March 13, 2003

I never quite "got" Deepak Chopra, but I hear he's some kind of spiritual money machine. He's got big plans for fixing things in the Mideast, though.

When I was looking at his 10 suggestions (which are supposedly being published in Europe this week), I got the funny feeling that many of them were already underway.

If you step out of the war mentality, there are not just a few creative ways to avoid an invasion of Iraq. There are dozens. If every person who doesn't want war sent in his or her suggestion about a better answer, tens of thousands of replies would flood in. Of these I'm sure that five or six would be completely workable. Let me mention ten to begin with:

Jean Chretien seems to have taken the first point to heart, congratulating Bush on having "won" already:

1. Congratulate President Bush on already succeeding. The presence of U.S. troops around Iraq has called Saddam's bluff. Disarmament has begun. If pressure is kept on with U.S. military presence, in the region, without dropping bombs, further progress will inevitably occur.


Hey isn't Winnie Mandela trying for Number 2:

2. Assign prominent figures of peace to be present in Iraq constantly, along with the U.N. inspectors. Have these revered figures address the Iraqi people and the world every day on the value of peace.


I think there are about 250,000 well-wishers about to do this one, including members of the 101st Airborne:

3. Ask 100,000 well-wishers from around the globe to bring food and aid to Iraq's children. These people would carry humane relief in person to Baghdad.


See item 3. And they're all volunteers:

4. Start a global Peace Corps of volunteers who will go to Iraq with the express purpose of fulfilling any humanitarian need asked for by that country.


Hmmm. What about a free TV? Anyway, I figure this is precisely what the people of Iraq most hope for:

5. Offer MTV, CNN, and Nickelodeon free to any Iraq household with a TV. Exposure to the world will make them feel like part of the world.


Aren't these called refugees?:

6. Sponsor 25,000 student exchanges for Iraqi high schoolers so that they can live for a year in Europe or the U.S.


I don't know. This seems like someone's idea of hell on earth. Maybe we merge this with number 2 and just have Ramsey Clark reporting on Iraqi TV every day. That would bring the country to its knees:

7. Keep a tenfold number of U.N. weapons inspectors on the ground in Iraq and have them report every two weeks.


Well, I suspect that this is already well underway, except for the "pros" and the "nationalism" part. American nationalism bad! Other nationalism good!

8. Teach courses in all American schools on the pros and cons of globalization, as opposed to instilling the false belief that nationalism is going to continue to work (war being a logical and horrendous extension of nationalism).


Like UC Berkeley:

9. Withdraw the resented presence of U.S. troops from those regions where seeing an American army uniform inflames simmering hatred.

Hey, wait a minute! How do we do point 9 and point 1 at the same time. Oh, I get it, naked soldiers. How new age!


Free air at a place where fun and joy abide. Sounds like downtown Baghdad in about 6 weeks:

10. Open Disney World somewhere in the Middle East., a region where up to half the population is under the age of 15. These children are in enormous peril, not just from bombs but from cultural isolation. Let children breathe free air at a place where fun and joy abide. What better way to reduce fear and anger? At the same time, find a way to expose American children to the children of the world.

(Thanks to James Taranto for the tip)

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Alma Mater Note

On Monday, March 10, 2003, Dr Heather Munroe-Blum was installed as McGill University's 16th Principal and 12th Vice-Chancellor. Dr Munroe-Blum is the first woman to hold this position at the University.

The ceremony took place in historic Redpath Hall, situated on McGill's downtown campus.


For more information, see: Historic event celebrates McGill's past and future.

I am particularly pleased that The Right Honourable Lord Sutherland of Houndwood, Former Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh was attending and speaking. "Houndwood" — sounds like a noisy place.

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