February 28, 2007

The Accounting of Love

So I'm teaching one of my accounting classes, and I get an SMS from Milady.

Milady: I love you. :)

JDsg: I love you, too! :)

JDsg, speaking to his students: "Even in the accounting of love, we must make sure our debits equal our credits." :)

Juan Cole on Global Warming, Oil and American Politics/Militarism

Juan Cole, who's at his best when he writes analysis, has done a very good piece on the intersection of global warming, oil, and American politics and militarism. The second sentence of the second paragraph is incorrect, IMO, but otherwise an excellent discussion on these various, interrelated topics.

Only by a Manhattan Project-scale government effort to develop green energy can we hope to avert the worst consequences of global warming, which is likely to raise sea levels at least a foot, and possibly 7 feet over the next century or century and a half. (That would put a lot of cities on both coasts under water). The arctic and antarctic ice shelfs are already falling into the ocean at rates that have astonished climate scientists. The arctic alone lost perennial ice cover the size of Texas in 2004-2005! Warm water takes up more space than cold water and the loss of white ice cover is bad because it radiates a lot of sunlight back out to space. So it is a double whammy.

But the other problem with petroleum and gas as sources of energy is that they are getting scarcer. No big new fields have been found for some time. And in one recent year China generated 40% of new demand for petroleum. If a billion Chinese and a billion Indians adopt the American lifestyle and all want 1.5 automobiles and superhighways to crawl along on, the existing stocks of oil will become objects of fierce competition. This process has already begun, and there is a sea change from the mid-1990s, when oil was still cheap and competition for it limited.

Iraq is an Oil War in the mind of politicians like Dick Cheney. It was necessary to deny it to China and other rivals thirty to fifty years in the future. It was necessary to open its vast petroleum fields up for exploration and cast aside anti-American Baath socialism.

Likewise, the religious rigidity of the Pushtun peoples of Helmand province is not the real reason for the US insistence on occupying Afghanistan. It is the vast Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan gas fields that Cheney has his eye on. It was the US hope to use a pipeline from Turkmenistan to supply Pakistan and India, and so forestall a deal by those two countries with Iran. The inability of the Bush administration to calm things down in Afghanistan sufficiently for anyone to dream of putting in such a pipeline and having it avoid routine sabotage has made it likely that Iran will break out of the Bush boycott toward the East.

Hunger for future rights to petroleum and positioning the US to remain a superpower in a world of hydrocarbon scarcity is also driving the campaign to get up a war against Iran. Why can Pakistan have a nuclear weapon, and that is all right, but Iran cannot? Pakistan has very little petroleum. Iran has a lot, and maybe 750 trillion cubic feet of gas in the southwest. If it gets a bomb, regime change becomes impossible, and if Iran wants to tie its supplies up in proprietary contracts with China and India, locking out the United States, it will be able to do so.

Continued heavy dependence on gas and oil therefore not only turns the world into a hothouse, with rising seas, ever more destructive hurricanes, and possibly disastrous shifts in the ocean currents, but it also drives the United States to more and more wars.

And, note that the wars are not even successful in allowing a practical oil grab of the sort Cheney and Lee Raymond dreamed of.

Indeed, you could now, in retrospect, turn their whole argument around on them. US militarism cannot secure petroleum and gas supplies from places such as Iraq, because the pipelines are so easily sabotaged and local nationalisms and religious activism make it impossible for people to accept that kind of US hegemony.

Since the Pentagon cannot practically speaking hope to safeguard US petroleum supplies from the Gulf, national security requires a massive and rapid research and development program of green energy. A lot of green technology, especially solar, would come down in price rapidly if enough government money were thrown at it. We need to press Congress on this, and maybe Californians can craft some of their famous referendum items. That would be one way to promote a new generation of electric cars.

Green energy -- wind, thermal, solar, maybe ultimately fusion, etc. -- is what would allow the US to retain its autonomy and independence into the next century, and what would allow it to avoid losing more cities the way Bush and Cheney lost New Orleans. Oil and War will, in contrast, ruin us all.

The Beautiful Religion

I occasionally post on other forums about Islam (although not nearly as much as I used to). Yesterday, I wrote the below comment regarding the so-called "hijacking" of Islam by terrorists, and I thought that this analogy was decent (although by no means perfect).

I've had mixed feelings about addressing your post. Much of it is based on a misperception, and some of it doesn't make any sense. (What, for instance, is a "Koran Killer?") But I just saw a headline that gives me an analogy to try to explain what I think about this topic. The headline addressed the violence associated with soccer (e.g., the recent death of a policeman in Sicily after a Serie A match). The point of the article was that, if there is all this violence associated with soccer, why is it still called "the beautiful game?"

Soccer as a sport is played by thousands, if not millions of people around the world. Likewise, it is watched and supported by hundreds of millions of people. (FIFA has more member countries than the UN!) Yes, there is violence and racism associated with the game worldwide, and that is truly unfortunate (and the various leagues and FIFA are trying to eliminate this as best they can), but do we say that soccer is being "hijacked" by the hooligans and racists? No. For the vast majority of soccer fans around the world, soccer is and remains "the beautiful game."

The misperception so commonly held today is that Islam has been or is being "hijacked." This isn't true. Islam is practiced correctly by well over a billion people around the world. Yes, Islam does have its "hooligans," all the more dangerous because of their access to weapons. However, Islam itself is not the problem. The problem is, in part, the deviant interpretations of Islam with respect to certain topics. This is why, IMO, questions like, "Should all the major scholars and activists of all the Muslim factions and sects and schools get together in a great reform council for the Ummah?" are irrelevant. A "great reform council?" For what? This assumes that Islam is the problem and is need of reformation. I completely disagree. The key to solving this problem is largely one of education. Two countries that I'm aware of (Yemen and Singapore) have used this approach to help rehabilitate Muslim radicals who have been jailed. Imams have gone into prisons to discuss the Qur'an and Sunnah with these men, trying to educate them, show them their errors of thinking, bring them back to a proper way of thinking about Islam. "Islam is perfect, Muslims are not." Call it, "the beautiful religion." We know there are people who do not act as good Muslims should, just as we see people of other religions not living up to their creeds. We try very strongly to educate our own about our religion and, for the vast majority, we have been successful.

February 27, 2007

The Myth of Muslim Support for Terror

Those who think that Muslim countries and pro-terrorist attitudes go hand-in-hand might be shocked by new polling research: Americans are more approving of terrorist attacks against civilians than any major Muslim country except for Nigeria.

The survey, conducted in December 2006 by the University of Maryland's prestigious Program on International Public Attitudes, shows that only 46 percent of Americans think that "bombing and other attacks intentionally aimed at civilians" are "never justified," while 24 percent believe these attacks are "often or sometimes justified."

Contrast those numbers with 2006 polling results from the world's most-populous Muslim countries – Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria. Terror Free Tomorrow, the organization I lead, found that 74 percent of respondents in Indonesia agreed that terrorist attacks are "never justified"; in Pakistan, that figure was 86 percent; in Bangladesh, 81 percent.

Do these findings mean that Americans are closet terrorist sympathizers?

Hardly. Yet, far too often, Americans and other Westerners seem willing to draw that conclusion about Muslims. Public opinion surveys in the United States and Europe show that nearly half of Westerners associate Islam with violence and Muslims with terrorists. ... But these stereotypes, affirmed by simplistic media coverage and many radicals themselves, are not supported by the facts – and they are detrimental to the war on terror. When the West wrongly attributes radical views to all of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims, it perpetuates a myth that has the very real effect of marginalizing critical allies in the war on terror.


Even among the minority who indicated support for terrorist attacks and Osama bin Laden, most overwhelmingly approved of specific American actions in their own countries. For example, 71 percent of bin Laden supporters in Indonesia and 79 percent in Pakistan said they thought more favorably of the United States as a result of American humanitarian assistance in their countries – not exactly the profile of hard-core terrorist sympathizers. For most people, their professed support of terrorism/bin Laden can be more accurately characterized as a kind of "protest vote" against current US foreign policies, not as a deeply held religious conviction or even an inherently anti- American or anti-Western view.


Our surveys show that not only do Muslims reject terrorism as much if not more than Americans, but even those who are sympathetic to radical ideology can be won over by positive American actions that promote goodwill and offer real hope.

(Source; ht: Islamophobia Watch)

February 25, 2007

Geometry Meets Arts in Islamic Tiles

Nice to see this type of article making the news:

Those wondrously intricate tile mosaics that adorn medieval Islamic architecture may cloak a mastery of geometry not matched in the West for hundreds of years.

Historians have long assumed that sheer hard work with the equivalent of a ruler and compass allowed medieval craftsmen to create the ornate star-and-polygon tile patterns that cover mosques, shrines and other buildings that stretch from Turkey through Iran and on to India.

Now a Harvard University researcher argues that more than 500 years ago, math whizzes met up with the artists and began creating far more complex tile patterns that culminated in what mathematicians today call "quasi-crystalline designs."

Quasicrystal patterns weren't demonstrated in the West until the 1970s.

"It shows us a culture that we often don't credit enough was far more advanced than we ever thought," contends Harvard graduate student Peter J. Lu, who studied the question after a vacation in Uzbekistan left him marveling at the tilework.

This isn't run-of-the-mill geometry. Quasi-crystals are made by fitting together a set of shapes, including five- and 10-sided shapes, into patterns that, unlike typical tile floors, don't repeat.

In Friday's edition of the journal Science, Lu and Princeton physicist Paul Steinhardt report finding a set of polygon-shaped tiles — a decagon, pentagon, diamond, bowtie and hexagon — that were arranged into distinctive patterns found on major Islamic buildings from the 12th through 15th centuries.

Examining architectural scrolls that were essentially training manuals for the time period, he found hand-drawn outlines of the five shapes. And when he combed through thousands of photos of medieval Islamic buildings, he found that same set of shapes increasingly used over the years to make ever-more complex patterns, including a seemingly true quasicrystal by 1453.

It's not the first time such a link has been suggested.

But if it's right, "this would be a hitherto undiscovered episode in the spectacular developments of geometry in central Islamic lands ... achieved by artisans probably inspired by theoretical mathematicians," said Islamic art specialist Oleg Grabar.

For more pictures of the tiles, see the original article.

February 20, 2007

The More Things Change... Hermann Goering

"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
-- Hermann Goering
(1893-1946) Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, President of the Reichstag, Prime Minister of Prussia and, as Hitler's designated successor, the second man in the Third Reich. April 18, 1946

Source: Nuremberg Diary (Farrar, Straus & Co 1947), by Gustave Gilbert (an Allied appointed psychologist), who visited daily with Goering and his cronies in their cells, afterwards making notes and ultimately writing the book about these conversations. (Source)

February 19, 2007

Sami Yusuf - Supplication

This is wonderful. A couple months ago, Milady and I went to a concert at the Esplanade featuring three choruses from around Asia (one from Singapore, Japan, and the Philippines). One of Milady's comments was that she'd like to be able to perform with such a group, except that many choruses sing a fair amount of Christian music. When I listened to this clip by Sami Yusuf, the proverbial light bulb in my head clicked on. Insha'allah, if we can, perhaps we can form a choral group for S'porean Muslims that focuses on Islamically-oriented music. (If you didn't know, Malays can sing; the first two winners of Singapore Idol are both Malay Muslims. And, if you also didn't know, this wouldn't be the first musical group I've started. ;) ) Run time: 4:04.

Allahumma salli 'ala,
Muhammadin an-Nabiyyi al-ummiyyi,
Wa 'ala alihi wa sahbihi wa sallim.

(O Allah, send your peace and blessings upon our Master Muhammad, the Unlettered Prophet, and upon his family and companions.)

Ya Allah

O My Lord,
My sins are like
The highest mountain;
My good deeds
Are very few
They’re like a small pebble.
I turn to You
My heart full of shame,
My eyes full of tears.
Bestow Your
Forgiveness and Mercy
Upon me.
Ya Allah,
Send your peace and blessings
On the Final Prophet,
And his family,
And companions,
And those who follow him.

February 17, 2007

Japanese Flashmob

Those crazy Japanese! ;) Another hilarious video found at I.Z.'s.

(Interesting how much these streets look like those in Korea.)

February 13, 2007

Hakim Abudullah Features: Islam in the West

I came across Hakim Abdullah Features: Islam in the West this morning. It's an RSS feed of various Muslim blogs (including this one). Seriously, the feed almost looks like a compilation of my blogroll: Indigo Jo, Tariq Nelson, Sunni Sister, Writeous Sister, and several others (plus a few blogs that I don't normally read, like Eteraz). Unfortunately, there are also a couple of blogs that I do read that don't appear to be on the feed just yet (Izzy Mo, Umar Lee); insha'allah, these are either already there or will be put on soon.

Anyway, this feed looks rather interesting, and I hope to check it out more in the next few days, insha'allah. (The only problem with the feed appears to be that you can't comment directly on the blog from the RSS reader; I'll have to visit the appropriate blog to do that.)

Anyway, check it out!

February 12, 2007

"Handy" Star Wars Battle Scene

This is soooo stupid, it's hilarious (LOL funny). Some people just have waaaaaaay too much time on their ... uh ... hands.

But Does Cheney Know?

My impression of George Bush has gone up just the tiniest fraction (not that that's saying much):

At a farewell reception at Blair House for the retiring chief of protocol, Don Ensenat, who was President Bush's Yale roommate, the president shook hands with Washington Life Magazine's Soroush Shehabi. "I'm the grandson of one of the late Shah's ministers," said Soroush, "and I simply want to say one U.S. bomb on Iran and the regime we all despise will remain in power for another 20 or 30 years and 70 million Iranians will become radicalized."

"I know," President Bush answered.

"But does Vice President Cheney know?" asked Soroush.

President Bush chuckled and walked away.

(Source; hat tip)

February 11, 2007

"Stealing" a Few from IZ Reloaded

I've often thought my own blog was fairly eclectic in its own way, but the S'pore blog IZ Reloaded is quite eclectic (and a pleasure to visit). So I'm going to "steal" a few of his posts, so to speak.

First, we have "Frog," a Bollywood midget who dances pretty well, as this Youtube video (run time: 1:26) attests:

Frog, which is the English equivalent of his stage name, Thavakalai, has his own Myspace page, where there are a few other Youtube clips you can watch.

Second was a post on a guy who transforms regular watches into beautiful, wood-face watches. (Click on the link to see an excellent example.) Cool stuff!

Last, IZ linked to an article about a 5000+ year old grave in Italy of a couple who was buried hugging each other. Eternal love.

Eternal love.

Canadian Optician Goes Nuts

There's a very strange news story coming out of Toronto, which I first caught on CNN this morning. Apparently an optician, Adam Plimmer, is cheating his customers by selling fake designer glasses. Part of CNN's coverage this morning, which isn't on the Youtube video below, had interviews with two women who had been cheated out of a considerable amount of money ($700 in one woman's case). When a 75-year-old reporter, Peter Silverman, came to discuss the case with the optician, Plimmer became rather violent, hitting, spitting, and throwing snowballs at Silverman and his cameraman. Plimmer now faces charges of assault and assault with a weapon.

A Toronto optician has been charged with assaulting a 75-year-old CityTV reporter in Toronto, Canada, according to CityTV.

The reporter was attacked by the optician on Wednesday while investigating allegations that the optician sold fake designer glasses.

The confrontation at the doorway of King West Optical, captured by CityTV television cameras, occurred during what was to be the latest installment of Peter Silverman's 'Silverman Helps' segment on the store.

According to the Canadian television station, Silverman went to question optician Adam Plimmer about his alleged fraudulent business practices after several consumers complained to him that they had paid for glasses but never received them.

The CityTV video shows Plimmer yelling profanities, hitting, and spitting at Silverman outside his store. It also shows Plimmer throwing snowballs at the reporter.

CityTV said that Silverman was not injured in the attack.

The news station said the reporter only put up his fists in self-defense.

Police arrived to the scene but Plimmer allegedly barricaded himself in the store, which led the emergency task force to come and get him out.

CityTV reported that Plimmer was later arrested by the police, and now faces one charge of assault and one charge of assault with a weapon.

The optician is now out on bail.


February 10, 2007

Little Mosque on the Prairie, Episode 4: Swimming Upstream

The latest "Little Mosque" episode, dealing with the issues of Halloween (should Muslim kids participate in Halloween activities or not?) and male/female swimming (two of the women try to get segregated swimming exercises when a male swim instructor has to take over for the regular female instructor). Of the four episodes, I'd have to rate this one the best so far. There are still some goofs with regard to Islam here and there (e.g., no one "salaaming" the imam as they enter his office), and the idea of "Halaloween" is a bit...well, goofy. And there's quite a bit of female flesh walking around that pool that's rather gratuitous. On the plus side, Baber's scaring the trick-or-treating kids (at the 3:05 mark in the third segment) with "Beware the bad terrorist!" and "Osama's going to get you!" is rather funny.

On a related note, there's a new blog, Little Experiences..., that's trying to discuss the various issues the show brings up. I discovered tonight that the guys who left the comments on my post for the third episode have been commenting at that blog as well.

Comet McNaught on Australia Day

APOD has a beautiful photograph, taken in Perth, Australia last month. On the left you have a fireworks display in celebration of Australia Day, which is Australia's National Day. On the right you have lightning flashing over the Indian Ocean in the distance. And in the center, small and just showing underneath the clouds is Comet McNaught, which recently passed around the sun.

February 9, 2007

The Economist: Dark Secrets

Although I haven't had much time for reading others' blogs recently (or writing on my own), I've come across several posts elsewhere (Umar Lee, Indigo Jo) about Ayaan Hirsi Ali's new book, Infidel. The latest issue of the Economist (February 10-16, 2007) has come out and they have reviewed the book. Interestingly enough, they have panned the book. (The Economist continues to surprise me by both reporting on a considerable number of Muslim issues and providing amazingly fair coverage.) Their review of the book is below. I have highlighted some segments of the review in blue that I think are fairly important.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali blames Islam for the miseries of the Muslim world. Her new autobiography shows that life is too complex for that

Say what you will about Ayaan Hirsi Ali, she fascinates. The Dutch-Somali politician, who has lived under armed guard ever since a fatwa was issued against her in 2004, is a chameleon of a woman. Just 11 years after she arrived in the Netherlands from Africa, she rode into parliament on a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment, only to leave again last year, this time for America, after an uproar over lies she had told to obtain asylum.

Even the title of her new autobiography reflects her talent for reinvention. In the Netherlands, where Ms Hirsi Ali got her start campaigning against the oppression of Muslim women, the book has been published under the title “My Freedom”. But in Britain and in America, where she now has a fellowship at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, it is called “Infidel”. In it, she recounts how she and her family made the cultural odyssey from nomadic to urban life in Africa and how she eventually made the jump to Europe and international celebrity as the world's most famous critic of Islam.

Read as a modern coming-of-age story set in Africa, the book has a certain charm. Read as a key to the thinking of a woman who aspires to be the Muslim Voltaire, it is more problematic. The facts as Ms Hirsi Ali tells them here do not fit well either with some of the stories she has told in the past or with her tendency in her political writing to ascribe most of the troubles of the Muslim world to Islam.

Ms Hirsi Ali's father, Hirsi Magan Isse, was one of the first Somalis to study overseas in Italy and America. He met his future wife, Asha, when she signed up for a literacy class he taught during Somalia's springtime of independence in the 1960s. The family's troubles began in 1969, the year Ms Hirsi Ali was born. That was also the year that Mohammed Siad Barre, a Somali army commander, seized power in a military coup. Hirsi Magan was descended from the traditional rulers of the Darod, Somalia's second biggest clan. Siad Barre, who hailed from a lesser Darod family, feared and resented Ms Hirsi Ali's father's family, she says. In 1972, Siad Barre had Hirsi Magan put in prison from which he escaped three years later and fled the country. Not until 1978 was the family reunited with him.

As a young woman, Ms Hirsi Ali's mother, Asha, does not seem to have inhabited “the virgin's cage” that the author claims imprisons Muslim women around the world. At the age of 15, she travelled by herself to Aden where she got a job cleaning house for a British woman. Despite her adventurous spirit, in Yemen and later in the Gulf she found herself drawn to the stern Wahhabi version of Islam that would later clash with the more relaxed interpretation of Islam favoured by Ms Hirsi Ali's father and many other Somalis. She and Hirsi Magan fell out not long after the family moved to Kenya in 1980. Hirsi Magan left to join a group of Somali opposition politicians in exile in Ethiopia and did not return to his family for ten years.

Ms Hirsi Ali says her mother had no idea how to raise her children in a foreign city. She frequently beat Ayaan and her sister, Haweya. Although they and their brother, Mahad, attended some of Nairobi's best schools, Haweya and Mahad dropped out early on. Ms Hirsi Ali herself meanwhile fell under the sway of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Some of the best passages in the book concern this part of her life. As a teenager, Ms Hirsi Ali chose to wear the all-encompassing black Arab veil, which was unusual in cosmopolitan Nairobi. “Weirdly, it made me feel like an individual. It sent out a message of superiority,” she writes. Even as she wore it, Ms Hirsi Ali was drawn in other directions. She read English novels and flirted with a boy. Young immigrants of any religion growing up with traditional parents in a modern society will recognise her confusion: “I was living on several levels in my brain. There was kissing Kennedy; there was clan honour; and there was Sister Aziza and God.”

Ms Hirsi Ali sounds less frank when she tells the convoluted story of how and why she came to seek asylum at the age of 22 in the Netherlands. She has admitted in the past to changing her name and her age, and to concocting a story for the Dutch authorities about running away from Somalia's civil war. (In fact she left from Kenya, where she had had refugee status for ten years.) She has since justified those lies by saying that she feared another kind of persecution: the vengeance of her clan after she ran away from an arranged marriage.

However, last May a Dutch television documentary suggested that while Ms Hirsi Ali did run away from a marriage, her life was in no danger. The subsequent uproar nearly cost Ms Hirsi Ali her Dutch citizenship, which may be the reason why she is careful here to re-state how much she feared her family when she first arrived in the Netherlands. But the facts as she tells them about the many chances she passed up to get out of the marriage—how her father and his clan disapproved of violence against women; how relatives already in the Netherlands helped her to gain asylum; and how her ex-husband peaceably agreed to a divorce—hardly seem to bear her out.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is not the first person to use false pretences to try to find a better life in the West, nor will she be the last. But the muddy account given in this book of her so-called forced marriage becomes more troubling when one considers that Ms Hirsi Ali has built a career out of portraying herself as the lifelong victim of fanatical Muslims.

Another, even more disturbing story concerns her sister Haweya's sojourn in the Netherlands. In her earlier book, “The Caged Virgin”, which came out last year, Ms Hirsi Ali wrote that her sister came to the Netherlands to avoid being “married off”. In “Infidel”, however, she says Haweya came to recover from an illicit affair with a married man that ended in abortion. Ms Hirsi Ali helped Haweya make up another fabricated story that gained her refugee status, but the Netherlands offered her little respite. After another affair and a further abortion, Haweya was put into a psychiatric hospital. Back in Nairobi, she died from a miscarriage brought on by an episode of religious frenzy. “It was the worst news of my life,” Ms Hirsi Ali writes.

Mental illness, abortion, failed marriages, illicit affairs and differing interpretations of religion: much as she tries, the kind of problems that Ms Hirsi Ali describes in “Infidel” are all too human to be blamed entirely on Islam. Her book shows that her life, like those of other Muslims, is more complex than many people in the West may have realised. But the West's tendency to seek simplistic explanations is a weakness that Ms Hirsi Ali also shows she has been happy to exploit.

February 5, 2007

Winning Hearts & Minds

The following is a video and post over at Crooks & Liars that I thought was very interesting:

Keith Olbermann featured this video on his Friday broadcast and it has haunted me since.

There is so much about this that bothers me. First, the very reality that the reason the Humvee driver is driving this way is because they are afraid of an attack if they slow down. Listen at the end of the video to the disdain one troop member expresses towards a pedestrian: "...as if he hasn't got a care in the world." Because these guys are aware that every day–every assignment–could be their last. Can you imagine what the constant state of stress like that has done to our troops, especially after two, three, four tours? And now with Bush's escalation, the likelihood that their tours will be extended again. PTSD doesn't begin to cover it. And yet, the Bush Administration has made it harder to get a diagnosis of PTSD and reduced vet benefits on top of that.

And then my thoughts go to the Iraqis. Can you imagine having your country occupied by another nation and be subjected to this kind of bullying behavior every day? Watch as the Humvee runs into car after car to force them to pull to the side and narrowly misses pedestrians. Is this the liberation we promised them? Are our actions in Iraq winning their hearts and minds to the benefits of a democracy?

As Adam said in the email with the link to this clip, "Is there a clearer indication that our presence in Iraq is hurting us?"