Monday, March 31, 2003

Tonight at the reception for prospective students I finally got into a Middle East discussion that didn't involve Iraq. To think there was a time when I wouldn't have considered the Israeli/Palestinian question as a change of pace! Not that anything came out of it people haven't heard countless times.

I did run across some people heading to Kalamazoo, so maybe we'll carpool. I noticed today that I'm presenting on the anniversary of my freshman year junior high spring dance, the first time I ever asked a girl to dance. She said yes. Of course, given my luck since then, I'm not sure what kind of omen to expect for my career.

I'm starting to think I'm too late on finding possible roommates for the summer. I know of a couple of other late deciders, but they're likely to live with others anyway. Maybe I should just grab a place by myself while there are still good ones out there.

I was going to talk about whether Iraq is a war for oil. I say not really. I'll explain later.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

The Pentagon types are insisting there is no pause in the advance on Baghdad. However, the press reports all indicate the units have stopped moving. I wonder if the spin was this bad in Vietnam. Not that I think things will get that bad in military terms...there's a lot different about this conflict. But still, it really aggravates me to hear the military brass compulsively lying about everything. With any luck, maybe Rumsfeld will get fired in all this.

I talked to a friend last night who was worried that the military's continual insistence that avoiding civilian areas is hurting the war effort could be a prelude to bombing civilian areas. Making excuses for their own miscalculations makes more sense, but she could easily be right. I sincerely hope we find some way to finish this off quickly. I remember in Afghanistan we started slowly, and then everything kind of crumpled at once. The same could happen here, realistically at any moment.

In other news, I finally stepped into the sublet world today. I'm not sure whether I'll live with friends or not...have begun sending out a couple of feelers to those likely to be here for the summer. And now I will begin my Persian mid-term, which looks like it might take awhile...

Saturday, March 29, 2003

I seem to have started a blog. I'm not sure where this will go...if I have something to say about what I'm doing, it makes more sense to just say it to my friends, and while I enjoy sharing my views on issues and stuff with people I know, I'm less sure about publishing them to the world. I guess I'll just see what develops. If I lose interest, I lose interest.

Anyway, my e-mail to see if anything was going on tonight yielded no fruit, so I just watched Mary Poppins and now find myself here. The Blues lost to the Red Wings today, too, though I was somewhat resigned to that. Wait until the play-offs, if Osgood can find his form.

My main cause for the week is defending al-Jazeera. To be totally blunt, all networks were showing Iraqi prisoners of war until this POW tape came out. And in the Arab world, graphic footage like that is simply accepted, regardless of conflict or nationality. The debate over how to convey the horrors of war is legitimate. Furthermore, the most disturbing thing I've ever seen along those lines is the 1993 Mogadishu tape, which American networks aired aplenty. Al-Jazeera remains the only free network in the Arab world, and naturally will represent the Arab perspective in their editorials. But we shouldn't be attacking them just because they disagree with us. They're the type of people we'll want on our side if we want to truly build a better Middle East.