Saturday, December 11, 2004

 

Rummy's Fuzzy Physics

By now, everyone is probably familiar with the soldier who questioned Rumsfeld about the lack of vehicle armor, and the Secretary of Defense explaining to the troops that they would just have to tough things out. "You fight it out with the army you've got", he said. And hey, it's "a matter of physics". Sure, we'd love to have more armor for you guys, his reasoning went, there's just no way to increase production. That answer is bad enough, considering this was a war of choice and things like this should have been planned well in advance. That comment would have been acceptable in an impromptu involvement like WWII, but in a conflict like this, it's just a sign of incompetence. That's understandable, if inept , except...

He's lying.

Check out these quotes from this article:

Not only did the administration disastrously underplan post-war Iraq, it's also ignored the issue of correcting the problem. Why? The widespread lack of armor is a flaw that's been known and complained about for over a year now, and it's only in light of the PR blunder that changes are now being implemented. Do they really not care? Is it some sort of awful, cost-benefit analysis like the car companies used to use: "Well, we could replace the faulty fuel tanks, but that would be awfully expensive. Much more expensive than a few lives and subsequent lawsuits would be." No rational and caring explanation makes sense, but then again, the pentagon isn't a member of the reality-based community, is it?


Friday, December 10, 2004

 

A Personal Interlude...

The foundation of any meaningful relationship is trust. You may love your husband, for example, but are things really good if he lies constantly and does things behind your back? You can trust someone without loving them, but it's hard to love someone without trusting them. Ugh. I already sound like a self-help book, but nevertheless, I think the point is still sound, if not Hallmark-y.

Trust is also a building block of society. We trust that our food supply isn't contaminated with lead, that our bridges are safe, that we'll have a Social Security check to receive when we're old. And yet, so often out trust in the state is compromised. Most of us have developed a cynical eye towards our government, and the politics that fuel it, but we go on. The majority react to this whole spectacle with something like apathy.

I don't think it's so easy on an individual basis. Example: I just found out my best friend of over a decade isn't the person I've known him to be, and has betrayed and undermined me in a profoundly antagonistic way. Not an event I'd recommend to start your day out.

I never intended this blog to be a weepy confessional, and I don't intend to change those intentions. But I do honestly ask as a philosophical quandary, how do you learn to trust again when those closest to you betray you? We're talking in a big picture way, too. Not who ate that last package of Twinkies. Because if you find you can't trust a person you've known most of your existence, someone who's journeyed through all of life's peaks and troughs right alongside you, how can you trust anyone at all?

In my heart of hearts, I've always been an optimist. I still am. But on days like this, I wonder how many among us are marching around wearing masks, concealing agendas, tucking away their secret thoughts for fear they might wander into the open. It's one of those unsolvable dilemmas: is humanity fundamentally good, a la The Diary of Anne Frank, or fundamentally bad a la The Lord of the Flies? It's an answer I don't pretend to have. Although, like most things, the truth is probably somewhere in between.

Again, readers, I apologize for this sturm and drang. I promise to get back to news and sarcasm with a slice of toast as soon as possible, but honestly, I can't think about anything else, and I welcome anyone's thoughts.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

 

I Feel a Draft...

From the Times Online:
"Experts are divided over how stretched America’s military really is. But they agree that another conflict would put the military in overdrive. Another war would require a shift to a “no-kidding wartime posture in which everybody who could shoot was given a rifle and sent to the front,” according to John Pike, of GlobalSecurity.org. "

Something has to change here. Either Bush scales back his goals, or we're facing a draft. The "stop loss" plan is old news, and that practice is actually being challenged in court. But there are new signs creeping up every day of an army stretched out like the skin of an overblown balloon. A few samples:

The Army Reserves and National Guard are below 50% of their goals for recruitment and retention, and the quality of those recruits is sub-par. Officers and Captains are in particular short supply.

Wounded or Disabled But Still on Active Duty

Morale is low, and 5,500 servicemen have already deserted.

Army teams face surgeon shortages

U.S. struggles to find troops for Iraq, Afghanistan

The army has also mobilized former soldiers who are only allowed to be activated in the case of a national emergency, and apparently are beginning to place woman in land combat, a practice which is prohibited by pentagon rules and virtually unheard of in any industrialized nation. However, I cannot find the source for this story; I heard it today on the radio from, I believe, a Washington Post columnist. The columnist confirmed that without deploying women into land combat, the army would simply not have enough men.

UPDATE: Here's the link to the land combat article.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

 
Via DailyKos, Apparently Rumsfeld can't even be bothered to sign the damn letters telling families their loved ones have died in Iraq. But that's the "morals" party for you.

UPDATE 12/19: Now that everyone's calling for his resignation, Rumsfeld has changed his mind about the matter. From CNN: Rumsfeld to sign death letters

Sunday, December 05, 2004

 

Bush Wrecks the Environment, And...A Quiz!

Bush Sets out Plan to Dismantle 30 years of Environmental Laws
That headline covers things pretty well. There's not much more I can add, but the article is worth your time.

Inspired by the new plans Republicans are drawing up, I've created this quiz to see which side you really fall on.

Liberal Enviro-Snake or Conservative Crusader?

1. Do you enjoy breathing clean air and staying free of lung cancer, asthma, and heart disease?
a) yes
b) no

2. Should we:
a) Protect animals that are near extinction.
or
b) Let them die off, never again to walk the face of the earth. Preferably by building a golf course or a Wal-Mart over their habitat, or shooting them and placing them on the nearest wall.

3. When drilling for oil or building a new condo, corporations should take absolutely nothing into consideration except the question, "how much money can we make?"
a) What? That's insane!
b) Damn tree-huggers.

If you answered mostly a's you are a radical environmentalist, completely out of touch with reality and bent on reviving communism and nature worship. Probably lots of other bad things, too.

If you answered mostly b's, you are a clear thinking conservative. And with morals! You realize there are probably too many animals anyway, and those giant trees just obstruct the view of your yacht.

Boring factual information: If you skipped out on the article, the questions pertain to pending "reviews" of the Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act, and National Environmental Policy Act.

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