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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Bicycling against oil war insanity

Image of bicycle with bicycling against oil wars plastic plateToday, President George W. Bush appears set to announce the insane escalation of the failed oil war in Iraq. It might be useful to recall that bike commuting--in addition to being fun, healthy, efficient, money saving, and eco-friendly--can, for some of us at least, also be a political statement.

Imagine how many bike lanes, bike paths, bicycling education programs, bike stations, or multimodal transit improvements that might have been created with the money spent on the killing in Iraq.

I've had this "Bicycling Against Oil Wars" license plate on my commuting bike for almost four years. I obtained this sign from my friend Chris Carlsson, who created it with a group of his friends in San Francisco. Carlsson is notable as one of the founders of Critical Mass, as well as an historian and theorist of the mass bicycling event.

This "surge" will only prolong the killing. Let's stop the insanity.

Visit: Purchase "Bicycling Against Oil Wars" Plate
Visit: International ANSWER
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site


Yokota Fritz said...

The headline in the Chronicle was so misleading. Bush too admit mistakes -- which sounds good on the surface, but then we read this his
mistake was to not commit more ground troops *sigh*.

Rubenest said...

Hey, where can i get one sticker like that one?

Cheng said...

Hey, Paul! I too love to commute to work on my bike. But I wouldn't be caught dead trying to make some kind of grand political statment with my bicycle.
But since you have made such a statement, are you ready to now admit you were wrong, and that the surge strategy in Iraq didn't "prolong the killing" but has instead turned the fratricidal trend around among Iraqui arabs?
And...if the war in Iraq was all about oil, how come oil prices continue to rise on limited supply and skyrocketing demand?
Hope you'll be intellectually honest enough to admit you were wrong.
Keep pedaling dude. See you out there.

Paul Dorn said...

@ Cheng:

Thanks for your message. Did the surge work? Well, someone once asked Zhou Enlai if he thought the French Revolution was a positive development. His response: "It's too soon to tell."

Yes, violence is down--slightly--in Iraq this year (it remains a very violent place from what I can tell.) And that moderation in violence is apparently due to a number of factors: sectarian cleansing of neighborhoods (self-segregation), power shifts in Sunni leadership, consolidation of power by Shiites, Iranian influence, strengthening of local militias, etc.

As more sober analysts (Juan Cole, Patrick Cockburn, etc.) suggest: It's too soon too tell if the surge has "worked." In any event, it's a modest tactical fix for a major strategic blunder. I continue to believe the war, better, invasion was wrong, immoral, excessively costly (money, lives) and unnecessary. And so does most of the country and most of the world.

I believe historians will look at this strategic blunder as the turning point in the unhappy demise of the American empire. (And, no, the "Iraq War" was not just or all about oil, but about Great Power imperial power maneuvers.)

So, no, not ready to say I was "wrong." I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree. But thanks for asking! Happy bicycle commuting!

Rob said...

I just picked up my "Bicycling against Oil Wars" plate and attached to my mountain bike here in NY. Now what?