This is a rather old news story that I had bookmarked with the intent of writing about at some point, but I never got around to it. As far as I know, this envoy has not yet been named, but it will be interesting to see who they pick, and what their selection criteria are. If the administration's pick for UN ambassador is any indication, the job will go to a terribly unqualified political sellout with no understanding of the Muslim world whatsoever.
It's rather simple, Mr. Bush, that if you want to "improve relations" with the Muslim world, stop invading our countries and torturing our people. No amount of political posturing will change our minds.
On a related note, how much relevance does the Organization of the Islamic Conference have in the Muslim world? I don't know much about them, but the name has been coming up much more often of late. In principle, it sounds like a very noble organization, but do they actually matter to the Muslim governments in the world? Do their positions hold any weight?
Australia 'has Iraq oil interest' | BBC News
This has already been written about in other blogs I read; it amounts to a nearly open admission of the motivations of the Australian government in deploying troops to Iraq. The news, while not really "news" to most people, has been discussed at length on numerous on-line forums. I absolutely hate on-line news discussion forums, as the maturity of the dialogue on them is usually atrocious, but I still often read them to get a feel for what the "general public" thinks about these matters.
On one such site, I read the following comment which I found extremely disturbing:
For those who think that oil isn't worth going to war over, spend one day without using any petroleum based products. No plastics, no lubricants, no gasoline. You'll have to walk everywhere, but make sure there's no plastic in your shoes. Make sure your clothes are 100% cotton -- no polyester please. You can cook your food only if you have an electric stove and your local power plant isn't oil or natural gas. Gas water heater? No hot showers for you (no cold one either if your shower head is plastic), which is ok because you can't use soap. You can't drive to work, nor can you ride a bicycle (plastics and lubricants again). No computers, no phones, no TV, no electricity.
Everything we have depends on oil. Going to war for oil means going to war to defend our way of life.
I don't know how mainstream this sort of view is, but it is one of the first times that I have heard someone defending the war for exactly those reasons that we deem it illegitimate. Typically, defence of the war in these types of forums comes from people who are still under the delusion that we're spreading democracy in the Middle East. It's not uncommon to find this sort of defence rife with spelling mistakes, vulgarity, superfluous exclamation points, and at least one comment about how "dumb leftists just don't get it". This was perhaps the first time that I read someone clearly articulating why they believe in the war without resorting to childish name-calling and label-dropping. And yet, the complete disregard of human life in this is frightening. The idea that the war is justified to defend your own way of life, with absolutely no consideration for the thousands of lives you're destroying in the process? Absolutely sickening. Such displays of complete indifference to human suffering frays whatever little faith I have left in humanity.