I'm trying to understand why we are on the verge of war with Iraq, I really am. I understand that Saddam Hussein is a bad man and that the country would be better off without him. But why is he any worse of a threat today than he was at any point in the past several years since the first Gulf War?
I read the article by Condoleeza Rice in the New York Times the other day (1/23/03) hoping it would shed some light for me. The article was titled "Why We Know Iraq Is Lying." Unfortunately, the article told me next to nothing about why we are on this war path. She makes the point that other countries that voluntarily disarmed were more cooperative and less deceptive than Iraq - including South Africa, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. But we were never on the verge of invading those countries and there are still many regimes out there than have not disarmed in this manner. What has Iraq done lately to make it stick out as such a serious threat to world peace? We have never linked Hussein to the 9-11 terrorist attacks and as best I can tell this whole emphasis on vilifying Hussein is not getting us any closer to catching Osama Bin Laden and his band of Al-Quada terrorists.
So my biggest question is still Why Now? Most of the weapons of mass destruction that we believe Iraq has is stuff it acquired during and before the first Gulf War, when the odds are good that we were the ones who gave it to them. Remember that back in the 80s we saw Iraq as a countercheck to the religious radicals in Iran. Hussein's secularity, which the administration today criticizes (even going so far at to deem him an atheist) was seen as a positive aspect back in the early 80s when the biggest bugaboo of the time was the Ayatollah Khomeihni. If Iraq was such a dangerous regime back in the mid-90s, what was Dick Cheney doing over there as the head of Halliburton making millions of dollars by rebuilding the Iraqui infrastructure that was destroyed during the first Gulf War?
What is it about Iraq today that makes it more of a threat than Iran or Libya or Syria or Lebanon or Yemen or Indonesia or Malaysia or Pakistan or Somalia or Sudan? And so on. Not to mention North Korea and China.
Good news on the Pete Rose front today....
According to a report from the New York Newsday (www.newsday.com), Rose is ready to make all the necessary concessions to get reinstated to baseball. The long, dark blemish on the Hall of Fame may finally be coming to an end when Rose is finally admitted. I'll just keep holding my breath.
I'm finally figuring out how to make some improvements to my new blog and make it slightly more interactive. I've begun adding web links in the column on the left side of the page and I figured out how to add my e-mail address when you click on my name at the bottom of each post.
A big welcome to Michael Gaffney, a fellow journalist from Lubbock, who has just started his own blog site called The Blogaffinator. I look forward to reading Michael's astute observations on a daily basis.
One of my daily routines is to read the comics section in the newspaper. The local daily here has a decent comics section, but it doesn't compare to what the Houston Chronicle does on its web site at www.chon.com. There you can create your own web page with your favorite comics which are automatically updated everyday. I can't believe the service is still free, but it is. Here is a quick rundown of the best comics available there:
9 Chickweed Lane
For Better For Worse
Heart of the City
One Big Happy
Rose is Rose
Shirley and Son
There are also a few strips worth reading everyday that are not on the Chron.com site and for those I go to www.comics.com. They include:
More on these later....
The Golden Globes were a real disappointment, but not a surprise. I'm looking forward to seeing Chicago, although I think showering it with all those acting awards may have been a bit much. But as for The Hours, which took the top Drama award over my favorite The Two Towers, I can only shake my head in amazement. Here is a movie that will delight people for ages up against a film that while I'm sure it has great acting is not something I look forward to sitting through even once, much less multiple screenings.
I'm sure this all bodes ill for The Two Towers' Oscar chances, although the film had better at least get a nomination. I hear a lot of people saying they are going to wait until next year and give the big prize to Lord of the Rings at the end of the trilogy, but I don't buy it. I'm sure that by next year they will have found another lame, sappy, flash-in-the-pan movie to shower with critical praise in spite of everything.
I was upset to read today that more Hall of Famers are coming out against Pete Rose's reinstatement so that he can take his place in the Hall. It almost makes one want to give up their passion for the game. But I will keep the faith and continue to believe that a great wrong will be corrected in the near future. Pete Rose is undeniably one of the greatest ball players of all time and his banishment from the Hall of Fame is one of those really sad examples of our country's inability to forgive and forget. I think it is left over from our long ago Puritan heritage - this uppity, self-righteousness and moral hypocricy. For crying out loud, I don't care if Pete Rose gambled on baseball!! He lost his managerial job, had to pay a stiff fine and even spent time in jail. Now it is done, so get over it! But no, we have to make the man grovel and beg our forgiveness. He must publicly admit his sins - not unlike the main character in George Orwell's 1984 - or else we will throw his entire baseball career down the memory hole and pretend it did not happen.
I am particularly upset about the Pete Rose situation because the Big Red Machine was my team during my youth and Johnny Bench and Pete Rose were my baseball idols.
Most recently, beginning in 1998, I have been a Yankee fan, but like so many great teams today, they don't stick together for long. The Yankees I began rooting for had the following lineup when they started their three and almost four-year dominance of the World Series:
Jorge Posada and Joe Girardi sharing catching duties;
Tino Martinez at 1B;
Chuck Knoblauch at 2B;
Derek Jeter at SS;
Scott Brosius at 3B;
Paul O'Neill in RF;
Bernie Williams in CF;
and Shane Spencer, Ricky Ledee and Chad Curtis in LF;
Also, there was Darryl Strawberry, Chili Davis and David Justice at DH;
And pitching we had Andy Pettite; David Cone; David Wells; Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez; and Roger Clemens.
Today of course, that team has been mostly disassembled by trades and forced retirements.
Gone are Tino, Chuck, Paul, Scott, Cone, El Duque, Strawberry, Jutice, Chili and many others.
There have been a few good additions since then like Alfonso Soriano, Jason Giambi and now this guy from Japan. But it is almost like trying to root for a different team every two or three years.