Friday, January 26, 2007
Why Limit Ourselves to Iraq?
Our military has finally been authorized to kill or capture the Iranian operatives inside Iraq who have been waging war against our troops for some time now.
The Bush administration has authorized the U.S. military to kill or capture Iranian operatives inside Iraq as part of an aggressive [sic] new strategy to weaken Tehran's influence across the Middle East and compel it to give up its nuclear program, according to government and counterterrorism officials with direct knowledge of the effort.If Congress were sincere about its contention that Bush is not waging this war properly, it would correct Bush's myopia in this matter by declaring war on Iran.
For more than a year, U.S. forces in Iraq have secretly detained dozens of suspected Iranian agents, holding them for three to four days at a time. The "catch and release" policy was designed to avoid escalating tensions with Iran and yet intimidate its emissaries. U.S. forces collected DNA samples from some of the Iranians without their knowledge, subjected others to retina scans, and fingerprinted and photographed all of them before letting them go. [my bold]
And as for using kid gloves to avoid "escalating tensions" with the followers of a suicide cult, have we learned nothing from the atrocities of September 11, 2001? I guess that one answers itself.
Take the Poll
I'm feeling clever about the poll at the end of my last post. That's one question that won't answer itself, so click a button!
Stroke of Luck?
Sometimes, we learn important things about how the brain works when patients suffer brain damage. I haven't looked into this beyond the newspaper, but it appears that this has happened again in the case of a smoker who suffered a stroke that damaged part of his brain -- and left him unaddicted to nicotine.
"Cultural Coach" Mostly Right
When I first encountered Linda Wallace's column, which, although I do not follow it closely, I generally like, I was turned off by its title. "Cultural Coach" sounded like it might turn out to be some kind of politically-correct harangue. Instead, I have found it to be a thoughtful treatment of many of the very areas of etiquette that have been perverted by the multicultural movement (such as how to interact with people of different backgrounds from one's own).
In today's column, she discusses why people should make a genuine effort to pronounce foreign names correctly. Her point is good, but I have a problem with one of her examples.
Recently, I entered a Memphis coffee shop with a dashiki-wearing friend whose dreadlocks hang down his back. Twenty years ago, he legally changed his name to Ajanaku, which is a Nigerian name that he has defined to mean "free and wealthy people." After the drink had been prepared, the clerk called this unusual name, stumbling again and again over the pronunciation. My colleague smiled kindly and said the name slowly for her. He never passes up an opportunity to teach. The grateful clerk promised that, next time, she would get it right.Her larger point is good, but Ajanaku shouldn't get off completely scott-free. He did, after all, open himself up to feeling "invisible and unappreciated" by choosing a name he knew most people would have a hard time with. (And he also raises the question from his having done so of what it is about Western culture -- my culture -- he apparently rejects or disapproves of.) This isn't quite the same thing as having an unusual name from birth.
When he returned the next day, the same clerk was behind the counter. This time, her pronunciation nearly hit the mark. A dozen patrons were witness to this cultural advancement, since my friend publicly praised the clerk's resolve to provide competent and compassionate service.
Later, when I asked him about the incident, he said people frequently mispronounce his name, and often they will try to give him a nickname to make it easy on them. This practice makes him feel invisible and unappreciated. [bold added]