Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Losing Faith

You might think that the weather should be all sunny and warm when it's summer but not in Finland - rainy, windy and cold is how I'd describe the situation for the past week. And rainy days bring rainy entries:

We have come to a point where most Americans finally believe that Bush misled the people to the war in Iraq. This is a bit unfortunate situation since the thing about "misleading" should have been pretty obvious from the beginning. The thing is that the people should NOW be more FOR the war than against it. Let me explain something:

A)After 9/11 many Americans came to believe that Iraq was a direct threat to their security (WMDs, Al-Qaeda ties). Liberating the people of Iraq and pushing the region toward a reform was not a priority to the majority of
the American people. Most likely these are the same people who now have "switched sides" to join the anti-war camp since no WMDs or Al-Qaeda ties were found.

B)It should have been obvious from the beginning that Saddam was not a direct threat to anyone but to his own people. He had tried to take over Iran once and failed and the west made it clear that Kuwait is out of Saddam's reach. Saddam was not a religious fanatic who'd strike the US for religious reasons. However It's believed that Saddam was trying to find loopholes from UN rules and was waiting for an opportunity to start rebuilding his arsenal of weapons. When it comes to human and political rights - Saddam's Iraq was moving absolutely nowhere.

Neo-conservatives demand the US to take action before crises emerge. It doesn't specify whether those crises would have to be a direct threat to the US or to its interests in some region. This is of course why the war emerged. It was a pre-emptive strike, authorized by the Bush Doctrine (a variation of the Wolfowitz Doctrine), aimed at a region that's in a desperate need of reform - the kind of a reform which would in the end turn out to be amazingly beneficial to the US and to the rest of the world. Saddam's Middle-East was not changing, post-Saddam Middle-East is.

So why should the Americans support the war now more than ever? The fact remains that we have come a long way and a lot of progress has been made - so much that it'd be foolish to give up or to even start to think about giving up. Iraq has formed a democratically elected government and the US has soon trained enough Iraqi security forces to move the responsibility entirely to the Iraqi government and military. A success in Iraq is possible and vital. If it does happen it will be maybe the most significant thing the US has done for the world since Reagan brought Communism down (well maybe not all by himself).

Soon 2000 soldiers and a bit more than 20 000 civilians (don't even think about trying to make a point with that fuzzy estimate which states that the number is over 100 000 - it's ludicrous) have died and now the Iraqis, Americans and the rest of us must prove that it has definitely been worth it and that there simply was no other way to bring a reform.,2933,160958,00.html


Monday, June 13, 2005

Clinton, Kerry, Bush and the Europeans

Check this item at for an interview between the former US President Bill Clinton and delightful Greta Van Susteren. Don't ask why John Kerry lost last November. We Europeans like to think that we used to love Clinton - but it's funny how we didn't say that until Bush took the office. Clinton is without a doubt one of the best presidents the US ever had - he took crime down (homicides dropped by at least 30% during his presidency), turned budget deficit into surplus, played a major role in ending genocide in the former Yogoslavia region, brought unemployment rates down and worked hard to solve problems in the Middle-East and North Korea (well - at least he tried).

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But when he jumped into some extra-marital relationship the conservatives jumped off their seats and spent millions of taxpayer dollars (and forced him to take a stand when his time should have been reserved for his real job) to find out about a blowjob.

Kerry on the other hand seemed dry and had no clear vision for the future. This is the guy who voted against the Gulf War (if Saddam had not been stopped then the consequences would have been devastating) and had some bad votes in the Congress during the Cold War. We Europeans thought that he's the smart one - but latest news items indicate that he was no smarter than Bush.

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Bush on the other hand has a clear vision for the future and is working hard to shape that future. There's nothing Bush can do to stop the European whine about nation building. But it's funny how silent Europe remains about
the simple fact that during Bush the US-to-Africa aid has increased and now he's working with Blair and G8 countries to forget the African debt (and once again - increased the US aid to Africa). What anti-Bush people seem to care about more is how the detainees at Gitmo Bay are being treated (and even there they're wrong):,2933,159260,00.html

And some more items I want you to pay attention to:

Flash animation:
For Europeans who're sceptic abour our belowed union
No free bloggers in China:
Nice work China
Harsh living conditions at Guantanamo:
Gitmo Bay - not as bad as you'd think


Monday, June 06, 2005

H5N1 - forget about SARS

Not sure if many of you care but a catastrophic viral outbreak could be on its way and believe me - this will make SARS look like a summer flu.

You might have heard some reports about a bunch of birds dying because of a bird flu epidemic. What's feared is a strain of this virus (Avian Influenza) known as H5N1 which has potential to go through an antigenic shift (it combines with a strain of human influenza virus) and become well transmissible among humans. There has already been a few human deaths and maybe even cases where the virus has jumped from a person to person. The mortality rates have been dropping which is NOT a good thing. It simply means that the virus is evolving (adapting as a result of Natural Selection) and becoming more comfortable in a human body. This leads to a growing number of infections.

Now I want you to pay attention to the picture below which has been taken from Qinghai, China. The Chinese government wishes the whole thing to remain behind closed doors. According to this news article eight Chinese people, who have been reporting about the outbreak among birds in Qinghai, have been arrested since the pictures (three alltogether) were published:

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You can clearly see how none of the birds are flying and none looks too happy. It has been estimated that the picture shows hundreds of dead or dying birds. Some of these massive outbreaks among bird populations have been officially reported by Chinese officials but it seems that they still want to withold a lot of vital information (just like they did with SARS in the beginning).

Tens of millions of chickens, ducks and geese have been slaughtered during the past few months in the most infected areas such as Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and China. Some WHO officials say that it's only a matter of time before it hits the human population and leads to a global pandemic (remember Spanish Flu from 1918 which killed 25-50 million people and infected nearly 20% of the world's population?).

So how about initiating a global vaccination program? Not likely. Influenza viruses constantly evolve and mutate - meaning you'd have to manufacture (which takes months) a new vaccine for every subtype.

But no worries about this turning out to be an apocalyptic superfly like in Stephen King's "The Stand". A virus with a mortality rate of nearly 100% and which kills fast is too efficient - it'd burn away because of its virulence. So - enjoy your summer!