Saturday, December 18, 2004

業務連絡

It's amazing how little time is left for blogging when raising a 2-year-old. This post is mostly just here so that my slightly hyberbolic response to the November elections isn't the last entry. I've got all sorts of things I want to express, but I get most of that out of my system by posting on our BBS on the main Gaijin Bikers in Japan page. I figure the world can get by somehow even if I don't regularly publish my thoughts here. It even looks like the biker gaijin blogging niche is being adequately filled by a guy whose handle is the same as this blog's title, my sole commenter, Gaijin Biker. I will therefore feel no need to post here unless the spirit moves me and I somehow actually have time to write something. Instead, I will continue my meaningless crusade of pedantic anti-pedantry comments at other people's blogs.

11 Comments:

At 12/19/2004 03:47:00 PM,

Hey, Big Ben...

Thanks for the mention... but should I feel bad about my user ID being the same as your blog? I am new enough to this thing that I could change it to something equally original (baikujin? baikuotaku?) without throwing my nonexistent readership into turmoil.

If you haven't checked out ridingsun lately, note that I added Gaijin Biker to my links list, so all my nonexistent readers are aware of your site. (I guess I will add your Gaijin Bikers in Japan instead since that seems to be your more active site.)

Anyway, I've got some more posts up now, resulting in a competely inconsistent mix of bike talk and inflammatory political screeds that you would probably disagree with. But, remarkably enough, there is STILL TIME for some lucky person to claim the honor of being ridingsun's first commenter!

In closing, here is a grammar joke I think you would like:

A visiting student comes to Harvard to find a book in its vast library. Not knowing his way around the campus, he asks the nearest student, "Excuse me, where's the library at?"

The Harvard student, with utter disdain, sniffs, "At Harvard, my good man, we never end our sentences with a preposition."

The visiting student thinks about this a bit, and then asks, "Okay, so where's the library at, asshole?"

Cheers and happy new year,
GaijinBiker

 
At 12/19/2004 04:00:00 PM,

Whoops, looks like a very similar version of my joke was on Apostropher's site... should have read it first.

Anyway, thanks for bringing apostropher and unfogged to my attention... I lean conservative but those guys present a relatively well-thought-out lefty point of view compared to some of the vitriol you find out there. Interesting stuff.

--GB

 
At 12/19/2004 10:19:00 PM,

It's an old joke, but I like your version better anyway.

About "Gaijin Biker", it's not like I've got a trademark on that particular compound noun--I kinda feel guilty about taking the name seeing as how I'm not actively blogging and you are.
I had noticed the link. Thanks.

I'm happy if I've pointed you to some intelligent lefty stuff. The only major objection I have to your Saddam post is the implication that the left hasn't been condemning the insurgents, when quite a few people on the left do so all the time. The reason the criticism of Bush and the coalition is louder and more frequent is simply that they're answerable to us whereas the bad guys aren't. It's kind of a dog-bites-man thing--everybody expects islamist wackos to do evil things--we just expect a little more from the good guys.

Come to think of it, this probably should be a comment on your site rather than here, huh?

 
At 12/20/2004 12:28:00 AM,

OK, so I will go on being GaijinBiker with your blessing...

The reason the criticism of Bush and the coalition is louder and more frequent is simply that they're answerable to us whereas the bad guys aren't.This is indeed a very big reason why there is more criticism of Bush than of the insurgents. However, that doesn't mean it's appropriate or helpful. In other words, it's another version of the old "searching under the streetlamp" phenomenon:

A policeman sees a drunk down on his hands and knees looking for something under a streetlamp. The cop asks him what he's looking for.

"I lost my keys," says the drunk.

"Where did you drop them?" asks the cop.

"In that alley over there," says the drunk, pointing at a nearby alley.

"So then why are you looking for them over here?" asks the cop.

"Because the light's better," answers the drunk.

 
At 12/20/2004 10:17:00 PM,

But "searching under the streetlamp" only applies if there is nothing there to be found, and there are plenty of things to criticize about the way Bush has run this war. "Saddam was evil and now he's gone" is not the only set of keys worth looking for here.

If the criticism were merely partisan sniping, you could argue that it's not "appropriate or helpful", but meaningful dissent and legitimate criticism of administration policy is not just appropriate and helpful, but necessary to the health of the nation.

Of course, there's always room for disagreement on what is meaningful or legitimate.

 
At 12/20/2004 11:03:00 PM,

You can always find things to criticize about the way any military leader in recorded history has run any war. There are no perfect wars. Georges Clemenceau wrote that a successful war is "a series of catastrophes that end in victory."

So, no one is arguing that Bush handled the war perfectly. He and his team have made mistakes. I will go so far as to venture that they will continue to make mistakes. But mistakes are part of the process. Successful leaders recover from them; failed leaders do not.

The question is, is it more appropriate to criticize Bush for not doing everything perfectly, or to criticize the "insurgents" for deliberately trying to indiscriminately murder American troops, foreign relief workers, and their own countrymen, and by so doing, to plunge Iraq into the hellhole of Islamic fundamentalism?

Who is more deserving of our ire?

--GB

 
At 12/20/2004 11:14:00 PM,

Whoops, that should be "ends in victory". Subject-verb agreement and all that. (You are not the only grammar pedant out there...)

Anyway, I agree that there are legitimate criticisms of Bush that can be made. I don't think you have to blindly follow our government to be a patriotic American. But I also think it's more appropriate, and productive, to focus on stopping the "insurgency" rather than on slamming Bush.

Too much of the criticism of Bush (and I am not accusing you of this) seems designed not to help America succeed in Iraq, but to get us to villify our leaders, pull out of the country with our tail between our legs, and assume a becomingly subservient position on the world stage, taking our marching orders from the U.N., or perhaps the E.U.

Yes, I'm engaging in a bit of hyperbole here, but not much.

--GB

 
At 12/20/2004 11:34:00 PM,

I really don't have time to get any deeper into this, but why does it have to be a question of "more appropriate"? Why can't we criticize everyone deserving of criticism, and focus on every aspect of this war that deserves focus?
(Obviously, in a "who's worse" contest, the bad guys win hands down, but I like to hold my country to a slightly higher standard than that.)

Many on the left are criticizing Bush's policies becasue they are focused on ending the insurgency and believe those policies are making the problem worse. There may be shallow people out there making the kind of criticisms you're condemning--there are plenty of wackos on all sides--but there are also plenty of people who are calling it as they see it becasue they want the best for the Iraqis, the US, and the world.

BTW, why the square quotes around "insurgency"?

 
At 12/20/2004 11:50:00 PM,

First off, thanks for commenting on my blog!

Anyway, I don't have time either... but I am a chronic procrastinator. Right now I am at the office at almost midnight, with a report to write. Arrrggh.

Second, I hope we can discuss weightier issues in good faith from time to time without pissing each other off.

And finally, as I said, I don't think you personally are making the kind of bad-faith criticisms I mentioned. So I'm happy if we just leave it at that and move on.

Cheers,
--GB

 
At 12/20/2004 11:57:00 PM,

Sorry, one more thing... in response to your question about the scare quotes I put around "insurgency".

I do it primarily to indicate that we are not dealing with a unified movement or a coordinated revolt, but rather a grab-bag of thugs, warlords, disaffected youths, foreign fighters, and Al Qaeda.

Also because the word tends to conjure up romantic images of dashing freedom fighters -- images of which I think our current crop of repressive Islamist enemies is entirely unworthy.

Arrrgh. Back to work.

--GB

 
At 12/21/2004 12:35:00 PM,

OK, we'll agree to drop it. I think it could be an interesting conversation, but it would take more time than either of us can spare right now.

I'd rather talk about bike stuff anyway.
Yoroshiku!

 

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