Back To The Grind

The Regular Stuff
I’m sure somebody’s wondering why I haven’t been talking about the recent terrorism arrests in Toronto. I will… once I get more than 5 minutes of free time at a stretch. Until then, you get more Gore!

Yes, it’s true that Gore has been repeating his assertion that he will not run in 2008, but I don’t find his words to be convincingly assertive; 2008 is still a couple of years away. In the mean time, the man has become a movie star, which even more qualifies him for American political life. A Gallup poll reveals that Gore is the 2nd most supported potential candidate among registered Democrats (after Hilary Clinton). But I suspect that if/when Gore does run, he may actually do so as an Independent, which would be quite an exciting (and badly needed) development, given every thinking American’s discontentment with their limited party choices.

The incident at Haditha, Iraq, in 2005, when a dozen unarmed Iraqi women and children were allegedly murdered by US forces in retaliation for an insurgency roadside bombing, is back in the news. Tom Elgelhardt compares the incident with the My Lai massacre of Vietnam. Meanwhile, an Iraqi doctor reports that there are many such instances of US/UK army abuse and murder of civilians, including blatant violations of the Geneva Conventions, which go unreported and undocumented. The lesson: the West learned nothing from Vietnam.

Really, in American eyes, what was the great tragedy that was Vietnam? Judging by news specials, books, movies, interviews and biographies of veterans, the great tragedy was the tarnishing of the American political and military reputation and the thousands of dispossessed vets who returned confused.

But, in the eyes of the rest of the world, the great tragedy that was the Vietnam War was, very simply, millions of dead Vietnamese. And therein lies the problem of why nothing was learned from that war, and why were are right back in the same moral quagmire, decades later.

Site Management Stuff
That’s all for today, except that I want to add one note about the unfortunate comment exchanges from my Monday post. Let me be clear. is not a democracy. It is a privately owned space whose rules and policies are determined and policed solely by me. As a courtesy alone, I make those policies known to you, but I am under no legal or ethical obligation to do so. If you don’t like my rules or don’t agree with the way I police them, then don’t come here. Commenters are guests here and, to be blunt, have no rights of free expression on this site other than those I choose to extend to them.

Furthermore, those who have been regular visitors and commenters have earned the benefit of the doubt, because I know from experience that their motivations are ultimately positive ones. Whereas, it is incumbent upon newcomers to play nice until a relationship is established. This is not a rule that requires codifying, this is common sense and normal human behaviour.

Additionally, it should also be common sense that words have power. Words have tonality and subtext. When you write to a stranger, re-read your letter a few times and make sure you aren’t being insulting. If the stranger perceives insult, even if you did not intend insult, you are still responsible for the content and impact of your words. It is thus incumbent upon you to both clarify your position and to issue an apology.

I’m not your daddy and I’m not your teacher. I’m not here to instruct you in anything, especially not in how to write. As well, I would ask you to consider this: every visitor here knows precisely who I am, whereas to me you are all mostly anonymous voices talking at me from the ether. That means that all I have to go on about you is what you write; I can’t judge your moods, your backgrounds, your points of view or your contexts based on anything else. If you don’t want me to misinterpret your intent or meaning, then take care to write carefully and clearly and to use words whose meanings will not be misinterpreted as attacks. (For instance, “naive” is an insulting word, regardless of how you think you meant to use it.) That’s your job.

I’m a busy man and don’t have the time to explain this to everyone who stumbles here, nor is that my job. Having dealt with too many trolls, I no longer have the patience for issuing every newcomer a “grace period”. It is incumbent upon you to present yourself and your argument cogently and respectfully. Failure to do so will result in much unpleasantness.