Saturday, November 29, 2003

Yes! Found!

For several months, I’ve been looking for an assessment that I wrote before the American-Iraq War of 2003 commenced, because I knew that in it I’d anticipated what was to come. That’s no great achievement: only dolts could have failed to expect the things I mention here. I wrote it in the early part of this year, before the attack, perhaps in January or February.

I’d like to give another reason why ‘regime change’ in Iraq is a bad idea.

Let’s assume there are very nasty weapons hidden away deep in the hinterlands of Iraq. At the moment when the US military topples the Iraqi regime – when the US becomes the Iraqi regime and begins to set up its client state – control over those hidden weapons will tumble further away from the US or UN gaze than ever before.

Captured regime leaders will be less forthcoming on the subject of weapons of mass destruction than any other. Meanwhile, field commanders in control of the weapons will suddenly be answerable to no higher authority, and will have little incentive to reveal their deeply hidden secrets.

Most likely, at least some of them will seek a profit by offering their weapons to a newly forming rebel insurgency or to the highest bidder.

I favor containment of Iraq. We contained the Soviet Union for over 40 years, so Iraq should not be a problem. One ‘relic of the cold war’ that I preferred – at least weapons that should not exist at all were held by governments, however despicable they may be, and not passed into private terrorist hands.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Rules of Puctuation

I was taught the formal American “Rules of Puctuation.” But now I find the Brits and some internet journalists using things like “The Period outside of the Quotations”. And I note that when I was first taught “The Comma Inside,” I thought, “Logically, that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.” The punctuation mark sets the package, which is the “quotation”. So it should be outside!

So I like this trend. Along with it, the European wordification of acronyms like aids and Unicef. I wonder, though, whether everyone who reads the new American rules understands the shift, or whether some see its use as sloppiness? Any thoughts, “let me know”.