Thursday, February 23, 2006
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
taking advantage of her car, and her sofa-judging skills we went downtown and got something that was fairly fun to assemble.
after she left i already imagined myself buying a tv and sitting on my couch to watch it, or read on it , entertain guests and yes, cuddle on it. maybe i would finally hang my paintings, maybe i could finally have parties, the possibilities seemed endless.
the reason i had kept to the essentials was because i had intended to move from my current apartment to another and i just didnt want to have to move too much stuff but with this new sofa maybe it would be too much of a hasstle to move.
yesterday i called up mary and thanked her for the wonderful visit, she mentioned she might go to woodbury commons to shop but i told her not go without me because i really wanted to buy a black designer suit. why she asked? because i said, when i get deported, i want to put on the finest clothes so that at the (air)port in the midst of what i imagine would be a throng of dishevelled fobs carrying all types of belongings with them, i will stand there dressed impeccably in my suit and flashy tie with a look that said "puh america, you are not needed".
well it seems i've gotten my deportation wish; they ran out of work visas this year, and i'd have to wait till next october to get one. very obviously i'll be saving my money and the suit is out of the question for now because after all no matter how cool my deportation fantasy is, the fact of the matter is that i love america, it's been good to me and i dont want to leave her--yet. in any case i've lived here longer than i've lived in europe, i went to high school here, went to college here, have an apartment to my name here, i work here, pay (little) taxes here and now this.
i talked to matt earlier and he managed to lift up my spirits, made it sound as if i had plenty of possibilities, plenty of options, wait tables, work on my own things, do non-profit (non-profit jobs are exempt from the visa rules) etc., etc., do all of that till october and get by. "heck i was only 22". true, true. except that, however romantic that sounds, the following next months will be full of uncertainties, doubt, and inconveniences. :(
sigh, oh well there will be other ...
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
The 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review Report of the US Department of Defencestated that “The United States is a nation engaged in what will be a long war.”
Upon the release of this report Donald Rumsfeld reframed the War on Terror as a “generational conflict akin to the Cold War” that might last decades.
This appears to be a minor shift to some, but it is a shift that reveals how the “War on terror”—now in its fifth year—had become problematic. In the aftermath of September 11th, the overarching sentiment was that the U.S. was vulnerable to further attacks, needed to be secured, and that a forceful response was not only necessary but that the attackers needed to be destroyed. Subsequently the United States declared a “war on terrorism” with the intent goals of bringing Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda to justice and to prevent the emergence of other terrorist networks.
Originally, the "war on terror" was viewed and understood not as a "long war", not as another "Cold war" but rather as a "short war" where you could send in your troops, defeat or capture the enemy and finally bring home the troops to a hero's welcome. But as we have seen in Iraq and elsewhere, this is not a war between nation states, there are no pitched battles between two disciplined armies with general staff, and its end seems elusive, distant and undefined (will it be when all the known al Qaeda leaders are either captured or dead, or perhaps when there's a flourishing democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan, or simply when there are no more terrorists at all).
The problem is further amplified by the fact “Terror” is not a conquerable enemy, or for that matter an end in itself. Terror is a general state, it’s internal to a person, it’s a matter of achieving some political goals however outlandish or unrealizable they are. But the “war on terror” is an abstract concept in the same vein as the “war on drugs”, the “war on poverty”, the “war on crime, or the “war to end all wars”. Woodrow Wilson’s war to end all wars defeated imperial Germany but it did not and could not defeat war. Nor can a war on terror defeat terror. Ideologies simply can’t be put down by force or defeated on the battlefield, however when President Bush identified “radical Islam” as America’s mortal enemy in his State of the Union Address, it looks like ideologies is what the United States has found to fight a war to the death with. (Whoever thinks there is not a bit of foolishness or naivety in this strategy should ask themselves who else has had "wars on terrorism" and whether they were succesful at destroying it. Warfare is not the sole solution.)
Framing an abstract concept as the war on terror as a “long war” against terrorism and more specifically against radical Islam, thus graciously solves the problems of a “short” war against al Qaeda; the long part explains why the troops won’t and can’t be coming home and why the sacrifices made are for a greater honorable vision, while the war part doesn’t make necessary the acknowledgement of a motive behind the terror besides “evil” and “freedom-hating”, it also proves very useful in intimidating the opposition at home.
Whether the idea of a long war will be swallowed by the public is too early to tell but what we can see is that people’s lives have gone on and convinced that it is better to fight them over there than over here, they are slowly getting used to the idea that the troops may not come home this winter, or next year or the year after. And while there is no end in sight or the end is projected to be a longtime in the future, the “war on terror” has had the short-run effect of unifying constituencies (support the troops), of greatly diminishing the rights and privacy of the people and their rights to question and protest the government and, has increased military spending (don’t forget to buy Northrop Grumman stocks) and increased the president’s powers. Ironically of all things, the war on terror has not stopped people from being afraid; it has made them more afraid. And what fear does, is to activate the strict father model—which is what conservatives want.
Ultimately whether the war on terror will be short or long will depend greatly on the strains of the budget, the (non-)introduction of a draft and whoever controls the presidency and Congress. Wait and see, November 2006 and November 2008.
Monday, February 06, 2006
“This is not about monitoring phone calls to arrange Little League practice or what to bring to a pot-luck dinner. These are designed to monitor calls from very bad people to very bad people.”
—Trent Duffy, a spokesman for the White House, on reports about the government’s eavesdropping, quoted in the Times.
NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY
PHONE TAP TRANSCRIPT
February 6, 2006, 2:13 P.M.
Male Voice 1: Yoyo yo!
Male Voice 2: Scott?
Male Voice 1: That’s me!
Male Voice 2: It’s Brad, what’s up?
Male Voice 1: Chillaxing, what’s going on?
[SOUNDS OF FOOD BEING CHEWED]
Male Voice 2: Nothing much, Goddamn what are you eating?
Male Voice 1: Some delicious foie gras.
Male Voice 2: You know they force-feed geese until their livers expand so you can eat that?
Male Voice 1: I know.
Male Voice 2: That’s pretty awesome.
Male Voice 1: Yep. So what do you want?
Male Voice 2: A pimped-out monster truck driven by an illegal Mexican driver with a trunk full of firework and a horn that blared “Who let the dogs out?” would be nice. Especially in green.
Male Voice 1: No, you can’t borrow my truck again but I’ll lend you my forged disabilities pass.
Male Voice 2: So what are you bringing to the pot-luck dinner?
Male Voice 1: Only thing I got here is some old Chinese takeout and some crystal meth. The Chinese food is really old. What color is General Tso’s Chicken again?
Male Voice 2: I was going to bring some Styrofoam plates and maybe some bootlegged CDs. Hope it rains.
Male Voice 1: Wunderbar. That why you called?
Male Voice 2: Didja watch the Super Bowl?
Male Voice 1: I hate the Super Bowl.
Male Voice 2: You hate the Super Bowl?
Male Voice 1: More than I don’t value teachers.
Male Voice 2: Haha, I hear you. If all of the sudden a dirty bomb exploded in the host city of the Super Bowl and on some teacher’s conference, I’d hop on the internets and send out billions of spam email. Billions. Just by hitting “Send.”
Male Voice 1: Have you heard of that brokeback cowboy movie?
Male Voice 2: It sucked. Trish made me see it and the whole time I couldn’t stop thinking “These cowboys are gay! This is so wrong!”
[SOUNDS OF CAT SHRIEKING]
Male Voice 1: I just kicked my cat.
Male Voice 2: Man, wish I could have seen that on tape.
Male Voice 1: Well, I taped it.
Male Voice 2: Man, do I love free coupons.
Male Voice 1: What?
Male Voice 2: Nothing, listen, the reason I called was because I was hoping you could pick up my little sister from Little League practice later. Ever since graduation, my mom’s forced me to “contribute to the household”. I know that has nothing to do with you but I was planning to browse various internet porn sites for most of the rest of the afternoon, and to be quite honest, even if I wasn’t, I just don’t feel like, you know, “contributing” to anything today. Also I’ve turned against the tyranny of wearing pants. And seeing how last week I did you a huge favor when you went to see Cindy and I covered your back and told Trish we’d gone camping that weekend.
Male Voice 2: Scott?
Male Voice 1: I don’t think that’ll be possible.
Male Voice 2: And can I ask why not?
Male Voice 1: I don’t know, can you?
Male Voice 2: Jesus, Scott, you know things have been tough for me since I got fired and started making telemarketing calls to people who put their names on the “Do-not-call List.”
Male Voice 1: Uh, somebody’s knocking on my door, I gotta go.
Male Voice 2: Nobody’s knocking.
Male Voice 1: Yeah, someone is. You cant hear it on your side dumbass.
Male Voice 2: I’ll expect you to drop off Cruella by four thirty, and not a second later.
Male Voice 1: Listen to me Brad, listen to me very closely because I’m only going to say this once and I’m a man who means what he says and says what he means. You hear me?
Male Voice 2: Sorry I’m watching “Dance with the Stars”. Missed that.
Male Voice 1: I wouldn’t hesitate to kill innocent bystanders if in doing so I could also kill you and your family. The rule of law, freedom, our way of life, Mother Nature, etc. all not only mean nothing to me--they fill me with rage.
Male Voice 2: Whatever. Fat people don’t scare me.
Male Voice 1: Cruella is officially disinvited from Winston’s paintball party on Saturday.
Male Voice 2: The dead animals that you’ll soon be receiving in your mail are from me. And don’t bother showing up at Thursday’s book club.
[LINE 1 HANGS UP. LINE 2 HANGS UP.]