18 March, 2011

Mission: "Send the Marines back to Tripoli to put a bullet in Qaddaffi's head, then come home"

So we're invading Libya now. Or something. The UN and the French have given their instructions, and at some point Obama may follow up with Congressional authorization or something. Obama says there won't be ground troops, but if any pilot gets shot down, it's going to suck to be them if there's no boots on the ground. Wait, are we providing the pilots? What are we doing? What's the mission?

I really wish I could shake the feeling that he's been sitting idly for two weeks ("Qaddaffi must go", 3 March) hoping things would work out in his favor, and when it was clear they weren't going to unless he took action, asked himself what the guy before him would have done. The guy who had the most experience what what Obama himself is undergoing. He started a war in the region and got away with it. And this has France and the UN's approval (minus a few abstentions on the Security Council), so he can feel smug about getting permission first.

As I say, I'd like to shake that feeling. Maybe this is right on schedule with the overall war. Maybe this is thrown-together slop that will never come to anything because the C-in-C is over his head and has never lead anything like this. People around him will make a show of carrying out his orders and he'll give interviews (or not) and nothing will ever get done. The queen is surrounded by too many other pieces, and is effectively removed from the gameplay for the moment.

I have no idea if contributing anything to the removal of Qaddaffi and "owning" any part of Libya is a good idea or not (although France doesn't seem to mind; perhaps they're the ones feeling the "Bush envy" now). The abject failure to close Gitmo has demonstrated Obama is fully (if unwillingly) on board with the War on Terror as his predecessor set it up. As long as it supports that mission better than any of the alternatives, fine.

More hell is breaking loose. Saudi Arabia has ignored its relationship with the United States to send its forces into Bahrain, whose government had already fired upon protestors. Saudi Arabia is currently being targeted by Iran, which I didn't see coming. Is this just an attempt to bring chaos to the region, to stir up Shi'ite vs. Sunni, revolution and religion vs. monarchy, Persian versus Arab? Or is it about who controls Mecca?

Domestically, the Democrats are leaderless right now. Republicans are still trying to figure out what to do or how to do it, and they'll be blamed for the result. There was a story recently that Hillary was fed up with Obama's dithering. I can believe it. That's why I'm dubious about Obama's decision to go to war as part of a master plan, much as I'd like to believe it is.

Not sure what else to say. Haven't been doing much other than my job. The third draft crawls along, maybe a quarter of the way finished. I surprised myself and drew a couple of quick comics in a notebook. Nothing brilliant, but it's always a pleasure to have a comic finshed. In comics, I seem to be incapable of doing anything other than superheroes. Which is strange, because most of the basic elements of the genre are uninteresting to me as a writer, and to various extents as a reader.

I don't care about flashy costumes or fight scenes, and although I enjoy reading a good secret identity/love triangle gimmick, I only write one when I have a good idea for it. I do love the continuity aspect, but that's not really exceptional considering my similar fascination with history, rock stars, politics, etc. So although I certainly do non-superhero comic stories and strips, they're mostly one-offs and are mentally thrown on the pile with the rest - as large a pile as I can make it - and I go back to the superhero stories I enjoy doing. My art and lettering will never be professional and it's unlikely I'll ever rise to the level of competent amateur.

In (hopefully) the best sense of comic book continuity, I'm not even referencing the old stuff, so only what I can remember gets reused. Two 4-pagers in a notebook aren't much, but it's two more than I had when I joined years ago. Last deployment, I drew an 8-pager and a sorta-sequel 24-page story (22 pages?) Those were fun to do. I also did two non-superhero 60 (72?) panel strips in Microsoft Paint.

I really have no idea what else to say at the moment. Qaddaffi is making his bid for caliph. It's utterly insane, but so is he, and after four decades of power, he might be right that the alternative to him is chaos. Public unions are getting desperate in the mid-North.

Here's some outtakes from MASH.

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