Monday, October 30, 2006

Over intellectualizing, and steadfastness

In wars, physical combat, one can win buy killing the enemy and reconstructing their society in the way victors do. In the USA’s case, we have only done this after being physically attacked, as in WWII. And then we imposed ourselves on the defeated. What a good deal for the western defeated, it turned out to be. The alternative eastern Russian rape of the German land is the obvious least preferred alternative.

Now we are in another war for our survival, in my opinion. As in WWII, we were attacked. I thought what we were gonna do was obvious, but now I am not so sure.

The attack on the USA with about 3,000 deaths of innocent people at work seems to be a sideshow for many of my fellow citizens. I add in the billions of dollars damage to our economy and wonder what is forgotten or assumed? Am I missing something?

When I joined the Marines it was rough and tumble. It still is, but today it better reflects our kids schooling, and is more intellectualized. It is easier to mess with a persons mind than their body. In all cases, the Marines hone their minds and bodies.

But can we be too smart for our own good? Can we be educated fools?

The answer is yes.

Let me define steadfastness. It, in my Marine term, simply means being able to calmly aim in and pull the trigger of my rifle. Being smart or dumb is not a factor. Accomplishing the mission is paramount. This is steadfast for a Marine.

So the friction comes in with the State Department. If this group is not a cabal of over educated people, no organization is. There are books written about this, to include the Small Wars Manual of 1940. My friction today with the State Department is the apparent intuitional loyalty to itself compared to whoever the people elected.

So what do the people want?
Going forward to the future

I have deliberately stayed out of writing on the mid term elections for 2006. Many can express themselves better than me, especially when encouraging get out the vote for my conservative allies. In the end I will accept any results because I am a good citizen who supports the “system”. Only time will tell.

Our country has a future. We citizens can define it. I don’t think politicians we elect at all levels can define it. Only we citizens can define our future.

There is a good argument that our republic will fail because we citizens can vote for redistribution of wealth from the rich people to us poor people. The majority rules idea will bring us down in this idea. Along this path of ideas is one that demonizes the old fashioned American way of hard work and sacrifice equals money for families and progeny and egos.

We are not too shabby! The third world friction with our consumption social habits are well publicized by our media, who of course live in our social habits. I don’t know of any who have gone overseas to another world to live and report from. What hypocrisy and megalomania! I would dredge up the media except all poll type stuff already shows we peoples’ low esteem for those who work in this industry.

So on to the future. Our country has problems, as always. One is the invasion/sneek in immigration by those who seek our system and benefits. Many are from south of the border, but those who read will recognize the other big source is Asia. The other problem I call complacency by our newest voting citizens. Many think our way of life is forever. History is replete with such examples.

We have enemies, believe it or not. Many of my fellow citizens just cannot believe there are peoples who hate our system and peoples enough to attack us and try kill us, and our system.

On this point I react. I have children and progeny to protect, right or wrong. And I think I am correct about my defense of my progeny. What is wrong with our system I choose to fix from within as opposed to letting our enemies decide. For example, my objection to all the Hollywood liberalism is a boycott of most of the movies these people make. I only get one political vote, but my DVD pocket book vote can be many times, and does.

So until the immigration trend becomes away from the USA, I think we, and our future is special. I can try define it, but the immigration trends say it better. There is something special going on in the USA. My guess, by the way, is a devotion to a constitution and not an individual.
This is unique in our country because we live it.

Our future is hopeful. It is worth fighting for.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Prehistory…a perfect subject for conjecture, those that read one or two books, and politicians who can claim about anything

By definition, prehistory is about things that were before we wrote things down, or if we did, it is long lost over time.

The main idea of those pursuing prehistory is that they are trying to “connect the dots” of all the limited archaeology work today. Knowing what I know today, prehistory is a job for those drawing a retirement and have the time. For a young college person pursuing an academic career, there may be better choices, especially because funding is always short. Or, to make a living, one must toe the line and play up to sponsors.

And then there is the cultural disdain of “professional” archeologists from colleges towards those “amateurs”. This disdain is a two-way street, but tie goes to the college types. Whether it is resistance to competition or simple pursuit of a rigorous scientific process is up for grabs in my mind.

So why try?

Pursuing the truth, or history, is a big deal!

Trying to connect the dots is difficult, but few are doing it these days.

Those that read one or two books, and then promote what they read, are distracters.

Those that read a lot, to include internet links, are better resources than the alternatives.

Sorting all this out and connecting the dots seems like a Sherlock Holmes novel. There are many clues, but who can pick up on them and make sense of it all is difficult.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Who’s in charge of the democratic party?

I wish I knew, but here’s my guess. I think the former president Clinton is still driving the democratic train. If I am correct, then the worst part of Arkansas politics is still having its effect in D.C. This is just as it was during his time as the President. This includes focus group government and media rapid response work.

And I still do not know what their principles are. The agenda has changed at least seven times in the last year. This is an inherent defect in this type of governance.

And why are democrats tolerating people such as him (and there are others). They have bigger fish to fry. If it is money, then they should go on another path and see what happens. It may surprise them.

For those that remember, the biggest tax increase in history occurred in 1993 just after Clinton became the president on a lowering taxes promise. Then we (us citizens) learned by press releases that he had “discovered” how bad things were, and only tax increases would solve the problem he announced. The vote came down to Al Gore voting to break the tie in the Senate, and along the way most of what I read was Clinton’s sales pitch to the voters in the democratically controlled Senate. The sales pitch as I read it had nothing to do with our country; it was about how bad he would look if the vote were lost. Well, I guess it worked, and then and there I knew the old fashioned democratic party had been taken over by a person who could and would use the party for his personal objectives/ego.

Arkansas politics continued in D.C. under Clinton. National politics descended to low levels. When Bush came in, he promised change in the tone, but he has failed. In spite of his golden rule approach, he has been rebuked and stained enough to get my attention. I have almost given up hope for “the old days” of honest debate and conflicting points of view reported as same. In my selfish way, I had two reasonable alternatives back then.

Let me make it seem worse, before it gets better.

It appears that after the 2004 election of the President, all of the House, and 1/3 of the Senate, things might settle down to just doing “the people’s business”. Then I read that the democrats had changed their strategy leading to 2006 by not cooperating, and even more, being totally anti-Bush. If he says A, they say B. That hate is not a policy is obvious to me, but maybe not to others. And this is from one who has a visceral disrespect of Clinton, and can believe others have the same feelings towards Bush.

Let me make it seem better. Clinton is six years out of office and direct national power, and on the way out. That his wife still is in the game, extends his influence only so far. They and Arkansas politics have had their heyday, and are on the way out. After all, we Americans are more reasonable and golden rule oriented. I believe that also applies to most good people in Arkansas.

So if you can get through the democratic political ads today, what are their principles today? I don’t know, myself. I am beginning to think that former democratic senator Zell Miller’s book about “A National Party No More” is mostly on the mark.

History does prove that nations and parties can “become part of history”. It is possible to “screw it up”; that is abuse what we have been born to and ultimately lead to our demise. And whole groups of voters can switch in mass. How the federal government would respond to the natural disaster of the Mississippi River flood of 1927 is just such an example.

The democratic party I knew in the old days is alive and well, albeit in small areas. There are many “centrist” democrats still politically alive and well. They can be the genesis for the future of their party and maybe our country, I hope. Again I am selfish in expecting two reasonable alternatives to vote on.

You know, there was a reformation in europe centuries ago that, in my mind, was both a rejection of what was happening, and also a path forward.

I think we may be at the same kind of crossroads today. Who knows.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Hindsight…and maybe a way out

This article is about Iraq.

I have eaten a lot of crow with my relatives and some friends. I confidently told them back in 2003 that we, our D.C. types, were smart enough to know and implement winning the peace was key. And they listened to me. Winning the war was an intermediate step. The strategic goal evolved to be western democracy in Iraq to be the beginning of an ink blot spreading idea throughout the Arab world that would take decades, but by golly, we had to start somewhere. Winning the peace was key. That the goal had evolved set me off, some, as in nervous with a low hover.

Before I go forward, let me say I have an agenda. First, for lack of knowing what to do, I do what I know. Second I am a retired Marine, and this Marine Corps’ institution, along with the Navy, have some historical experience in winning the peace, or at least setting up the means to try win the peace. We can do what we know. Mostly that means listening to the people we are trying to subjugate for all the right reasons.

Next is hindsight. Right after we won militarily in Iraq, I listened to occupation friction on Fox News (that was all I watched and listened to back then). The friction between DOD (Department of Defense) and SD (State Department) popped up right away in the dispute about who would “win the peace”, although it was never expressed in this term. My antennas went up. General Garner was “in charge” for a short period, only to be replaced by the SD fellow, Paul Bremmer, who had previously chaired a report and committee that made him look like he was the guy. In hindsight, he had worked for Kissinger Associates, which brings in another what if dimension. But it was not long after all this that I would listen to reports on Fox News “that the window was closing” on opportunities to win the peace. Usually it was just providing jobs and security to families to live, even at the existence level. And of course it was area specific. My antennas were even higher then, because all this is so fundamental. I could see the problems coming, but then it got worse, in my hindsight opinion. First there was never a D.C. imposed person in charge, and I fault our President. So we had, and still have, a divided chain of command. This is as bad as what Hitler (SS party vs. the military) and Tojo (Army vs. Navy) did or allowed to happen in WWII. Second I read reports, to include a Newsweek cover report, of what we, our military, were doing to create a new Iraqi military. I was incredulous as this, to me, seemed at the time, to be more like a constabulary/gendarme problem that should have had priority, especially as to creation and training. Now I hear there are problems with police forces.

And if I were a normal Iraqi citizen in any zone, all I really want is the basics, and that includes local police security for my family.

Next is kinda half hindsight and my Marine and Navy education about winning the peace. It is pretty much do the basics: police, local government (mostly infrastructure like water, sewage, and electricity), schools, medical, and tax collection. That is a tall order, by way, if one is in many of the lawless areas of the world. But this tall order is just what we should have prioritized in Iraq, in hindsight. It was a freebie since Saddam Hussein failed to do it before.

Last hindsight thoughts. This is really kinda agenda oriented. I think the nation-state idea is from European colonial countries, and since they are gone as colonial empires, the idea does not work today, and even more importantly, reflect our present world. This may apply to Iraq as it seems to be a conglomeration of three tribes, Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis. I mention this because we did go in to Iraq with our strategic goals. For the naïve, homework as to Kurdistan is mandatory. From my military experience, the Kurds are just as devious as the Sunnis and Shiites in trying to involve us in their causes. For the kurds, the Turkish military draft always assigns young Kurd men far away from the Kurdish area in Turkey, and for good reason.

So much for multiculturalism in the USA. The melting plot better explains who we are, I think.

On a maybe way out

I am not a politician, nor a pundit who can write well, nor a manipulator of what ever kind these days. All I am is a citizen who can vote.

And I hear the Army fellow in charge of the military part of our present effort in Iraq has seen the light about things about winning the peace. He is a sharp fellow. But as my mother used to say, sometimes what could have happened is just hoping for something else. The window of opportunity has passed, I think.

Now here’s the good news.

I think we have recently put more of our military effort into the constabulary/gendarme part of the strategic goal. This is good for the future of us and Iraq.

Now here’s the bad news.

I think our SD (State Department) has let the President down by pursuing its own institutional goals, as compared to our electively elected President’s stated objectives. I always thought our vote counted, but maybe not in the SD.

Here’s more thoughts on strategic goals that should influence our way out.

We should always operate in our own national interest.

Promoting Iraqi freedom is a proper strategic objective. But the wise man must recognize it will be a unique Iraqi freedom and republic, not the unique American republic we enjoy here in the USA. The two may not even look similar.

Only the Iraqis can win the peace. That we could have done better in setting up their winning the peace is now water over the dam. And then, off course, there really are no Iraqis, only three main tribes of kurds, sunnis, and shiites.

It is this last strategic goal that provides us a way out that is in our national interest. The only real question is one of timing.

Here’s some thoughts on tactical and some operational details.
As I read the tea leaves, there are two main conflicts going on inside the nation-state called Iraq.

One is the foreign invasion of insurgents who do the bombing that attacks our military and Iraqi infrastructure, mostly in limited areas of the entire country. Unfortunately, one of these limited areas is the capital Baghdad. Any country must control its capital to be called in charge. So control the city, or move the capital.

The other is the increasing local sectarian violence which looks like a civil war in some ways and places, but is both more complicated than that, and also simpler than that. This is a unique Iraqi conflict, not a foreign invasion. In some parts of the world the leaders of this type conflict are called warlords, or even crime bosses, but in Iraq I would call them theocratic thugs looking out for their personal and local and tribal interests. Most importantly, they can raise the monies to finance themselves. And in a better world, these same monies could go to the government and its attempts at control and asserting itself.

A properly planned and lead USA winning the peace plan should have avoided where we are today, but again, that is water over the dam. Yet the principles remain the same, that is, winning the peace is in the end, an Iraqi problem demanding an Iraqi solution. The future tactical goals for the USA are derived from all this. And the Iraqi solution may not look like what we either hope for or expect. A federal confederation of the three tribes is one possibility, for example. But it will be an Iraqi solution because we did win the military conflict. And because we seem to be losing the peace in some areas, our ability to influence what the Iraqi solution looks like is much more limited. So be it. And never forget, all this is area specific. Some parts of Iraq make the USA look pretty good, and some areas make us look shabby. For all those military people and NGO’s who have done wonderful infrastructure improvements, thank you and good on ya.

So all the preceding leads to what to do; how to get out with a sense of mission accomplished and the politicians did not waste our time and lives and national monies; how to save our wonderful military there, and the military warriors come home to their families.

Here’s where the politicians come in to do their magic. Bottom line, our politicians must tell the present Iraqi politicians it is now their problem to sort out. How they do all this is part of their magic. Our politicians must get a time schedule from the Iraqi politicians. If they don’t produce such a schedule within months, then our politicians produce a schedule, which we then execute.

Given our strategic goal of the ink blot idea (my words, again), we will have for a long time logistical and financial support obligations that support our national interest in this part of the world. Since it is in the national interest, so be it.

For those readers who wish to do further homework and readings about the details of how we might get out, please read these links from those with more local experience than me:

A summary follows.

While I have no idea how all this Iraq stuff will sort out, I am confident the USA and our President did the right thing in invading Iraq. I just wish there was a class for Presidents and Secretaries of Defense and State Department. I’ll bet they wish the same.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

It’s a wash

I’ve just read another D.C. based article about the near political future. It’s boring for one who seeks to be an informed citizen. The article implies that those who write can influence the D.C. types, which I believe; and even extrapolates that his words can influence us unwashed citizens of the country, sometimes called the USA.

I’ve recently read another article that suggests the times have changed. The bottom line is who cares what they write because we don’t care or give any credibility to this speech. Common and family sense applies.

In a reverse sort of way, maybe we childs of the 60’s can really implement the goals of bettering the world, in our vision.

So why is there any fashion interest in today’s media reporting. I do wonder when I hear that People magazine now makes more money than Time magazine, which I ignore.

Let’s go forward. People seeking to be informed citizens just need to shop around. Maybe 20 years from now, it will be easy, but that is not the case today.

I do not offer sales pitches as to what to read to be an informed citizens. You go figure. You do have good choices. Just know what comes out of NYC and D.C. may suffer from “union type” words.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Like the story of the wise blind men describing an elephant to a village of blind people, another what if drill has brought up the subject of who is a native american and who is an immigrant or explorer from the old world. In the story, all the blind men were correct in what they felt.
Another story. While I worked at a 23,000 acre plantation in SC (mapmaker, comptroller, and later president) the subject of deer hunting results and population biology came up. Did we have too many for the land, or two few, as an example. In this case, and to continue the story, we brought in PhD "experts", or deer bigots as we would joke. We could choose from Clemson, UGA, and Auburn (there are other groups). We chose the UGA group for people reasons. At the conference, the retired professor emeritus of wildlife biology got up after the others, and basically said, in my words, that everybody could be correct, and proceded to explain himself to my satisfaction. It reminded me of the wise blind men story.
Let me continue to construct a question for this mooring stones research in south dakota. It has to do with who is a native american and who is an old world european immigrant.
If an old world european comes to the USA area, and in my question intermarries with local indigenous people, are their offspring native americans or old world europeans? Using my 30 years per generation belief, if we continue for 6 generations (180 years), is one progeny who is 1/64 old european a native american or an old european?
There is no "official" answer best I can figure. The rules for tribal membership for the 500+ Indian tribes vary all over the place.
My answer for this investigation as to the origin of the mooring stones in south dakota; who did it, and when, may have to do with the answer or opinion as to an answer to this question of who is an old european or a native american.
There is much I read in my research that "counter attacks" all the old world immigration ideas, often stating or implying that it was native americans who did what ever. To suggest otherwise is racial prejudice or even simple poor archaeology. Since I am retired and old enough not to care, this is water off a ducks back. All I want to do is research. And traditional archaeology does count.
So like the professor emeritus story, I wonder if we can all be somewhat correct. In practical terms, could some of what we are researching be a combination of some old world idea, and people who are mostly native american, by whatever definition of native american?
To me, culture counts. For lack of knowing what to do, we do what we know. This includes our religion.
There are many present day analogies. Many christian and muslim missionaries in the past have "converted" indigenous peoples only to find today that they practice a combination of the "new" religion and the previous animist religion(s).
Since I am culturally from the south of the USA, I am out of my league in the midwest native american cultural and political stuff.
And I think there are immigrants, and their progeny; then, and today.
So two questions follow:
- Has any of the above discussion come across the readers experience to date?
- Could the origin of the south dakota mooring stones possibly be some combination of old world ideas and new world people?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

What’s unique, and what’s not

America, the USA, is unique. Never in the world’s history has such a land occupied by various peoples coalesced into a nation state where the sum is bigger than the addition of the parts.

In biblical terms, we are now fat and lazy and capable of killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

Nation states are not normal…tribes are. Yet we have transcended all this to be a shining beacon to the world. Just look at emigration directions and numbers to see how people vote with their feet and their family’s futures. In fact, we are such a good deal that the illegal immigration problem is real, and a threat to our good deal if not controlled.

One uncontrolled borders number is that over one billion people would come here given the chance. Since we USA types are 300 million, imagine the impact of this immigration.

We have to thank our parents, and their ancestors for much we have today. Every time I can drink clean water out of the tap, go from A to B and expect to eat along the way and get fuel, all without paying bribes, says much to our earned society. This is unique.

Women having the vote is unique. Others have borrowed the idea. Compared to societies where a man can legally kill a women who does not bleed on her wedding night, we have a better deal. And the duplicity of families sending daughters to Syria to have their hymens restored is below our USA experience. Forget letting your daughter ride a tricycle as a kid.

Compared to “old world europe”, we are unique. No wonder we left them to themselves. The latte remembrances of colonies and other such imperial responsibilities have dragged them down to their historic prejudices. They are different from us, the USA types. We are better in all the ways you can imagine and hope for. For present USA companies trying to compete in “old world europe”, best wishes.

We, us USA people, the nation state, are not colonial in our intentions. This is unique. That attack and occupation can be political, military, or economic is obvious. Even globalization is not a USA plot.

The world is not unique.

Pick your part of the world to see how bad things can be for humans. Forget all the environment people making it worse, albeit with good intentions.

Never discount the part that criminals play in many societies.

Never discount historic tribal frictions, be it in china, the trancaucaus, dafur, the former ottoman empire, and even bolivia.

Never discount criminals wrapping themselves in political causes.

Never discount the naivety of western reporters, born and bred in the west, who try to “report” what is going on in the east, or even the rest of the world. Between their safety issues, good intentions, naivety, and educated prejudices, I think they are my last source of the real news. There are better alternatives, today.

We USA types have a good deal today. It is worth fighting for.

I measure D.C. political efforts as to fighting for our good deal as deliberate, do gooderism, or blatant attempts to gain power for access to the treasury.

Please vote your own way.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Enough is enough for this citizen who can vote

The latest media turmoil over the homosexual congressman from Florida tripped me off.

First me, then the media reporting and D.C.

Long ago, my media filters turned off any reporting out of New York and D.C. as hopelessly misaligned. Today this is often called the main stream media, but I think it is worse than that. I would like to think it so simple as leftist agenda reporting, but I think it is more like the some combination of a wicked brew of dumb reporting, peer inside the ring reporting (worse than high school cliks we all went through), and a simple lack of integrity. Forget patriotism for our children’s sake. That it has happened in my lifetime (born 1948) is just amazing.

Again me. The double standard I have observed, and I read a lot, is almost acceptable because of repetition, until duplicity and overt turning of the heads becomes apparent to me. Is this criminal, cultural, or some obtuse belief that all the voters are major fools and idiots and whatever the media bubble of the day is affects them and they respond to all this.

Again me. The coverage of Bob Woodward’s latest book is beyond me, again. I tuned him out years ago over his lack of integrity. There are better books to read if you want to become an informed citizen. The issues are many, but why do media even ask him questions today. That he is selling a book to enhance his retirement and trying to influence an election is so blatant.

Again me. Having been an inside the beltway person fighting for funding for my cause, I understand how people can come to think they have an important job, that is, fighting for funding. And it is important from the cause point of view. But just go outside of the beltway or the new york city area to your home town, and read the local papers, and you know there are two different worlds living apart, not together, I think.

Again me. Fox News Channel is driving me away. The ten year old days of “fair and balanced” looks to me to be replaced by new york living people who read locally and have passed the pretty boy or girl standard, to include high school graduates who spout news that is blatantly incorrect. Since all I want is the news, good bye. Maybe it’s the producers. I don’t care.

Again me, the last. I’ve had enough of reading and thinking that the pundits can favor and maybe even try elect a person to the Presidency. While I trust these smart, well read, well researched, and well opinioned people, they only have one vote, and I think it often reflects their job, geo location, and clik pressures. As always, never have some few had such a potential to influence so many people.

Now for D.C. and media reporting about the homosexual congressman.

This behavior, by the media reporting, is one of a sexual predator pursuing his victims. That he quit his job immediately pleases me. The overreaching reporting of some kind of coverup by congressional leaders seems to be overboard compared to earlier such flagrant sexual predators pursuing their targets, and condencending reporting. Why did Congressman Gary Studds from Massachusetts have homosexual sex with a male page, and politically and medially survive the experience? Same applies to Gary Condit in his pursuit of young female interns.

This behavior also applies to President Bill Clinton. The Monica Lewinsky drill says it all. Since his “retirement” his Chappaqua time has the locals irate as he bangs a local old gal. Where is my relief?

It’s obvious to me, the usual citizen, that my simple standards have been changed by others. I think that the moral code about right and wrong is about correct. I would even reduce it to the golden rule.

So where to go? I would suggest just to vote.