U.S. Aircraft Carrier to Head to Gulf

I get a strange set of irony in hearing the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier is being ordered to the Persian Gulf due to the rise of the ISIS terrorist group and it’s drive to topple the Iraqi government in Baghdad. This is especially so given the virulence of some pro-Obama anti-war towards the members of the Bush clan (admittedly their mindless ravings mostly aimed at the junior George W. rather than the senior George H.W.).

Perhaps more ironic is Iran, whose nation’s government despises everything that is the United States, has indicated that it is willing to work with the U.S. to combat ISIS.

But on a more serious note, it is concerning to see a regional war potentially cropping up in the region. A regional war that will not have clearly defined borders, opponents, or even objectives:

  • The Peshmerga (Kurdish forces) are reportedly solidifying their hold over the Kurdish region of Iraq as the Iraqi’s military and security forces pull out in the face of the ISIS assault and potential grab for Baghdad. I suspect given these events the Kurds are going to be even more emboldened to maintain or even expand their autonomy and military capabilities from external forces such as ISIS, Iran, Syria and Turkey.
  • Iran’s sudden involvement is not that surprising given they’re a Shia country where as ISIS is a Sunni based group. Other than not wanting the rise of a Sunni run government in Iraq I doubt the Iranian government cares much about their neighbors in anything other than in terms of controlling them for Iran’s benefit.
  • Iraq. I can’t say I’m surprised at the sudden rise of Sunni and ISIS over the discrimination Sunni’s have faced since the fall of Hussein. (Note that I am not too sympathetic to the Sunni’s given their own shoddy treatment of Shia’s and other non-Sunni’s during the Baath Party’s reign.) Ultimately this is a culmination of the hatred Iraqi Sunni and Shia have for one another for centuries, a hatred stoked by more recent decades of abuses aimed at one another. ISIS (a Wahhabi based group) feeds off of this with the idea that they will be victorious; beginning the first leg of their plan to create a new (allegedly sunni) caliphate in the region.
  • Syria. There’s not much really to say other than what’s happening there is a result of decades of the Assad’s and the Baath Party’s manipulation of the region and it’s people. ISIS has been successful in much of its campaign in Syria giving them a strong base from which to launch further attacks deeper into Syria and Iraq.

 

News commentary

Robotic Suit Helps Paraplegics Walk Personally, I think this is fantastic invention. I know my paraplegic friend was very interested in the ReWalk suit when I showed him the article. And the estimated price tag, US$20,000, really isn’t that bad when you think about it.

Iraq Says US Wanted Presence Until 2015 So if the agreement (assuming this is part of the final agreement) is accepted on both sides and all goes reasonably well, the U.S. will withdraw in 2011. Sounds reasonable to me without being needlessly reckless.

US, Russia anchor military ships in Georgian ports And the tension and Russian occupation continues. As noted in the article there was a very thinly veiled threat now against Moldova using the same nationalist notion of “protecting Russians”. Sounds way to much like Hitler and his supposed desire to unite the Germanic peoples. Remember how that conflagration ended?

Computer Virus Found on Space Station – Switched Somehow I can’t stop myself from laughing at the absurdity of this. I guess I just expect better security on such important computers and software systems. As an engineer I find it disturbing given the previous attempt by a disgruntled worker to sabotage equipment intended for the ISS.

Woman With Last Name of ‘Yoda’ Barred From Facebook – Switched How stupid. Ignorant people making ignorant decisions. But then I avoid social networking sites for exactly that reason.

T-shirt gets Van Nuys woman kicked out of federal building – LA Daily News This it what happens when small people get a little perceived power and think “Big Brother” will cover their actions. Fortunately even DHS recognized this guard was a fascist asshole and made it clear the guys was out of line. I hope Paragon Security Company loses its DHS contract as well as is penalized for its discrimination against a US citizen over such a stupid thing.

Dead Sea Scrolls to go digital on Internet | Science | Reuters Excellent.

Union prepares proposal for Boeing as strike looms | U.S. | Reuters Not good news if negotiations fail. And both sides seem a bit hot under the collar at the moment. Both sides really need to come to an equitable agreement before any disagreements damage both sides, though Boeing has far more to lose than the IAM.

News Commentary

Name on government watch list threatens pilot’s career – CNN.com
And it is things like this that make me appreciate the ACLU, even if I am annoyed with them much of the rest of the time over their activities. If nothing else, they provide some sort of safety net to counter government indifference and occasional institutionalized discrimination, in this case: Muslims. Yes mistakes happen but they seem to be happening with alarming regularity, suspect reasoning, and with continued arrogance and callousness on the part of government officials at TSA. But the fact remains there appears to be an unusually high number of people being harassed and delayed in their travels based on their religion, ethnicity, and political leanings (e.g. party affiliation).

Iraq troop deal could affect U.S. presidential race | Politics | Reuters Interesting. I doubt really either candidate would get much mileage out of this agreement since McCain could argue it came about because of his stay with it policy and Obama could argue it showed he was right about disengagement.

Russia: We’ve completed pullback – CNN.com Uh huh. Right. Sure. The Russians are now occupiers not peacekeepers, especially given reports like this: Russia moves SS-21 missiles into Georgia: US defense official

Interesting space news:

Forecast International Projects 50 Billion Dollar ELV Market

Oceaneering Will Resubmit Constellation Space Suit Proposal

NASA to use shock-absorbers to fix shaking in new Ares rocket