Blogs are a familiar feature on the internet - where users post content in an accumulating manner, with comments, and search options, etc. They facilitate expression and exploration, and via attached comments, also debate and synthesis.
Reading and Navigating Blogs
Our blogs are quite powerful. Each writer can post, as is typically the case. Sustainers who have the option can also post, however. All Blogs appear in the blog system, and sometimes also in content boxes the top page of ZNet - and always via the left menu of the top page - and can be found via searches, etc.
Commenting on blogs follows the blogs, attached at the bottom, and blog comments, like all others, are also visible in many places that show comments including in the forum system. In addition, the entire blog system gathers content for everyone - but one can look at the accumulating content in many ways.
For example one can look at one writer's efforts - so one is seeing what is effectively a blog system for that one writer, or Sustainer.
One can also look at the content by topic, seeing blogs that are tagged as being about a certain topic - or place, as well. Thus, when doing that, it is a blog system about a topic, or a place, with many contributors.
One can look at only writer blogs, or only sustainer blogs, as well.
One can look at blogs for particular Groups, too.
All this is easily done using the left menu. Searches allow even more variables and refinements.
Creating Blog Posts
If you are a Sustainer with permission, and are logged in, you will see a link in the left menu for you to post a blog - and you can use that to post one, and then tag it various ways (such as with a topic or place, or a group tag), and once you do, it is in the system with you as the author.
You can also use the console button to the left to post a blog - anytime and from anywhere in the site, as long as you are logged in.
Meanwhile, enjoy the blogs - and, by the way, if you are a Free Member or a Sustainer with a ZSpace page, of course you can put one or more content boxes on it, pulling blog links of any sort you may want to filter for, for example, by you or by your friends or by others - and by topic, about places, for groups, etc.
The occupation of Iraq has been an astonishing failure. It should have been one of the easiest in history. The more serious correspondents there are well aware of that.
Patrick Cockburn recently wrote that "It has been one of the most extraordinary failures in history." He's quite right. Why?
The best explanation I've heard was given by a high-ranking official of one of the leading NGOs, who's had plenty of experience in some of the worst places in the world (can't identify him). I spoke to him on his (brief) return from several extremely frustrating months in Baghdad trying to get hospitals up and running. He said he had never seen such a combination of "arrogance, ignorance, and incompetence" -- referring not to the military, but to the civilians in charge: Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Cheney.. -- a weird collection of fanatics.
The occupying army has succeeded in doing pretty much what the same people did in the international arena: they quickly turned the US into the most feared and often hated country in the world. In Iraq, they've succeed in turning the population overwhelmingly against them. The latest in-depth poll (Gallup-CNN) a couple of days ago found that among Iraqi Arabs (the great majority; Kurds have their own aspirations), the proportion of those who regard the US as an "occupying" rather than "liberating force is well over 10 to 1. That's probably higher than one would have found in France or Norway under German occupation.
In Fallujah, the US forces had worked themselves into a dilemma: either withdraw, or conquer the city (which they could surely do) and turn a disaster into a catastrophe in Fallujah itself, with awesome repercussions elsewhere.
The local Marine commander apparently made a decision on his own to get out of it by allowing a former general of Saddam's Republican Guards to take over -- which is what Iraqis want. For a long time now, polls have indicated that a very large majority want Iraqis to be responsible for security, and everything else too in fact, and that trust in the occupying forces (military and civilian) and the "governing council" they appointed is extremely low; single digits (trust in the Pentagon civilian's favorite, Ahmed Chalabi, was literally undetectable in the major poll).
The propaganda story here is that the Iraqi forces may not be able to "maintain security" -- which means, ensure that elements that support the occupation remain in charge. But that's hardly the way Iraqis see it. From their point of view, it appears, the greatest threat to security is the occupiers.
As for what would happen if Iraqis have a chance to run their own country, I don't know, nor does anyone else. And while we can have our subjective opinions about it, the responsibility of an occupying army is to get out as quickly and expeditiously as possible, in accord with the will of the population, and to turn over full sovereignty to them, also compensating them for the damages caused them -- in our case, going back 25 years, joined by others who should also be paying reparations to Iraq: not "forgiving debts," the current debate, but paying reparations.