Saturday, January 30, 2010

Worlds Collide in Afghanistan

Worlds Collide Part I: it turns out Bin Laden likes Noam Chomsky's political work. Is anyone surprised? What's old Noam's reaction to this? I have to admit sometimes I feel bad for Ozzie Bin Laden. He's really crying out for attention with his most recent recording; these days he comes across as a frustrated blogger who he has to try to cheerlead even failed bombing attempts. Hey, here's a suggestion Ozzie: send flame-retardant underwear, as opposed to mentally-retarded bombers. Here's another one: your culture and ridiculous religion are dying. You are impotent and have failed. Global capitalism and technology are inexorably assimilating the Middle East with every breath you take. There is nothing you or Chomsky or any army in the world can do to stop it.

Worlds Collide Part II: like many minorities in China, Uighurs are rightfully unhappy with policies that reflect Han domination of government and repression of the general population (for that matter, more and more Han Chinese are unhappy with censorship and opacity too, now including even retired members of the Chinese Communist Party, in writing.) But what do you do with Uighurs who made the mistake of associating with the Taliban in Afghanistan who are now at Guantanamo Bay, and whom the Chinese government is trying to have returned to China? Should we send them back, where they will be treated (predictably) as China treats terrorists? If not, is it because we're worried China would torture them, or alternatively that they wouldn't torture them enough? I'm sure Eisenhower and Reagan would be thrilled either way, to see how America has changed since they left it, and that now we're in competition with a communist dictatorship to see who can torture its captives worse.

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