May. 2nd, 2011

Now what?

May. 2nd, 2011 03:33 pm
jmc_bks: (Forward momentum)
I didn't have the television on last night, so I didn't see the President's speech.  Instead, I learned about the death of OBL via twitter.  

My first reaction:  is that a joke?  If so, it's not funny.

Because, frankly, after nearly 10 years, I assumed that he was never going to be caught, but would instead remain in Pakistan for the rest of his life, while America pumped trillions of dollars and thousands of lives into the mire that is Afghani and Packistani unrest.  (Oh, wait...)

My second reaction:  I hope this brings some sort of closure to people who lost loved ones on 9/11, and it's a powerful political symbol. So now what? 
 
I don't mean that in a flippant way.  I mean: what comes next?  OBL was the ostensible reason for our invasion of Afghanistan, which has no end in sight. (2014? I doubt it.)  It was the spring board for the shrub to invade Iraq; the WMD blather would never have been sold if we hadn't already had a massive build up of troops and equipment in the region.  It has made our relationship with nuclear-armed Pakistan much more fraught.  OBL is dead...but the US military is (presumably) not going to be pulling out of Afghanistan or Iraq now.  So what next?
 
Other thoughts on the subject:  
 
+ The burial at sea is bound to anger many Muslims, and give conspiracy theorists the opportunity to speculate that he is not dead and this was all just a political maneuver to bump Obama up in the polls.
 
+ I've read that OBL was given the opportunity to surrender but refused to do so; am very curious what would have happened if he had done so.  Would he have made it to trial?  Would the special ops group have made it out of the region with him?  Was he even triable -- meaning, what was the source of the evidence against him, how was it obtained and would it have been admissible?
 
+ All the reports I've read indicate that OBL's compound was located an hour outside of Islamabad, in close proximity to a significant military training center.  Not hiding in the mountainous border region, in a remote area in which it is easy to get lost.  In an urban/suburban neighborhood of what is essentially a garrison town.  Maybe I'm wearing a tinfoil hat, but the idea that ISI didn't know he was there seems questionable.
 
jmc_bks: (Stack o' books)
Okay, this is the reading for the month:

1.  Promises by Marie Sexton.  I wrote about it briefly here.  And good thing, since I'd already forgotten about it.  Which could be good or bad, depending on your perspective.  Nothing terrible about it but also not a book that made me hunt down the author's backlist or want to squee all over the internet about it.  B-/C+

2.  Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.  YA, GLBT fiction.  This book was mentioned in the comments of Sunita's post on the lack of GLBT books among the RT awards.  The premise of the book is that there are two Will Graysons living in the suburbs of Chicago, and their lives collide one evening.  The two of them narrate the book in alternating chapters.  I did not love Levithan's Will Grayson.  In addition to coming across like an emo cliche, his chapters were written without upper case letters, which I found profoundly irritating.  (I blame ee cummings for writing like that.)  Green's Will Grayson was more accessible to me as a character, in part because of the writing, which suited my tastes better, and in part because his Will seemed like less of a cliche to me.  Am interested in checking out more of Green's backlist.  B/B-
 
3.  Shady Lady by Ann Aguirre.  Urban fantasy, third book of the series. Enjoyed it as I read. Feels a little Anita Blakish - everyone loves/wants her. Increasing power is disconcerting. Power was also weakness earlier, but now not so much. Ending predictable (foresaw when spell was cast). At the end, Corinne seemed a little adrift to me, and she grasped at Chance like driftwood. B
 
4.  Doubleblind by Heidi Cullinan.  Gay romance. Like the writing style, like the story type. Needed much better editing in terms of pacing. Extremely slow beginning plus boring exposition about gambling was off-putting. Only recs from two trusted readers kept me reading. B-/C+
 
5.  Simply Perfect by Mary Balogh.  European historical.  Mentioned here.  C
 
6.  A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh. European historical.  Mentioned here. C-
 
7.  Mahu Surfer by Neil Plakcy.  Gay mystery.  B
 
8.  Mahu Fire by Neil Plakcy.  Gay mystery.  B  
 
The Mahu books are set on O'ahu, narrated by Kimo Kanapa'aka, a police detective who was forced out of the closet in the first book of the series...which I have not read.  The other books of the series are Mahu (first book), Mahu Vice (first book I read), Mahu Blood (recent), and Mahu Men (a series of short stories, some featuring Kimo).  The early books were published by Alyson Press; the ebooks appear to have been published by MLR Press.  Although I've sampled them for Kindle, I haven't bought them because of wonky formatting:  the treatment of the backward apostrophe and other pronunciation markers is a mess.  Words like tktk appear instead of tutu (with bars over the u for emphasis).  So I'm waiting for hard copies to become available at the library or via PBS.
 
9.  Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts.  Romantic suspense.  This is going to sound derogatory and I don't mean it to: I got exactly what I expected with this book. It was a pleasant read. Liked the characters and setting. Typical Roberts. Didn't feel really intrigued by the suspense, which was predictable, but still enjoyed the story.  B

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