Not making a difference since 2006. Blog motto: Always be sincere whether you mean it or not.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Rhetorician

Okay, so y'all have written off the pres. His sellout of the border has caused Republican talk show creatures to start condemming him to beat the band. Well, I don't sell the man short at all. I admire him. Indeed, he has given me another reason to keep him in high regard.

I was driving home this morning from the not so big city. The radio was playing George Bush's answering of questions. I was vaguely listening when one fellow asked the president in effect, if Osama is so bad in Iraq now, isn't that because we invaded as he was not there before. I'm not too clear, but that is the sense I got.

Now the true answer to that question is, Hell, yeah. George did the only thing he could. He didn't answer the question. His reply, as best I remember it was, "So what you're saying is, the option would have been to let Saddam stay there." He then went on to cite the litany of all the works of evil of the late President.

It was a tour de force of what in another language they call being glich francach caca laca, or, cute as a shithouse rat.

Alright, I grant it is a low sort of cunning, but no matter. He was not talking to the people on the White House lawn or rose garden or wherever. He was talking to the people who hate the guy who asked the question. I am not sure even they are listening anymore, but it was the people he needed to talk to.

It's too bad he can't talk to them about immigration.

Also posted at The Neutralist

Monday, May 21, 2007

Al Fin on war

I enjoy reading the blog Al Fin as I have an interest in science even though I have no real scientific knowledge or ability. Sometimes, though, he goes on to other subjects and there we disagree. Below are a couple of places.


On May 11, 2007 he quoted approvingly from another blog,

The U.S. military currently possesses command of the global commons. Command of the commons is analogous to command of the sea, or in Paul Kennedy’s words, it is analogous to “naval mastery.” The “commons,” in the case of the sea and space, are areas that belong to no one state and that provide access to much of the globe. Airspace does technically belong to the countries below it, but there are few countries that can deny their airspace above 15,000 feet to U.S. warplanes. Command does not mean that other states cannot use the commons in peacetime. Nor does it mean that others cannot acquire military assets that can move through or even exploit them when unhindered by the United States. Command means that the United States gets vastly more military use out of the sea, space, and air than do others; that it can credibly threaten to deny their use to others; and that others would lose a military contest for the commons if they attempted to deny them to the United States. Having lost such a contest, they could not mount another effort for a very long time, and the United States would preserve, restore, and consolidate its hold after such a fight. ...

The United States enjoys the same command of the sea that Britain once did, and it can also move large and heavy forces around the globe. But command of space allows the United States to see across the surface of the world’s landmasses and to gather vast amounts of information. At least on the matter of medium-to-large-scale military developments, the United States can locate and identify military targets with considerable fidelity and communicate this information to offensive forces in a timely fashion. Air power, ashore and afloat, can reach targets deep inland; and with modern precision-guided weaponry, it can often hit and destroy those targets.

He then writes,

"Most people who comment on the state of the world lack even a basic understanding of the firmer layers of reality beneath the media facade."

Yeah, so what. The last part of the last paragraph tells us

“At least on the matter of medium-to-large-scale military developments, the United States can locate and identify military targets with considerable fidelity and communicate this information to offensive forces in a timely fashion. Air power, ashore and afloat, can reach targets deep inland; and with modern precision-guided weaponry, it can often hit and destroy those targets.”

Well, the rest of the world knows that and there are precious few who are interested in taking us on in that realm. That does not mean no one wishes to take us on. A heck of a lot do. They are just more subtle about it. Those planes and ships don't do us much good against the suicide bombers. Anyway, the great beneficiaries of our world service are the Chinese*, who get to safely send all the exports to us and the oil producers who can ship non Texas Texas Tea here without fear of any piratical mishaps. What are we sending out of the country. The jobs don't travel by tanker.

Some may argue that this trade is win win. I am a free trader, but I think there is an analogy with the US auto industry here. The car makers made deals with the workers that insured future costs would be a drag in competing with foreign competition. As we are the only nation seriously paying for the security of the commons, this is a competitive cost we impose on ourselves that leaves us at a disadvantage. Of course there are many other ways we shoot ourselves in the foot. Will our excessive spending across the board lead us to disaster. That is for another day and for the black magicians of the occult craft of economics to discuss.
*I believe Al is on firmer ground as regards China here.


In the second Al Fin post he presents a youtube video of Uncle Jimbo. Uncle Jimbo is presenting a rant wherein he explains the difference between a peacetime army and the army in time of war. Now, I know I disagree with Uncle Jimbo on the war. I do feel some sympathy with the lad, though. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin and gets to hang out in a la la land. I know what that is like as I get to spend a good deal of time in the Five Colleges area in the Connecticut River Valley of Western Massachusetts. I believe our adventure in Iraq is stupid. Still, spend enough time in a university town and even though one can't justify the war, you would almost want to support it in the same way that the moralizing about smoking makes me want to take up cigarettes so I can blow smoke in someones face. Of course, he continues to live there, so he must in some way enjoy it.

UJ's little talk is not bad. It reminds me of de Tocqueville's commentary, Causes Which Render Democratic Armies Weaker than Other Armies at the Outset of a Campaign and More Formidable in Protracted Warfare. He is right, the less adept are replaced by those more competent. People move up to where they belong.

Where he is wrong is that de Tocqueville wrote about how, when the peacetime army goes to war, it is at a disadvantage with all the time servers. As the battle rages and the homeland is threatened and other avenues of advancement in the nation are cut off, the military becomes the only outlet for ambitious people to rise. This is not happening here. The bright lad will not forego the position at the hedge fund to serve in Iraq. Yes, we have good men fighting, but one must doubt that there are going to be a lot more gushing out of the pipeline. In fact, we have even increased the number of cat IVs* we are enlisting.

If anything, time in this respect is on the side of the enemy. Poor, uneducated and with few prospects, there is no dearth of lads who do not see a glorious death as that horrible compared to their current meager existence. Amongst that pool of recruits, there are probably many who are officer material and will rise in their society in the way de Tocqueville outlines for a democratic army facing a foe with the potential to dominate its homeland. These unlucky ones will miss out on Jihadi suicide and will have to make do with all the mundane aspects of gathering intelligence, planning strategy and keeping up the level of mayhem. With us there, they have no reason to ever give up.

All wars are different and doing too much Vietnam analogizing is probably unhelpful. Still, if these guys think that a twenty year field exercise in a desert country is going to be in any way a victory, then they have no right to call anyone else a moonbat. That is simply the truth.

*Low scorers on the qualification exam.

Also posted at The Neutralist.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Newspaper Theft Hits Massachusetts Campus

Usually, campus newspaper theft occurs because a bunch of lefties perceive an article to be racist/sexist/classist or something politically incorrect and they have not sufficiently intimidated the writers and editors so the only righteous path left to them is a form of direct suppression. Often, the crime goes unpunished because the administration understands the highmindedness of the censors.

In the Peoples Republic of Massachusetts, where we love to make fun of things like the Texas cheerleader murders* we have a very recent case of campus newspaper theft. Did someone respond to racist/sexist/classist screed. Not at all. A bevy of campus beauties commandeered the issue because their photograph appeared in the paper. The lassies were wearing halters and low rise shorts and had letters written across their stomachs and had arranged themselves to spell the name of a player at the women's lacrosse game they were attending. The picture is below.


As you can see, the women were offended by the objectification obvious in the photo. Ah, actually, no. They were upset that it made them look fat. Now, none of these girls appears corpulent. It is just that they are a season or two past what the outfit calls for in body shape. They were not horribly, for Americans, self conscious, therefore the unsuitabilty of the attire did not register until they saw the paper.

Now stealing the paper is wrong. If it matters to you, take action without resorting to crime. Either dress with some taste, hit the gym, or wear a burqua. I was thinking we need some slogan analogous to "if you don't want to do the time, don't commit the crime." "If you don't like the pictures we take, put down the fork and move away from the cheesecake" was the best I could do. As a full fledged gourmand who has never met a piece of cheescake he didn't like, I have little standing to suggest abstention when it comes to matters of cuisine.

These girls have learned a lesson. The administration is suggesting they be made to pay the cost of the press run. They should have screamed objectification.

*Of course every few years a hockey dad will fly off the handle and kill a ref, but it is an emotional crime of passion, not cold blooded murder.

Salt Lake City in Second Day of Lockdown

Dateline May 9, 2007

Salt Lake City is under lock down for a second day as police and National Guard units try to contain rioting by thousands of young people described as wearing the typical uniform of polo shirts and dockers protested the bigoted remarks of Al Sharpton.

Pundits have observed that there has been nothing like it since the "Hymietown" firestorm that drove Jesse Jackson from public life.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

UPDATE-How the boys got to New Jersey

It appears the Jersey Jihadis, or, if you would, the Jerseyhadis did not all come through the airport. Three of them came across the Mexican border.

I know my president, hearing this has ordered the building of the fence post haste.

I thought this wasn't supposed to happen

By now, almost all the arguments for the Iraq adventure have turned to dust. WMD, never were. Democracy, yeah, that's going to happen. One that is still in play is the we are fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here schtick.

Except it is kind of gone now. The Jersey Boys destroyed that. Actually, they are not really from Jersey, but they reside there now. These fellows never understood that according to the rules of the game, they were required to attack us in Iraq. If they attended New Jersey schools, then the heavens cry out for reform. Or, maybe they are just kinda garden variety dumb. What is it that people feel the need to video themselves.

Except for that little Faux Pas, they did seem on their way to producing some mayhem. Now, for there to be any truth to the we must fight them there so we don't have to here, then Fort Dix has to be defined as part of Iraq. Here, I am on fairly solid ground in disagreeing. Fort Dix is my alma mater. I spent eight happy weeks there. Well, I spent eight weeks there preparing to fight all the battles of the Viet Nam war that took place in the continental US.* Not once did I see a sign, either in English or Arabic, stating that the facility was the property of the Iraqi govenment.

So I am guessing that a reasonably intelligent person would say, if you don't want Jihadis here, you don't let people from Jihadi breeding areas into the country. These lads did not come ashore as frogmen. They probably landed at an airport, went through immigration after some documents were presented and disappeared. Obviously, your government does not really care.

So there is no reason to think our troops are going to do any good over there. Come home boys.

Also posted at The Neutralist

*I was particularly stalwart in the campaign against boredom.