Sunday, November 14, 2004

Some Political Swerves

There was a time when this school in Tehran had cloned much of my since-relocated synergetics website for its engineering department. All traces of that seem to be gone by now, but 't'was fun while it lasted, and I thought a good sign. Thanks to the home-spun links, I learned that the Ayatollah Khomeini's tomb features an octet truss. I even traced some of the contractors (Iranians do geodesic domes too).

Fuller schoolers have already given us some blueprints for working on a joint jihad/crusade with Persia and environs, focusing on architectural synergies (mosques with geodesic domes for example).

For all his faults, I don't think Saddam Hussein's focus on building lots of palaces was necessarily one of them, ditto re King Idris of Libya (pre Qadafi). When you don't see a broad solution to the living standards plight, you concentrate on public works that stand out as a showcase of native talents. Sure, it looks avaricious. But it's also a way of leaving a positive legacy. Just leaving stockpiles of WMDs is nothing to boast about.

Sure, Saddam imported a lot of non-native furniture, art works and the like, but the basic architecture and construction were Iraqi and kept a lot of people employed, a lot of families fed. We've seen this pattern at work since the ancient Egyptians. One could argue that many of the USA's "defense industry" programs are no less wasteful (and no less a form of socialism, ala Newt Gingrich and company -- he talks about a "culture of ownership" but profitable shareholding in prime defense contracting depends heavily on tax subsidies, we shouldn't forget).

None of this is to mitigate Saddam's flaws as a dictator, but to the average Iraqi, those flaws are starting to look pretty OK in hindsight. Saddam never declared war on his own people to such an overt degree as Allawi has, to the point of leveling one of his own cities. Yes, there was awful retribution for the armed uprising in the south, and against the CIA-supported Kurds in the north (Kurds make up much of the fighting unit attacking Fallujah), but with nothing like this level of fire power, half-ton bombs and so on.

To have an occupying military use this level of technology against an indigenous para-military is really something new in Iraq, and it's quite apparent that the ranks of those overtly hostile to the corporate military have just multiplied, are on an exponential growth curve if present trends continue.

I call it the corporate military (with the corporate media transparently doing its PR) in concert with President Eisenhower, who clearly saw the possibility of a private sector takeover of the Pentagon ("military-industrial complex" was his coin -- the Vietnam War was the beginning of the wholesale privatization, which many WWII vintage career soldiers didn't like or trust). Fuller extrapolates through Critical Path (LAWCAP etc.), and we find contemporary write-ups of the phenomenon coming from the think tanks, even from within the beltway.

The community of top shareholders, newly advantaged by the GOP, and with tax and borrowing authority, has taken all branches of government and delegated foreign policy to a small, select few. Innocent Americans, completely out of the loop, are being set up to experience the consequences, given the scale of the blowback this foreign policy entails.

One may hope that profit-hungry CEOs will do the math, and realize there are wealth-producing alternative scenarios involving a more collaborative approach to world affairs, vs. these unilateral Fourth Reichian assertions of global dominance ala the New American Century. The so-called RINO's have made a deal with the devil, in signing away the soul of their party to the Apocalyptic Right.

A sign of sanity would be to talk openly and factually about the Israeli nuclear arsenal. Today's terrorists are terrified within reason too much of the time -- their worst fears keep being realized (why?), as the tanks keep rolling through their heartland. This "Axis of Evil" business is really childish cowboy stuff. Neither Iran nor Iraq needed to be transformed into mortal enemies (nor Syria). Moderates in the Islamic world are finding it ever harder to make their voices heard, as fanatics clash with fanatics preaching a gospel of violence and destruction.

There's still a chance of a new more stable equilibrium, but given how far this ship is listing, to the point of taking on water, it's a miracle that we're still afloat.