Sunday, July 30, 2006


Hezbollah (meaing Party of God) is a Lebanese Islamist Shiite organization and political party with a military arm and a civilian arm. Founded in 1982 with the declared aim to fight the Israeli occupation of Suthern Lebanon that lasted until 2000. (Source Wikipedia)
And now Israel has invaded Lebanon again to protect itself from Hezbollah - 2006.

Map of Lebanon

A map (source: CIA Factbook) of Lebanon. For some background once again I recommend going to Wikipedia, try starting here:

Middle East-A killing zone

For weeks now the Israeli's have been fighting the Hizballah "nation" with many deaths on both sides. I read the Kuwiat Times and and the Arab Times newspapers and see photos of dead children on the front page of these newspapers almost daily. Something we don't see in American news papers - the true cost of all war - the destruction of our future. Many demonstrations are held in Kuwait and I have noticed how I am starred at now, much more than in the past few months. So the Shi'ite Muslim group called Hizballlah, supported by Iran, sends missles into Israel from its bases in Lebanon. Hizballah is functioning not just as a state within a state but almost as the state itself. Hizballah has filled a need of the people in Lebanon by buidling schools and hospitals while staging missles in Lebanon it gets from Iran. The Middle East is war zone from Lebanon to Iraq. While to the east in Afghanistan the talaban continue to fight and attach US forces in the south near Kabul and Bagram. While I still think about the fact that the birth of civiliazation took place in Sumer (modern Iraq) with the first organized religion, government, and written language, to the beginnings of monotheism, which conceived Judaism, Christanity, and Islam - many people can trace thier roots to this region. When will we focus on what is common to our species and not on the differences?

Saturday, July 29, 2006

movement to www

Have you noticed how many magazines, newspapers and TV shows point you towards the www? How they say for more information go to our web site? It seems that we are experiencing a movement from traditional media to this virtural world which exists in the form of html pages. Does this make information available to more people or to fewer? One thing I think that it does is allow for a two way converation to take place. To allow the writer to engage in a converation with the reader. A good thing I think. I hope anyway. For to share information and to debate the concepts is to help us all to gain knowledge.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Towers

The towers is where the photo of downtown Kuwait City was taken, see photo from July 12 post.

Crowne Plaza

Another photo of my hotel. Can you tell it is HOT!

Crowne Plaza Kuwait

This is the Crowne Plaza hotel in Kuwait, my "home" away from home.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Kuwait City from above

double click on the photo to see a larger version.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

1 hump or 2

I see lots of camels on the drive from the Crowne Plaza to the base everyday. All the camels I see have one hump. It seems their are two species of camels, Dromedary (1 hump) and Bactrain (2 humps). There are some photos of camels on this blogspot in earlier posts. The Bactrain camel was first domesticated some 5,000 years ago in Iran. They were used as pack anamimals, and domestication eventually spread along the Silk Road (see earlier blog post) to China and to southern Russia. The Dromedaries (1 hump) were first domesticated by Semitic cultures and later bacame popular in the Arab world. Dromedaries are found in arid regions from northwestern India to the Arabian Peninsula and Smalia and across the African deserts. Camels remain the desert nomad's primary source of transportation, milk, meat and wool. In Kuwait and Saudi Arabia they are also used as racing animals. Oh by the way the humps are filled with fat not water which allows the camel to go a week without food or water.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Farewell Address

After watching the documentary, Why We Fight, last night, I was motivated today to read the complete transcript of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell address given on January 17, 1961. It should not amaze any of us that the advise given below is relavant and still of use today. I like his reference to “citizen” as apposed to “American” as a citizen has a responsibility to act and the term “American” is something we just are. Action on our part is what is required to make a better world. Can you image what the world would be like if half of what we spend on the military was spent on other social needs? Perhaps on science and basic research? A world worth creating is what we need to keep in mind, not business as usual.

Farewell Address

Farewell Radio and Television Address to the American People by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 17, 1961.

My fellow Americans:
Three days from now, after half a century in the service of our country, I shall lay down the responsibilities of office as, in traditional and solemn ceremony, the authority of the Presidency is vested in my successor.
This evening I come to you with a message of leave-taking and farewell, and to share a few final thoughts with you, my countrymen.
Like every other citizen, I wish the new President, and all who will labor with him, Godspeed. I pray that the coming years will be blessed with peace and prosperity for all.
Our people expect their President and the Congress to find essential agreement on issues of great moment, the wise resolution of which will better shape the future of the Nation.
My own relations with the Congress, which began on a remote and tenuous basis when, long ago, a member of the Senate appointed me to West Point, have since ranged to the intimate during the war and immediate post-war period, and, finally, to the mutually interdependent during these past eight years.
In this final relationship, the Congress and the Administration have, on most vital issues, cooperated well, to serve the national good rather than mere partisanship, and so have assured that the business of the Nation should go forward. So, my official relationship with the Congress ends in a feeling, on my part, of gratitude that we have been able to do so much together.
We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century that has witnessed four major wars among great nations. Three of these involved our own country. Despite these holocausts America is today the strongest, the most influential and most productive nation in the world. Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet realize that America's leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.
Throughout America's adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad.
Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology-global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle-with liberty at stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.
Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in newer elements of our defense; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and applied research-these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we wish to travel.
But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs-balance between the private and the public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage-balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between action of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.
The record of many decades stands as proof that our people and their government have, in the main, understood these truths and have responded to them well, in the face of stress and threat. But threats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise. I mention two only.
A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.
Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peace time, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.
Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence-economic, political, even spiritual-is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been over shadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.
It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system-ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.
Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's future, we-you and I, and our government-must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.
Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.
Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.
Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose difference, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war-as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years-I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.
Happily, I can say that war has been avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate goal has been made. But, so much remains to be done. As a private citizen, I shall never cease to do what little I can to help the world advance along that road.
So-in this my last good night to you as your President-I thank you for the many opportunities you have given me for public service in war and peace. I trust that in that service you find some things worthy; as for the rest of it, I know you will find ways to improve performance in the future.
You and I-my fellow citizens-need to be strong in our faith that all nations, under God, will reach the goal of peace with justice. May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nation's great goals.
To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America's prayerful and continuing inspiration:
We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.

Kuwait Times Est 1961

Kuwait Times (Est. 1961) – The Kuwait Times is one of two local newspapers that I read.  The banner states “The leading independent daily in the Arabian Gulf” Some headlines from the July 9th issue include; Seven escape from Saudi jail,  Guggenheim building largest museum on Abu Dhabi island, Discovery due on first spacewalk, and Islamist want Sharia as main source of law.  Sharia refers to the body of Islamic law.  In the Islamic state Sharia governs both public and private live of those living within the state. Sharia governs many aspects of day-to-day life: politics, economics, banking, business law, contract law, and social issues.  Mainstream Islam distinguishes between figh, which means 'understanding of details' and refers to the inferences drawn by scholars, and sharia, which refers to the principles that lie behind the fiqh. Scholars hope that fiqh and sharia are in harmony in any given case, but they cannot be sure.
Sharia has certain laws which are regarded as divinely ordained, concrete and timeless for all relevant situations (for example, the ban against drinking liquor as an intoxicant). It also has certain laws which are extracted based on principles established by Islamic lawyers and judges.
For traditional Sunni Muslims, the primary sources of Islamic law are the Qur'an, the Hadith, the unanimity of Muhammad's disciples on a certain issue, and Qiyas (drawing analogy from the essence of divine principles). Qiyas -various forms of reasoning, including by analogy — are used by the law scholars to deal with situations where the sources provided no concrete rules. The consensus of the community or people, public interest, and others were also accepted as secondary sources where the first four primary sources allow.  (check out Wikipedia for more information)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Why We Fight

Wow! I just watched a great movie titled "Why We Fight" directed by Eugene Jarecki. It is about the industrial-military complex and the need for an informed public. It starts with President Dwight Eisenhower's fare well speach in which he warned Americans about the dangers to our way of life from the industrial-military complex. The danger is from forces in our society which are moving us from a republic to an empire. After all the reason I am writing this blog from Kuwait is due to the global war on terrorism which brought so many of us to Iraq. We were lied to by our president when he used the invasion of Iraq as way to keep us safe from terrorism and in the end we now know that Iraq had nothing to due with the attacks on America of 9/11. You must go see the movie or get the DVD. Go to to see a clip of the movie.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sunday Just Another Day

Sunday is just another day in Kuwait, a work day for must although we take it off. Here Thursday and Friday are the official weekend, which we work.  So I don’t think July 4th is going to be like it is back home, it will just be another work day for us.  Today I went to Chili’s for lunch, it was good to have something that reminded me of home.  The Chili’s restaurant is right on the Persian Gulf, a beautiful view, we sat at a table next to the window and I could watch ships coast by on the horizon and people playing on the beach and swimming in the gulf waters.  The gulf is very blue clear water and of course it was a hot sunny day. I took lots of pictures on the drive over and on the drive back, will post some later if any turned out.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

National Election Results

Well the Kuwait National Assembly elections are over, women in Kuwait voted for the first time ever in a national election.  However not a single woman that ran for office won.  But this is progress for democracy in the region and progress for Kuwaiti women.  Big winners were Shiite, Conservative, Independents and Islamist, with a few liberals added to the mix.  All in all no big change for Kuwaiti politics, but some progress and forward movement.
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