Sunday, March 05, 2006

Mail: George Clooney and the Age of Anxiety

Several interesting – and some very strange – responses to this week’s column about George Clooney, Doomsday films, and our own Age of Anxiety:

Name: Walter
Hometown: Austin, TX
Clooney makes films that are relevant and mke people think and coomunicate. Get a clue Mr. Dickey.

I think you missed the point, Walter. Try reading the piece again. – C.D.

Name: Sharyn Ginsberg
Hometown: Danville, Ca.
What is the difference between fear-mongering by a red-baiter, Hollywood type or the present administration? This president/vice president base all of their actions on the fear of terrorism. Mc Carthy based his actions on the fear of communism. Why shouldn't George Clooney point this out? It is true and to me is more dangerous than the fear itself.

Name: Clikdawg
Really outdid yourself on the Clooney analysis, sir -- outstanding in every sense of the word.
Interestingly enough (?) -- while doomsday films educate and steel us to do what needs to be done -- the coup d'grace to any Age of Anxiety is always delivered by comedy. "Apocalypse Now" exposed the futility of the Vietnam conflict; "M*A*S*H" reduced it to absurdity, thereby making it psychologically possible to discontinue the thing -- just as "Strangelove" shamed through savage laughter world leaders who were seemingly unmoved, policy-wise, by "Fail Safe"; and Dan Ackroyd's famous Oval Office sketch on SNL (his Nixon chortling "We could do it ... [muffled howls from Haldeman and Erlichman] ... but it would be Wrong ... " for the benefit of the tape recorder, punctured the paranoia that "All the President's Men" actually deepened. Takes both angles: Define the Boogeyman, then pull down his pants. Dems
shoulda done it to Bush in 2004, but "9/11" wasn't followed by a comic gem so tart as to make supporting Shrub/Dick appear, not so much despicable or lunatic, but, well ... silly. Childish. Out of the question.
Until someone accomplishes that, Clooney labors in vain, contributing as much to the notion that You Can't Fight City Hall as he does to defining The Boogeyman.
A "one-two punch" is no good without the "two"!
Ciao for now,

Name: David Owens
Hometown: Daytona Beach, FL
I fear that the Bush "diplomacy" has inflamed the Muslim hatred of America in particular and western culture in general nearly to the point of an all-out, world-wide holy war. This is a dooms-day scenario that is as fearful a prospect as any of the past crises mentioned. The consequenses, given the fanatical and violent interpretation of Islam by many of it's followers, really is terrifying. I know I'm not alone in this fear.

Name: Greg S
Hometown: Beaverton, OR
regarding Dickey: Clooney's Doomsday Movie Message "In that summer of 2001, it's worth remembering, the United States and Europe felt secure, fat, maybe a little bored, and few could imagine the threats on the horizon. President George W. Bush, then on his way to vacation in Texas, was not alone in that." George may have not been alone in his ambivalence to the obvious danger, but that just means he was/is unfit... not that the warning signs weren't there or long years of misguided policy weren't about to have repercussions. I'm glad George Clooney is makinf some movies that are worth thinking about and not as dumbed down as current policy and media coverage of that policy.

Name: Lynn
Hometown: NY NY
Isn't there a theory that artists are tapped into the zeitgeist(60's word, I believe)and often prescient when it comes to seeing the future? So, yes, obviously Clooney is influenced by his father, but for a liberals, the vague feeling of unease that crescendoed in 2001 really began in the mid 90's when the Republicans took over the House. It was then stoked by the endless nuisance investigations of Clinton, which cost millions of tax dollars and wasted of millions of man hours that could have been devoted to actual goverance by people in all three branches. Of course, back then there were actually three branches. And the millions of tax dollars were chicken feed compared to the pillaging that's gone on since election 2,000, which is when this liberal began her 19th nervous breakdown. I simply could not believe that a heist, enabled by the Supreme
Court, could have taken place in full view of the country and those who protested was told to "get over it" as if we were whining about our parent's divorce or a hangnail and not what turned out to be a military coup perpetrated by the lunatic fringe of the Republican party. By now even the old school Republicans who enabled the hijacking of the Presidency, like Baker and Scrowcraft, are appalled. Of course, 9/11, which I witnessed up close, took things to a whole new level of fear, anxiety and depression. But the day after, the rest of the world was on our side. I'll never forget sitting in the wretched air seeping into my apartment watching the services held around the globe and how moving it was. Compare that to our standing
in the world today. All of this to say, Clooney may have one foot in the past, but his sensibility is actually extremely contemporary.

Name: robert lewis
Hometown: independence. missoui
Clooney makes thoughtful films with stories that make the viewer think. Any antidote to the superstition-ridden, anti-science crowd now running Washington is a service to the Republic.

Name: James
Hometown: Dickinson
three times the USA. has needed a real man at the helm, and each time GOD has allowed one to be found. But it is not eveident, at the time, only afterward was their greatness known.The socialists are alive and well and their goals have not changed. We have found the enemy and it is us. Not G.W. Bush, but the left leaning, atheistic,godless journalists, and educaters, in this country. They hate anyone or anything that is good. They want a GODless and CHRISTless socity and they are soon to get their wish watch this date 06/06/06

More to come ...

Dubai: Mail Call

The mail keeps coming on the Dubai Ports deal:

March 3, 2006 - In his Feb. 24 Web-exclusive opinion column, “What Price Xenophobia?” Shadowland columnist Christopher Dickey looks at Dubai’s role in the war on terror amid uproar over the controversial port deal. “Clearly a lot of the [port deal] criticism has been xenophobic," Dickey writes. But Dubai has been “extremely useful to intelligence services that want to keep an eye on the people moving through it ... And in the fight against Al Qaeda, Dubai’s cooperation has been quiet but considerable.” Many readers questioned the need to outsource port management in the first place. Thelma, who did not give her hometown, asks, “Why is it not possible for an American company to manage the ports? It seems to me and many others that we should not be having foreign governments do the job.”

Cheryl from Elizabethtown, Ky., writes that whether or not “Dubai may be a fine and wonderful ally … the government should not be outsourcing American jobs.”“The security responsibility of these ports is ours,” writes Doug from Boston. “What is interesting is that the deal was so secret that Bush didn't know about it. Once again the hypersecret White House shoots itself in the foot.”

But Clifton from Detroit, disagrees. “The [United Arab Emirates] has been a good partner for the United States and Europe … it has been a commercial trading center for quite some time and is a very sophisticated one at this stage of its development, it is inclusive, employing many expats from numerous countries in its companies, including its world-class airline. We need more relationships like this, not less, if we are to see our way through this morass of hatred against legitimate U.S.-Western commercial interests.”

“If they have accountability then what is the problem?” asks J. from San Antonio, Texas. “Are we afraid of this company solely because it is based in the Middle East? If they have the resume, let them do the job!”“This is one of the few Middle Eastern countries that seems to be on our side, and we should try to keep that relationship strong,” writes Joe from Walla Walla, Wash. “Maybe if we make nice with people in the region not everyone and their brother will want to kill us.”

But Mike from Boulder, Colo., expressed reservations. “Comparing Britain to [the United Arab Emirates] is simply off the map,” he writes. “Our president [has a] clear lack of being in touch with the sentiments of the people he is supposed to be serving. Americans are overwhelmingly skeptical of this idea and justifiably so.”

Gary, from Buena Vista, Pa.
, challenged Dickey’s praise of a Dubai, calling it “one of the least democratic countries and societies on earth. Why should Americans bolster and support a government like that?”“I didn't know the Brits were in charge of the ports before, and so my initial reaction was not based on it being ‘Arabs,’ but rather, on a general feeling of discomfiture in having the security of our ports out of our immediate control,” writes Mark from Oakland, Calif. “That said, there is less chance of the British government turning on us or being overthrown by radicals, but it is still best to control our own security vs. outsourcing it.”

M.W. from Ft. Myers, Fla., writes that “we would be 'fools' to block this deal.” He cites two reasons: “First,” he says, “we need [Dubai] for a number of reasons--a staging point in the Middle East with air facilities, ports for military ships, etc. Second, we need to ensure that we have good friends in the Middle East to support our policies. We need to be very careful about the 'unintended consequences' we could suffer if we block this deal.”

Friday, March 03, 2006

Bush: Clear as a Bomb

The most obvious question asked of President Bush at his press conference with Prime Minister Singh yesterday was whether the United States is rewarding a nuclear proliferator by signing its agreement with India. Hmmm. Wouldn't you have thought he'd have talking points? Couldn't he remember them? In any case, this was the response, as published on the White House Web site:

QUESTION: Mr. President ... what kind of message, sir, does it send to the world that India, which ... has not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty -- is this a reward for bad behavior, as some critics suggest? And what kind of message does it send to other countries that are in the process of developing nuclear technology? Why should they sign the NPT if India is getting a deal without doing so, sir?

PRESIDENT BUSH: What this agreement says is things change, times change, that leadership can make a difference, and telling the world -- sending the world a different message from that which is -- what used to exist in people's minds.
I -- listen, I've always said this was going to be a difficult deal for the Prime Minister to sell to his parliament, but he showed great courage and leadership. And it's difficult for the American President to sell to our Congress, because some people just don't want to change and change with the times. I understand that. But this agreement is in our interests, and therefore, Jim, I'm confident we can sell this to our Congress as in the interest of the United States, and at the same time make it clear that there's a way forward for other nations to participate in a -- in civilian nuclear power in such a way as to address nonproliferation concerns.
India has charted a way forward. You heard the Prime Minister talk about going to the IAEA. That group exists to help safeguard -- safeguard the world from proliferation.
Listen, I proposed reprocessing agreements -- that stands in stark contrast to current nuclear theology that we shouldn't reprocess for proliferation concerns. I don't see how you can advocate nuclear power, in order to take the pressure off of our own economy, for example, without advocating technological development of reprocessing, because reprocessing will not only -- reprocessing is going to help with the environmental concerns with nuclear power. It will make there -- to put it bluntly, there will be less material to dispose.
And so I'm trying to think differently, not to stay stuck in the past, and recognize that by thinking differently, particularly on nuclear power, we can achieve some important objectives, one of which is less reliance on fossil fuels; second is to work with our partners to help both our economies grow; and thirdly is to be strong on dealing with the proliferation issues.
Well, Mr. Prime Minister, it's been a joy.


For those of you trying to make sense of the multifaceted madness of nuclear proliferation, there's no better site than Among its recent posts, the full text of the IAEA report on Iranian cooperation -- not: Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran.