Friday, December 30, 2005

Dave Barry's review of 2005

Since Dave Barry quit writing his column, I was afraid that we would never have another one of his annual reviews. Fear not, and for those of you whose paper does not carry it, the review is now open for review.

Angry Chihuahuas Attack Officer

Okay, this isn't really that important, but I loved the headline.

Maybe 2005 wasn't so bad after all.

In the link above, the writer points out a lot of what I had forgotten. Being a victim, I mean user of the Main Stream Media, I was really starting to get depressed. It took someone writing in a paper in the Middle East to remind me that things are really going pretty well.
Read and enjoy.

Bush and FISA

Matt still thinks that Bush broke the law by allowing NSA intercepts from outside of the US by those suspected of Al Qaida ties with someone in our country. I must admit, that I was puzzled by the lack of use of FISA to get warrants when they could be applied for retroactively. Because my job involves thinking about what else it could be, I assumed it had something to do with the fact that we are at war, and that Bush like most of the presidents before him, was looking to preserve the perogatives of his office.
I think that Bush suffers from the same problem that I have though in making his defense. I forget that what I know, may not be known to everyone. I tend to gloss over some things because I assume that everyone knows it, so no sense wasting time remaking the argument.
Now it seems, I have finally found out why he bypassed FISA. Apparently, if you got a FISA court warrant, it was limited to that side of the conversation that was outside of the country. Leaving you with only one side of the conversation. In fact, the NSA would not release the US side of the conversation even with a warrant.

A sample interecept might have looked like this:

Mohammed? It's me Osama, how's it going?

. . . .

Great, and the wives and kids?

. . . .

Yeah, I know, but what can you do? I've got that niece who is posing nude just to incite the Infidels, and I should have her executed, but I must be getting soft in my old age, that and sitting in this cave makes me remember her creamy skin, her. . . . Oops, sorry, got distracted.
Anyway, the reason that I am calling is, did you get the nukes we bought from Russia?

. . . .

Oh great. So where are you going to use them?

. . . .

Good plan. Now when are you going to set them off?

. . . .

Wow, that will be cool. How are you going to get them into place?

. . . .

That's brilliant. Well, it seems as though you have everything under control. Let me know if you need anything else. Bye, and best to your wives.

Now, a good analyst could tease out quite a bit of information. However, if you had both sides of the conversation, it would take even less time and be more accurate.
This explanation makes more sense than anything else that I have heard.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Bush and spying

When the story first broke that Bush had authorized intercepts without the use of a warrant, I was really quite surprised. But his assertion that it was legal made me want to sit back for a little while to find out what the basis of his assertion was. So far, Bush has not adequately done so, but as shown in the link above, it has been done by several former members of the Clinton administration. Kudos to them for being intellectually honest enough to admit it, since they could have sat quietly by while the political maelstorm brings down the President.
Matt at Left inthe West is saying that the violations must result in impeachment. But Wulfgar is in really high dudgeon about the betrayal of this President. His outrage reminds me of the movie Casablanca, with the famous line: "Messieur Rick, I am shock-ed, shock-ed to discover that there is gambling going on here." Whereupon, a minion brings out his winnings, and the good French Captain profusely expreses his thanks. Wulfgar seems shock-ed that Bush has betrayed his investment of trust. Yeah right.
But the best line is in his comments, where someone says that they would rather have 1000 9-11s rather than have a violation of their civil liberties. While I am sure that this is hyperbole, I am also sure that the writer is not counting himself among the 3 million casualties that would occur in order for him to have an illicit Internet affair without government observation of his activities.
Matt also seems to be making a lame attempt to exonerate Pelosi and Reid by saying that they couldn't reveal the program without breaking the law. Hmmm, a quick review shows that the heirarchy of laws is: 1. The Constitution, which all public officers are required to uphold and defend; 2. The laws as passed by Congress and signed into law; 3. Presidential orders; 4. Administrative decisions and; 5. Precedent.
Now, while Pelosi is a box of rocks with a lot of makeup, if she felt that it violated the Constitution, she had an immediate duty to correct it, laws be damned. Her and Rockefeller's lamentations that they were afraid to break the law ring hollow if they thought it was a violation of the Constitution. Perhaps I am being cynical, but I see this as nothing more than another example of the use of partisan politics to drag down a President in the middle of a war rather than principled disagreement. That damned Rockefeller memo keeps coming to mind even though he has denied it, the Democratic Party actions do seem to be conforming with its outlines.
What would really interesting, is if the MSM is able to fan the outrage to the point that the Democrats are able to retake the Senate and the House and actually institute impeachment proceedings. If you thought that it was okay to lie about sex, just imagine the defense of it being okay to spy to save lives. Since the program has been blown, Bush would be able to show any and all of evidence that the intercepts were able to thwart terrorist attacks.
A piece of advice for the Democrats: Learn from your enemie's mistakes. You don't want to get caught up in the tar baby of impeachment.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

An Arab view of the war in Iraq

Sometimes, it is best to step away from a problem to veiw it from another angle that makes for the best chance of solving it. Here is a really good perspective from someone who understands the situation better than those of us who aren't there.

Friday, December 16, 2005

On the Iraqi Election and what it means for US

I have deliberately refrained from commenting on the election in Iraq just to see what everyone else is saying. Predictably, those on the right are ecstatic, and those on the left remain silent.
To me, the most significant thing about this election is that the genie is finally completely out of the bottle. Too many racists in this country have said that the Arabs are unable to understand or appreciate democracy. We started out in January with 7 million people who stood up and said that "Today, I will control my future, not some despot." Now they have been joined by even more, and 11 million people are taking control of their future. How can this be anything but a victory for the human condition?
I realize that Howard Dean believes that it is impossible to win there, but I have to wonder if that isn't just wishful thinking on his part. After all, if the experiment fails, then Bush fails. Conversely, if it succeeds, then Bush will be the greatest political leader since Churchill. Hard to overcome that legacy, although the British Labor did oust Churchill after he won the war, so maybe there is some hope for the Democrats even if Bush does succeed.
My limited experience in the Middle East showed me that the Arabs as a whole were very cognizant of pride, sometimes it seemed to me to be unduly so. But imagine a year from now, when the Iraqis are making their Hadj to Mecca and start to sneer at all of the subjects of other despotic regimes. You don't think that isn't going to start some revolutions? Viva La Revolucion! Inshallah

Interesting take On the Iraqi Election

Here is an interesting analysis from an Isreali point of view. Why we think that we are losing is beyond me. Do we have units surrounded and being destroyed or captured? Have we lost key terrain, or been denied freedom of movement? Is the enemy supported by a majority of the populace, and are they being supported materially by outsiders in a way that we cannot counter?
All of these answers are no. But somehow, the public seems to believe that we are losing, at least as reported in the polls. Of course a larger percentage believe that UFOs exist, but I haven't seen them either. The problem with arguing that public opinion polls should be driving our foreign policy, is that it places too much power in non elected opinion shapers, rather than actual facts or our duly elected leaders.

Great Story

There are some reports that simply cannot be summarized, so here in its entirety is the whole report. (Hat tip to Will to Exist) If you can read through this without a tear in your eye, I have no belief that you can be human.

New Set of Wheels

During our last patrol through the shantytowns a young mother waited patiently outside the bustling throng of children hopping back and forth between our vehicles. I don’t remember seeing her arrive, she just suddenly appeared on the outskirts of the roiling flock of children. In that sea of motion she stood as still and resolute as a obsidian tower, her black burkha providing a mute contrast to the gaudy kaleidoscope of children’s clothing. She was clutching a toddler tightly to her chest, and I reflexively assumed she was trying to secure some candy for her child. I watched her for a moment and sensed that she was too proper to approach and ask for treats. I made a mental note to hand her some candy once the throng had died down, and put a few pieces of candy into my pocket to pass to her later. Then I turned my attention back to the happy shrieks of the children vying for our attention, and finished passing out the remaining supplies

Once our vehicles were stripped of humanitarian supplies the children started to settle down, happily splitting off to try to wheedle more candy from their favorite soldier. As the children filtered off I got my first good look at the young boy she held to her chest. And it was only then that I realized she hadn’t come here to ask for candy.

The young boy was clearly suffering from a congenital birth defect - he looked as frail as spun glass. His slender, atrophied limbs seemed to hang off his little body like limp banners, and his oversized head rested on his mother’s chest as if he needed help supporting its bulk. As I approached I greeted the sad eyed mother, and then bit the inside of my mouth and waited for her to ask me for the medical help I knew I couldn’t provide. The mother spent several minutes explaining her sons medical condition, and then asked the question that I knew was coming - “You have helped fix some children – can you help my son?”. I already knew the answer, but to avoid appearing callous I called my medic over and asked him if there was anything we could do for the boy. He took one look at the crumpled waif of a child and then said “Sir, we couldn’t help him even if we were in the States”. I turned back to the mother and explained to her that her sons condition was beyond our ability to help. Once my terp had conveyed the message she gave a small smile, and thanked me for trying to help. Then she turned away and made her way back to her tiny home.

The memory of that wisp of a boy stayed with me, and after a few days I asked SSG Spite if he could think of anything we might be able to do for the family. SSG Spite said that he would see what he could do and then disappeared for the rest of the day. The following day I knocked on SSG Spite’s door and when I walked in I almost dropped my coffee mug in shock. There sat SSG Spite quietly cleaning his weapon… sitting in a wheelchair. SSG Spite seemed to sense my agitation without even turning around and after a pregnant pause he said “Don’t worry sir, I’m fine. The wheelchair is for the kid”. Then he turned around, gave me a sly grin and said “But I had you worried, didn’t I?”. We laughed for a few minutes and then SSG Spite said “If I didn’t feel sorry for the kid I’d keep the wheelchair – this is the best seat in the barracks”.

The next morning we loaded up our HMMWVs with small Iraqi flags, candy, and a bulky wheelchair and set out for shantytown to bring SSG Spite’s favorite chair to the little boy. As our combat patrol came to a close we turned onto the long, dusty road leading to Shantytown to drop off our supplies. The entire town seemed to flood into the alleys to greet us, and in a few minutes we were swimming in a sea of smiling faces. As we passed each mudbrick compound the head of the household would anxiously flag us down and offer their advice on how to catch the AIF, and we spent long minutes trying to politely bring each conversation to a close. Several of our soldiers were passing out small Iraqi flags and toys to the children yammering around our legs, and in a few minutes our procession through the alley ground to a halt under the sheer numbers of children vying for a small flag. Usually the children are fixated on candy or toys, but not today. Today the big ticket item was Iraqi flags. As we passed out dozens of the little flags the kids seemed sated, and the alleys started to clear. We continued towards the house followed by a phalanx of children happily waving their flags. When I looked back at this strange procession I almost felt like I was watching a miniature parade - the kids were laughing and waving their flags as proudly as drum majors.

After the better part of an hour we arrived at the right house, and I rapped my knuckles on the tin gate to announce our arrival. I peeked over the gate to make sure we had the right house and noticed the little boy sitting in the dirt watching his mother prepare a meal. The mother must not have heard us knock, because she turned and looked surprised to see our kevlars peeking over her front gate. She recovered quickly and greeted us warmly, opening her gate and inviting us to come in for chai tea. We politely declined, but asked her to take her son and follow us to our vehicle. She looked a little confused at our request, but dutifully picked up her son and followed us to the HMMWV. When we arrived SGT Bard opened one of the doors and pulled and tugged until the wheelchair slid through the armored door. I wish I could describe the womans face when we gently picked up her son and placed him in the wheelchair - but there are some emotions words cannot hope to touch. We stopped to snap a quick picture as the little boy rested peacefully in the full sized wheelchair, and then we quickly said our goodbyes. As we loaded into our HMMWVs several of the local kids were arguing over who would get to take the boy for his first ride. I’m not sure who ended up shuttling him around, but as we left you could see his wheelchair weaving through the trash strewn alleys.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Another first person report about Iraq

I know that I have been droning on about people who are there in Iraq, but I believe that the ones who are there have a better sense of the events than those of us sitting comfortably at home. I suppose it is made worse because I have been arguing this same point for quite some time.
One of my favorite pieces of the article:
It is this false impression that has led us to a moment of national truth. The proponents of the quagmire vision argue that the very presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is the cause of the insurgency and that our withdrawal would give the Iraqis their only true chance for stability. Most military officers and NCOs with ground experience in Iraq know that this vision is patently false. Although the presence of U.S. forces certainly inflames sentiment and provides the insurgents with targets, the anti-coalition insurgency is mostly a symptom of the underlying conditions in Iraq. It may seem paradoxical, but only our presence can buffer the violence enough to allow for eventual stability.

The precipitous withdrawal of U.S. troops would almost certainly lead to a violent and destabilizing civil war. The Iraqi military is not ready to assume control and would not miraculously achieve competence in our absence. As we left, the insurgency would turn into internecine violence, and Iraq would collapse into a true failed state. The fires of the Iraqi civil war would spread, and terrorists would find a new safe haven from which to launch attacks against our homeland.

Anyone who has spent even a day in the Middle East should know that the Arab street would not thank us for abandoning Iraq. The blame for civil war would fall squarely on our shoulders. It is unlikely that the tentative experiments in democracy we have seen in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and elsewhere would survive the fallout. There would be no dividend of goodwill from heartbroken intellectuals or emboldened Islamic extremists. American troops might be home in the short run, but the experienced professionals know that in the long run, quitting Iraq would mean more deployments, more desperate battles and more death.

Sixty-four percent of us know that we have a good shot at preventing this outcome if we are allowed to continue our mission. We quietly hope that common sense will return to the dialogue on Iraq. Although we hate leaving our families behind, many of us would rather go back to Iraq a hundred times than abandon the Iraqi people.

A Good Definition of Heroism

Read the link, you will find that the real battle for Iraq is about fear. Fear by the Iraqis, the Arabs, and all of us in the West.
Heroism is not about acting rashly. It is about conquering your own fear to do the right thing. God bless all of the victims of historic terrorism.

Death penalty hype

I am amazed at the hype that Tookie got before he was executed, versus Mr. Maye. I do not relish the execution of Tookie Williams, just as I think that no one should enjoy the death of another human being.
But why is there not a greater outcry over this type of case versus a cold blooded killer? If I was on the jury, I would never have convicted. The right to self defense can never be denied. Here we have an actual case of racial prejudice and prosecutorial over kill. I only wish that this man recieved even half of what Tookie got for attention.
The fact that Tookie was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and all of the Hollywood superstars that came to his defense, versus this man, shows how little value we should place in either of these group's opinions.
Update More here.

Interesting advice for Democrats

Rather amusing, and insightful analysis on the state of the Democratic Party here. I have always found it offensive that in conversations with my Democratic friends, that if I do not adhere strictly to the party line, I am instantly labeled as a Republican.
Now, I find more aspects of the Republican party to agree with than the Democratic at the moment, but I am always willing to listen to other ideas. Apparently, no one who is a "good Democrat" is.

Another blog roll addition

Trevor Snyder has been added (I think) because he is one of the citizen soldiers that have posted in the past, and that I have linked to here. It never ceases to amaze me, that so many people can find out who is looking at your site, and who has linked to your site.
I don't add everybody to my blog roll for two reasons; 1. I am not that competent to get it right every time, and 2; I get lazy.
But the people on my blogroll are the ones that I will always look at every chance that I get.
If there are some that need to be added to help expand my horizons, I am willing to consider all submissions.

Pie charts of Iraqi attitudes

This is a synopsis of the recent poll on Iraqi attitudes. It shows a lot of hope for what we are trying to do there may just work out. I was especially interested in the low call for an Islamic republic. I think that their close proximity to Iran is why they are not so enamored with the idea of Mullahs ruling their country.
When you combine this with the earlier posting on the USA Today poll, you see a complex assessment that is taking place among the Iraqi citizens.
One interesting point: There seems to be a constant 20% who want the Americans to leave soon. Hmm, aren't the Sunnis approximately 20% of the population?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Another report from Iraq

Good analysis from someone who is recently back. Why is it that we never hear more of these stories? Are they so unique that they don't merit investigation and widespread reporting, or are they contrary to a message that one party wants to get out, even if it is not the truth?
It is difficult during war for any democracy, but ours is one of the strongest, and we have been able to deal with dissent. The problem with dissent though can be shown by a simple syllogism:
1. Dissent is patriotic.
2. Dissent aids our enemy by giving him comfort and the hope that we will leave defeated.
3. Therefore, giving our enemy hope of our eventual defeat is patriotic.

Hmmm, something just doesn't seem right here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Where is the 80% poll?

It has often been cited that 80% of the Iraqis want us out of Iraq. I myself have heard it enouogh that I didn't disbelieve it. But just for grins, I started to do a search for the poll. After all, if 80% of the Iraqis want us out, does that mean immediately, or after security is re-established. These are two different answers, at least as far as applied to us and our presence in Iraq.
Unfortunately, I have come to believe that the 80% number may be another of those urban legends, unsupported by fact. I did find the poll above that is from last Spring, but even that could be outdated, and the answer about whether we should leave immediately seems to be answered in the negative.
Was I fooled again? Anyone got a cite to the actual poll?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

On taxes and debt

The Republicans have instituted budget cuts that are targeted at Medicaid and other social welfare programs to the tune of $50 billion. They are attempting to do this to try and salve those of us who are upset about out of control spending. This to me is the most ridiculous of all of the ways to cut the deficit. They have done nothing to reduce the pork spending that they have become so enamored with. This is not to say that it is ony targeted to the rich. Denny Rehburg has been touting some $350 million that he got for a local fire and police improvements. Those do not just benefit Republicans, but the community as a whole. So much for the usual Democratic rants.
This is not to say that what they are doing is enough, or in the right areas.
The problem that we face is that deficit spending has the same effect on the economy as increasing taxes. For instance, if you raise taxes, you pull money out of the economy that could be used for capital improvements which could improve productivity. On the other hand, increasing deficit spending means that the government has to increase its borrowing. This takes available money out of the pool that would be otherwise available to make improvements.
So, if borrow and spend is no different from tax and spend what are we supposed to do? The first thing that we need to do is identify that which we must have, either because it could result in the collapse or destruction of our nation, or that which is mandated by law. These two are different because you can always change a law, but if something could destoy the country, that is beyond the powers of Congress to control.
So, after we look at what is required, and what is left, what do we have? If there is anything left over, then we could set about prioritizing what we want to spend the money on. Spending the money on improving fire and police facilities is nice, but what would happen if we didn't? Could we wait four or five more years if that would mean lower borrowing rates?
And the local apportionmnet is not the only one. What about all of the festivals and other local trail improvements and such that are nice but not critical?
In order to improve the national productivity and improve our economy, whoever is in Congress will have to get control on spending. Incresing taxes or borrowing is really the same thing. What we need are those people who recognize priorities and can act on them. As a friend told me in the Army a long time ago, when everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

On the Death Penalty

I am unique among criminal defense attorneys, in that I do believe that there is a need for a death penalty. Not the way that it is used now, but to acknowledge that there are some people that are just plain evil. Whether from being sociopaths, or whatever, they are a danger to everyone no matter who who they are. I remember that guy who attacked the woman at the Seeley Lake work center and almost killed her. While he was awaiting trial, he beat another guy to death in jail with an exercise bike seat. The guy he killed was in jail for a DUI. I don't think that DUIs merit the death penalty. His killer was sentenced to death but committed suicide instead.
On the other hand, there is the story linked above about an actual innocent man who was executed. So, how to deal with the twin paradox? My solution is to change the standard for a death penalty from beyond a reasonable doubt, to beyond any doubt.
Most juries don't understand the concept of reasonable doubt. They want to support the State in their prosecution on the defendant. Some brave souls will resist the herd mentality, but most jurors want only to get out of there and get backwith their busy lives.
Since a defendant's freedom is on the line, we require the highest level of legal proof. For their life to be on the line, maybe we need more proof.

Another letter from Iraq

I loved this, especally the example of using a timeline for treating cancer. Well worth the read.

Monday, November 28, 2005

It's not 1969, and it's not Viet Nam

There are some interesting points here from Instapundit. My favorite is that this is the "reverse Viet Nam." The military is not sugarcoating things, but is instead giving the unvarnished truth. The problem with that is that it is taken out of context for political purposes.
I have said before, that Iraq is not the same as Viet Nam for a multitude of reasons. Those who argue that Iraq is Viet Nam are either arguing from a point of strategic ignorance or from a political standpoint that wants to reinforce a sense of self defeat.
Just saying that Iraq is Viet Nam all over again is not enough. Show me the strategic similarities, the objective information that supports the argument. I would refer you to my argument here as a starting point. Feel free to point out any errors I made.
The only similarity between 1969 and Viet Nam with today and Iraq, is that there is a certain amount of narcism that comes from those who seek the downfall of their own government, even if it means harm to their own nation.

Lying Liars

Ever since the New York Times put their columnists behind a pay to read barrier, I have not actually gotten to their opinions. However, the Sun does a heck of a job of discrediting Mr. Rich of the NYT as he attempts to discredit Bush.
It kind of reminded my of yesterday's Sunday news shows where Sen. Levin was saying that Bush said something that wasn't true, and the host showed the film clip of what Levin was talking about and Bush never said what Levin claimed. When confronted, Levin insisted that it was true, even though he had just been shown that it was false.
The willingness to believe Bush lied has overridden even plain evidence, but Bush still needs to worry because their lies are still having a certain effect as shown by opinion polls.
Sad state of affairs, where one group while lying can accuse another of lying, and have it stick.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Self delusion and urban myths

The above link says that Tony Blair is disputing that Bush wanted to bomb Al Jazeera. This is interesting in why it came about more than anything else. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy, i.e. Bush is stupid and hates Arabs, therefore, it is believeable that he would want to do that, therefore it is true.
Of course, this goes along with the many urban legends that arose around the conduct of the war. Like all good urban legends, the willingness to believe takes over the abiltiy to discern the truth.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

An Iraqi perspective

I have always liked the Iraq the Model blog, but I have come to think that he may be too rah rah to be necessarily accurate. Not that I think that he is not telling the truth, but that it may be a truth that he wants, causing him to overlook contadictory evidence. That being said, his analysis of the call for a withdrawl is very interesting. It is also interesting that he says that anyone who speaks up for keeping Coalition troops in Iraq would be branded a collaborator.
There is also an interesting explanation for the upcoming elections in how the seats will be parcelled out.
Well worth the read, if for nothing more than another perspective.

This is sick!

This sort of behavior is why I don't call them an insurgency. There is no reason to do this that accomplishes any military advantage. These are some sick f*cks.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

On end state Iraq

How do yu know if you have completed your journey unless you know where you are going? One of the things that I have noticed that is not being discussed in all of the noise about immediate withdrawl, is what is the actual vision of what we are trying to accomplish there, and how will we know when we have accomplished it.
I have written in the past about potential problems of leaving too early. But what is that we would want if we had the capability to define and implement our goals?
So, here is a scenario to consider. After December 15th, a new Iraqi parliament is elected, and Bush and the allies start to negotiate our withdrawl from Iraq. The new Iraqi government will have a significant amount of Shias who may have some interest in aligning their interests with Iran, but as long as Al Sistani wants to keep his distance from Iran, which he has maintained for quite some time, they will not allow Iraq to become a vassal to Iran.
The Iraqi "insurgency" starts to wind down, with the assumption of authority by an independent Iraqi government. Foreign fighters start to slow down in migrating there because they are getting less support. Zarqawi, continues to play dead, albeit with a new moniker in order to camoflage his past excesses, but he will continue to target the Shias, with little effect except to piss off all of the Iraqis no matter what their religious affiliation.
The new Iraqi government wants to be able to demonstrate their independence from us, and insists on the bulk of the forces be wthdrawn by the end of 2006. We agree, but we want to maintain a force of one heavy armored division to assist the new Iraqi army if need be, This would probably be split into 3 areas, with a brigade equivalent in each base, probably somewhere in the Anbar province, and one aviation brigade to supply helicopter lift and Apache Quick Reaction Forces to support Iraqi forces. We would probably also want to have the equivalent of a Special Forces Group (around 1500 men) to assist in the final training of the Iraqi army, although that may be turned over to civilian contractors, just to keep the troop numbers down.
In addition to the one division equivalent, we would probably also want to keep a POMCUS (Preposition of Material Configured to Unit Sets) of another division in the area, so that we could also flow in troops without having to move the equipment to the theater.
The American forces would continue to train in the open desert, away from population areas, but would be available to assist the Iraqi Army on an as needed basis, while at the same time partnering with newer Iraqi battalions as they come out of training.
We would probably also need to have at least one air base, predominantly supporting A-10s which would also be used in support of the Iraqi army and work with training up a new Iraqi air force.
Money for training the new Iraqi forces is going to come from us for the next 2-3 years, since if we are paying for it, we want to be able to have some control over how it is spent. Training will need to continue developing the junior leadership of the NCOs and LTs to LTCs who will be doing the bulk of the self defense. We want to emphasize the allegiance to the Iraqi people over the government, with self discipline and integrity being something that is non-negotiable.
The end result will be around 20,000 American troops in Iraq, which would be about an 80% reduction, which will help to stabilize the government, train the military, and be able to respond to any terrorist threats that are beyond the Iraqi army's immediate capability.
So, that is my theory, anyone else?

Monday, November 21, 2005

On how to lose the war

Ralph Peters is a much better writer than I am, but his cogent analysis is one that I agree with and explains better what I have been trying to say here for the last few days.
It is perhaps unfair to some Democrats, since I do not think that they are all seeking political advantage at the expense of our foriegn policy. Some may be sincere pacifists who abhor all violence. My problem with pacifism, is that if your enemy lacks a shred of morality, your only option is to surrender and suffer the consequences. I do not find that approach acceptable.
However, there do seem to be too many that I perceive to only be seeking political advantage domestically, while conceding it in foreign policy. Perhaps I am wrong. Maybe it really is principled opposition. It sure doesn't look that way though.
I guess to show that their opposition is not just for short term advantage, I wold wish that someone would give me their analysis as to what the future would be like in the Middle East if we did withdraw. Peters already has above, I wold like one just as clear from the opponents side.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

On a witdrawl from Iraq

Matt at Left in the West has been in suport of Murtha, and has left some intelligent comments here. I left one at his site and as I was writing it, I came to the awareness of what our problem is. We are Americans trying to solve an Iraqi problem.
As Americans, we tend to want to solve the problem as quickly and expeditiously as possible. My experience in the Middle East has led me to believe that they do not follow the same way of thinking as we do. Not to say better or worse, just different. It seemd to me that so much of problem solving revolved around relatives, tribes, old grudges, protocol, tradition, etc. Everything but what we thought was the problem. I still do not think that their system worked, but maybe it was because I lacked the perspective of 4000 years.
But the thing that came to mind was about a future withdrawl from Iraq. Why doesn't the Iraqi government set the withdrawl? They are the ones who after December 15th will be in full control of their country. Let them decide how and when we are to leave. If problems arise, they can change the schedule. If things go better than expected, we can get out even earlier.
Seems to me to be one of those "Win - Win" situations. But then, what do I know, I am just an American trying to solve a problem.

A letter from Iraq

"You weren't there, so how would you know?" is the common way to shut up an argument by an opponenet. There are many examples: Chickenhawks, neo-cons, etc. However, here is someone who has been there twice, and is there right now.
You cannot dismiss it out of hand, because his presence ensures his credibility to a greater degree than any other argument can.
Before we surrender, let's listen to those who are there. The fact that he is an NCO and not an officer seems to extend his credibility, since he is less likely to be politically correct, but speak the truth as he knows it.
Give it a read.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

How I was wrong about Rep. Murtha

One of the tactics I use with a hostile witness is to get them angry. They quickly become less sympathetic with the jury, and I of course, am only trying to find the truth, while I manipulate their anger.
I got angry with Murtha for the wrong reasons. Murtha does go to Walter Reed and visit the wounded, and his call for withdrawl was probably based on seeing the carnage that comes with modern warfare. His call for an immediate withdrawl however, was probably based more on his emotional interactions than that required of a senior political leader of our country.
His assertion that the troops have become the enemy and the catalyst for the insurgency/terrorists is wrong though. As proof, I would offer that we had no troops in the two mosques that were bombed just yesterday. This is not, as Matt would say just a reaction to our presence. This is in fact, a civil war. For proof, I would offer that the Kurdish regions, and the southern Shiite regions are relatively stable. It is mostly in the Sunni central region, where the majority of our troops are located, that the insurgency/terrorist attacks are coming out of. The fact that the Kurds and Shiites have not responded in kind is nothing short of a miracle.
But the key issue still remains, what are we doing there, and when will it end. I am suspicious of Democrats who are calling for the immediate withdrawl, since I find them less than credible in their concerns for the troops, and more willing to believe that they see a political opportunity to exploit that could adversely affect our nation in the region.
Let's examine what would happen if there was an immediate withdrawl as called for by Murtha. The fledgling government will probably self destruct resulting in even greater anarchy than already exists, and would remove all hope for improvement that is at least a possibility for right now. It certainly will not get better or stronger. Our enemies (and they are numerous in the region) will read this as confirmation that our will to persevere is subject to failure whenever there is a long drawn out confrontation. So as long as they can outlast us, they will always win. This will unnecessarily embolden them, and lead to future problems in the area as they doubt our ability to intervene against them.
Now, let's see what happens if we stay. The trick here is going to be the improvement in the Iraqi Army and police forces, which we are continuing to do. They will expand their presence and their actions, allowing us to retreat to a backup role, thereby reducing the opportunity to attack us. The Iraqi forces will then be able to secure cooperation from the locals that we are unable to do, and will make even more progress in rolling up the terror cells.
So, how are we doing with the improvement in training the Iraqi Army? Much has been made of the fact that we went from 3 battalions rated C1 to only 1. What most people don't realize is that this is a simple and practical example of how the system really is improving. Even in our own military, a unit is almost never rated C1 until it is right before deployment. As soon as it gets into the fight, it drops down to C2. This is nothing more than an admission that once combat hits, you are always going to be short of something.
We are making progress, and the mission is getting done. Conceding defeat is not something that the American military ever does willingly. Our leaders, including Rep. Murtha would be wise to look to their example and follow it.
The good news for the Democrats is going to be that in 2006 the troops are going to be coming home anyway. After December 15th, there will have been three elections in Iraq, and the beginning of an actual Iraqi government. The training of the Iraqi Army will allow us to withdraw to our Forward Operating Bases and reduce our presence on the street. This will reduce the justification of those opposed to us as "occupiers" and allow for more stability and the eventual removal of US forces from the region.
Politics it used to be said stops at the water's edge. Today it seems, it can't even make it across the Potomac. With the vote of 403-3 against setting a timetable for immediate removal of US forces, I am hopeful that everyone will just settle down, and let the course of events take place that will allow what everyone wants to happen.

Update I have been reading Kagan's book "Imperial Grunts" and came across a line that seems so appropriate here: The politicians looked at the rules of engagement as a means to protect the soldiers. The soldiers looked at the rules of engagement as a lack of political will, which only makes their job superflous at best and dangerous at worst. The funny thing is, both are right.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Great Minds?

You have to scroll through a lot of Kerry rambling, but it is amazing and amusing to think that Osama bin Laden and Al Gore have so much in common.

Update. Just for fun, I ran the Dailect converter for Redneck. What a hoot, you need to give it a try.

Withdrawl from Iraq

This is a great analysis, and the speech by Sen. McCain was absolutely brilliant.
We are faced with the prospect of defeat, even though our enemies have not achieved victory, but our internal dissension has created the conditions to prevent victory. I know that Congressman Murtha is once again claiming defeat, and because he is a retired Marine, the news gives him more credibility than someone who wants to perservere. Of course, his statement is nothing new.
I think that the real problem in this war is our American temperment. We are an impatient group who lack any sense of history or perspective. Bush said that it would be a long hard fought struggle, and he is once again right. But the general American perception is that the Iraqis are not responding in a way that we want them to. Our problem is that we have never had to live with the daily fear that comes from living in a police state. The Iraqi people had learned that anyone who stuck out drew attention, and usually in a way that they did not want to. Saddam used to execute his most effective generals during the Iran Iraq war because if they were successful, he perceived them as a threat. Probably rightly so.
We are trying to get people who learned to shun initiative and responsibility to now do what they had learned was deadly to try. Meanwhile, we sit here in the safety of our comfy worlds and Monday morning quarterback every jot and tittle.

Monday, November 14, 2005

On Talk Radio

Rather amusing take on the reason for the rise and the effecitiveness of talk radio, although in my experience, I think that he misses some pretty valid points. As I had mentioned in earlier posts, I had an office mate who was the head of the Junior NAACP in Europe. About that time, the American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) was looking to put Rush Limbaugh on the air for those of us in Europe. Now, at that time, I had never heard of Rush, so I was curious to hear what the fuss was about. Eventually after much gnashing of teeth, he was given one hour of taped delay starting at 10 at night. Anyway, getting back to my office mate, he told me that Rush was just an "entertainer."
Later, on leave in the US, I heard a whole Rush show, and found him amusing, although at the time, I really objected to his telling me what to think. Apparently, he has stopped doing this. I told my office mate that I thought that Rush doesn't entertain, that it is more than that. Thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that what Rush does is not issue marching orders, he simply enunciates and validates what the listeners already feel. The other thing that was interesting about his show, (remember, that this is 1992) was the interaction between him and his listeners. You have to remember, this was in the era before the Internet became quite so ubiqtuous. Instead of screaming at a TV or a radio in impotent frustration, you could actually be heard across the country. Your 30 seconds of fame. His listeners tended to raise issues that I had not considered before, and never heard on the MSM.
Does this mean that it is nothing more than the revolt of the "angry white males" as the election of 1994 was called. I don't think so. What it is, is really people expressing their feelings who had been told for quite a while "Shut up White Boy." and they had come to resent the racism and sexism that did not address their concerns.
Those on the Left who abhor Talk radio are making a mistake. In a way, I suppose that it is understandable that they would resent some media outside of their control that is so widely listened to and discussed. You are far more likely to find a conversation about what Rush, Hannity, Laura, etc said, than what Schieffer, Williams or whoever took over from Jennings said.
I have listened to Air America, but find it frustrating, in that they are the very charachature of what they accuse Right Talk Radio of being.
I've got to admit, that I do enjoy this experiment in the mix of media and democracy.

Bush Derangement Syndrome

Sorry that I haven't been posting for a while, but I had to have an extra hole added to my head, and the effects of general anethesia take a while to wear off.
But this link above by a psychologist, explains better than anything else why so many people hate Bush, and why the meme that Bush lied about pre-war intelligence has gotten so much traction.
Some good quotes:
This psychological defense mechanism is referred to as "displacement".

One way you can usually tell that an individual is using displacement is that the emotion being displaced (e.g., anger) is all out of proportion to the reality of the situation. The purpose of displacement is to avoid having to cope with the actual reality. Instead, by using displacement, an individual is able to still experience his or her anger, but it is directed at a less threatening target than the real cause. In this way, the individual does not have to be responsible for the consequences of his/her anger and feels more safe--even thought that is not the case.

This explains the remarkable and sometimes lunatic appeasement of Islamofascists by so many governments and around the world, while they trash the US and particularly Bush. It explains why there is more emphasis on protecting the "rights" of terrorists, rather than holding them accountable for their actions (thier actions, by the way are also Bush's fault, according to those in the throes of BDS). Our soldiers in Iraq are being killed because of Bush--not because of terrorist intent and behavior. Terrorist activity itself is blamed on Bush no matter where it occurs.

Bush becomes the "criminal mastermind", so devious, so evil, that everything he says is a "lie", everything he does is part of a vast global consipiracy. His family has intimate ties to Bin Laden and the Saudis; He is trying to enrich his oil business friends; He is trying to avenge the insult to his father by getting rid of Saddam; He plans world domination etc. etc. I could go on an on, but you get the point.

What is most funny is that these psychologically naiive individuals simultaneously think of Bush as this "criminal mastermind"--a genius of evil; and also as a complete moron who isn't capable of uttering a sentence without making a hash of it; or that his brain is controlled by the equally evil Karl Rove.

The cognitive dissonance required to have all these contradictory beliefs swirling around in one's brain is astonishing. But besides the primary function it serves to erase from consciousness what is happening in the world today, it is serving a secondary purpose--it makes them feel in control of what might come.

They can predict with the complete accuracy of the delusional mind that whatever happens--whatever horror is unleased by Al Qaeda or Hamas or Islamic Jihad--was caused by President Bush's actions/inactions/intentions (take your pick).

and finally:
As I said at the beginning of this piece, those who are mindful and deliberate in their attacks and are using them for personal political gain; or to advance a totalitarian agenda are simply evil.

I have not questioned anyone's patriotism before, but I have had enough of Senators Rockefeller and Kennedy saying that Bush manipulated intel prior to the war and withheld contradictory information. Rockefeller in particular should know better. All intel is contradictory, the trick is to try and sift through all the chaff and find the nuggets that are real. As a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Rockefeller had all of the access to intel that the Bush administration had. In 2002, Rockefeller was even more strident than Bush about the threat that was posed by Saddam's Iraq. Now, Rockefeller is saying that it was none of his fault.
Even going so far as in this exchange to say:
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: Chris, there's always the same conversation. You know it was not the Congress that sent 135,000 or 150,000 troops.

WALLACE: But you voted, sir, and aren't you responsible for your vote?


WALLACE: You're not?
Trading temporary partisan advantage for personal integrity is bad enough. Trading national security by declaring that we are defeated for political advantage is Unpatriotic. There, I said it. I am not saying that everyone who disagrees with the war is unpatriotic, just those who know better, and are seeking to assist our enemies in order to capture more seats for their side are.

Monday, November 07, 2005

On Demagoguery

Interesting take here on the differences between those who seek victimhood, and those who do not. It helps to explain a lot of what is going on.
Now I know my problem. I do not feel helpless.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Impeach Bush?

Matt at Left in the West references a poll that shows that 52% of the American people want Bush impeached about lying to get us into war.
Without going into the methodologies, questions, etc. that make a possible poll like this suspect, the interesting thing is that Matt links to it. But here are my questions for Matt: 1. What is exactly a "lie" does it differ from a mistake? and; 2. What evidence if any do you or anyone else have that shows that he did lie?
Don't tell me that he hyped the threat. He seems to have relied on the same evidence that Clinton used in 1998. Are people saying that somehow, Saddam got rid of all of his weapons in the five year period he was out from under supervision?
I still haven't seen any evidence that any intelligence was "massaged" out of context, or to make it absolutely false. And don't cite to the Downing Street memo, because of the differences in the English language between us and the originators.
Goebbels said that if you tell a lie long enough, it will become the truth. Is telling everyone that Bush lied an example of this? If so, then, I guess I will have to surrender, and the anti Bush folks can have the country they will have created for themselves.
Nah, as long as I am breathing, I still have to fight for some measure of truth.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Tony Snow's Recap

I like Tony Snow, and often listen to him on my drive to work. He is far more polite, and never as perpetually enraged as Limbaugh, Hannity, Randi Rhodes, Here, he does a really good recap of the issues of the Plame kerfluffle. What is really good though, is his use of the term "the manipulation of ignorance." The Democrats of late, seemed to be so intent on the destruction of any chance that Bush has for re-election, that they seem to have lost their collective minds.
What I annot figure out, is the idea that Bush and Cheney managed to change intelligence. I thought that teh Senate Committee on Intelligence interviewed 250 analysts, and not one said they were pressured, cajoled or even urged to change their findings. How can Bush be accused of manipulating intelligence, when almost everyone agreed with the basic premise? Now, some, such as Mr. Chait above, seem to say that Bush ignored evidence that tended to disprove his assertion about WMDs. Probably true, but so what? Every issue will have someone who disagrees with what the majority believes for whatever reason. Does this mean that they have an instant veto over every issue?
Even assuming that they were able to present their evidence in a coherent fashion, the problem is that they were arguing a negative. Absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence.

More CIA questions

As I had mentioned here, there were a lot of quirky things about the CIA role in the Plame Kerfluffle. This link above, indicates that there is even more to worry about then I had thought.
I would relly like to know what the heck is going on at Langley.

Revolving Robes

So, the prosecutor is not happy to have a judge who gives money to the GOP? What a hoot. Under the ABA rules of Professionalism, a prosecutor is supposed "to seek justice" not just prosecutions. I think that Ronny Earle has just set himself up for a bona fide ethics complaint.
Eventually, won't they run out of judges who have contributed to one party or the other? Then what?

Why Libby will never be convicted

The WSJ has an opinion about the problems for the press with the prosecution of Scooter Libby. I think that it will go even beyond what they are saying. As a defense lawyer, I would want to tie up the courts by arguing that I need everybody's notes who had even heard of Valerie Plame. Of course, all of the press services will go to bat to try and protect their work product, but that doesn't rate nearly as high as the right to a vigorous defense, and courts are going to have to order that they turn over all of their notes.
Then, the defense comes down to examining three reporters recollections of conversations versus someone who is a defendant. That should be a real hoot. "What do you mean Mr. Russert, that you didn't take dictation of the conversation, instead of just jotting down some notes? Are you sure that your notes accurately reflect what you and Mr. Libby talked about? Or has it been colored by your subsequent testimony before the Grand Inquisitor, I mean Special Prosecutor?"
Then too, I would want to be going after the CIA at the same time. Why did Valerie Plame's husband go to Niger? Why was he not required to file a written report? Why was he not required to sign a non-disclosure agreement? Who in the CIA authorized the trip? Who actually did leak the name of Valeri Plame, and was she ever covert?
And all the while you know that Karl Rove's lawyers are gathering all of the information to assist in their defense.
It sure is fun watching energetic stupidity at work.

Friday, October 28, 2005

I suppose that this is why I don't get paid to write

This link is written by a professional writer, but he makes many of the same points that I have tried to make in the past. Only too often, it seems that those on the Left want Iraq to be another Viet Nam. They ignore the differences including facts, and concentrate on the few similarities that exist. As the article leads off with, Sen. Leahy has already declared defeat, when there is nothing to support his assertion.
The only thing that I would add to the above article is that our lack of consistancy more than anything else contributed to 9-11. Most people cannot even remember the Mayaguez incident, or the surprise in the world when Iran was allowed to continue as a whole country after they seized our embassy. Throw on Desert One, the Marine barracks fiasco in Lebanon, our lack of response when the Marine Colonel was kidnapped and executed Klinghoffer was executed in his wheel chair and shoved overboard, and his killer allowed to live in Baghdad. Not to mention Black Hawk Down, the African embassy bombings and the USS Cole, and we gave everyone in the region the idea that we were a paper tiger, just someone to push around and humiliate.
Simple consistancy is more effective in the long run than violent outbursts at random intervals. For example, the Marine Corps Hymn includes the phrase "From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli." In Tripoli, the Bey had been allowing pirates to capture American shipping in the region. By sending in the Marines, the US demonstrated that we were a force to be considered. It provided for a very long period of stability, which only ended after Viet Nam.
Declaring defeat now, when we are making progress will continue the fine tradition we have demonstrated since 1973. Finishing the job may just prevent the need to ever demonstrate our weakness again.

Free Speech contributions

In Seattle apparently you cannot express an opinion on a political issue over the airwaves. What is really fun to me, is that Fisher claims that the "speech" is worth $20,000. Hmm, if only I could paid at that rate.
Unfortunately, my opinions like most of the blogosphere is really only worth .02 cents. Do I still have to file anything with the FEC?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Cia vs the White House

Hat tip to Viceroy's Fuguestate for this link.
My experience with the CIA has never been positive. I came from a military background where integrity is the most important thing ever. But the CIA guys that I knew lied so oftem that I don't think that they ever knew the truth about anything. This is not to say that they weren't all charming and intelligent, but you could never trust them for anything, not even their real name.
My favorite story about the CIA was when there was an earthquake in Nicuarauga, and the Sandinistas blamed the CIA for it. The CIA public affairs office said "I can neither confirm nor deny that we caused the earthquake." What a hoot, no one has the capability of starting an earthquake, but they were willing and hoping that people would think that they might.
The CIAs failures of late have been without parallel. They missed on Pakistan getting a nuke, missed the actual strength of the Soviet Union, got it wrong about WMDs in Iraq, totally blew 9-11 and they still want people to think they know what they are doing.
What is really interesting about the Plame kerfluffle, is why send Joe Wilson? Why not just use the CIA station chief for Niger? Why an amateur, who doesn't know what he is doing?
There are too many questions here to let it go. Unfortunately, since Bush is in the crosshairs, I doubt that it will be fully investigated.

They do Exist!

There are, thank God, some Republicans who are interested in trying to get a grip on spending. It's hard to imagine that Ronald Reagan's party has surrendered to the idea that they can buy the public's affection the way that they have.
Denny Rehberg has said that as a member of the Republican Study Commission that he is working on ways to cut spending. This just before he was trumpeting some $6 Million that he brought to Montana. I will see at the end of the week whether he is serious or just trying to blow me off.
Dave, get ready, we will be needing you if he does.

As shown here there are more than a few people who have had it with pork.
A good reason to be against pork is also located here. to decide that a federal building needs a $60 million garden, more than people need AIDs medecine is insulting.
Time for a Revolution.

Good CBS review of Conservative Infighting

In the article above, the author makes some very good points. But my favorite is the one about it being a battle of ideas. Contrast that with the Democratic infighting, and you see that Republicans are more interested in ideas, and the Democrats with gaining power.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Number 2000

Well, after days of waiting, the anti war crowd has finally gotten their magic number. I am sure that many of them are regretting that he had to die in a hospital and not in some fiery explosion, detonated by their "freedom fighters."
I understand that many anti war groups are going to be having parties to celebrate this milestone. And all I can say is, they are totally unworthy of being in the same room, much less earning the respect that these young men and womem who have shown their valor and courage so many times over.
When you are in combat, the worst thing in the world is the total arbitrariness, and random luck that goes on around you. I always felt upset when someone was shooting in my general direction, but found it particuarly insulting to think that I may be hit by some idiot who wasn't even aiming at me, but missed his target and hit me instead. Not to mention those days when you think that this is the one. The one I won't get out of in one piece. You just know that your luck has run out. But still you go on, and more than 99 times out of 100 you were wrong, and thank your lucky stars.
Too many of my fellow citizens only have knowledge of the military from Oliver Stone or Michael Moore. They think that we were or are just the dregs of society without any motivation or ambition of our own, or just trying to escape from poverty. The condescending attitude that they demostrate is just one more insult that we were forced to take and keep our mouths shut.
The soldiers who are there deserve more than just being considered a pawn in the anti's war against George Bush. They are doing more to change the world than the anti war crowd will ever be able to accomplish. Everyone of them knows that they are mortal, as we all are, but speaking personally, I am sure that they too would rather believe that if they have to die, and no one wants to, that their death will have some meaning. To pull out before the job is done will mean that 2000 soldiers will have been robbed of any meaning to their deaths. I really hope that no one would be so selfish. Unfortunately, too many people hate George Bush so much, they are willing to rob better people than they of any meaning in their lives and their deaths.
For shame.

Lies and WMDs

It has become an article of faith, that the issue of WMDs were solely created by the Bush administration to justify having a war for oil. (It worked so well, we are just drowning in cheap oil right now.)
But the truth is, as shown in the above link that everyone believed the Iraqis had WMDs and were working specifically on some sort of nuke. Clinton bombed Iraq for 4 days because he believed that they had WMDs
So, the next time someone starts yelling "Bush lied, people died" point them to this analysis, and clarify for them that while they may be mistaken, they can correct the mistake. If on the other hand they persist, tell the world what liars they really are.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Plame Kerfluffle

Barone has a good take on this. I find it ironic that a story that deals with leaks is fueled entirely by leaks. But the real problem is that the laws that were supposed to be the basis for "Perp walking" Rove and Libby out of the White House do not apply. Instead, there may be prosecution for perjury about a non-crime.
I know that the Left has adopted Amb. Wilson as some sort of savant who bravely opposed the Bush administration in its march to war. Of course, Wilson, as the Senate Intelligence Committee found, is a terrific liar. The only way to ignore this, is to have such hatred and bile that you overlook the facts in your attempts to destroy your enemy.
I heard counselling can help with this problem. I highly recommend giving it a try.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Racism and Racists

The link above is particuarly disturbing when you contrast it with the uproar over Bill Bennett's hypothetical. I suppose that it is excused because the speaker in the link above is Black. So, we can never hold Black people to any standard of decent behavior, because of all of the trauma that Black people have suffered.
Hmmm, I don't suppose that that would be racists now would it? Let's see, if you ascribe a lack of responsibility to act in a decent manner because of their skin color, that to me would be racist.
When I was in my last tour in Germany, I shared an office with the head of the Junior NAACP in Europe. He told me that all white people were racists because they benefit from a society that rewards white people at the expense of Black ones. I pointed out to him that there were more poor white people than Black ones, and to categorically assign a trait or action to all people of a certain color is racist in itself. He then told me that Black people can't be racists. At that point I had to gieve up. What can you say to such an argument?

Tom Delay Arraignment

Bill Clinton was always blessed with enemies who were so obsessed with trying to bring him down that they invariably acted stupidly. Seems as though Tom Delay's enemies are no diferent. His booking photo is a prime example. With his goofy grin, who do you think would rather use it in a campaign brochure, Democrats or Republicans?
Then to top it off, after the DA shops around, and then brow beats a grand jury into submission, he gets an indictment for something that wasn't a crime when it occurred. In embarassment, he has to refile a new charge, in which the allegation is based on a document that he doesn't have. Then, the final act in this farce, he selects a judge who gave money to
At a news conference afterwards, Ronny Earle says that if a judge gives money to Crimestoppers, he would not be expected to recuse himself from a burglary case. True, but a burglar is in an illegal activity. So far, at least, being a Republican is not yet illegal. A better example, would be a judge who is going to try a member of the Black Panther party, and the judge had recently donated to the KKK. You can see where the defendant may not think that the judge will be impartial.
I am amazed at how stupid Ronny Earle is in this matter. He has all of the wit and intelligence of a bulldog, undeterred by a smarter enemy, he forges ahead, undaunted by the facts or the evidence, never mind the perception. Tom Delay is going to win this, and in the long term, make every Democratic accusation of criminal behavior look like naked partisanship whether valid or not.
If I was Ronny Earle, I would have just gone after the two minions of Delay, and left him alone until I could get a coerced agreement to have one of the defendants testify against him. Even that is problematic, since a turncoat is rarely trusted by anyone.
Having opened the door to criminalizing political conduct, I wonder if Ms. Pirro will now indict Sen. Schumer for violations of the federal credit act. Maybe not, maybe the Republicans will act like adults, even while the Democrats don't.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Iraqi vote

I started looking for coverage of the Iraqi vote starting Friday night, and after the football games. There was really very little about what is one of the most historic actions in the Middle East. Perhaps if there had been more car bombs or beheadings, then it would have warranted more coverage.
In a country that just three years ago had a policy to reward children who rat out their parents for less than patriotic feelings, it is incredible that a people who had been so successfully cowed for so long, are actually taking part in deciding their country's future.
I will admit, that there was a period of time lately, when I was beginning to wonder if we would actually see this through. I lnow that Bush's popularity drops will cause many politicians to reconsider what we are doing there, but I also believe that Bush is more likely to stick it through to the end.
If almost 2000 deaths are to mean anything, we need to finish the job.
God bless the Iraqi people.

Howard Dean vs. Letterman

I haven't seen this anywhere else, and because it was right before I went to sleep, it may have been a dream. But last Wednesday night, Howard Dean was on the Late Show with David Letterman. I asn't all that excited, but my wife (the good Democrat) was excited to see the leader of her party.
The amusing thing about the interview, was that Dave (whose humor I usually find sophmoric.) did not do a softball interiew. When Dean started going on about how evil Republicans were, and the "culture of corrouption" Dave told him "It sounds like you are just spouting slogans, what are the Democrats going to do?" Dean seemed at a loss that anyone in the entertainment industry would actually not agree with him immediately.
The funniest part of the interview though, was when Dean was going on about Tom Delay, Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, Frist, and Dave asked him "But there are Democrats who have broken the law too, are you going to go after them?" And there was this long pregnant pause that became very uncomfortable. You could imagine Howard Dean asking himself why he went on that show.

Denny replies!!

After my post about my letter to Denny, I had given up on hearing from him. Which kind of surprised me, that our elected representatives would be dismissive about a constituent's concerns.
Here is Denny's reply:
Thanks so much for communicating to me your thoughts and concerns about
runaway government spending. I have to admit, you're absolutely right
about the need for fiscal sanity, and especially about reasserting
fiscal responsibility as one of the "watchwords for the Republican Party" as
you rightly put it.

While it's easy to lose sight of this important principle, especially
after a pair of expensive natural disasters, I think you'll agree that
we can pay for the huge cost of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita by trimming
our bloated government. As a member of the fiscally-conservative
Republican Study Committee, I'm working with House leadership to help craft a
plan that would offset disaster spending, as well as increase
reductions in mandatory spending from $35 billion to at least $50 billion and
eliminate duplicative, wasteful and unnecessary programs. It's something
Ronald Reagan told us twenty years ago that still rings true today,
when he called for "returning to the people and to state and local
governments responsibilities better handled by them."

While Katrina and Rita have certainly made many sit up and take notice
of runaway government spending, I have been beating the spending
reduction drum since being elected to Congress. I have pressed the House of
Representatives to adopt spending reductions until we get a handle on
our deficit. In your letter you mention "rain forest museums in Iowa" and
"bridges in Alaska" as evidence of the need to develop a set of
spending priorities for our nation. You'll be pleased to know that I not only
agree with your premise, but I've put it into action. I have joined a
group of fiscally conservative colleagues in an effort to persuade House
GOP leadership to agree to a moratorium on all non-defense related
spending "earmarks" for the coming fiscal year in order to give us the
opportunity to get our spending priorities straight. Additionally, as a
co-sponsor of the Family Budget Protection Act, I'm fighting to decrease
the limit on the public debt by $2 trillion. This legislation is
important because it also establishes a reserve fund for emergencies, while at
the same time setting up a commission to eliminate waste, fraud, and

However, I can tell you, reducing spending is no easy task as there are
many in Washington who believe we aren't spending enough taxpayer
money. For example, a few of us in the House had to work overtime to defeat
several alternative budget proposals that would have increased spending
in 2006 alone by $78 billion, hiked taxes by almost $70 billion and, on
top of that, would have eliminated over $17 billion in spending
reductions. As you can see, fiscal conservatives not only have to push
initiatives to reduce deficits but we also have to ward off dramatic increases
in spending and taxes.

These, then, are a few of my thoughts about bringing fiscal sanity back
to the federal spending process. Thanks again for contacting me. Keep
in touch.

I had previously received a phone call from one of his assistants,and asked him to send Denny's reply in writing so that I could add it to the blog. During the phone call, his rep told me that the problem was that there are too many Democrats and liberal Republicans who were unwilling to constrain spending. That is just so much Bu**. In the House particularly, the majority can exercise its will with less impediment than in the Senate. Plus, I am tired of hearing excuses. When I was in the Army, the phrase was "When in charge, take charge." The Republicans are in charge, and they need to do something about out of control federal spending. If I wanted to have someone buy my vote, I would just vote Democratic. But because I see an obligation to my children, and protecting my country, I am not going to go with strict self interest.
I pointed out to the caller that Denny had to be moving up the ranks in seniority, and thus, should be able to influence the leadership more. He told me that Denny has only been in office for 6 years. True, with the incumbent protection act, otherwise known as campaign reform, he is not the most senior. However, One man with courage makes a majority. I am looking for the courageous majority to be elected.

This is scary!

What can you say, when your professional capabilities are not in question, but your commitment to "social diversity" and "tolerance" will prevent you from getting an education or necessary certification?
It is always interesting when one group decides to apply the reprehensible tactics of their opponents and justify their use, "because we are good, but they are bad." McCarthy and facisim are bad, but the use of PDEs are good.
I guess that I would be considered intolerant of Nazis, racists and murdering thugs. But because I indiscriminatly lump all people who are racists and murdering thugs together, instead of just the politically correct ones, I am intolerant according to this view.
I can live with that. The question is, can they live with their conscience?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

On turning 50

I have been lax in posting, because of the demands of my real life. My profession seems to be of the sort that has peaks and valleys of work. When I am busy, I am really busy, and my clients deserve all of my attention. When I am slow, I get a chance to think, which is something that is really important. I cannot imagine what life would be like if every day I showed up to hang the same left hand door on the same car in the same way every damned day. Talk about stultifying.
Today, I am 50. I have lived nearly 0.25% of all the time since the birth of Christ. I have been to several county fairs, a fair share of rodeos, 27 countries and one war. I have raised three wonderful children, and buried one wife, divorced another and am married to a woman who has that primary quality that I seek: she puts up with me.
As a former soldier, my needs are simple. So long as I am warm, dry, well fed and not being shot at, my life is really good, and everything else is gravy. I sometimes wonder about those people who are constantly unhappy. What is the purpose of life, if everything sucks?
Being half a century kind of focuses the mind on your own mortality. When you are young, you are invincible. You are wrong of course, and it is only the experience of attending funerals which begins to make you aware that you are mortal.
Another aspect of being older, is that you appreciate being alone, well at least I do. As a criminal defense attorney, I operate alone. Just me and the client against the awesome power of the State, as represented by the guy with the gun and the badge, and the morally perfect prosecutor. I enjoy the battle, because when I win, the victory is mine alone. But when I lose, the failure is also mine alone. I like to ride motorcycles for the same reason. I am alone, all of the choices are mine, and the results are mine, even if they involve a head on with a logging truck.
I guess that what I am getting to is that question: Am I a member of the body politic, or am I an individual who has an interest in politics? Are we as individuals part of a greater whole, or stand alone entities that come together when we choose for our benefit?
I am now officially old, and the truth is, that I don't know the answers anymore. Hell, I am not even sure that I know any of the questions anymore.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

She still doesn't get it.

Mary Mapes, the producer for the Bush National Guard "Fake but Accurate" story is coming out with a book that blames conservative bloggers. She claims that within minutes of the story airing, that the bloggers were on the attack. For such a smart person, how can she be so dumb? The story was hyped for weeks before it was aired. Then too, there is a difference in time zones as to when the show was aired. Her "minutes after" was actually two hours after it was shown on the East coast.
Not once does she address the fundamental problems with the story, the formatting, typeset, source or anything else.
It is wierd to watch people wallow in self pity on a national stage.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Why we need new candidates for public office.

As noted below, I am attempting to recruit Dave Budge to run against Denny Rehberg in the primary this year. No, this is not just because Denny has refused to answer my plea to him to rein in spending. Rather, it is because the politicians at the national level, but especially the Republican leadership in the Congress have disowned the most basic tenets of limited government and fiscal restraint.
I suppose that he could be run on a Libertarian ticket, but let's face it, most Libertarians are not going to support a failed cause. No, the trick here is to return the Republican party to its true roots.
I know Tracy Velazquez who is running on the Democratic ticket to unseat Burns has promoted the same concepts. I would support her, but I am afraid that the pressures of the Democratic party leadership would compel her to go along. Think Marjorie M. Margolis, what you don't remember her? She was the freshman congresswoman who voted in favor of the tax increase of 1993, and lost her seat immediately thereafter. A lesson that career politicians never fail to note.
The other problem that I have is with the Democratic party's idea that wealth equaliztion is such an important issue. My issue with the wealth inequality is, suppose tomorrow that we could equalize everyone's wealth to the exact same level. Within in a week, someone would have more, and some would have less due to hard work, luck, sloth, whatever. So, a week later what do we do? Do we re-equalize them again? And if we do, do we reward failure or sloth? Wealth redistribution will never work, and that is why I cannot be in support of a Democrat.
No, what we need are candidates who are willing to serve if elected, and happy to go back to their lives if not. We need people willing to set and enforce priorities for spending, and not just try to buy their own reelection. Men and women who recognize that we are in trouble now, and need drastic measures that will create a lot of pain. Unpleasant, yes, but very, very real. While at the same time, it is doable.
We also need to send a message throughout the blogosphere that more such candidates are needed. If enough responsible citizens stand up and reclaim politics for the people and not for the politicans, we may come closer to utopia.
The time is now, the need is here. Dave Budge for Congress.

Update apparently, the Republican party leadership is not so happy with anyone challenging orthodoxy as seen here.

Time to Revive the Revolution

After receiving no word from my Congressional representatives on my urging them to cut out the pork, I am thoroughly disgusted with them all. I know that they are against offering up any projects because they are "necessary." Yeah right, like a parking garage in Bozeman is going to determine the future of Western civilization.
It is time to look for new people who, even if they lose, will force the incumbents to get off being stuck on stupid.
I am looking for a strong fiscal conservative who will run against Denny on the primary ballot. I want someone who will say that we have a responsibility to bring our fiscal house into order, and nice to have projects like bike paths, rain forest museums and bridges to nowhere will have to wait.
I think that I will nominate Dave Budge (Sorry Dave, but it's like not attending the meeting that names someone for a good cause. You have to attend to decline). Dave has the right attitutde about this sort of things, and is thoughtful, intelligent, and adept with dealing with idiots (Larry the Environmental Deranger), so he should do fine in Congress.
Let's all go to Dave's place and tell him he needs to run.

UPDATE Okay, Dave is being reluctant, which is to be expected by anyone who has a real life. But Dammit people, we are taking about civic responsibility here. We have a need for citizen legislators not professional politiicians. I am willing to pledge $500 to his filing fee. Anyone else want to help?? Your future is at stake here.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Why Miers?

I was surprised by the pick of Harriet Miers to take O'Conner's seat, but after watching the reaction from the Left and Right, I have developed a theory.
Suppose Bush wants a quick confirmation, he goes with someone that Harry Ried and others are willing to accept. No fuss, no muss, and his bud who is the White House Counsel gets rewarded for years of diligent service.
Now, suppose that the Democrats decided to object to her. A certain amount is to be expected, because they are playing to their base. But if anything comes up to call the confirmation into question, Bush digs in, ala Bolton, Rogers-Brown and Owen. Then, because of lack of support on the Right, and opposition on the Left, Miers withdraws, and Bush goes with a Luttig.
He can offer that he has made an effort at consensus and was rejected. Therefore, screw you, here comes the hard core.
Okay, maybe too complicated, but that is what I have to do for a living, think about what else it could be.

Plame affair revisited

Excellent analysis of the whole Plame kerfluffle that raises some interesting questions. I am interested in finding out what Fitzgerald is going after, since the commonly held theories don't make any sense.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Ethics and Politics

This article from National Review is rather revealing. Apparently, after 5 failed attempts with other grand juries, the persecutor, I mean prosecutor has finally gotten his ham sandwich. Looking at just the indictment, there is not a case there for conspiracy. So, why proceed? Because he knows that most people cannot sort out the difference between indictment and conviction.
Although much has been made of his bi-partisan indictments by including Democrats, that may not be as helpful as it is made out. Apparrently, the only Democrats that he has persued are his own political enemies.
If this was just about good government, which it is not, why not also indict the Democratic Party of Texas for engaging in exactly the same behavior? The really curious thing to me, is that this persecutor has shaken down thte supposed corporate groups who gave money and forced them to give money to his pet project in Stanford, which is run by a close friend.
If Democrats were really serious about good government, they would be all over Cong. William Jefferson of Louisiana, and even Nancy Pelosi herself, for the actions of her suboridinates. I know her defense (and it is a credible one) is that she never knew. Heck, she doesn't know much period.
No, this just reinforces that this is nothing more than politics as usual. I just know how all of the Democrats who are gloating right now will be rushing to the microphones to say that they believed in the presumption of innocence when the case against Delay is dismissed. Yeah, right.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

E Ring

Okay, I am not qualified to be a TV critic. Wait a minute, almost everything sucks, so maybe I am qualified. However, I watched the E Ring expecting it to be another Hollywood botchup of the military. Instead, it was pretty good for TV. You have to know about the military today to really understand that what they are doing is pretty accurate, although the faux sexual tension is unnecessary. I did enjoy watching the Green Berets doing an Aussie rappel down the face of a building while shooting the terrorists. There is something really exciting about running face down a building toward the ground while shooting.
Shoot makes me want take up the standard again, although the Army officer in charge of bringing back retirees says that I will be going right after the women and children.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A letter to Denny

There has arisen a large number of people who are looking to Congress to recommend cuts in programs in order to finance the reconstruction of the Katrina damaged areas and the War on Terrorism. I sent the following to Denny Rehberg:
Dear Congressman Rehberg. I am writing to ask that you support the rollback of expenditures that are not immediately necessary, in order to provide the funds for the reconstruction of the Gulf States, and to further support the War on Terror.
I realize that it is going to be hard, but there are other congressmen out there who are willing to pony up some projects. Your future opponent has volunteered the parking garage in Bozeman, and should you decide not to support cutting these programs, I will begin to serioulsly consider her candidacy.
We need to put a stop to rain forest museums in Iowa, and bridges in Alaska that will save commuters $6 until such time as we can afford it. I encourage you to take the lead in devising a list of priorities that would list what we must spend in accordance with the law, what we want to spend to support the highest national priorities, and what we do not need now, but could be supported later.
Fiscal responsibility has always been one of the watchwords for the Republican Party. I would hope that you would take the lead in reasserting this watchword, and restore fiscal sanity to our budget until such time as we can right our finances and reduce our debt.
I appreciate your taking the time to consider my opinion, and look forward to your response of what you would recommend for cuts.


I hope that I hear back from him. More of the same will be sent to Max and Conrad. We all need to start demanding that our elected representatives start to set priorities and limits. Right now, everything is a priority, and there are no limits.

Update One day later, and no response. Maybe more of us need to be saying the same thing. Something that I noticed about our Congressional delegation is that Max's office is the worst for getting help or even a response, and Conrad's is the best. Denny seems to be waiting to see which way the wind blows.

Update again. I guess that this will teach me for refusing to give money to politicians. Denny has completely blown me off. Zip. Zilch, Nada. No response, not even a I really care, but not really answer.

I am looking for a tough as nails candidate now to give money to who will work to remove all unncessary expenditures until we get this fiscal mess under control. Any suggestions?

Katrina, Truth and possible racism on my part.

I will admit that when I first heard the stories, or read them on line about rapes, murder and mayhem that was going on in New Orleans post Katrina, I did accept them unquestionably. In fact, I remember thinking at the time that there seems to be a very thin veneer of civilization for people when the situation becomes deperate.
Apparently, the news was too busy reporting rumors and innuendo to be bothered with actually doing any investigation. I am ashamed to admit that I thought that it was possible that what was reported was going on. I am even more ashamed to admit that once again I was taken in by the mass media. Fool me once...

Update As shown here, most everything that I heard about the terrible conditions has proven false. Now, where did I get my information? Did I get it from rumor mongers on the streets? Nope. How about e-mails from friends who were there? Nope. Got it all from the Main Stream Media. Boy do I feel dumb. What else have they gotten completely wrong? Oh yeah, Iraq.

Mary Mapes and bloggers

Mary Mapes, the producer for Dan Rather who did the segment on the Bush National Guard papers is eviscerated here. The funny thing is that she still doesn't get it. That bloggers are very rarely reporters, but they are excellent editors. Now, if only Mapes could get one good editor, she wouldn't have had the problem that she does regarding partisan behavior masquarading as "journalism."
Update Here it seems that Dan Rather still believes that the story is true. That it was only partisan bloggers who somehow managed to change the story to him. Talk about ego. Let's see. 1. I am Dan Rather, I am always right, 2. If you disagree with me you are wrong. 3. If you get away with it, then it is just partisanship. I am not partisan, see premise number 1.
It must be lovely in Dan's reality.

Another Update in which Dan Rather wants to continue to investigate the National Guard papers, but CBS won't let him. What is the term for watching someone slowly self destruct, yet wroking happily at their own demise? I forget.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

An Opinion from Someone Who is There.

While mere presence at an event does not necessarily give credence over those who are not there, this is an excellent piece by a Marine serving in Iraq, that makes many of the points that I have made before.
1. We cannot be defeated militarily.
2. The only way to lose this war is to concede to the terrorists.
3. The ability of Iraq to actually become something more than a terrorists state is way underreported.

Friday, September 23, 2005

A solution to the "Roberts" Problem

Many Democrats are now saying that they will not vote to confirm Judge Roberts, "because he hasn't answered all of our questions." This is disingenuous at best, or, stupid at worst. A judge cannot be asked to answer how they will rule on a matter that may come before them, since the lawyers for the side that the judge would rule against can claim bias and ask that the judge be recused. Although, who do you appeal to if a member of the Supreme Court won't recuse themselves?
My solution, is to take already settled cases, and ask the nominee if they agree or disagree with the holding of the majority and why? Some easy ones would be Roe, or Casey v. Planned Parenthood, and Kehoe. My favorite, particuarly in light of the author of the opinions, would be trying to reconcile the disparities in the University of Michigan cases. Why is it okay to admit the son of a black dentist over the daughter of a white sharecropper to the undergrad university, but improper to examine the race of an applicant to the law school? What is the basis for allowing discrimination for 25 more years, and what happens at the end of that time if there still is discrimination.

Scalia and Art

In a spech at Julliard, Scalia basically reiterated my point that the government does not censor, that which it does not want to pay. The idea that refusal to pay for certain crappy art is censorship, is to imply that every crappy artist has a right to government funding.
It is a curious world, that an avant garde artiste should become a government employee. If they are paid for more than the work of a GS-4, they are ripping us off.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Roberts Hearings

One of my many problems in my area of pracitce, are people who think that they are geniuses, even when they are not. Watching the Senate confirmation hearings just reinforces that truism. Sen. Kennedy has tried a few good set ups, but seems flustered when Roberts avoids his clever traps.
I think that Roberts is a damned good lawyer, and will make a good SC Chief Justice. I suppose that the Kennedys, Durbins, Schumers and Leahys will play to their base, and everyone will call themselves a winner.
Ain't politics grand?

Good News from Iraq

I have always read Chrenkoff's posts, but not linked to them. Now that he is leaving, it seems as though others will be taking up the slack. Damned good thing too. We need to be fully informed, not controlled by our media.

Monday, September 12, 2005

A discusion with Wulfgar

Wulfgar and I have been having a discussion over at Left in the West. I am realizing that it is taking up too much for Matt's site, so I have decided to move it here:
Earlier, in a response to Squid, Wulfgar said:

# Wulfgar Says:

Squid, don’t you find something inherantly dangerous about having a lame duck President … 3 years before he leaves office … in war time? For all your tough talk about respecting the military, stances like the one you profess here proves that you really hate the troops, only slightly less than you hate Democrats.
# Squid Says:
September 9th, 2005 at 6:03 pm

Hey, I’m just stating a fact. You democrats can’t nominate one decent candidate, so you leave us with absolutely no choice at all. I voted for Ross Perot and helped elect Clinton, so I damn sure wasn’t going to vote for either Gore or Kerry. I totally disagree with Bush and his spending habits, ala shades of the democratic party that they are, and his failure to address the border situation is a disaster. I do agree with his position on terrorism and had Gore or Kerry been elected we’d still be taking it in the shorts from the radicals of Islam who can smell the odor of pacifism even with their noses in the sand. Your statement that I hate the troops is asinine and deserves no response, but here’s mine anyway. The vast majority of those serving believe in their mission, in Iraq, and I support them. They’re all volunteers and as much as the democrats(politicos)say they support our troops, they’re secretly hoping for their failure for the political advantage they anticipate will follow. The American people are not stupid, even though the democrats treat them as if they are. They will reject your next candidate for the presidency unless a miracle happens to the democratic party platform. And as they say in Japan, at least when I was there, neva happen boysan. Neva happen with the likes of Howard Dean and his ilk in charge.
. . . .
Then Wulfgar said:

Squid, you completely avoid the accusation, which I mean with all seriousness. If you support a lame duck president against any accusation (which you did right in this very post) then youi support an incompetant leading our fighting men and women inthe field. Well done. You hate our soldiers, and the proof is right here.

# Squid Says:
September 10th, 2005 at 10:32 pm

Wulfgar, you are hopeless. You’re on the wrong side and know it and you attempt to transfer your negativity of the war effort to those who support it. I admit I support GWB’s policy against terrorism, but I’ll also admit that Bush doesn’t go far enough in bringing this Iraq campaign to a conclusion by utilizing what ever means it takes. This I attribute to his appeasment of the pacifists in both the republican and democratic parties. That being said, I will continue to believe that this country is far far better off with him at the helm instead of either Gore or Kerry or for that matter any of the other candidates that the democratic party has chosen to consider for the presidency.

I will not support accusations until they are proven to be justifiable. The bull**t the democrats throw up against the wall, time and time again, hoping upon hope that one or more might stick, have not been proven to be justifiable so why in the hell would I support them.

Lastly, George Bush is not leading our troops in the field. Others have that responsibilty and even if he was, I’d rather have him there instead of someone who requested and was awarded a Purple Heart for having rice fragments penetrate his rear end.
# Steve Says:
September 11th, 2005 at 9:27 pm

Wulfgar, you are starting to sound like Humpty Dumpty in Through the Looking Glass. By your logic, if you oppose Bush, and are encouraging the terrorists to blow up Americans soldiers, then you are supporting the troops.
As a former troop, I would prefer that you not help.
# Wulfgar Says:
September 12th, 2005 at 8:00 am

Then Wulfgar said:

Former troop or not, Steve, your preference is hardly of any concern to me. What is is your poor understanding of logic, as well as survival of our combat forces. My logic is very simple and very clear: an incompetant CIC, who behaves as a lame duck (acts based on his non-concern for re-election, which is exactly what Squid favored) will hurt our troops. Supporting an incompetant CIC is, therefore, clearly anti-troops. That a rah-rah jingoist like Squid doesn’t understand that doesn’t surprise me at all. You, on the other hand, by pulling specious arguments from your butt surprise me quite a bit.

In no argument I have ever given, nor any that has ever been proven does opposing Bush = encouraging terrorists to blow up American soldiers. And obviously, encouraging terrorists to blow up American soldiers != supporting the troops. So, your conclusion may be valid, if only one is goofy enough to believe the stupid premise you propose. Doesn’t it make much much more sense to posit that electing a competant CIC, who actually gives a crap in his final term in office, is a necessary condition for supporting the troops? Seems pretty clear to me. Why doesn’t it to you?
# Steve Says:
September 12th, 2005 at 3:26 pm

Wulfgar, I usually admire your reasoning, even if I do disagree, however, let me expand upon my premise.
The terrorists cannot win militarily, period. They are incapable of sustained military action that can drive us from the battlefield. Therefore, the only way that they can defeat us is to attack our will. In order to attack that, they exploit our communications systems, primarily television news. They make attacks that accomplish little militarily, but are designed to demoralize the American public. Those who succumb to the demoralization will bring pressure upon political leaders to end the war without a satisfactory military conclusion. Therefore, if you oppose the war, you are an instrument of the terrorists.
Now, let’s say that you in particular were to say “I oppose Bush, but the only way to end the war is to create a stable and freely democratic government that will allow us to withdraw when they have taken over their security.” This would prevent the terrorists from hoping that domestic opinion would be swayed and they would have to face the reality that they are not going to win.
I suppose that this will be considered rah-rah or jingoistic, but I don’t see an alternative. Since 1979 in Iran, ‘83 in Lebanon, ‘93 in Somalia, etc., we have presented the confusing image that we are unwilling to sustain a presence that is in our national interest. I am sure that there are many in the Middle East who have expected us to bug out a long time ago. However, we need to put a stop to that now, so that we won’t have to do this again. I know that you think Bush is incompetent, but I think that this could very well be the greatest geo-strategic move since the Monroe doctrine, and we couldn’t even enforce that at the time that it was enunciated.

September 12th, 2005 at 6:24 pm

The terrorists cannot win militarily, period.

Incorrect assumption, the first. They can win militarily if they can escalate the conflict beyond the reach of our resources or our resolve to commit immoral acts. We can win this thing today, by nuking the whole of Iraq. Is that winning? Are the bleeding and deseased remainders afforded the sweet sweet gravy of democracy? Or have we simply succeeded in destroying what Saddam could not? Yay us.

In the meantime, 1 billion muslims will watch our actions. Do you think we can win that war? Really?

Therefore, the only way that they can defeat us is to attack our will.

Incorrect assumption, the second. They can win by getting us to behave as immorally as they themselves do, or more immorally that the American people (who last I checked, still control our government) are willing to accept. They want to win, and are willing to kill every man, woman and child in Iraq (or elsewhere) to do that. We can win, if we’re willing to do the same (and impoverish our own while doing so). A victory of will? Putting oneself on the inevitable path of destruction, to claim a specious point? Excuse me? When was cutting off your nose to spite your face considered moral? When was sacrifising your children for your sense of (arrogant, prideful, the first sin) will an act of a “good people”?

They make attacks that accomplish little militarily, but are designed to demoralize the American public.

Incorrect assumption, the third. Which is more demoralizing, the thought that the media might show us bad stuff? Or the sure and certain knowledge that our own government, supposedly of, by and for the people, lied us into a war, and continues to do so until this very day? You can blame the Islamofascists for lying to us about their strength, but I will be far more horrified that my government did the same exact fricking thing. There was absolutely no reason, regarding national defense, that we invaded Iraq. None.

However, we need to put a stop to that now, so that we won’t have to do this again. I know that you think Bush is incompetent, but I think that this could very well be the greatest geo-strategic move since the Monroe doctrine

I would likely agree with you … if this had been performed even modestly honestly or competantly. It wasn’t. Our greatest threat in the ME remains Saudi Arabia … period.

And you still haven’t proven what you claim to be true …
that claiming that the CIC is incompetant is a support for the terrorists. It isn’t. For your argument to work, you must be able to show this, clearly. You can’t. Claiming that we have an incompetant CIC is quite obviously *NOT* a support for terrorists. It’s a statement of opinion (in my mind, fact). It doesn’t provide any foundation, at all, for your further argument that iopposition to Bush = encouragement of terrorists. None. Notta. Zip.

A question: When you swear alligience, do you swear to a king, or a flag and a country for which it stands? Just askin’? ‘Cause if you posit that discent against the CIC is anti-American, we might as well have a fricking king. Get it, yet?

Okay, maybe I should start with the beginning.

When Wulfgar said "Squid, don’t you find something inherantly dangerous about having a lame duck President … 3 years before he leaves office … in war time? For all your tough talk about respecting the military, stances like the one you profess here proves that you really hate the troops, only slightly less than you hate Democrats."

It raises concerns on many levels. 1. Does any lame duck president escape this charge? If so, why? 2. The comment that Squid proves his hatred for the troops would be objectionable because it assumes facts not in evidence, is inflamatory, and generally unworthy of response. 3. Maybe Squid just disagrees with Democrats, does that actually mean he hates them? I don't know Squid, but I would be willing to wager a cup of coffee that Wulfgar doesn't either.

When Wulfgar said in response to Squid: "Squid, you completely avoid the accusation, which I mean with all seriousness. If you support a lame duck president against any accusation (which you did right in this very post) then youi support an incompetant leading our fighting men and women inthe field. Well done. You hate our soldiers, and the proof is right here."

I renew mhy objections above. But, as to his accusation that Bush is incompetent, I know that it is considered an article of faith that Bush is incompetent among the so called intelligentsia and Democrats in general. However, to test a theory, you don't look to prove your theory, you look to disprove it. I would offer as evidence to disprove it, that Bush has pretty well gotten everything that he has said that he wanted with the exception of Social Security reform, and contrary to some opinions, I don't think that is is dead yet. As to the proof being "right there" I must be too obtuse to see anything but an assertion, without supporting facts.

When Wulfgar said: "Supporting an incompetant CIC is, therefore, clearly anti-troops. That a rah-rah jingoist like Squid doesn’t understand that doesn’t surprise me at all. You, on the other hand, by pulling specious arguments from your butt surprise me quite a bit." Okay, taking this one at a time. First, the assertion that Bush is incompetent, is just that, and as noted above open for dispute. So, if Wulfgar's assertion is found to be false, is not the rest false as well? Second, I repeat that making an assertion is not a fact. If the argument is specious, how so specifically? Is it because I disagree with you that I make specious arguments? Usually Wulfgar is above that, except when he becomes angry.

Then we get to the fun stuff. In response to my clarification, which needed to be done, Wulfgar set out to dissect my argumnet, which is fair, since I am doing the same.

The terrorists cannot win militarily, period.

Incorrect assumption, the first. They can win militarily if they can escalate the conflict beyond the reach of our resources or our resolve to commit immoral acts. We can win this thing today, by nuking the whole of Iraq. Is that winning? Are the bleeding and deseased remainders afforded the sweet sweet gravy of democracy? Or have we simply succeeded in destroying what Saddam could not? Yay us.

Okay, Wulfgar says that I am wrong that the terrorists cannot win militarily, because they can escalate the conflict beyong the reach of our resources. I suppose he means that they are going to be bringing in 10-20 armored divisions, plus a few thousand Migs and Sukhois. Ain't gonna happen. They don't exist. In fact, when Bush declared "Mission Accomplished" he was technically correct. There were no organized enemy units above the platoon level. There was no functioning chain of command that could coordinate the attacks nor were there any organized supply and support structures available to draw resources like replacements or supplies. Now, after April 2003, the enemy changed, but it wasn't the one we went into in March of that year, they were gone.
As to us committing immoral acts, I disagree that there is any organized policy to commit immoral acts. In fact, there have been prosecutions of our soldiers for violating the rules of war. Not to say that they don't exist, but that is also not to say that they are condoned, much less encouraged. As to the only way to win being nukes, I disagree, as I have said before about the utility of nukes. So in review, my statement that the terrorists cannot drive us from the battlefield still stands. One down.

Second Wulfgar said: Incorrect assumption, the second. They can win by getting us to behave as immorally as they themselves do, or more immorally that the American people (who last I checked, still control our government) are willing to accept. They want to win, and are willing to kill every man, woman and child in Iraq (or elsewhere) to do that. We can win, if we’re willing to do the same (and impoverish our own while doing so). A victory of will? Putting oneself on the inevitable path of destruction, to claim a specious point?

So, I think that Wulfgar leaps here to the idea that we will act as immorally as the terrorists. I guess then, he agrees with the idea that as long as we do not act immorally then we will win. Well, I am in agreement with that. He says that we can win if we kill every man woman and child just like the terrorists do, thereby consigning us to the level of the terrorists. I am sure that this is just anger, and do not believe that anyone (rational) believes that we are the same as the terrorists. Here is an alternate version of victory that differs from his: We establish a functioning Iraqi democratic government that uses its own security apparatus, and relies on the intelligence gleaned from their fellow citizens who are not afraid of the terrorists, nor willing to tolerate them, and their attacks on innocents. Again with the specious points. I am beginning to wonder if that is just a macro. Oh well, two down.

Next: They make attacks that accomplish little militarily, but are designed to demoralize the American public.

Incorrect assumption, the third. Which is more demoralizing, the thought that the media might show us bad stuff? Or the sure and certain knowledge that our own government, supposedly of, by and for the people, lied us into a war, and continues to do so until this very day? You can blame the Islamofascists for lying to us about their strength, but I will be far more horrified that my government did the same exact fricking thing. There was absolutely no reason, regarding national defense, that we invaded Iraq. None.

Okay, let's take this one step at a time. It's not that the tv shows us bad stuff, it is the context. Are 30 new hospitals, 200 new schools, clean water, worth a suicide bomber that kills children? Apparently not. It is only in the lack of perspective that the media fails us. It's not their fault. If it bleeds it leads always sells more commecials than real progress. As to the "Lied us into war," we have already had that discussion. here. I realize I may be unique, but I still believe that there is a difference between a lie and a mistake. As to the reason regarding national defense, I think that it shows a failure of imagination. I wrote about that here. In fact, I would argue that Wulfgar's argument reinforces my original one that we can only be defeated by ourselves.

Lastly, (I know, you are thinking thank God) he said "And you still haven’t proven what you claim to be true …
that claiming that the CIC is incompetant is a support for the terrorists. It isn’t.
For your argument to work, you must be able to show this, clearly. You can’t. Claiming that we have an incompetant CIC is quite obviously *NOT* a support for terrorists. It’s a statement of opinion (in my mind, fact). It doesn’t provide any foundation, at all, for your further argument that iopposition to Bush = encouragement of terrorists. None. Notta. Zip.

A question: When you swear alligience, do you swear to a king, or a flag and a country for which it stands? Just askin’? ‘Cause if you posit that discent against the CIC is anti-American, we might as well have a fricking king. Get it, yet?"

Well, it's getting late so I may just skim this argument, although I should admit that Wulfgar deserves full and serious consideration. My assertion is that the terrorists have hope that they can persuade us to throw in the towel. Attacking the President is as American as apple pie, or chop suey for that matter. But if you attack the President, whether Bush or Clinton or whoever, you have to acknowledge that our enemies also attack the President, and you need to seperate yourself from them. How do you do this. Ah, there's the rub isn't it. It requires a deft and intelligent approach that is difficult, as it should be. Otherwise, you start to sound like the country's enemies.

And, when I swore all of my oaths, they were to the Constitution of the United States and the lawful orders of the President, and the officers appointed over me. During our military law classes, we are taught that it is illegal to obey an illegal order, but you better be right, becuase if you aren't you will pay the price.

I look forward to Wulfgar's response.