Friday, June 15, 2007

"Winning" the Iraq War

Four years into a war with Iraq we still have no idea what "winning" the war means. Those that claim we can "win" the Iraq War are hard pressed to explain what "winning" the war means.

Here is one definition of winning the war. An agreement among Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish Iraqis to form a government that is fair to all and understands the "rule of law". Raise your hand if you believe that is ever going to happen.

But we have to "win" the war for several reasons we are told. First, if we don't defeat "them" "over there", we will have to "fight" them on the shores of the USA. Bullshit! That's what we were told during the Vietnam War too. But we Americans are a fearful people and that tactic always seems to work.

Second, we are told that if we don't "win" the war in Iraq the consequences in the Middle East will be devastating. This is probably true and it's already happening. I guess the neocons should have paid attention to the many people that told them this is what would happen before we started this stupid misadventure.

But do the countries in the Middle East really want this "devastation" to happen? I'm not sure that they do. Is there any possibility that some diplomacy might be used to prevent further destabilization of the Middle East because of our stupid blunder in Iraq?

Whether we stay or go there is going to be civil war in Iraq. The Shia are going to win, the Sunni are going to suffer and we are going to end up with a religious fundamentalist state of Iraq. I don't believe there is any way to prevent that short of reanimating Saddam and restoring him to power. I think we need to get the rest of the world, including the Arab countries to pressure Syria, Turkey and Iran to not meddle in the Iraq Civil War.

There is one lesson to be taken away from the Iraq War. A lesson that many of us already understood. You cannot force Democracy at the point of a bayonet

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Where Do Our Prisons Fit In?

Want to read about (and see) the most valuable prison, the smallest prison, the most secure prison etc.? Read what "deputydog" has to say about prisons.

I believe I might be getting a daylong tour of our own ancient bighouse Dannemora. I hope they let me take some picts.

Vertical Farming

See many more pictures, complete with explanations here.

How do you feed and provide water (using evapotranspiration) for 50,000 people and help prevent climate change using a 30 story building in the middle of a city? Vertical farming is one answer. A lot of our current and coming earthly problems could be solved by not clearing more and more land for agricultural purposes. Clearing of land for agriculture can result in desertification, increased pollution, increased use of pesticides and herbicides, deforestation, even increased disease in some cases.

The lack of posting for the past few weeks has been due to not finding anything interesting to talk about. Today I was in the Saranac Lake Free Library browsing Popular Science (I read it for the pictures) and whose picture was on the first page of one of the articles? Dr. Dickson Despommier, one of the world's most interesting parasitologists/ecologist (now a medical ecologist?). But urban vertical farming is an idea worth thinking about and will almost certainly come to fruition some day.

But I need not explain it. There is an excellent article about vertical farming in the New York Times magazine here.