Before i Forget : Simon Jones's blog

April 2006

GeneralFriday, April 14th, 2006, (9:00 am)

It’s Good Friday and that seem as good a day as any to start this, my all new blog.

I’ve been ‘blogging’ for a while on Xanga among a group of Texan friends but I’ve decided to take it to a new level, to broaden my blogging horizons if you will.

Thanks to a handy little script I’ve been able to import my old Xanga posts, so anything older than this post is imported.

Why do this?
Well, why the hell not? I’m no stranger to posting elements of my life on the world wide web, I’ve been doing that for years in one form or another, most notably on my ‘meanwhile‘ website.

So what can you expect to see here?
Heck, who knows! I’ve used my Xanga space to post interesting and funny stuff that I’ve come across in daily life. I’ve written about politics, shared my photography and even posted the occasional movie clip I’ve filmed. In short, anything could happen.

Who can comment?
One of the things I truly love about the web is that it empowers all of us to reach out and make connections with people that we might otherwise never have known. So if you read something and you have something to say about it, then your comment will be welcomed as much as any other.

It looks a little bare at the moment.
It’s a work in progress. Powered by WordPress I’m still trying to get my head around how this all works. The current design will most certainly develop and change, but for now I just wanted to get the blog going.

I don’t understand people who ‘blog.’
Well I don’t understand people who collect stamps or engage in trainspotting. I guess people do what they enjoy right?

It’s not my cup of tea.
Well if that’s the case then thanks for stopping by and please, don’t let me keep you.

GeneralThursday, April 13th, 2006, (2:16 pm)

This Saturday I’ll be jumping on a plane to Boston where I’ll be hanging out until Monday when I’ll join a group of people from Christ Church, Hamilton, flying to Waveland Mississippi to help in the continuing clean-up and rebuilding work after last years Hurricane Katrina.

Waveland was dubbed ‘the town that vanished‘ by USA Today. In fact it was so badly hit that in February only 1000 of the towns near 7000 population had bothered to return.

I have no idea what awaits us in Waveland, but I’m going there to get my hands dirty and do what I can to help. I only know one other person in the group of ten of us who are going, my friend Anne attends Christ Church in Hamilton just North of Boston. She knew that I was keen to help those affected by the hurricane last year and that I was still looking for opportunities to get out there. Her church organized the trip which will last a week. Even though the church weren’t short of volunteers they have very kindly allowed me to tag along with them.

Our arrangements aren’t at all clear at this stage. In fact I have no real idea what we’re going to be doing. But we’ve been told that whatever it is we should be prepared for it to be very dirty work. We’re going to be staying in Morrell Foundation’s iCare Village in Waveland itself, sharing the facilities with the people of the town who still live there and other relief workers.

I’m pretty sure there won’t be any internet access there, but if there is I’ll do my best to keep you updated. Either way I shall write something and post pictures at the end of what promises to be an interesting week.

PoliticalThursday, April 13th, 2006, (10:50 am)

You’ll be pleased to know that the war marketing department of the Bush administration has once again re-branded the war in Iraq (which was acquired a while ago by the ‘war on terror™’ which itself was once known as The War Against Terror but quickly re-branded for obvious reasons).

The war in Iraq is now part of the new and improved ‘Long War™

This has been a subtle re-branding process, unlike previous re-brands. At the beginning of the year Rumsfeld Stiltskin started using the term ‘long war’ in statements referring collectively to the American led conflicts (remember they’re not officially wars) in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the wider more airy fuzzy edged ‘war on terror.’

According to Rumsfeld Stiltskin Iraq and Afghanistan are the “early battles.” Iran and North Korea are surely going to be stops on Americas war path sometime soon too?

Indeed the man behind what the US military calls its “principles of the Long War”, Gen Mark Kimmitt, told BBC News on Tuesday “Even if Iraq stabilized tomorrow the Long War would continue.”

Showing some true military insight the decorated General went on to say “I’m an artillery officer, and I can’t fire cannons at the internet.”

Gen Kimmitt believes that a lower profile military will help win hearts and minds, by ending the impression that the US is occupying the Middle East. Of course there will be American military bases in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and a classified Middle Eastern country “west” of Saudi Arabia (“Site 23”), but hopefully the people won’t notice that.

The General will probably also be hoping that the people America will be attempting to “win the hearts and minds” of will not notice countries like Jordan, Egypt, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia, being pressured to support episodic operations and clandestine forces, just as they actually are doing today.

“Our future posture is still being worked out,” Said Gen Kimmitt. “But I would like to see to the number of troops in the Middle East cut to a fraction of the current 300,000, by at least a half.” it’s a good job those numbers will be cut in the Middle East though because the U.S. Military will still need to staff bases in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Bulgaria, Romania and a yet to be decided “central Asian state.”

Of course America has said it won’t be fighting this ‘Long war’ alone (ie. can’t afford to foot the bill for this long war alone). Allies will be involved, but that might prove to be a tricky task after America has effectively stomped all over diplomatic relationships in recent years.

I know, I know. I’m being cynical. But It’s hard for me not to be cynical of anything led by a country that has so openly defied the wishes and calls from others. My fear is that the ‘long war’ will only be an ‘international effort’ for as long as those countries involved support the American agenda, and given the resistance to the invasion of Iraq to find those elusive WMD’s, how long do you suppose that will last?

GeneralThursday, April 13th, 2006, (7:01 am)

Found on the web and PoliticalWednesday, April 12th, 2006, (10:08 am)

Just a couple of cartoons that recently appeared in British newspapers.

GeneralMonday, April 10th, 2006, (4:39 pm)

Over the weekend much has been made of a report by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker magazine which suggests that the United States is, at the very least, looking into the possibility of using thermonuclear weapons in a preemptive strike on Iran whom it claims is secretly developing nuclear weapons.

I don’t know about any of you but I find even the suggestion of using nuclear weapons thoroughly depressing. I understand it’s just one of the options that military planners are investigating, but I suppose it’s a clear indication of how serious President Bush is about militarizing the Iran situation, and that in itself in depressing enough.

The British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the idea was “completely nuts” and that Britain would not launch a preemptive strike on Iran.

I read a blog in which the author wrote “America must save the world, from itself, yet again.” I read sentences like that and my heart sinks a little.

I can’t help but feel like this is all shaping up into another ugly and unholy mess. I’m no more comfortable than anyone else about the fact Iran might have nuclear capabilities, but I’m also uncomfortable that it’s America that is throwing its Mcweight around here in that same ‘John Wayne – wild west’ swagger that assured us that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, honest he does!

Call me selfish, but I hope that if President Bush does order something as insane as a nuclear preemptive strike against Iran, then he does so alone and without the support or backing of my country. Not that I suppose it’ll make a big difference in the retaliation that will certainly follow.

Amid the nuclear tension of the 1980’s Sting recorded a song called “Russians” in which he said “We share the same biology, regardless of ideology, what might save us, me and you, is if the russians love their children too.” The obvious point being that if the Russians loved their children they wouldn’t want a nuclear war.

When I read these alarmist stories in the press I just hope those with their fingers on the trigger also spare a thought for their children too.

Washington Post : Not Just A Last Resort?
BBC : Iran attack debate raises nuclear prospect
Developing Nuclear weapons in peacetime

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