Saturday, February 01, 2003

Not so sad
I felt as shocked as anyone else when I heard about the Columbia tragedy. The name will now be ranked with Challenger when we talk of American bravery and accomplishment. But it struck me that the astronauts were all doing exactly what they wanted to do, they had been in space and conducted a lot of experiments. And their lives were in a real sense fulfilled. So what they did was not a sacrifice, but a dedication. It's comparable to those of us who commute to work dying in a car accident. Or, say your company sent you overseas for a mission that tested all of your skills, broadened your experience and heightened your love for your work. And it had worked wonderfully, you had brought back the big contract or made the big scientific discovery or signed the big star and you had had a good time. If you died in an airplane crash on the way back, would that really be so bad? I know it's banal to say it could happen to anyone, but it could. The difference is, especially now that we've had two serious, major catastrophic failures in space, that the element of danger is much closer than anyone had thought for at least the last ten years. So the risk from now on will be considered to be at a much higher level. But the program will go on, with a new sense of commitment. And each time a shuttle, or whatever other craft we come up with, touches down on that runway after screaming in all the way from space, we will all breathe a big sigh of relief and thanks.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

No Blood for Cocoa!
The International Herald Tribune has the oh-so-sad story of the French coming a-cropper in the Ivory Coast. (via Instapundit) And good old Glenn also links to a Reuters story about the peace accord, signed to so much acclaim at Marcoussis, falling apart. Hmm, what is that on those signs? "Chirac - murderer, criminal, terrorist?" They must mean Bush. And, gee, who would have thought the agreement would have been drawn up so totally incompetently, when the UN, in the person of Kofi Annan himself, was present at the signing and blessed the whole thing? Since it was the French, of course, they didn't have to go through that messy and inconvenient business of convening the Security Council and voting for a resolution and forming a coalition. And, not-oddly enough, neither IHT or Reuters mention the THIRTY DEATHS of Ivorians - black Africans - at the hands of French soldiers reported here on Conundrum a couple of weeks ago. Those darn Africans, they are so ungrateful for all the blood and treasure France has dedicated to their welfare for so many years. Just like the Algerians, Senegalese, good old Emperor Bokassa in Congo-Brazzaville, those lovely boys in Chad, the pious Algerian killers, the Malagasys and all the other wonderful successes French policy has had in Africa. What can you expect from Africans, after all? A people who don't see "la gloire" in remaining part of France can hardly be expected to act in a civilized fashion. Eh, bien, vee vill just haf to go criticize zee cowboy Americaines!
Frogs go home! Save us, U.S.A!
Why do I feel these protesters in the Ivory Coast are going to be disappointed? But why do we even have a State Department if it can't stand up to the French when they've been colonialistically oppressing black Africans for weeks now and are turning around and trying to force their former puppet government to accept an agreement that will not do anything to stop the civil war? Maybe the French habit of surrendering is so ingrained they are forcing it on their former colonial client states. Oh, and did I mention the French sent troops? Without asking the UN? And killed thirty Ivorians? And now are telling their puppets to surrender! It's a tour de force!