A break from “news” with a focus on music, art, photos, history, and sports. Occasional glimpses into my life.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
All We Are Saying ... Is It's Over and We Won
Zombietime says the war in Iraq is over, and we won. This is a very dangerous thing to say in today's America. It goes against all the existing narratives that our helpful media dishes out daily, ie., that the war was lost a long time ago, and only a moron or a President who doesn't listen to his advisers -- but I repeat myself -- would continue the charade.
Turns out, the war was not lost a long time ago (though it was trending that way). But winning wars requires a Commander-in-Chief with both fortitude and judgment to, ahem, listen to the advice of an adviser, Gen. David Petraeus, who is an expert on counter-insurgency, and who convinced President Bush in December 2006 that changing our strategy was worth a shot, even though it would require another 20-30,000 troops to make it work. So President Bush, to his great credit, and despite just having been rebuked by the November 2006 elections, and despite constant calls for swift withdrawal by poll-watching Congressmen, decided to up the ante, and send more troops, and make Gen. Petraeus the commander of the Multi National Force Iraq to implement his strategy.
This was a very daring move. And it worked. And here we have an object lesson in why the military is under the command of the President, and not Congress.
I know all this because I read military and pro-defense blogs. And it would be awfully nice if more people knew why we won the war. They'll study the Petraeus doctrine in military schools for decades, because it was a revolutionary solution to an age-old problem, but the American people are too ill-informed and self-absorbed to notice; yet they know how much money Sarah Palin's wardrobe cost.
Can you say "culture in decline"?
So Zombietime is declaring November 22, 2008, Victory in Iraq Day. I'll gladly participate, keeping in mind those who have died to make this happen, and the leadership of President Bush in committing to winning the damn war.
But lots of people don't like President Bush, so by their tortured logic, that means we didn't really win, after all. Or if we did, it isn't very important. After all, he talks funny.
So never-you-mind that today, Iraq is mostly peaceful, due to both the change in strategy and the people of Iraq finally turning against Al-Qaeda in Iraq about two years ago, after realizing that terrorists care about nothing except killing innocent people by the truckload in order to gain power. And give the people of Iraq credit -- lots of credit -- because they risked their lives (including the lives of innocent women and children) in order to actively start fighting against terrorist scumbags who blow up little kids running for candy and strap bombs to kids with Down syndrome and then detonate them via remote control.
Just don't expect much comment on this historic victory over the terrorists and the unmitigated evil they represent. Nah, we live in a post-modern bubble here, where such things can be ignored, because they don't fit the narrative. It's cool. You just make up the facts you wish to be true, and ignore the true ones, and voila! A new reality is born.
So no front page headlines in 72 point type announcing victory, no victory parades, and no admission from the 20-30% of the country that suffers from Bush Derangement Syndrome, that they were wrong. That would require intellectual honesty, and in a post-modern world, well ... who has time for that silliness?
And they fought so hard, for the other side, these rabid Bush-haters in the media and Congress and various leakers at State and CIA. During wartime, too! How exhausting for the poor dears. Of course, normally, this is borderline treason, but somehow we've gotten to a place where it's "the highest form of patriotism". Um, sure. OK.
Despite their efforts, we won anyway. And we'll remember who puts petty political squabbles over the nation's interests. And we'll teach our children all about the shameful conduct of the various factions that worked against our ultimate victory, and the way they advanced the cause of terrorists the world over for political gain at home. And how they then tried to spin it later, and then learned to avoid the topic when it wasn't a political winner for them.
Once we started winning, lots of people stopped pretending to care about the war. When we were losing, it was vitally important to them. Does that sound like patriotism to you? Me neither.
And we all know people who belong to this club. I'm not sure what to say to them, except that arguing about being lied into war is silly, because every war starts due to lies of some sort or another. Even a benevolent government has no real duty to tell the full truth to its people, in matters of war. Calling a press conference to announce that the real reason behind the Iraq war -- to increase pressure on neighboring countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and their terror-supporting ways -- is just giving away strategic information for free. And this was, in fact, the long-term goal, and so far, at least in part, it's working. If you didn't like that plan, what was your plan? Continue to pursue terrorists as individual criminals, in the courts, instead of the organized para-military force that they are? That doesn't work, for all kinds of reasons, and it led to 9/11.
And the best thing to do -- when you yourself are safely at home while others are fighting in a war you don't support because you don't understand it, or because you don't like the President -- is to keep quiet and support it anyway, at least outwardly. Do everything you can to keep national morale up, so we can win quickly, both to honor the memories of those injured and killed in that war, and to send messages to our enemies that yes, there is a serious price to pay for messing with us. War is like a classroom, and everybody in the world is learning from it; you want those lessons to be to your advantage in the future. Which also means, conversely, that giving up and running away when the going gets tough emboldens those who in the future, might not otherwise attack. This is basic Geo-Politics 101.
One more thing: undermining the Commander in Chief during a war works to accomplish the goals of the enemy during wartime, by actively killing morale and sapping the national will. Whether intended or not, that's what happens. So knock it off; we're lucky enough to live free due to the sacrifices of others, and so we owe them at least that little bit of gratitude, that little bit of humility, to do what we can to help them, so we can pay them back by quickly bring them home, victorious.
So, to all those elected officials, bureaucrats, and other lemmings who took principled stands that undermined our cause, congratulations. This means you, Dick Durbin.
And, to all the private citizens who took a principled stand, and refused to let a lack of good information stop them from trying to re-live 1969 all over again, congratulations. Someday you'll figure out that anti-war protests are nearly always full of crap.
To some of us, it looked an awful lot like putting partisan politics before the national interest.
But hey, if you say it was a principled stand, I believe you. And since taking a principled stand is about principles, not image and politics, I anxiously await all those drinks and meals you're going to enthusiastically buy when you run into somebody in uniform.
Or, you could admit it was all about trying to gain political advantage. Totally up to you.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Like a Canary in the Global Warming Coalmine
When somebody posts a
global warming climate change thread to fark.com, and I can read the first 40 or 50 comments without wanting to put a bullet in my brain, this tells me something.
And what it tells me is this: that global warming, as a Pressing Issue That Will Kill Us All, Unless Brave Government Bureaucrats Save Us by Slowing Down Our Economy -- or, PITWKUAUBGBSUSDOE, for short -- is just about done with its 15 minutes of fame.
Do they ask for Nobel Peace Prizes back, ever? 'Cuz it just might be time for that.
Polling tells us that most people don't buy man-made Global Warming theories, and now we have evidence from places like fark.com -- hardly a bastion of conservative science-haters -- that folks are starting to see it all as a big joke.
Preserving the environment is, of course, an important goal. And we here in the West are doing a pretty decent job of it, in fact. Some places in the world, not so much. Something about needing to develop an economy first, to feed their people. What-ever.But then, of course, we still have some True Believers, like those who insist that "Only We Can Change The Climate", as shown by the yard sign I saw the other day.
"ONLY"? There are no other factors driving climate change?
What about the Sun? The oceans that cover 75% of the Earth's surface? The atomosphere? The rain forests? The winds and ocean currents?
What about the fact that we still don't understand enough about weather, much less climate, to build accurate weather models, or climate models?
What about all the climate variations in the past, before the Industrial Revolution? The world has only been partially-industrialized for about 150 years now. The climate has been around a lot longer than that, and yes, even warmer than it is today. If man-made CO2 is so important, how did that happen?
What about the latest evidence that we are entering a new minimum in sunspot activity, the level of which we haven't seen in like 300 years? There is pretty strong correlation between these periods and cold weather, such as lower crop yields, brutal winters, etc. In other words, it's as close as you can get to proving something without being able to recreate an experiment over and over.
I'm not sure how we got sold on this, but the idea that our cars and lawnmowers have a bigger impact on heating up our planet than the Sun is a little goofy. Think about it. When you are outside on a hot summer day, and you are in the sunlight, you get hot. When you move into the shade, you get noticeably, distinctly cooler. In fact, that's exactly why we like the shade.
The Sun puts so much energy on this planet, even at a distance of 93,000,000 miles away, that the temperature difference between sunlight and shadow is at least 3-4 degrees, and often more. All. Over. The. Earth.
Add all that energy up, for me. I'll wait ... (cue jeopardy theme, dah dah dah dah, dah dah dah, dah dah dah dah DAH dah-dah-dah-dah-dah ...)
Ok, whatever, forget it, it's A LOT of energy. Furthermore, we like it, because it helps our crops and trees grow.
In fact, I'd go so far as to say that every other established climate factor is bigger than human input. In other words, no matter what we do, we couldn't impact it to any measurable degree. OK, maybe if we detonated every nuke on the planet at the same time, some bad stuff could happen. But you get the idea: the amount of energy that is created by the interaction of all the factors above -- mostly driven by the Sun -- is a staggering sum, not fully appreciated by most people. It's like, a gazillion joule-newtons, or something. Srsly.
To think that we humans could compete with that, as a factor in changing climate, strikes me as, well, vain. We aren't really all that.
But just for discussion purposes, let's grant the point that man is causing CO2 to go up. So even with our supposed catastrophic impact on the climate, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has only risen from .00035 to .00038, or from .035% to .038%. So we need to freak out about that, because that change in .003% of the atmosphere is going to cause great ruin and devastation, but the other 99.997% of the atmosphere is nothing to worry about? Really?
Hey, I'm on board with taking care of the environment, and I do think we waste too many natural resources. But I need better evidence than that.
You'd think our fearless leaders in government and NGOs would be a little more skeptical as well. And you'd be wrong!
Those of us who live in the real world don't compete for federal and international grants. We don't put lipstick on our research pig, in a desperate attempt to convince small-brained bureaucrats -- who provide no useful service to taxpayers, but do hand out government largesse, i.e., our tax money we've so generously provided to them at the point of a gun -- that a CRISIS is upon us.
These good "scientists" and "researchers" and government/NGO lackeys all know that no matter what the cause of a given climate problem -- the Sun, perhaps, or La Nina, or other atmospheric shenanigans we still don't understand, and couldn't change even if we did -- the correct fix for that problem is always more money. Money fixes everything, even if the lack of money was not the cause of the problem in the first place. Money is magical.
Got that? So when the planet warms up, temporarily, well, this is just further proof or two things: (1) man is at fault, obviously, don't be an idiot, and (2) money is the obvious way to fix it. You big dope, you.
That is some pretty vain thinking, right there. But scientists who push this hype on us, and the government types that push this hype on us, they at least have an excuse for buying into it: $$$.
Us? Not so much.
And never mind that historically, it has been much, much warmer than it is today -- why do you think they call it Greenland? -- which would point to natural causes, and which would imply that could happen again. Never mind that generally, warmer is better for the planet and the people on it, especially for growing crops, which sustain us in the form of food. No, we need to ignore all that established fact, and focus instead on wild, unproven schemes that will definitely restrict our economic growth.
So you'd better rush out, and buy your carbon credits now, before the government forces you to, at a higher price. Even though they are an obvious scam, designed to line the pockets of charlatans and snake-oil salesman like our friend Albert Gore Jr.