groundhog day

Groundhog Day links: snipers, sharks, Sherman, Stephen Fry


Also, Chris Kyle day!

A while back I wrote a piece titled “First they came, the invisible whites, and dealt death from afar.” The title, from Conrad, has always stuck with me. It seems a perfect characterization of the way the West waged, and continues to wage, war on brown people.

In that piece I mention a 2010 Times op-ed citing counterinsurgency adviser David Kilcullen, who states U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan kill “50 civilians for every militant killed, a hit rate of 2 percent–hardly ‘precision.'” That ratio, from Pakistani sources (Tommy Franks would disagree), has also always stuck with me.

This piece makes the case that Chris Kyle was a drone in human form.


David Swanson reviewed Matthew Carr’s Sherman’s Ghosts: Soldiers, Civilians, and the American Way of War

It was in the North’s occupation of the South that the U.S. military first sought to win hearts and minds, first faced IEDs in the form of mines buried in roads, first gave up on distinguishing combatants from noncombatants, first began widely and officially (in the Lieber Code) claiming that greater cruelty was actually kindness as it would end the war more quickly, and first defended itself against charges of war crimes using language that it (the North) found entirely convincing but its victims (the South) found depraved and sociopathic. Sherman employed collective punishment and the assaults on morale that we think of as “shock and awe.” Sherman’s assurances to the Mayor of Atlanta that he meant well and was justified in all he did convinced the North but not the South. U.S. explanations of the destruction of Iraq persuade Americans and nobody else.

A screencap of the introduction:



Stephen Fry on Irish television sharing his thoughts on God;

“It’s utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world which is so full of injustice and pain?”

Pressed by Byrne over how he would react if he was locked outside the pearly gates, Fry says: “I would say: ‘bone cancer in children? What’s that about?’

“Because the God who created this universe, if it was created by God, is quite clearly a maniac, utter maniac. Totally selfish. We have to spend our life on our knees thanking him?! What kind of god would do that?”


There was the Super Bowl last night. Exciting game. Pretty shocking ending. And—who can predict these things?— Left Shark stole the show!

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