Wednesday, January 31, 2007
For lack of knowing what to do, we usually do what we know. I apply this principle to the present day debate and differences about what to do in Iraq. In my case, doing what I know includes trying to figure out the objectives of those who want us out of Iraq one way or the other. While their objectives may be obvious to some, they are not to me until I go through my review process. In this vein, I hope this discussion helps the readers. To try keep it to RCP length levels, I will use a bullet format.
There are two very basic reasons I hear about why we should get out of Iraq.
We shouldn’t be there in the first place
While it was correct to go there, the mismanagement of the war and hidden agendas means getting out now is the only reasonable course of action
The first point that we shouldn’t be there comes first.
Conquering Saddam Hussein and his country was never in our vital national interest.
The global war on terror (GWOT) is in our national interest, and Iraq is an unnecessary diversion of our national will and resources.
While conquering Saddam Hussein was in our national interest, we were simply too weak to do it. We bit off more than we could chew.
While conquering Saddam Hussein was in our national interest, diplomacy and multi-lateral consensus was the only way to proceed.
The CIA Director, George Tenet at the time , statement to his President that Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction was a “slam dunk” turns out to be wrong, kind of. (If you have been there, as I have, you would listen and prepare. And where they went to be hidden is another story that will come out, eventually. Mostly I mean chemical stuff.)
Now while I may not agree with all the aforementioned, my process provides me a list to work from in developing the objectives of those who want us out of Iraq.
The second point is that it was correct to go there, but the mismanagement of the war and hidden agendas means getting out now is the only reasonable course of action.
The President and his hired minions in D.C. don’t know how to fight a war like in Iraq.
The strategy used, limited war, is a failed strategy that even failed us in Vietnam.
i. Ignoring Iran and Syria was a mistake.
ii. There was too much micromanagement from D.C. The best example is the Rules of Engagement (ROE), rules apparently written by a committee of lawyers and appointees, all in D.C. The idea of a Napoleon’s Corporal test was probably ignored.
iii. “If only they had listened to me”. Hindsight is wonderful to all the arm chair generals, secretaries of state, and librarians of congress.
It is just too late to change the course of action.
The President has been too patient. He should have changed course a long time ago. We are now overcome by events. He is a crummy war President.
Stay the course is a failed idea from 30 years ago. (I don’t understand this one, but a “media literate” believes it).
The President seeks power for his ego, and wealth for his supporters.
Casualties really don’t bother him.
Iraq is about he and his supporters gaining wealth.
The President and his government is part of the problem now, not the solution.
The problems we face will not be solved by “the minds that created them”.
Some interpretations of the 2006 Congressional elections say get out of Iraq.
All of the reasons above.
Personal losses, and possible future personal losses, are too painful to absorb.
i. Personal interest over national interest comes to the front. Mostly this means those of us at ”home” and not “over there”.
ii. No one will sacrifice for a lost or mismanaged cause. We are not that stupid.
There are other interpretations.
Now I get to add my two cents. Here are discussions I would like to hear from those who want us out of Iraq. I have not heard much on the following.
Are there future “costs” of a rapid withdrawal from Iraq?
What are they?
i. Will we pay “in spades” later?
ii. Will it end the GWOT?
iii. Will it allow us to continue the GWOT?
iv. Are we between a rock and a hard place?
We are going to pull out of Iraq. The discussion is when and how. Can we agree on this?
Is the western main stream media (MSM) “reporting” this business’s overt effort to influence the outcome?
Yes, it too has been politicized
i. Of course it is
ii. I’m just paranoid, and prejudiced to boot.
iii. That 90% vote Democratic should be ignored
No, it is doing its job of informing we citizens.
How much has American politics and future elections of American politicians come to dominate the things that should be done today?
The American tradition and culture of isolation is alive and well.
b. Politicians may act in their own self-interest before our national interest.
Have foreign political objectives and business deals skewed multi-lateral policies?
Is a multi-lateral approach reasonable?
Is it a good idea, from an American point of view?
Can other countries be influenced by business deals and political complacency?
Can there be bad people in the world?
Is there anything we in the USA will fight for?
What will it take?
Certainly it takes a bully pulpit to keep explaining it to us.
For those that denigrate us, why?
i. It’s easy if you are secure.
ii. Spoiled or lazy. Writing well as a pundit (income generating) helps.
iii. Do gooder
iv. Sincerely still believe in socialism and/or communism, even after the systems have failed. Just look at Sweden and Russia.
1. Mentioned because Iraq is a speed bump to their real issue.
Take advantage of our American instincts and culture. Nice guys lose. Many look at us in ways that we do not even believe in, or even imagine.
i. Foreign image that is believed, or at least suspected.
ii. See things as black and white more than grey
1. We are the new world.
a. The new world is not in Europe.
i. Asia and South America come to mind as the new world that we are part of.
Hope all this helps you. It helped me. For making it too long, well I apologize. For trying to hit the points for us citizens to think about, this is what I think.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Whether our place in the world is good news or bad news depends on the beholder. I choose to try represent our progeny, and in this there is bad news. Their way of life in the future will different from our way of life, and many of them will have many less privileges, and many more problems. Their lives will look more like the third world, say Ecuador. And we present-day voting citizens are the cause of the present trends.
War to defend our national interests has been downgraded to unnecessary in favor of diplomacy, in all cases. The attack of Islamo fascism on western society, and the USA in particular, is a legal and diplomatic problem. There is no threat to our way of life, and all our responses to date are just overreactions. Given enough time, it will sort out somehow. Thank goodness we have a President who thinks otherwise! But I am waiting to see what happens?
Our Ivy League “worst and our dumbest” introduced the idea of limited war which we still use today. It still sells, unbelievably. While it had good points in its 1950’s time, it was and still is a loser to our nation. I just wish it sold to the other sides, which of course it does not. In fairness to our side, all of us are willing to fight, as long as our leaders have competent objectives they explain, and some strategy other than the failed limited war strategy from the 50’s is used. Right now I think our leaders still follow the limited war idea. Please tell me otherwise and political advantage will flow.
It gets worse for our progeny. Under the Clinton Presidency, we got into globalization in a big way. NAFTA is a good example. Globalization was originally an academic idea, and it seems like the Clinton group went that route as another strategy to dominate the world, not by military power, but by economic power and influence. The catch is all can play this game, and we and our nations laws and restrictions got beat out by those who, beat us out. Global companies owing no allegiance to anyone but themselves, rivaled countries, including our own. Was the Clinton Group idealistic, naïve, or overt? Along the way humans, mostly tribes, said no way. And why did USA unions be quiet?
The last foreign “get worst set of events” is the influence of China in buying influence and secret national technology. It appears their political contributions converged with the Clinton groups foreign policy objectives of reducing our power in the world to make us more militarily reasonable. This still hurts us, and our kids. If this idea seems silly, just after WWII the new Prime Minister of Great Britain gave Russia top of the line turbine engines as a good will gesture. Later these engines and their improvements in Mig-15s killed a lot of us Americans in Korea. The Russians had gotten a technology “jump”.
But don’t blame Clinton for all. Our uncontrolled entitlement programs will probably be the source of our progeny’s biggest problems. It will be an ultimate class warfare, but mostly a tax revolt. Just run the numbers, but bottom line, we and our present politicians have mortgaged our financial future. Sooner or later, we will break the bank. All ponzi schemes run out eventually. And of course just who do you think pays for our borrowing to pay the bills, today. Since we run a responsible financial system, one cannot just print money, it doesn’t work. The principle buyers of our debt or loans are foreigners, who see the return on their investment as a good deal, today. And today it takes 10% of our taxes just to pay the interest (by one report, but the reports are all over the place). My question for my progeny is what happens when our foreign friends quit buying our debt, be it for political reasons or economic reasons. Maybe the Euro will be a better deal in any given time. It seems like it is getting closer, like in our time. And maybe we present types will generate enough income to sort it all out, in the end.
What is a worse case for survival of entitlements? Our progeny pays 100% of their years efforts for government to decide in its redistribution to entitlement types. In this there is revolution. Speaking for myself, I would revolt. Yes, as most would do.
For those without revolt experience, just use the internet to remove yourself to imaginative living in Ecuador, and live in their world. Just don’t use the term… I am an American, I have rights.
There is a rash of emotional statements being made and reported these days. They seem to focus on President Bush, his government and Party, the conflict in Iraq (the vote was not a traditional declaration of war), and the world’s woes in general.
The rash of statements vary all over the place. Leading are those of politicians, many from the woodwork of the recent past. Others from are media types in who they report about and how they report, seemingly without challenge to the statement makers. The more embarrassing words of statement makers are just not even mentioned. Throw in John Q. Citizen attempting to spit on a military fellow, the usual left-over anti-Vietnam types having one more party, and a few unsoiled academics in lofty ivory towers, and we are getting close to the explosion of the statements. Oh, don’t leave out the conspiracy types.
Even the nature of many emotional statements is astounding in the often certainty of the opinion espoused to the bad manners of the many statement makers; and the poor discretion of many of these statement makers. The bitterness and get even instincts of many old time politicians all comes through loud and clear, too. So do most of their regional insults.
The intent of these statements seems to be more emotional outbursts than well thought out differences of opinion. And the sense of group think of all joining in some crescendo of indignation and frustration comes through loud and clear. After all, there is safety in numbers. There are not very many opinions intended to change how the other ½ of the voting public thinks, and we very seldom hear alternative courses of action. It is as though the rash of emotional statements is to make many people feel good, and set up a wave of intimidation that will influence the policies of our nation. If it is the latter, these statement makers have wasted their time, even if they do feel better. What people say in emotional statements, and what they can do, are often two different things.
In the politician’s cases, those that complain without offering alternatives appear to have agendas beyond that of our nation’s interests first. Apparently they, their advisors, and their pollsters have taken a different opinion from the 2006 elections than many of us “others”. The razor thin numbers in both Houses, filibusters, and Presidential veto should be a hint to a more rational person. The Constitution and the rule of law is a limit to some, thank goodness. The elections of 2008 will be limits to others.
People can be led away from any idea or organization, or they can be forced away. Said another way, sometimes the idea or organization leaves the voter, and not the other way around. The usual catalyst is some rational thought or process. Seldom is it some emotional statement. Emotional statements are a crummy way to try run a government. Rational educated thought always predominates because there are many cooler heads who also vote.
The sweep of man’s presence on this earth is like waves of thought washing ashore on the beach of reality. Each wave is different, and some waves are bigger than others. Tides will show as higher or lower water lines on this same beach. This is a relentless process that has gone on for time immemorial.
And so here we are in 2007. Today’s tides are the global ideas of western civilization: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The waves are: the rule of law, material quality of life, globalization, satisfaction with cultural life, immigration patterns, and recently the increased means of communicating ideas. Lurking in the future is the number of people on this earth.
The energy driving these human tides and waves is rational human thought, that is how to think, not what to think. How to think is a trained process. Most of us are born not knowing how to think. Most of are born more primordially instinctual, such as the maternal instinct and the species preservation instinct.
And then there is another instinct: group think. Other similar words and ideas come to mind: mob mentality, rush to judgment, kick ‘em when they’re down, take advantage of their perceived weakness, follow the latest fad, terrorism, tribal beliefs, religious assertion, inquisition, swarming, and even group timidity. No amount of education and training can change this group think instinct, though it will temper it.
There is also never a time for selfish thought, and its subset, the criminal pursuit of self-aggrandizement. We all know it does go on. This too must be controlled. And we must temper our group think instinct with fiscal responsibility, especially entitlements and how they affect our progeny. We can kill the goose that lays the golden egg. At a certain point, something can be straw that breaks the camel’s back.
We in the USA are all part of this time immemorial process. We do not and cannot exist in a world of our own. Most of what we can do is set public policy about training and education, voting for our priorities and our politicians, and establishing a defense of what we are and believe in. This is a tall order for our republican form of government, by the way.
In this is our future as the tides of history continue relentlessly on.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Thanks to a writer named spree ( http://www2.blogger.com/profile/01876090195787415266 ), I was sent to a link of a LA Times Op Ed entitled “Was 9/11 really that bad?” http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-op-bell28jan28,0,7267967.story
Certain things came to mind as I read and reread the Op Ed. The author writes for the New Republic, and obviously can have the LA Times publish an Op Ed for him. Yet both publications have suffered declining circulations for years, and maybe this article is a hint why. Does the LA Times expect citizens to pay to read this kind of article? And both publications have suffered bouts with journalistic malpractice, so their credibility is already stretched.
And the author is a college PhD historian, and the concept of an educated fool comes to my mind. I picked up this expression from my father, and now I know why he taught it to me.
Why do I suggest the term fool? First he presupposes that until we hit 20 million casualties, the 9/11 attacks were small beans, in perspective. Then he presupposes we always overreact to threats from abroad, and always go full bore. The idea of measured national response never is discussed as our political leaders make their decisions about what to do. I don’t think he was being disingenuous. I just think the light bulb never went on. And then he states, yes the word is states, “it is quite different to suggest that they (the bad guys) can threaten the existence of the United States” that I really said: he does think another way. Nowhere does he discuss the concept of vital national interest.
To his credit, he does acknowledge how nasty these Islamo fascists are. And he discusses the difference between bad intentions and bad guy capabilities. This is all so basic, though.
Up to this time, I have been trying to figure if some of my fellow citizens don’t see the threat to us, our children, and our nation the same as I do. Now at least one citizen tells me we are overreacting and our existence is not being threatened, by his standards. This is foolishness of the first order, but there it is.
By personality and training, I act. I do not react. So I have no intention of dissecting his Op Ed, or even trying to convince him of the error of his ways.
Rather I see things a little more clearly now about how some of my fellow citizens just think in foolish ways, albeit sincerely. I don’t question his patriotism, but I do question his judgment. And thank goodness he only gets one vote.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
What was the level of Saturday’s anti-war protests? And yes I say anti-war vice anti-Iraq. Just who was protesting, and why?
Well, numbers do count. When I read 60 out of Bakersfield California’s population of 300,000 traveled to a bigger city to protest, this tells me legions. More, when I read about many of the characters, including their ages and Hollywood and some very liberal congressional associations, this also tells me legions. Does the term aging hippies ring a bell? When I see and perceive the main stream media coverage of these same people, this also tells me legions. And yes I use the term liberal in a derogatory way.
The times they are a changing, and have changed.
The protest numbers yesterday are a poor representation of what I think is really going on. Yes the war in Iraq was the catalyst, but every other cause got involved also, and diluted the effort. I even saw immigration and homosexual causes mixed in. But our country does have many citizens who were not out there, but think about Iraq in their own way. Many might agree with the Iraq part of the protesters, but all that was diluted by the various other causes and the media coverage.
Numbers do count, and in this it is fair to say that the effort was pitiful. There are better ways to advance one’s agenda. And the old days of protesting being a way to get laid are superseded by the age of the now much older gals…69 year old Jane Fonda reported 34 years in her case. And to include a 12 year old girl’s opinion in a public speaking role was child abuse, pure and simple. Shame on her parents and those who put her on.
There is one demographic number I still cannot find. It is the average age of the protesters. I wish I knew what it was, because that would also tell legions. But then patience is a virtue.
In all the numbers, there are many American voters who do more quietly protest the war in Iraq for all the reasons they harbor. I think these reasons include: 1) Being anti-Bush mostly; 2) Condemning the poor management and strategy to date of the President and his hired minions; 3) Being an anti-war statement; 4) Being an Iraq anti-war statement. Start the slippery slope to leaving soon; 5) Being some other combined intent of all the arm chair generals, secretaries of state, and librarians of congress that abound in our country and congress; 6) Helping promote someone’s Presidential aspirations; 7) Ignoring or denigrating the war on terrorism; 8) Just being an anti-American statement; 9) Advancing some national party agenda.
Whatever the reasons of the above group, their numbers count a lot more than the protesters numbers and causes. And along the way, I can and do vote with my pocket book by boycotting the movies and DVD’s by many of these Hollywood types I protest against. But who I cannot boycott is my fellow citizens who think another way than I do.
What I can do is engage and debate. This is the ideal. And then we can vote. In the end, numbers count.
We don’t all agree, nor even think alike. What’s new?
Recently I was reminded.
I read a humorous article about fatherhood ( http://wwwwakeupamericans-spree.blogspot.com/2007/01/ummmmmmm-i-guess-this-in-one-way.html ) that I forwarded to relatives. The article included a title section that I simply passed by on the way to the article, which I enjoyed, by the way.
Well I got a response from one relative that got my attention. His response ignored the fatherhood article, and focused on the title section. Here are both quotes for your perusal. The first is from the title, and second is from my relative:
Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has not heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains....... Winston Churchill, Sir (1874-1965)
Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.
Sir Winston Churchill
You go figure his intent. All I wanted to do was share a funny story. I am still not sure what he wanted to do. But for sure, there is friction.
So then I later asked him about his point. This is what he said.
The point of my little quote is that I'm an informed media literate and I'm really not enjoying the further adventures of a lame duck and his cronies' eternal quest for power and wealth at the expense of multilateral support, resources, reputation, and worst of all, so many youthful lives and limbs that might have been spent on neutralizing Bin Laden and other bonafide threats et al. Stay the course - what a waste. We already learned that lesson more than thirty years ago. He can just go surge right on in with Barb and Jenna taking the point sans flak jackets. I'm just sorry they didn't make a rope swing out of shrub 43 also. It will be interesting to see what the fallout is from the oversight hearings, if only for history's sake. The problems we face will not be solved by the minds that created them. Nuff said.
I realized right off I got a freebie. Someone as passionite as myself, albeit less restrained, gave me another point of view.
He followed up. I being the old guy, and he is the young guy, there was the normal talk. But there is still friction. And he is my relative, and I still like him, too.
By the way, somebody has to be the "old guy" or the "old gal". What a privelege.
One of my role models writes that the present day media can influence the conflict in the middle east, and maybe even decide the outcome. He is a champ. He is from the West, but can think like the East. He is a good cultural translator.
He is a media person now, but by golly, he also has experience by education, and personal dealings. I would follow him to hell. I hope he does not lead me there.
Over the last few months, I have listened and divined that he believes that the media can decide wars, or certainly influence the outcome in the middle east. Certainly the media can influence things, but decide outcomes, no! If I am wrong, I apologize.
But why does he think he is correct? He is no wastrel.
Sometimes there must be gun fighting, as in fight for what we believe in. Skilled diplomacy and smart threats don’t always work to our satisfaction. I offer the idea of trying to negotiate with Hitler as an obvious example. Would today’s media have made a difference in the outcome then and there?
Media reports, and history, is what is written, not what happened. A recent example of this principle is former President Clinton’s reported devotion to his legacy. Even Sandy Berger is apparently caught up in it. And it appears much of the main stream media is similarly included in recording and writing, or rewriting, Clinton’s history. Often it appears to be overt commissions vice inadvertent omissions.
But this universal principle of recording history is known by many. Another good example is from my time at two very professional schools at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. Before taking any test, examples of types of questions would be explained to the class. On the multiple choice type, a joking example would be as follows. When a Marine goes into combat he takes: A. One historian, B. Two historians, C. Three historians, D. All of the above. Of course the joking answer was D. All of the above. I always took this with good humor, and as another confirmation of this universal principle being recognized by others.
That written history is a reflection of human scribes recording history means another thing, also. It often reflects who is paying the bill; and also often reflects the mood or style of the scribe. To many this can be like saying the glass is half-full or half-empty; or the weather is partly sunny or partly cloudy.
We all know that politicians obscure the facts. That’s what they do. We also know their histories can be similarly construed. Jimmy Carter may know something about this, though I think for him it is mostly the effects of aging catching up (in regards his recent book). If it is his health, then I wish him the best.
But when any perfect storm of events converges history writing, obscuring facts, and national party objectives, often harm may come to our nation. How is a citizen to know what is really going on? Of course this question presupposes harm can come to us and our nation.
In the running of our nation, the ability of the leaders to communicate, to guide us and lead us, is important. When we lose trust in what we hear, then we are in trouble. After all there are many courses of actions for our nation, and some are better than others. And some courses can lead to our doom. It is at times like this that I look for and expect all national parties to act in the nation’s interests first.
That we can debate the national interest is a privilege, not a right. The privilege was earned by our ancestors. We are just the current beneficiaries.
Sadly, I have come to the conclusion that the National Democratic Party is in pursuit of power first, and the nation second. I think the recent 2006 Congressional elections have sent many patriots to the House and Senate, but I now fear they may be overwhelmed by the old timers already there. And since the “old timers” run things, they can write the history. And the Republicans have not been much better.
In the way of our Congress, many bills are voted on without the detailed homework of the congressmen and senators, and their hired staffs. The size of the bills, and the timing, does not allow for careful review, and this is accepted practice. This is wrong. What we get for example is a House minimum wage bill with a special exception for the new Speaker of the House, voted on and approved. Yet the written historical record says the vote was so and so, and implies the full knowledge and consent of our representatives.
Now I don’t trust any representative’s historical pontifications about any new bills until I can read the massive bill’s details, or wait for a report of same by those who are good at this. This is a sad state of affairs, but something we voters can and must deal with.
This leads to one course of action for us voters. We can clean house, as in vote in those who think about the nation’s interests first, and write history more like what happened; not what they presently write, and obscure, and spin later.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
There is very little new. Mostly things are the same.
What is the same: child rearing, marriage, sex out of marriage (at many ages), war, politicians, maternal instinct, self preservation, ego’s applied, family love and respect, cultural rules, religion, and security of home and family.
What is new: communications interconnectivity, the impact of increasing human numbers, more universal education, better technology for the first and third worlds, western concepts of standards, to include ethics.
What is transitory: Mostly politics as in Nation states, tribes, world government, and religious causes.
This can be fun for the reader to expand on this. In the same vein it is very serious in some of the implications.
We have choices. And the choices will impact what really happens at the local, national, regional, and world levels.
From the assumptions comes the decisions. One can choose the western assumptions, or one can choose the more third world assumptions. And just because one may make a choice does not necessarily change the momentum of humans in our world. But this is not an academic choice from an ivory tower, this is real life, and most choose the western assumptions to guide our decisions for our future.
Those that think otherwise often choose war to advance their cause. Time is against them, in the end. People are people.
And so we humans go forward. To many it seems simple, we reinforce success and abandon failure.
All that is the same has worked, and we should keep it up. Sounds simple enough. All that is new, primarily advancing the western approach to things, must be continued and even advanced. Again, sounds simple enough. Patience for the transitory politics takes time, as in generations. At 30 years per generation, this means things like 200 years at least. Again, from an ivory tower, this sounds simple enough.
To the real world. The academic idea from decades ago about globalization is a failed idea, though the withdrawal from the policies up to today will take a long time to recede. We are not a world village that sings kumbaya together, nor should we be. We have not changed that much, if any. We are mostly the same. Anything that is new and transitory will affect us many decades away from today, if even then.
More on the real world from a USA point of view. What is the same must be preserved, even fought for. We know we have a way of life worth defending, even after homogenizing with all our do gooder instincts and listening to other points of view. And like Rodney King’s line about “can we all get along”, one can ask for initiative and ideas about the same in the future.
Last on the real world. Asking for and even expecting alternative courses of action is like pulling eye teeth, so far. Is this new, or the same?
We citizens tend to trust our judgment when it comes to estimating our enemies, foreign and domestic. Between our busy schedules, current events pursuits, and historical readings, most of us are satisfied as to our present knowledge and decisions.
Many have been in the foreign intelligence loop in the past, and know that in that past there has been a difference between intel and the press, as it should be. When Jimmy Carter’s CIA fellow Stansfield Turner gutted the humint side of intel, more of the intel community came to use the growing 24/7 news cycle as a fall-back on humint. But what a poor fall back having been able to compare the two.
Then, when one reads how the remaining humint side of intel was PC’d up, one can suspect our leaders probably don’t have faith in the present product, and consider seeking other sources. What a terrible state of affairs.
How does a common citizen keep up?
Can we keep up with current foreign events, as in what is really happening everywhere in the world? The quick answer is no. (When have most last kept up with Cypress or Nepal or Ecuador?) Can we keep up with current events in hot spots like Iraq? Yes, only if we ignore the MSM and read blogs, which of course need to be filtered like all other news. Can we keep up with how our enemies in Iraq and the region think? No. We can read their obvious propaganda, but can we filter out the propaganda part? Probably not very well.
There are other points of view. This is good. Back in the 70’s and early 80’s some government intel said the Russian military was ten feet tall. Many were taught this during their formal military education. Some other intel said otherwise, and it turns the latter were more correct. Andrew Cockburn’s book circa 1983 where he interviewed former Soviet army soldiers was a better education for war fighters than the alternative; though all read both, of course.
So what are we common citizens to do in regards forming our opinions about foreign policies? It is suggested we recognize that we cannot know it all, and give our politicians the benefit of the doubt that they may be operating from a point of view of extra information that we do not have. For the cynical, it is difficult to offer other ideas.
For the domestic frictions, we have many more available means to listen and learn. The reports are everywhere. One can selectively choose. Some of us choose those that are about their domestic enemies; not published by them, but about them. For example, the reports about Congressman Rahm Emanuel’s ego and egomania about his part in winning the House races in Congress are telling. As many read them, he is full of himself, and more interested in his party than his nation. This is terrible news given our nation’s problems and his influence. But for lack of knowing what to do, he and his brother in Hollywood do what they know.
We must respect all our enemies, foreign and domestic. One just wishes they could know more about these enemies than we do, since most don’t plan on standing still.
Friday, January 26, 2007
It depends on the beholder.
To one it is a toothless way for politicians to puff up themselves, and maybe their Presidential aspirations. I use the word charade.
To another it is of immense importance because it reflects societal and popular feelings, according to a media source. I use the words conflict of interest due to politics and generating income.
Some other recent non binding resolutions from our Congress have addressed: Japan, Taiwan, and Iraq (that one is the opposite of today’s proposals).
Non binding resolutions have been from either of the Houses of Congress. Others, to include the U.N., have used this political technique.
In the present day proposed non binding resolution, what are the alternatives for opponents of the Presidents actions?
1) They can voice agreement with the president no matter what he suggests.
2) They can be silent.
3) They can show opposition in symbolic and non-binding ways.
4) They can show opposition in binding ways (e.g., cutting off funds to prevent a surge)
a. This gets my recommendation. First there has to be a vote so there is a record. Second, Congress’s members must vote to overcome a probable Presidential veto if they even get the votes in both houses first, which is debatable in the present Congress. And then we get to vote in 2008. That should sort it out, either way. In other words, let’s dance.
b. Many just want to avoid a binding vote for their political reasons, good and bad.
Is the proposed non binding resolution intended to:
1) Be anti-Bush mostly
2) Condemn the poor management and strategy to date of the President and his hired minions
3) Be an anti-war statement
4) Be an Iraq anti-war statement. Start the slippery slope to leaving soon.
5) Be some other combined intent of all the arm chair generals, secretaries of state, and librarians of congress that abound in our country and congress
6) Help promote someone’s Presidential aspirations
7) Ignore or denigrate the war on terrorism
8) Just be an anti-American statement
What are the political impacts if such a non binding resolution passes in the Senate?
1) I don’t know
2) Our enemies in Iraq, the region, and the war on terror will be emboldened
3) Our allies will have to hedge their bets about the USA in all ways, and for decades
4) Many Americans will be pleased
5) The old failed strategy of the President and his minions will be politically confirmed by many
6) The new strategy by the President and his minions will be condemned, investigated to death, reported to death, and otherwise politically to the USA interfered with.
Who cares what our allies think?
1) They are wiser than us and should guide our national policy
2) We should act in our vital national interest, perceived or otherwise.
Who cares what I think?
1) Most people are patriots who seek defense of our country, victory in the war on terror, and even victory in Iraq, whatever that is.
2) Much of the friction is in methods (albeit everyone is some kind of expert these days). I do not question sincerity for almost all.
3) The President and his minions could have done much better in Iraq. In the end, he is in charge, and I fault him, so far.
4) There are much better ways to achieve our vital national interests than some non binding resolution.
5) Our representatives in Congress can do what ever they want. And I can vote like I want.
We all know the world is very imperfect. Today there are over 100 small wars occurring throughout the world. And I believe we know our Country can’t be the world’s policeman to all of them, nor do we want to be.
Even where we do get involved at any level, there is usually much hand wringing over how much of everything. Call it the dilemma of a small war.
One size does not fit all. Every small war is different, with its own people, their history, their culture, their isolation, their resistance to change, and sometimes exposure to the bigger world’s influences. Almost always crime is an integral part of the social fabric, although crime to us westerners may not be the same crime to the locals.
The former British Empire provides us in the USA many historical courses of action, though there are many more: Russian, Ottoman, Japanese, colonial, Roman, Byzantine, and many others older. Benign neglect, divide and conquer, and rule economically sound like the usual means, to many. Liberal use of monies as ransom and bribes, astute respect of the locals to include sharing some of the wealth with the local chieftains, and periodic ruthless military action are part of the usual bag of tricks. Some of all this seems disdainful to the unsoiled intellectuals in more protected places.
On the other end of things, the USA has its own contribution to the dilemma of a small war. We bring a strong sense of isolationism, an almost religious belief in diplomacy and moral equivalency, and impatience.
Why does any country even get involved in a small war? Many wonder after the first involvement. All should wonder before the first involvement.
The best and only real reason for the USA to become involved in a small war is National Interest. Vital National Interest must be threatened. To prosecute any war, to include a small war, then the rest of the Powell Doctrine must be met, also. For those who can use a reminder, here is the Powell Doctrine. Some may consider them debate points, which of course they are.
Is a vital US interest at stake?
Will we commit sufficient resources to win?
Are the objectives clearly defined?
Will we sustain the commitment?
Is there reasonable expectation that the public and Congress will support the operation?
Have we exhausted our other options?
Do we have a clear exit strategy?
For other smaller countries, other additional factors also play into the calculations of involvement in a small war. National versions of peer pressure, international and other funding, and national business interests are the usual players.
Small wars are not “big” wars. I doubt Hitler thought much about all this.
What the future holds for the USA is frightful. The many existing small wars will continue with some sputtering out, and many more frictions will come to be small wars. The aggressiveness of Islamo fascism in attempting to incorporate into small wars will continue to threaten our Vital National Interests in some places. Perhaps other factors will come into play. Only time will tell.
We are not the only country in the world facing the dilemma of a small war. For example, the Philippine government’s over 100 year battle with Islamic Moro’s continues, exacerbated by middle east monies and other influences coming into their country today. All this is on top of their own inherent weaknesses.
Other than military education, there is little formal instruction on this subject. There are many books on the subject. Going to the military’s professional reading lists is a very good start: http://www.carlisle.army.mil/library/military_reading_lists.htm From these lists one can find many good foreign sources, also. For the links that are exhausted, one will have to work through it.
There is much more to think about in prosecuting a small war. But first we must work through the dilemma of a small war.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
In war and politics one would like to divine the opponent’s intentions. This is most difficult, and often a distraction of energies and time.
The wizened individual will focus on the opponent’s capabilities, since it is easier to confidently research and measure. This information can provide “actionable” intelligence. Those with military exposure will recognize the principles, but they also apply in the political arena. After all, war is supposed to be an extension of politics by other means.
So I come to national party politics in the USA today. The traditional problem of deriving the real reason vice the good reasons is alive and well. And to evaluate any effect, we need to look at its effect, not the rhetoric behind it (from Vasko Kohlmayer). And never discount the part crime, money, and personal power plays in all human societies. Last there is a particular American flavor, or naivety, to all this cultural process. Most of us think as much about freedom as breathing air (author unknown); we think flush toilets and forced air heat are a right, not a privilege; and we think good intentions are just as important as results.
Can we still have the wool pulled over our eyes? Yes. But the window of opportunity is closing.
So what are the capabilities of the Democratically controlled House and Senate? They can try pass bills and send to the President the same bills to cut off funding for anything they “oppose”. They can try pass “non-binding” resolutions that may have great political impact at home and to our foreign enemies. They can control Committees. They can conduct investigations ad infinitum. They can try over come Presidential veto’s. They can better run a campaign plan that they think enhances their chances in the 2008 elections, Presidential and Congressional. They can act as a Bully Pulpit with the cooperation of a compliant media.
What are the weaknesses in the capabilities of the Democratically controlled House and Senate? Their majorities are razor thin, especially in the Senate. Many of the 535 members of Congress have their own agendas which do not necessarily agree with the Democratic leaders. Policies and agendas opposing President Bush are not a legislative plan for our country. Any successful vote is subject to Presidential veto. They do not control the voting publics’ access to information and their Democratic Party internal actions like they used to. They depend on our future vote.
The neophyte might just add up the preceding balance sheet of pros and cons, and be happy or sad depending on their political persuasion.
Well, I also am a political neophyte because I care more about my Nation than I do the Democratic Party, in this case. The cons list is big enough. I would not want to be a Rahm Emanuel, a Democratic Presidential candidate, or a Democratic strategist right now. To paraphrase a James Carville line, it’s the voters, stupid. And that is just one weakness.
Our nation needs leadership. Our nation needs policies that will benefit us, foreign-wise and domestically. If we are to go forward, we expect political leaders that step up to the national plate. Give us the good news, or the bad news, but by golly lead. Call it tough love, if you would like.
Lack of leadership leads to withering on the vine. It also leads to conceding leadership ideas to lessers, to include our foreign enemies and even today’s Islamic terrorists so full of initiative.
Now that the Democrats have a majority in both Houses, I expect some leadership from them to guide our future. Yes both houses have to pass the final law, and the President has to sign or veto it, but leadership has to start in the House and Senate, or that is what the Democratic party ran on.
Now I hear that after the so called 100 House legislative hours in the Pelosi lead group, that’s it. This includes the smoke and mirrors. There are two future exceptions: energy independence and health care for children. Maybe the unelected media are in control now?
There is no mention of other national political problems. It gets worse. Democratic strategy wants to avoid ideas that may be overambitious or even potentially unpopular. Immigration reform, real control of spending, gay marriage, abortion, stem cell research, Iraq, social security, all are off the table for real substance. The democratic priority seems to be the 2008 elections.
Now I am distressed. I care more about my nation than I care about any national political party. And I am not full of myself like so many politicians and media I read about.
By personality, I am always optimistic. In this vein, I can expect the newly elected members of both houses of congress to be both intimidated by old time party leaders, and even to toe the line in the first 100 hours’ votes. But now is the time in the follow-on to see if they are patriots, or democratic lemmings. This applies to many republicans, also.
If I am wrong about my hopes and expectations for many of our elected leaders in both houses of congress, then the inevitable flow of time will send them packing. We voters want leaders to address our nation’s problems, with the emphasis on Nation. Old time politics are just that…old.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Is the idea of man induced global warming a symptom of a bigger problem…too many people?
After all, more people mean more of everything and that will affect our world. Even “pollution free” fuel cells for cars emit water vapor, the world’s biggest greenhouse gas. If all cars were hydrogen powered, then water vapor becomes a man induced problem. And even our present day 1.2 billion cattle (forget pigs, sheep, and domestic birds) fart methane out in ever increasing and threatening volumes. Add in manmade septic systems generation of methane (including the high tech ones), and numbers start to add up…in the wrong direction.
Can you imagine the world being exposed to the equivalent of two suns worth of energy coming into our world, every day? It’s coming.
Even renewable sources of energy have limits. Imagine a solar field covering the size of Montana to make enough electricity for some of us. A good idea maybe, unless you are from Montana. And all of us that use electricity are subject to the natural restrictions of power line losses, which is why power sources have to be somewhat close to the user. In other words, the Montana solar field is not a viable energy source for the east coast, and vise versa if some kind of ocean based renewable source comes online.
Geothermal and fusion energy appeals to me. Imagine two times, then three times, then so on more energy plants to satisfy an ever increasing number of people who need energy (and transmission lines) to live on this earth.
Maybe we can export our people to other worlds, if we can even keep up with population growth. Maybe we will become like the aliens in the movie Independence Day who use up a planet’s resources and then move on.
Estimating population growth is a nebulous science at best. Assumptions about natural and unnatural factors vary all over the place. But most agree that the world’s number of people will grow, not decline. And catastrophic end of the world scenarios like a comet strike, massive nuclear war, or plague are ignored for good and bad reasons.
Establishing public policies to control population growth, like all other social science policies, is subject to the law of unintended consequences. Just look at China’s one couple one child policy and the increased number of aborted females, and its consequences.
And so, we in the world just do nothing for now. This is too tough a nut to crack for now. But the problem is not going away, as much as we hope it will. In the meantime, I suggest that we focus on the public policy problem, and not symptoms like the idea of man induced global warming.
Using the analogy of a leaking dike, using more and more fingers to plug an increasing number of holes in the leaking dike does not address the problem that the dike is leaking.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Are men and women different?
No poo poo?
Is our American method of idiocy obvious?
Just be a parent and you know the answer.
Before I was a parent I bought the line that we humans were all unisexual until puberty kicked in during the teens.
Now that I am a parent, I know that theory is BS. Boys and girls are different from the git go. Ask any parent. We are born our sexual way.
For those politically correct parents who think about making daughters into boys (it seldom works the other way), good luck. Time and hormones will take care of you. This is bad news by the way. Girls will be girls. Along the way deny any pink blue clothing influences mothers choose right after birth, and subsequent baby room girl or boy stuff. Hormones will sort it out over time, and in the end.
And then when I tone down my enthusiasm on this subject, I become political. No wonder much of the other world thinks we USA citizens are silly. They don’t need a college study or Time Magazine story to recognize the obvious. Men and women are different.
And can a female be President of the USA. Of course! Just recognize boys and girls are different.
The dilemma for citizens is in figuring out the real reason.
In a world where media advocacy, internet news releases, political statements, biased reporting, propaganda, spinning, media masters, and 24/7 news cycles all merge the principle, it is even harder to discern. Even phrases such as “for the children” and “for the public good” and “death to the infidels” have been abused to become good reasons, not the real reason. Yes, even the war between civilization and barbarism has seen use of this principle of obfuscation.
It is distressing to me that this principle is used more often for so many political causes. It is more and more difficult and time consuming to filter the wheat from the chafe, that is, to determine the real reason for the political cause being suggested or sold to we voting citizens. Maybe I am wrong that the dilemma is worse now, than say the Civil War or pre-WWII timeframe. Yet I think it is because communications are more universal now than then, and thus subject to the aforementioned methods now more than then.
The abuse of the public policy forum is particularly distressing to me. The “forum’s” traditional purposes have been to decide health and sanitation issues, rural electrification, disease control such as malaria, flood and water control, postal service, public education, and promoting transportation for business and public use. Whatever these purposes may be for, they are certainly uniting purposes at the most basic human level. Now more political and divisive issues such as control of the radio media, protecting us from ourselves, control of illegal immigration, and universal health care have been rolled into this forum. But is this the real reason, or just a good reason? No I am not cynical, but also did not fall off the turnip truck yesterday.
I think most consider politicians to be necessary evils. I don’t personally know a better way to try run a nation-state, tribe, state, province, prefecture, or city. And I think most Americans hope for elected politicians, but don’t expect this at the world wide level. And most us expect politicians to use obfuscation as one of their working tools. Often this translates to plain lying, or promising one thing while doing another, or more recently setting lofty goals with no hope of achieving them or even setting enforcement provisions to get to these goals. And I don’t think many of us expect politicians to be knowledgeable in all the areas they assert control and policy making. Sad, but true. And I think most Americans expect part of a politician’s obfuscation method to be telling us good reasons, but seldom the real reason.
Along the way one thing about politics in America has changed, and recently, as in the last 50 years. There is more division between the parties that has focused on party first, and nation second. This is a nation killing malady if not excised. And there have been rancorous and crooked times in our nation’s past. Then, and now, the dilemma has been for voting citizens to figure out the real reason, not the good reasons offered up by politicians and unfortunately, much of the media today.
Any ambitious national party political operative will see the excising of the nation killing malady as another opportunity. The good reason we will hear is that “partisan politics must end”. The real reason is to gain another political advantage over the opposing party. What I mean is for us voters to end it.
Last, much has been said that the two national political parties have become versions of the same flavor. What these citizens say is that another national political party alternative is needed, and on the horizon. I personally don’t buy this argument. I think there are plenty of differences between the two national parties on the issues when I discern the real reason, not the good reasons on each issue.
Monday, January 22, 2007
The Civil War was a crossroads. The writing of the Constitution was a crossroads. Maybe the American cultural revolution in the 1960’s was a crossroads. But 2007 is not a crossroads.
Another crossroads is coming. Two visions of America are competing for the vote and the politicians that emerge will take us one way or the other. And we voters are in charge.
Today’s discussion is skewed by both political parties, but they seem bogged down in party politics, greed, power, and egos; and not the nations’ interests. The big media has taken a participatory role with one of the parties, and in the reporting of same, foreign and domestic.
That sides have been drawn does not change the importance of which path we Americans take at the crossroads.
The crossroads include how insular we will want to be to foreign challenges to our national security, how much we are willing to mortgage our financial future to achieving a more perfect state for our citizens, and how much we will demand of our future politicians’ honesty in leading us.
How soon will the crossroads be here? There are two schemes. One is evolutionary over the next 50 years. The other is catastrophic, as some challenge to our national existence will coalesce us. I buy the latter, and think it will be financial, but that is my guess only.
Can all the preceding discussion help guide we citizens today. Yes!
Again there are two schemes. One is to fight like hell for my party, my politician, and in real time today. Don’t give any quarter. The other is to vote for the longer term, and the more visionary politicians who exhibit some focus on national interests and honesty, at least more than the first option.
Last, while I don’t think of myself as very religious, certain biblical analogies taught me by my father still lurk in my mind. The idea of our Nation becoming fat and lazy and being overwhelmed by enemies has happened before in world history. Another analogy is that “we can kill the goose that lays the golden egg”. All these ideas will be in my mind when we come to the crossroads.
Let me end on an up note that has nothing to do with the crossroads. Today, young Americans are stepping up to the plate in all ways imaginable. Apparently, some of our younger citizens are already voting in many ways, to include their feet.
In America, of all places, why is this still a discussion?
After all the federal government and census still have “categories” like the old days, with some upgrades to things like Hispanic. If I were a kid whose mom and dad were from two different races, or two different tribes, I would resent many of the words and categories where mixed kids are categorized. After all, I am part Mom and part Dad, not some term like Latino, or Black (or African American today). I am an American. So are most of us. I do applaud the government census people for doing the best they could with what the politicians have dictated. http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2001/raceqandas.html
Now for the fun part. I always enjoy the arguments about beauty for females. Halle Berry and Mariah Carey come to mind. Do I claim them for Caucasian, as I do, or do I write them off as Negro (which I don’t). I really don’t care; they are female beauties, and talented.
Now the not so fun part. It tears me apart to think kids of mixed race marriages are often supposed to choose between their Mom and Dad. This is wrong to ask them to declare a race. After all, they are Americans.
Most of us are mixed, be it racial, tribal, or some other worldly variation.
And the politicians in pursuit of public monies and affirmative action goals that depend on racial declarations are part of the problem, not the solution. That they defend themselves comes across to me as self serving to generate income and influence for themselves. How about their constituents, but wait a minute, no constituent voted for them.
And let me proceed to be really politically incorrect. It is about America.
Like the story of the wise blind men describing an elephant to a village of blind people, another racial/tribal question of who is a native american and who is an immigrant or explorer from the old world comes up. In the story, all the blind men were correct in what they felt.
If an old world european comes to the USA area in 1600, 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(+) native American tribes vary all over the place. And tribes can be thought of as states, so their rules are similar to states' rules.
Now we come to a potential candidate for President, Barack Obama. He is being advanced as a Negro. That’s BS. He is either ‘mixed” to the race mongers, or just an American to me. I still can’t believe he is being represented as a Negro. When are we finally going to break all the old molds?
There are many present day real world analogies. For example, many christian and muslim missionaries in the past have "converted" third world indigenous peoples only to find today that the converted people practice a combination of the "new" religion and the previous animist religion(s). How does a politician or society categorize these people?
America is the new world. We are different. And it is not racially described. There is something else going on. And it is good.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
I believe all of us seek the best for our children in the USA. Along the way, we disagree how to do it. But the focus is the USA. The rest of the world is a distant second.
We are all experts at what we believe, and write. Yet I remind all of one famous line inside D.C. pundits is: “if only they had listened to me”.
The real world is not the USA. The real world frictions are way beyond the people inside the D.C. beltway. The real world is all the friction we read about today, and all efforts to contain it or express it in D.C. terms is self-serving.
The real world problems are many. Those that expect the USA to be the super power arbiter are too full of themselves, I think. Our national concerns in the southern Philippines, or the trans-caucus, or Ecuador, or Cypress, or the Sudan are too minor to the USA to be distracted as a national concern. Life is not fair, but I do not want to commit my military to these causes. If this sounds cruel, it is. There are some GWOT accomodations. Let’s not mince words.
If one believes in conspiracies, especially about politicians, then I guess I might as well quit right now. But there are other things in history to consider that may think my line of thought has missed something. The census method is my example. Before I proceed, let me say that after my homework, I am proud of my government employees trying to satisfy all that our politicians have required. http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2001/raceqandas.html
So now I think the race mongers are my political enemy, as if they have some financial incentive to make we Americans look different, as in this case racial. There is much to be said for this opinion.
Now I have faith. As in we Americans are Americans first, self-centered second, and stupid voters third. Most of us are disgusted at the acrimony between the two political parties when it comes across as parties first, advantage second, and assuming ignorance of most of us voters.
In the end, we are in charge. Not the political parties. We get what we vote for. Charge. Having the advantage is huge.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Terrible, yes. Tough, yes. Losing it right now, maybe. Corrupting to law enforcement, probably. A war worth fighting, yes.
If you read an article about one former law enforcement officer speaking about the corrupting influence of drug money on his profession, then it will probably appeal to many of us. The effect is horrible. http://www.reason.com/news/show/117956.html
When will someone write something similar for we citizens who have been subject to burglary or worse. Where are the stories of those who steal to get drug money. And I really want to read about who are those who buy these stolen goods at 10 cents on the dollar; and who then buys this stolen property from them. This is the drug war story I want to hear more about.
Along the way, instead of hearing about the corrupting influence on cops, how about hearing about the influence on those of us who been stolen from, or worse. Wait till your car has been broken into in your driveway to see what I mean. Now multiply it several times in the same place, again as on your land.
National property crime rates (burglary, larceny/theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson) since 1960 say as much. That there has been a small decline since the 1990’s shows some progress, but it is still twice the 1960 rate. It has been almost three times as high.
The article I mentioned earlier included the corrupting influence of alcohol during prohibition. At least that problem went away with the end of prohibition. But nowhere did the alcohol prohibition problems include the high amount of burglary that comes from our drug problem today. Does anyone believe that if we make all drugs legal, then the burglary, and worse, problems will end? I know some do, but they are wrong, in my opinion.
And of course this article was about domestic problems. How about our nation’s apparently insatiable use of drugs that has corrupted entire nation-states, say Columbia. Other than controlling their capital, what else does the elected government control? Apply this to the U.S. How many assassinated judges, legislators, and executives will it take to get the message that something is wrong there and here?
What is sad and pitiful in this round of national drug problems (yes it has happened before) is the innocence at the beginning, when marijuana was a personal drug that was impact free to the rest of us, or so the theory went. Those that argued otherwise, that marijuana would lead to worse things, turned out to be right.
I define right as: the driveway burglary in Atlanta at 3:45 A.M. to steal a DVD setup. I define right as: an old time rural ebony black SC person who now locks his house because he fears known drug people from up north, and knows why do to murder and less. The article did not talk about these problems and these people.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
A citizen trying hard to be informed is reminded of the preceding saying. It is a good time to do so since the recent period full of Democratic Party pronouncements and main stream media (MSM) reporting of same seems to have no bounds. It is shameful. Where are the nation’s interests and investigative reporting. The unchallenged journalistic malpractices, and even calls for executions of those who question global warming are out of control. It is as though the dam of responsible statements and reporting has been breeched by the November congressional elections and President Bush’s recent Iraq speech to the Nation.
But these people are not ten feet tall. Recent layoffs at NBC, Time Warner, and even the reduction of the Newsweek publishing schedule provide good hints that the real world still applies to these media people. And that is just what I know.
And the Democratic Party is not ten feet tall, either. In fact what it is doing now appears to be a party in its last hurrah, right before the light goes out. It seems to be “A National Party No More” as Senator Zell Miller wrote not long ago. And to over react to all this is “tilting at windmills”. Let those who promote party over nation go down to the end they will come to by the vote.
A good deception has many layers. Since the truth itself is multifaceted, deception must also be multifaceted. To successfully pierce a veil of lies it is necessary to know why the lies were told. Unless we know the full truth, which must include the reasons behind the lies, we remain in the dark. The Democrats have a track record of successful deceptions. Do we have the courage to connect the dots on this? Or will somebody send us scurrying for cover by uttering the word "paranoid" or "conspiracist" or “childless”? The weaknesses of the Democratic Party have been masked. If we apply common sense to penetrate this mask we can readily see that the Party has purposely attempted to mislead us.
Now why would they do that? Think it over.
(1) The previous two paragraphs are adapted from a J.R. Nyquist article published in 2000, and about the Soviet Union’s military.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
It’s time to consider another 1815 style Congress of Vienna…for the third world.
Said another way, present day borders in the third world often reflect colonial and empire imposed boundaries that often ignored historical tribal frictions. Many of today’s 100+ wars in the third world are the result. These tend to be small wars, and can be either internal to a nation-state, or external between nation-states. Some have become genocide.
The forest for the trees idea implies many leaders are so involved in the details of a problem that they can fail to see the situation as a whole. An American example is: “The congressman became so involved in the wording of his bill that he couldn’t see the forest for the trees; he did not realize that the bill could never pass.”
Before one shoots this idea down do to the difficulty, let us proceed further on the idea.
Many of today’s third world boundaries clearly were drawn by colonial administrators; or Russian, Ottoman, and British empire diplomats. The histories of such map making includes those who did it in offices using existing paper maps. Considerations of races, religions, cultures, politics, and tribal affiliations and animosities tended to be ignored on these maps. During the period after WWII, many of these colonial boundaries remained in place. Russian, Ottoman, and British boundaries were also quickly supported.
One should consider the idea of a nation-state as an idea, not an historical given. After all the idea is just that. It is a western construct that became a way to organize and maintain the status quo. In the same way, one must consider the idea of a “failed nation-state” as one which no longer meets the standards of the western construct, and not some historically established state with hundreds or more years of history.
Perhaps the third world nation-states are the trees in a forest of humanity’s small wars.
Much as the Congress of Vienna was an assembly of volunteers, any such future equivalent must be much the same. Continental or regional based efforts make more sense than some World approach. And such assemblies’ results cannot be dictated since any such method requires enforcement efforts beyond any voluntary enforcement efforts.
The difficulties of having a third world set of Congress of Vienna assemblies are enormous. If the difficulties are such that they never happen, then so be it. Or if such assemblies maintain the present boundaries, so be it. If some succeed, and some fail, so be it.
At least we will have moved past the boundaries of the colonial times, and those of past empires.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
There comes a time in one’s life when one commits to a belief in their life.
For me it was my countries ideals expressed through the 1960’s cultural revolution that turned many things upside down. It made things ride side up for me.
Much good and bad has occurred in the period from the 1960’s to today.
It has been an “opportunity rich” environment for those who believe in change for making things better, in their mind. Along the way some egomaniacs got involved and came to believe that marching equaled winning. Also along the way, some others did their best to accomplish the mission, and “make things better”. Many of them went to Vietnam. It was a hodgepodge in American terms.
Fast forward to today. There are so many Americans voting with their feet to serve our country in their way. It may be military, or the CIA, or even economic and environmental, but they have stepped up to the plate to serve with purpose and in their own way. In this there is hope for the country’s future.
Two comments come to mind right now.
If you are the President, you have a group to corral. Good luck. And they don’t all agree with you and the Republican Party.
If you are one of present National Democratic Party leaders, as in Pelosi, Reid, or Rangel, the picture is even worse. You got your position of power by the vote, but the elected representatives will send you another message. Old time politics the present leaders have grown up in have changed; they just don’t know it yet.
Trends of history as we live it today still wash over us. Much of the old world still living with its present problems are aggressively dragged over us. For me in Tennessee, I really don’t care as much about French problems, or even Philippine problems. We have enough new world problems. I especially resent the UN’s cover up of the oil for food program. It was just old fashioned graft stuck in our face, and inanely postponed in its present outcome by Kofi Anan.
Rejoining history, much has happened in the world to give us hope and not despair. The flow of information will: inhibit dictatorships, enhance reporting of environmental frictions, and allow women the vote. The last should change many things…I hope for the better, but doubt it during the next 100 years. And America will still be a bright shining beacon for the masses. This idea is from our idealists, not our realists.
Welcome to life and the ride. Only time will tell.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Do they understand the consequences to them and me and my progeny? I hope so in a negative sort of way.
Back to the subject. Help me on this as if I am missing something.
Good reasons to lose in Iraq.
A. We deserve to
B. I hate George Bush and anything he does
a. I especially despise his domestic agenda
C. The bad guys want it more than we do
D. Our American way of war is a loser
a. This especially applies to Iraq
E. One more time the 60’s marchers can have their way.
F. Our legal domestic defenses are not worth what we are giving up
G. He deceived us
Good reasons to win in Iraq
A. We deserve to
B. George Bush is a non politician President admired by many
a. I admire his legal domestic agenda
C. If 911 did not get our attention, just wait
D. Our “limited war” “best and the brightest” strategy is a loser
a. I agree. A new/old time strategy is obvious.
E. The 60’s types have confused ego from the past
F. Our legal domestic defenses are legal and well focused
G. He did not deceive us, and went through the UN and Congress process
Does anyone even remember and recognize that we have been attacked? Does anyone even feel threatened as to national existence, mostly our lives and our kids lives?
Does anyone accept the political rewrites of history and intentions and votes supporting the war in Iraq. This is like propaganda 101 practiced by the Nazis. I am especially disgusted at the National Democratic Party. Criticism is fine, but what is the alternative? The campaign idea of criticism to gain political power has now come home. So put up, or shut up. For me, 2008 is not too far away.
Does the National Democratic Party want us to lose in Iraq?
If not, how do we win?
I’ll listen to all, to include smooth talking devils and media masters.
I had an Uncle who used to say this idiom all the time. He was the Bursar at Vanderbilt University.
Now no one says this. The closest I can find is in “black talk” when people say “you know”.
Most of the responses to today’s “thank you” are “thank you”. Where I presently live in rural Tennessee the response is “you’re welcome”.
Playing Scrabble can be tough when the challenge dictionary is one from 1928. The astute player can challenge a present day word hoping it was not a word in 1928. While winning in my challenge, my mother’s threat to disinherit me got my attention.
Using another similarly aged trivia reference book was interesting. The question about the number of planets in the book’s time was answered with “eight”, as Pluto had not been discovered. Now in 2007 that is the correct answer again. Interesting.
If language and the number of planets can change, what else can change?
It’s too early to form a reliable opinion about this Congress’s personality. Maybe by this summer there may be indicators and trends.
Until then, the focus today on the liberal old time Democratic leaders who assumed mantles of leadership is missing the mark. It is all a monumental mistake of historic proportions that this is happening. The transparent political hypocrisy of Speaker Pelosi is the obvious distracter right now.
The Congress we elected is full of patriots from both Parties who will vote for the country first, then their local constituency, then their personal beliefs, and then their Party. They will not be blind lemmings who march in lock step with their old time national Party leaders. Hardball will always be played. But plots and shenanigans to gain Party political advantage will be superceded by focus on National strategies that benefit we the people.
Call me naïve. Call me practical. Call me a listener and watcher. There is something different about this Congress, and the body politic who elected them.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
This was the second war that should have ended all wars. And it should have. Then the UN was created as a better version of the earlier and failed League of Nations. And then wars continued, and the UN suffered much as the League did. Then it got worse.
Other than good USA maneuvering in the UN circa 1951, the UN had avoided intervention. What a change when Secretary General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar assumed his position. Until then, I never thought of the UN intervening, anywhere, anytime. What a politician. And the UN intervened in places he lead us to.
The UN and USA had friction. We withheld our significant “voluntary” payments under Regan and a democratic congress.
The US with its economic vote made sure the Egyptian Secretary General, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boutros_Boutros-Ghali did not receive a second term.
The US went with another UN candidate, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kofi_Annan
In his time, he has self decidedly become more than an administrative secretary, and become some kind of unelected moral leader President of the World. Unfortunately for him, graft and UN politics have dragged him down to embarrassing levels.
So where to we go from here.
The UN has a new Secretary General, from Korea. Let’s see.
At the expense of sounding like my idea of a democrat, I do have good intentions. And my intentions count in this logic, whether they work or not, or become subject to the law of unintended consequences.
As I read criticism of our President’s recent change in course in Iraq, I admire him as a person just because he stepped up to the plate. Good, bad, or indifferent, we have a course of action to review by all: to include the enemy, the Democratic opposition, pundits, and maybe even professionals.
Can you believe the enemy can participate? This makes us weaker, not stronger, I think. In this is not the Internet, but the trend in America is towards democracy and away from our Constitution and a republican system. For those who do not know, republican is a method of the people expressing themselves; it has nothing to do with the present political party by the republican name.
So now we can all critique the President, his government, and his minions he hired.
I hope they are correct for our sake.
I hope all the critics are correct , just in case the President is wrong.
The enemy’s media based critiques are pretty obvious. The others take a little more savvy on our part.
I want my way to life to survive for me and my progeny. Is this too obvious? This is a modern update of “my country, right or wrong”. I am comfortable in writing this to all the arm chair generals, secretaries of state, and librarians of congress.
First there came the 911 attacks.
Then there came the need for national revenge; and also national fear of the unknown future.
Then there came the recognition of an Islamic fascist cultural/religious attack on the West and the USA.
Then there came the USA (and its coalition) attack into Iraq, and Afghanistan (to include NATO).
Then there came the UN and European and Democratic Party political attacks on the President.
Then there came the analogies to the late 1930’s responses to Nazi fascism.
Then there came a 2005 National Democratic Party change in strategy to become obstructionists to the Republican Party and its President.
Then winning the peace in Iraq, was being replaced by the media with reporting losing the peace.
Then Iraq did go to hell, and we were losing the peace in some of Iraq, mostly in the capital and Anbar province.
Then our President admitted mistakes as he changed how he will try win the peace.
In all of this everyone is an arm chair general and secretary of state and librarian of congress in deciding the past, and divining our future.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Is there anyone who does not think that some of the Iranians have been killing us Americans for a long time, usually as part of their hegemonic policies of restoring the Persian past and their Shiite religious glory in the region. Of course, not all Iranians think the same, so this thought is best focused on the ruling elite since the Shah was overthrown in early 1979.
Now we are up to 2007. Does anyone think that the present “president” of Iran was not one of the young student leaders who did illegal and cruel things during the U.S. Embassy take over in Tehran in 1979. Author Mark Bowden presents a very good case for this. I agree.
To follow on, success breeds success. Later on the Iranians or their proxies killed 241 Americans in the Beirut bombing, plus another 58 Frenchmen in a similar bombing. Later they murdered by hanging Col. Rich Higgins doing UN Palestine duty. Now they are asserting themselves by killing many of us by IED’s funded, designed, and often built in their country and exploded in Iraq.
This is so typical of a cabal of Islamic fascists that takes advantage of western nation-state ideals to pursue their objectives. Given their unchallenged earlier successes, it even makes sense to keep it up. Their abuse of western nation-state practices includes using diplomatic bags for smuggling. These bags deliver IEDs, and this includes the goods, the ideas, and the planning. Ringleaders and subordinates are provided western style diplomatic immunity, as in a “get home free card”. Consulates are an especially good base from which to accomplish the cabal’s missions, since not all Iraqi neighborhoods and regions are friendly to them. Shiite mosques are another preferred choice of where to base.
We Americans often wring our hands out of frustration. We feel honor bound to things like the Geneva Conventions, our own ethics, and our just plain sense of good intentions and respect for others not like us. And we will continue to be frustrated because others do not always think like us, to include this cabal in Iran. Their normal thought is to see us as morally weak, or just plain stupid.
It’s a big world, and full of people, tribes, and nation-states that do think differently, have different standards of ethics, different standards of honor and respect, and different standards of warfighting. Add in the witches brew of the Arab world’s cauldron of problems, the dedication and megalomania of many of our Islamic fascist enemies, and even the cabal in Persian Iran has used its oil power to assert itself. But unlike many others, this cabal has felt emboldened enough to now become more overt, to include sending thousands into Iraq, and creating nuclear power without oversight and monitors.
Our previous American governments have kicked this problem downstream to where we are left holding the bag. And yes, the earlier policies that bring us to today had some good points, as well as bad points. We didn’t get here by accident.
The President’s strategy of establishing a democratic government in the Middle East is a good strategy for protecting our national interests here at home. It is a bad strategy if you are one of the numerous cabals, tribes, and nation-states in the Middle East because it changes everything in the region; and that change is threatening to these ruling people, and their business and energy partners in the rest of the world. This includes the cabal in Iran.
So where do we go from here? This especially means winning the peace in Iraq. To this simple male, peace is a local term, and simply means my family’s safety while I have a job. Other things like running water and electricity are nice to have’s. It was not too long ago that rural electrification was a big deal in America.
The President has announced a new course of action, strategy, and list of appointed players. So the answer as to which way to go has been answered for now. Let’s see if almost 50 years of “limited war” American “best and brightest” assumptions have finally been reverted and reinvented to just warfighting to accomplish a mission assigned by the President. To say my academic think tank and politician ancestors were wrong is not my intent right now. There are other ways to think.
Forget D.C. intentions. As a local Iraqi, I just want to see results that benefit my family.
The President’s changes in Iraq include dealing with the cabal in Iran, and that also answers that question. If he does what he says, then after decades of the Iranian cabal’s interference and killing in the region and the world, this cabal will come to an end. We will threaten, and destroy their continued existence. And perhaps the long awaited Iranian counter-revolution will finally occur.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Do our political leaders know it? Does the world sense it?
We are more than a run of the mill nation-state in our world’s history. The present immigration rates say it all. What our ancestors assembled on and wrote about as a Constitution is unique and special in human history on our planet. Now we get to live it in our time.
I suspect most of today’s immigrants come here for jobs. As always they bring along their culture. What has changed in this aspect? Little I think, since most are from south of the border, but at least 15% or so are from Asia.
Unless one is racially, or more commonly culturally prejudiced, America has a good deal. That is why we are the new world.
The implications to today’s political leaders are obvious. They may be superseded in time. Assuming they want to be reelected, compromises locally are expected.
What does all this mean to you and me today?
I especially resented our President Clinton bragging about this, since the horse was out of the barn, and he was in front of the wave he bragged about.
The world in America has changed. Our young and regular voting citizens are beginning to assert themselves. This is new to me. In the old days, the old people predominated the vote.
So what is new, and what is old?
Here lies the good news. One can read it today, but I will summarize. Our young people are stepping up to the plate to contribute to our way of life. In this there is hope for our future. And it is egalitarian. By the way, just like in WWII, our society needs all the help and brains it can get.
Here lies the bad news. Our old marchers who equate 60’s style marching with winning whatever the cause is, still get publicity in California.
What a waste of their old time and our present time.
A manifesto is a public declaration of principles and intentions, often political in nature.
If the media could live up to its published ethics standards, I would be a satisfied citizen. The ethics standards are published at the end of this article as a link.
If Ted Turner could deliver on his goals after his bruising battles to make CNN and TBS recognizable, I would be happy. His version of history is published at the end of this article, also as a link.
Recently, Ted Turner has even given a speech that says journalists ( mostly CNN types in his case) should hold no allegiances, period. We are all morally equivalent, as I listened to him. American flags in the background are only appropriate to American media.
Last on my Ted Turner fixation, he is admirable in many ways. But when he puts his latest main squeeze on TV news, he is mixing business with pleasure. He is almost as bad as the Playboy fellow who still plays with girls who are his grandaughters age, and still thinks and sells this as normal. When do such moguls begin acting their age?
Then there is the government funded news reporting, as opposed to government controlled news reporting. Dictatorships practice government controlled news reporting. Most American news businesses are profit oriented and not government funded. It is a business with a business plan or model. It is sink or swim, and we have seen some sink. How some of the news businesses gained government funding both BBC-style and USA-public-broadcasting-style is another history. How these organizations keep getting government funding is also another history.
And all I want is to know the news: world, national, and local.
The term main stream media (MSM) is a derisive term these days in America. It was not made up by opponents; it was historically earned by those in the MSM. Obvious frustrations by citizens who just want the news include: selective coverage that seems based on political parties, selective coverage based on the reporters or their producer or editor’s politics, selective coverage based on what will sell best, and selective coverage based on convienience, budget, and wartime exengiencies that soldiers routinely live with. In other words, not the news. Along the way integrity violations have appeared. This is a career stopper to most of us.
Perhaps the problem is us, the USA and our society. Perhaps our communications connectivity as a society has made us more like a democracy than the republic we are, constitutionally speaking. Maybe quickie news and polls are challenging how representatives are guided as our leaders. I hope not. Our political leaders must act in our national interests, not the interests as suggested by the lastest instant report, or poll.
Perhaps my frustration is part of this time in history that I live in, and the post WWII baby boom influence on history and societies. My perceived old time standards of the media reporting just the news, mostly from an American and western point of view, may be wrong, naive, or both. The old time standards of separating the front page from the editorial page, and knowing the differences and why, seem forgotten or ignored. Today’s news reporting appears to be some flash in the pan from news academia, news businesses, and just spoiled and protected Americans in the news businesses that are inflated by their present day power and influence.
Protection, by the way, does not extend to protection from unethical, ill informed, and biased reporting. We can vote with our feet as to what we read, listen to, and watch.
Having been a Marine, complaints require a proposed solution. Don’t bitch without proposing a solution.
Here is my point of view and suggestions to improve today’s situation, that is to make things better. By better I mean we being more informed citizens. I don’t mean kissing the tail of reporters, editors, and producers. And I don’t imply the American cultural predeliction to try legislate or dictate a perfect world. We all know that will never happen.
The industry must require all media types at the reporter, editor, producer, and business manager level to sign the published ethics standards, and post their signatures on the internet. I would define media types as anyone who publishes news. All editorial and opinion writers and TV pundits are also media people, and would have to include a “discloser” statement that this is opinion, not simple facts.
Establish a career professional education program like the military’s. In fact, include media types in the various level military schools at an appropriate level to make them more subject matter trained for those that report military news. Media businesses must educate their up and coming types, or do an up and out method for world, national, and local media types.
Establish a clearing house on the Internet that posts all media type’s resumes, experiences, and educations. Just give me, John Q Citizen, another tool to evaluate what I am reading or hearing or seeing.
All of the preceding can be summed up as letting us know about the ethics, education, and training of the person doing the reporting.
Let me expect that some will not go along with this. This will be another decision factor for us in deciding what to read, listen to, or watch.
Media standards of conduct: http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp
Ted Turner’s history of his startup: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2004/0407.turner.html