warfare (with US and Soviet assistance) and so we know how effective hit and run campaigns can be. A solution is to reduce the level of violence by a political capitulation. However, in Iraq's case, the insurgents have no stated political demand except the withdrawal of US troops.

The other solution is to fight a smarter war. This is not the smart war of Rummy and co., but one that recognises a guerrilla war for what it is and an adaptation to the same. The US is legendary for the size and expertise of its military, especially the Marines and Special Forces. It is time that they were employed as required.

It is time the US became ruthless and employed the necessary force of will to win this war. More insurgents must be destroyed that their leadership recognises that only annihilation awaits them and not military or political victory. This means more soldiers, more equipment and no timetable for withdrawal. It also means that the 'training of the Iraqi forces' shall have to take a backseat for a while.

History shows that the Vietnam war was lost, inter alia because the US political leadership did not commit the large forces required to win the war. It seems that the US is destined to relive history in Iraq. The myth that smart bombs can win a guerrilla insurgency has been shattered. To win, the US needs more boots on the ground.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

See the Trees and the Woods

I am seriously pissed. I was watching Kudlow on CNBC the other day and even though I ain't an American, that guy's holier-than-thou attittude gets my goat. The way he pontificates as if he's the Voice of God makes me wanna puke. That he's intelligent makes it worse.Whether he likes it or not, being in bed with the al Sauds and Pakistanis will soon be a very bad idea. They aren't democratic and their tyranny is having a very bad effect on the international arena, especially when it comes to the fight against terrorism.

Remember Pakistan and the BCCI debacle? The Saudi's had more 9/11 bombers than anyone else. And to consider them allies today is serioulsy culpable. The politicians and government officials who support these countries should be criminallly indicted and perhaps even prosecuted.Their strategy appears to be: Ignore all the evil-doers out there and kick over little, insignificant countries in a maelstrom of non-activity.

Can any one seriously tell me what the Bushies plan for an end to The War is? Do they even have a plan? The fact that Al Qaeda has a base of operations in Iraq today is precisly becaue of the Invasion, and that Afghanistan is becoming a narco-State precisly because the U.S. invaded Iraq should convince you all that There Is No Plan.

There are nations that have been at the fore-front of the fight against terrorism. I hate to admit this, but the country that has been most successful is Russia. Whether the Bushies like it or not, Chechnya is an internal matter. And unless they are prepared to tactically nuke the Russians, the US can do fuck-all about it. It is that simple. You would have to bomb the Russians 'back to the stone-age' to get them out of Chechnya. They can't afford to lose. And if the West sponsors a Russian defeat in Chechnya, it will have a domino effect in the region, which might impact the US relations with China, India, N Korea and Pakistan. The spectre of all those 'missing' nukes and fissile materials falling into the "wrong" hands should convince all that it's a bad idea to meddle in the Chechen affair.

And now Bush doesn't want to sponsor an African aid revival scheme. That's ok. the Chinese want to expand their influence there and it is inevitable that their limited military presence in the Sudan should soon cover all the important regions in Africa, along with more Chinese investments. This will soon put pressure on the Brits and the French to choose their bed-America or a continued presence in Africa. China will soon be a rival for the west both in asia and in africa, and from the way things are going, in Latin America too. Thay are the ones encircling the globe now, while the US blunders around in the Middle east.

Kibaki's weaknesses will kill him politically

What I can't figure out is why Kibaki simply didn't do what Moi had always done when in power: emasculate all his enemies as soon as they were apparent and even when they showed any potential. And Kibaki's enemies are manifest. You do not have to go outside the NARC tent to find enemies, they are all over the place.

The 2003 Inauguration Ceremony demonstrated that he was indeed weak and that he had no idea of what to do. It can be argued that the reason that he was so listless was that he was coming off a life-threatening accident and therefore couldn't summon up his personal will at that time. If this were true then he should have asserted himself as soon as he was well again and back on his feet. But this is not what happened-instead, he let his Cabinet behave like indisciplined schoolchildren in need of a serious spanking. Moi, even when unwell, was always the undisputed leader and pretenders to his throne were at the greatest risk when he was so indisposed. The contrast with the current Rais is shocking to say the least.

Now that Kibaki has completely destroyed all the goodwill his regime enjoyed in January 2003, what can he do to salvage this fiasco? I would say, it isn't too late to remove all those obstacles in his way to retaining power. Ironically, the one person close to Kibaki who understands the manifest uses of power is Lucy. For a money-hungry shrew, she understands that to be powerful is more important than to be liked. This is a lesson Kibaki needs to take to heart, and quickly.

Kibaki needs to reassert himself. He can only do so by taking over the process of policy making in his Government, setting the agenda for the next two years, and the Cabinet following him. He must get rid of Biwott and Nyachae, one way or the other, and he must make sure that Uhuru doesn't enjoy any moment of peace in his running of the Kanu ship.

How can this be achieved? Ruthlessness, that's how. Why would the President fear anyone? Biwott and Nyachae are not enough to topple his government or mount an offensive on their own in Parliament. Uhuru is busy fighting a rearguard action with Biwott for the control of Kanu. It seems that it is Biwott who is using Kibaki to settle scores with Uhuru rather than the opposite. For Kibaki to emerge triumphant, Narc must benefit and the erstwhile members of the opposition muust lose. He must appease his people-after all they are the ones who made him President. They all have pet projects that need to be implemented. Ngilu has her Health Bill, Raila has the PM's post, Kalonzo want Foreign Affairs back and so on. Kibaki must find a way of living with popular politicians in his cabinet so that he can jettison the assistance of the Nyachaes and Biwotts. He must be ready to deal ruthlessly and, if necessary, viciuosly with the Opposition so as to secure for his regime a second coming. From where he is standing today, his days in power are almost over. If he can't see it, then he doesn't deserve to be Rais.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Super-powers do not tip-toe into battle

When the Soviet Union collapsed, the world was left with a Hyperpower: the USA. But you wouldn't know it. Its success in cobbling together a coalition for the 1st Gulf War was followed by failures in Somalia, the Balkans and the rest of Africa, but worse, with a continuing number of terrorist incidents against the US, both on American soil and abroad. The 1998 Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania were followed 3 years later with the fall of the Twin Towers in New York.

America responded as only a World Power should-it declared the guilt of the perpetrators without fail and punished them immediately, and installed a friendly government in their place.

What is taking place in Iraq today, belies these strides the US had taken since 9/11. It first failed to declare Saddam as guilty of all their charges. When it came time to invade, the US couldn't even convince Saddam's enemies to support them in the invasion. And when they finally invaded, they tip-toed into battle with a cowardly attempt at assassination that was not worthy of a world power. And today, the US would be hard-pressed to find a nation that will give it the benefit of the doubt on any issue.

After the 2nd World War, the US was actively involved in the reconstruction of Western Europe, with much success too. At the same time, the creation of NATO was meant to offer a bulwark against adventurism by the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact nations. This strategy was a resounding success. But the root of this success wasn't that the US shared common values with Europe, but that it was facing a threat from the Soviet Union, and it had to balance that threat with it's own might right at Moscow's doorstep.

Today, the US faces a different threat, but no less dangaerous than that by the Soviet Union: religiously-inspired Islamist terrorism. And this threat emanates in the Arabian world. The implications are important. The conclusions so far have been accurate, it is the policies to address this threat that are faulty.

In West Asia, there are two important factors to consider: 1) Arab oil, and 2)Israel. These factors will continue to determine US involvement in the Middle East for the foreseeable future. For the US to prevail, it must choose one of two paths.

The first will be to decide once and for all the Palestinian Issue-with or without Israel's support. A great deal of the resentment against the US in the Arab world is due to its policies as regards this conflict, ergo, to resolve it will remove a major bone of contention. The US must decide whether it profits it to remain blindly loyal to Israel's ambitions. If the answer is no, US foreign policy must reflect a growing awareness that friendship with Israel is creating more enemies than profits.

The second is to 'democratize' the Arab world. This should be along the lines of the American intervention in Europe with the Marshall Plan and NATO. To do this, the US must disengage from Europe. Europe no longer needs American metal to protect it from the Soviets. The former Soviet Republics are in no position to mount an assault on the US, or for that matter, Europe. They are not in a position to do so politically or economically or militarily. They are a spent force, and they are more than willing to take the steps necessary to be admitted in the European Union. Moscow, is not in a position to browbeat or bribe them into an expansionist agenda today.

So, America is faced with the prospect of continued European goodwill and continued Arab ill-will. To counter this ill-will, the US must engage the Middle East more broadly than just through the twin subjects of the Palestinian issue and oil. The US must create a new Marshall Plan for the Middle East, not so much for economic development as for ploitical and social development to bring them more in line with other democracies globally.

This will have a salutary effect all round. The natives will be assuaged, their anger against the US will be reduced, America will more or less be guaranteed a less volatile oil supplier and the need to 'punish' the US by the disaffected will be diminished. The US will always be resented for being the most powerful. But it is precisely because it is the most powerful that it must act selfishly to democratize the Middle East so that the threat against American interests is reduced or even eliminated. There can be no other reason to the pursuit of foreign policy by the world's only hyperpower.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Mercedes AMG Rules

All those African tinpot dictators must have seen something when they all opted for the Mercedes Benz, especially the S600 Pullman. But my favorite division in the Merc empire has to be the AMG.

Imagine shoehorning a 5.5 litre, 500 Bhp V8 into the E class and make it do 150mph+. If that isn't the definition of poetry, then we need a new language. I have heard the E55 and SL55 AMG in full cry, and I can tell you this: the only other sound that is almost as glorious is Steve McQueen's '67 Mustang Fastback in Bullitt.

The V8 is the perfect engine for any car. I for one hope that the powers that be at Daimler-Chrysler realise that tinkering around with the Smart and The A Class is a waste of time, and they should be thinking of shoehorning the E55 V8 into the C Class. Now that would make even Porsche sit up and take notice.

Long live the V8.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Hilary Swank and fundamentalist movie critics

These days, movies have to be "real". and that is my beef with the critics, because if it wasn't for them all these expectations about movies today wouldn't exist. I don't care if a movie is factually correct, scientificilly accurate or even historically true-all I want is to be entertained. To that end, I will disagree with those who are going to town about the inaccuracies on Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven. If he did the movie with an eye to appeasing religious sentiments on both sides of the divide, then fuck him too.

Movies are meant to entertain, not inform. If you want reality TV switch on the BBC. I remember when The Core came out and how scientists went about laughing at the science in the movie. I say they missed the point. The movie had a first class cast, and if anybody says that Hilary Swank's acting was wasted on the movie, then they really do not understand entertainment. It had all the hallmarks of a good film-emotion, action, a story et al.

I love Hilary Swank. She makes going to the movies an experience. Very few actors do that. Some are just plain annoying with their antics off-screen. Some are annoying on-screen. But, every now and then someone special comes along and all is right with the world-at least for a few hours. Can anyone tell me when was the last time they didn't want to see Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster, Will Smith, John Travolta, Annette Bening, Nicole Kidman, and all those other stalwarts of movies? And that is the essence of entertainment-to be entertained and to keep coming back for more. I couldn't care less if they said that JFK was a cross-dressing womanising warmonger. All I want is a good film.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Conservative Christians

You would think that Christians were the most tolerant people in he world, what with their being the largest religion in the world and the teachings of Christ designed to encourage tolerance and goodwill towards all men. But devout Christians have narrowly interpreted the Bible, more so in the last 25 years. Christian Conservatives have fostered an exclusivist religion, quite contrary to the spirit of christianity that it makes you wonder, "Who is a good Christian?"

The biggest debates in Christianity today have to do with matters of life and death: abortion, euthanasia, contraception, homosexuaity, child moestation and abuse, and war and peace.

I believe that the choice should be made by individuals, and not by the leaders of the Church. They can offer advice and leadership, but they cannot dictate human behavior. After all, they are also human, and therefore absolutely incapable of infallibiity. They must guide us to make the right choice, but not their choice. But that is not to say that they are dispensable-we need icons, today more than ever, and the Church leaders are the most visible and trusted. However, they shouldn't misuse their exalted positions to push their agenda, rather they should be at the forefront of championing individual choice in all matters, whether temporal or spiritual.

We are at a crossroads today. The church is under attack and some of its leaders have betrayed the legacy of Christ. The incidents of the church saying no to contraception and abortion, disowning homosexuals and denying the inhumanity of suffering will do more harm than good. The church needs to change with the changing times and it maust make inroads into the hearts rather than minds of the congregation. Life is more than the church.

Indians can be vicious too

I don't think the world sees the same Indians that I do. I live, currently, in a small city in Western Maharashtra called Kolhapur. By and large it is the most satisfying place for a person of my temperament. The peace and quiet and sedentary life make all the worries in the world disappear.

But there is a vicious side to this bucolic city. And it has to do with the police, or rather, the Foreigners' Registration Officer (FRO). There's a new one in town and he's an ass. 3 months' advance to renew a visa, 15 days' notice to acquire an exit permit. Previously, all you had to do was turn up and all would be well with the world. Now, the little shit won't even help to get expired visas extended or renewed.

One can overlook a great many failings when one is getting along just fine. But when someone makes it his personal mission to make your life miserable, all those failings don't look so cute any more. Now, the filth sorrounding me, the illiteracy, rudeness and dishonesty of these people is making me sick and I want out as soon as posssible.

My visa has expired, thank God, and I am being expelled from India. But even with a clear case of overstaying, they will only 'allow' me to depart at their leisure-so I have to wait a further fifteen days before I can even make plans to purchase an airline ticket.

And this is a country that sees itself as a superpower of the future. If this is how they see superpowers conducting their affairs, then thay have a lready lost the fight to their bette noir,
the Chinese. The buzzword should be efficiency, and Kolhapur is anything but. So, if we take small-town India as a microcosm of the amount of effort required to turn this country into a superpower, they have a looong way to go. And it is their viciousness towards potential friends that will continue to delay them, if not hold them back.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Bushies on a roll

When they come, you hardly have enough time to wade through all their mixed messages. Bush wanted to liberate Iraq from Saddam, but he lied about it and claimed that Saddam was about to invade the Continental US, at least that's how it sounded to the layman on the street. And after a successful war in Afghanistan, who could blame him.

But now, even with American blood being shed on foreign soil, they will not admit they lied, that they continue to lie and that things aren't as free as Cheney & Co. promised. The Bushies have a lot to answer for.

However, Americans shouldn't judge them harshly. If I was president, and I was presented with a choice between sitting and waiting for an enemy to acquire the capability to attack me, I will take all necessary steps to destroy him. It may cost a lot in terms of lives and resources, but it will cost a lot more when an invasion does take place. Bush was right-in the final analysis, he couldn't wait for Saddam to restart his weapons programmes as he had been hellbent on doing. Bush couldn't wait for the inevitable lifting of sanctions against Iraq which would open up the opportunities for high-end technology for advanced weapons systems. Like it or not, the war was justified.

What is not justified is the neglect of Afghanistan. It is in danger of becoming a narco-state afetr the likes of Colombia and Nicaragua. More US attention needs to be focussed on the warlords, as all that opium couldn't be produced without their blessings, if not active ptronage. Karzai is not in charge, he's like a glorified CEO of a company, where the Boar5d holds more power than he does. terrorism needs finances to survive. These finances cannaot be organized legally. Therefore, apart from ordinary crime, the most lucrative source is narcotics. and Afghanistan is the largest supplier of opium-heroin to North america. sooner, all that money will be employed aginst the US again. It's time to take your head out of the sand, America, and turn your gaze back on Afghanistan.