Monday, May 29, 2006

On Memorial Day

This is a good article by a Marine Reservist who has served in Iraq. But it has brought to my mind a question that I hardly dared to ask before: Are we worthy of the people who are serving in our military? Or are we like the children who benefit from trust funds established by those who have sacrificed for our improvement, and fail to appreciate what has been done for us?

Too often, people regard those who serve as economic victims, people who had no choice to escape poverty but to go and fight and die in order to escape our malicious economy. Such tripe is disgusting to me. The reasons that people join the military, like all human decisions are complex and complicated. To reduce them to one simplistic reason is an insult to mature, independent human beings who see more to life than simply providing food for their table.

There is one thing that I do not agree with in this article. When the author says:
If we can put 2003's debates behind us, there is a swath of common ground on which to focus. Both Republicans and Democrats agree we cannot lose Iraq. The general insurgency in Iraq imperils our national interest and the hardcore insurgents are our mortal enemies. Talking of troop reductions is to lose sight of the goal.

I am not so sure that all sides agree that we cannot lose. When I think of Rep. Murtha, and most of the senior Democratic Party leadership, I do not hear that we need to complete the job we set out to do. Instead, I hear calls that our efforts there are futile and pointless, and that we should immediately "redeploy" (otherwise known as run away) and turn Iraq over to the insurgents. Evidence of this attitude is best described by those who point out that President Bush's handling of the war will lead to a Democratic majority.

I am not saying that the Democratic Party is more interested in helping the insurgents to win. But it is more interested in attaining their return to majority status and if the insurgents win, then so be it. This would not be the first time that one party has placed its priorities over that of the national interests, but it is still disgusting nevertheless.

The sad thing though, is that the Republicans are trying to do just the same thing in many belated ways. The unpopularity of the war is leading them to abandon their party's leader in their own self interest of being re-elected.

If you look at the conduct of the war without a prism of ideology, you see that we are on the whole largely successful in Iraq. Bush was right when he landed on the aircraft carrier and declared "Mission Accomplished." That is, it was true that organized units were no longer in existance. The problem is that the enemy changed on us, and we failed to realize it in time.

Where the enemy has been spectacuarly successful is in the manipulation of public opinion. The constant barrage of car bombs and IEDs has accomplished little of military value. They are unable to use these tactics to destroy their opponents, nor seize key terrain. The real target of these tactics are the television cameras that will rebroadcast the images to those of us sitting here safely at home. And their tactics are working, as evidenced by the drop in support for our actions in Iraq.

So, while the finest people that our country produces are striving to actually change a country, and through that metamorphosis the region, we here at home have let them down by failing to recognize that Bush was correct when he said that this would be a long hard war.

Kinda makes me wonder.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Scientists and Global Warming

In the above article, they have actually done a pretty good job discussing the ambiguities with global warming. The problem with the discussion is that it relies on the consensus of scientists. As someone very smart once said. Consensus is not science, and science is not consensus.
My problem with the scientists who rely on computer models, is that from my experience, you can make the models say anything by tinkering with the assumptions, and the weight given to the variables. For instance, if you increase the amount of heat, and assume that will result in more moisture being pushed into the air, you get more clouds, which serve to reflect sunlight back into space, and can actually lead to global cooling. So, which is correct? Darned if I know. But until they can tell me with 95% accuracy what the weather will be like in two weeks, why should I believe them when they say it will be warmer in 100 years?
Part of the problem is that science is being mixed in with politics. The same people who say that Creationism shouldn't be taught in schools are saying that Kyoto is the only way to save the planet. Just one problem though, Kyoto does nothing to reduce emissions of CO2. It just transfers it to Russia, China and India.
I did find it interesting that the scientists were complaining that the argument was taking on a legal nature, in that they were arguing like lawyers. Too true it seems. The problem is that as a lawyer, I have to argue for my side by maiximizing the positive side of my argument, and minimizing the negative, and hope that the jury can sort out what the truth is. Scientists are supposed to be open to the idea that they might be wrong. The way this argument is shaping up, neither side is willing to admit that they may be wrong, all to the detriment of real science.
Too bad.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

More Lies Exposed

In the article linked to above, the writer puts in a more cogent and coherent form what I have argued for before. Somehow, myths become more important than facts, especially by those who claim to be "speaking truth to power." How they can use this cliche with a straight face is beyond me.
Doesn't anyone get angry at being manipulated anymore?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

On the Real ID and voting business

Amusing article, especially since it is published in a Canadian newspaper.
Kind of reminded me of the sign I saw during a recent immigration march: "We're here, we're illegal and we vote!"