Or, Damn the IEDs! Full Speed Astern!

Another Memorial Day has come and gone. Looking at all the white marble monuments marching orderly over the graveyard hills it makes me remember it’s been a monumental half decade or so of wasted effort in Iraq with enough new monuments accumulated to build a monolith. Enough blood spilled to float a battleship. Enough money burnt to have powered up all kinds of alternative energy plants so we wouldn’t even need to crudely steal the crude oil buried under that desert.

If memory serves, it’s been a time span stretching longer than either of our other World Wars. And, those were wars where we conquered vastly greater forces than the handful of terrorists taunting us do today, forces who back then indulged in even greater evils than suicide bombers, beheadings and IEDs. Unfortunately, the Middle Eastern wars soaking up all our efforts these days threatens to be infinitely longer than our longest bellicosity to date, the Vietnam fiasco. Worse, it is continually getting worse rather than better. And, every determination of whether and how to disengage appears to be dictated by a delusional dimwit whose track record has been one of ruination of almost every job undertaken his entire life, someone who even got his jobs and positions in the first place only out of favoritism, family fortune or fanaticism. So, maybe it’s finally the moment in time to figure out who lost Iraq.

Yeah, I know. We haven’t had the desperate heli escape from the embassy rooftop just yet, but Iraq is lost. Really, the only thing other than the final body count and treasury scraping is to assign blame.

Who deserves the blame for the colossal disaster that is breaking our military, bankrupting our treasury, losing our friends, lost our honor, killed our children, mortgaged our future, and made us a nation of habitual hypocrites? Or, possibly even more degrading and pitiful - a laughing stock, a gaggle of buffoons lead by a clown. Who gets the well earned loser label for the next 50 years or so as to why we will ultimately be kicked ignobly out of Iraq, not matter what we call it to disguise the defeat?

Hmmm. Let’s see. It was Bush who picked this fight, in fact already sought it well before the excuse arrived. It was Bush who ignored evidence an invasion of Iraq was not needed and then lied to us about what he was going to do and why. It was Bush who abandoned as “quaint” all the time tested, non-lethal, inexpensive options to accomplish the alleged goals. It was Bush who insisted we could do it on the cheap and that the Iraqi’s would strew our path with flowers. It was Bush who got absolutely everything he wanted to play with. Troops, weapons of mass destruction, literally pallets of cash were all his for the asking. He even got, although he did not openly ask for it, a secret trashing of the Constitution, the Geneva Conventions, and the New Testament, not to mention just about every useful history, social studies, psychology, games theory and statistics book ever written. It was Bush who fired all the guys who guessed right about what would happen and promoted all those who got it horribly hopelessly wrong. It was Bush festooning his disciples with so-called “Metals of Freedom” for crushing freedom. It was Bush who continues to close his ears (and what passes for his cognitive mind) to the advice of those who have proved far wiser and more experienced than anyone around him on the subject of the Middle East factionalism.

It was Bush who chose to ignore the one successful military tactic his pappy proved could work in the Middle East given our small army of high tech toys; i.e. build a genuine coalition, smash the enemy hard, then promptly leave after announcing “We’ll be back if you ever scare us again.” That actually accomplished what was needed. (Yes Georgie, Saddam did have a nuclear weapon program; however, between the Israelis and your dad, it was smashed long before 9/11.) If we had done that (i.e. quick thrashing and exit), we not have exposed our vulnerabilities. There would not have been time to play on our divisions. They might still be scared of us if we did.

Even without the coalition, we could have destroyed Saddam’s offensive capability and not totally destabilized the region for our few friends if we just got out quickly. We could actually have done it on the cheap with few men; provided, we got skipped the “nation building” you yourself claimed wouldn’t work. Flipflopper. Granted, we would still have been an aggressor nation to launch a pre-emptive strike, the kind we used to say we despised when others did it. The killing of innocent men and women without a real cause has a cost, but it could have worked for the limited purpose originally claimed of insuring no nukes. Laughable though it may sound today, we might have been applauding Bush as a genius if he had simply followed his father’s play book. Think about it. That route could have avoided almost all the disasters that have followed from Bush Junior’s attempt at a “Penny Ante Putsch.” Bush would still be an embarrassing, merit less hack. Nevertheless, at least he would not be going down in history as the worst President - EVER.

So, since it was the Great “Decider,” Bush the Second, from day one choosing absolutely everything as to why, when, what, where, who and how and who continues to make all the wrong decisions on strategy and tactics. Since it remains Bush, Bush, Bush, gleefully smirking, taking vacations, and announcing Mission Accomplished despite every evidence to the contrary that his course was and is folly. And, since the only surge is in flag draped body bags, WHO LOST IRAQ?

Why, the Congressional Democrats of course. Them and, their dithering diarists, the Main Stream Media.

What? You thought I would say Bush? That would be like picking on a flounder for being flat. Yes, of course he did all those things alluded to. Maybe we should convert the Chief Crazy Horse Mountain carving into a Chief Crazy Bush sculpture. We need something that large to depict the monstrous scale of his frat boy follies. At the same time, there was a force in existence that could have, should have, stopped that infantile infection on the body politic. A force that was educated, trained and put into place for the primary reason of distinguishing fact from fiction and doing something about it. Unfortunately, the Congressional Politicians and the Press seem to be too gullible, too clueless, too lazy, too gutless and/or too ineffective to discover, prevent or halt the child hiding in the Oval Office from wreaking his malicious malodorous mischief. For that reason, as the adults on the scene, to their everlasting shame, it is the Congressmen and the Press who lost Iraq.

There is still a chance to redeem themselves. Not “win” Iraq. Not restore our soldier’s lives or our lost trillions. None of those are possible any more. That may have been possible at one time, but it cannot be done now, not at any price a sane person would be willing to pay.

Hint: the Democrats currently in charge and any political pundits with credibility left might try reading the Constitution. Humbled and marginalized though it has become, there is still some pretty good reading there. Try Article II, Section 4 for starters. In other words, between now and 2008, the Congressional Democrats should finally act like the adults they are supposed to be and take away Bush’s dangerous toy, the Presidency. You can take out his attack dog and consigliere simultaneously if they scare you, but take them out you must.

If it does not happen by then, we ought find some competent replacements who can do the job.


Or, 10 Questions to Terrify Bush about His War Against Terrorist States

Our feckless leader, George Bush, continually proclaims in increasingly strident rhetoric that continuing to occupy the countries we invaded is important. Nay, vital to our future. He insists it is not merely an ego trip or an attempt to steal oil or a chance to wear a flight suit and pretend he is courageous, but a “struggle for civilization itself.”

Okay, let’s take him at his word for the moment. Perhaps he has better information than the entire rest of the world. Perhaps he accidentally got something right. Perhaps God does speak directly to him.

In any event, his call to arms is a serious proposition and deserves full consideration. We are willing to march into the abyss and indulge his every vainglorious whim. BUT... if this is truly a “struggle for civilization itself” as asserted, if this is truly a task suggested directly to Bush by the voice of God himself, if this is truly the most important aspect of the current Administration, then we have some questions.

Dear President Bush . . .

1. Why aren’t you demanding your own children join the military? It looks like the military could use every warm body available if what you say is accurate. Even if the girls are addiction prone or even fearful cowards like yourself, they could still scrubs pots and peal potatoes in a military Mess Hall if nothing else and free up others for combat.

2. In fact, why aren’t you instituting a draft to induct all the children of your fellow Warhawks into the War’s efforts? Don’t we need them for the “surge” before the Army if permanently broken?

3. Why aren’t you donating your vast family fortunes, particularly the unearned portions, to either the War’s efforts or its side effects? After all, you presumably won’t need it if you fail and civilization collapses into barbarism. Show us you mean what you spout by sacrificing to the cause what you Republicans treasure most - your personal treasure.

4. While we are on the subject, why aren’t you taxing your friends who are making billions war profiteering by price gouging and jailing the many who are engaging in theft and corruption? Make them give it all back so that we can fund your follies.

5. Why aren’t you using all the tools at your disposal such as the diplomatic ones that have proven to work in the past? We realize that you are terrible at diplomacy. Anyone who gropes the female head of state for Germany on TV obviously hasn’t a clue in that regard. Nevertheless, there are some talented people out there assuming you haven’t finished culling all the career foreign service employees in the State Department yet because they might be secret Democrats.

6. Since you are always talking about how we must do things if there “is even a 1% chance” they might be successful, how about offering your testicles to Iran for instance in return for a halt to their nuclear weapons program and full inspections? They could brag about it, but we wouldn’t care if it worked. Either way, it would be a literally minuscule price to pay and well worth it if we got what you have been demanding from them. Surely there is a 1% chance of it working. Moreover, it would not even be painful with anesthetics.

7. Why aren’t you instituting a crash project to completely eliminate the need for gasoline? Of course, that would bankrupt your oil buddies, but look how much it would harm those states that don’t like us like? It would remove a major source of their power over us not to mention reducing their ability to build weapons of mass destruction.

8. Since your own efforts seem to be failing miserably, why aren’t you resigning so that someone more competent can complete the task?

9. Why aren’t you at least firing those who have been proven wrong and rehiring those who got it right? Get rid of all those hacks who were appointed solely because they were Republican campaign contributors, but haven’t been doing a “heckofajob.” Give them a Medal of Freedom, which is not longer worth anything anyway, and terminate them.

10. Why don’t you stop smirking? It may take plastic surgery to do it, but we simply cannot take you seriously as long as you look like a frat boy just back from a panty raid.

The bottom line is that we don’t mind following you if this is a struggle for civilization. We are civilized folks and want others to be civil even if we have to kill them to civilize them.

We don’t mind, well, we don’t mind too much, enduring sacrifices if what is at stake is really a new Dark Ages, but we are not stupid. Well, at least most of us are not stupid, at least those not currently appointed by you to run government agencies.

The point is we don’t blindly follow leaders anymore like your namesake, George Custer. At least, we don’t do so forever. So, if you are going to insist this is a struggle for civilization, logic says you too must act like it.

We allowed you to get away with the “Do as I say, not as I do” scheme back in the Vietnam era when you were hiding from combat while ponticating that others should die in your place. That was back when you were just the drunken frat boy living off your rich parent’s money though. That only works once. Now you are the President. The “Exampler” as well as the “Decider.” Consequently, act the part if you want us to believe you. Be the First Family to do the things that need to be done.

In other words, answer the questions and then we can discuss what to do about the struggle for civilization. Until you do, we see it as merely a struggle to keep you from wrecking the place until we can throw you and your friends out.



Question: What is a synonym for gutless, spineless, fearful, weak-willed cowards?

Answer: Congressional Democrats!

I would call them chickens, but in actuality poultry is far more courageous than most elected Democrats. Perhaps the Democrats should trade in the jackass and adopt the amoeba as a symbol.

Why the outburst of name calling you ask, particularly when Bush is obviously infinitely worse on all counts? Well, normally, calling an adult a derogatory name has little effect. It is, or should be, the old "sticks and stones" response once we are past kindergarten. But, apparently calling the Congressional Democrats names scares the hell out of them and goads them into action. Or, in the case of Bush calling them "surrender monkeys" on Iraq, cowers them into inaction.

Perhaps calling the Congressional Democrats names for knuckling under to Bush's vetoes and not taking the difficult course of finally getting out of that Middle East fiasco might counterbalance their fear accumulated from being falsely labeled by Republican war hawks as supposedly "not supporting the troops" or the biggest lie of all - "losing Iraq."

The Congressional Democrats seem to bend in the wind coming from blowhards in the White House. Perhaps if the wind blows hard enough the other way with countervailing accusations of the same specious type, they might finally stand up and stay standing up for long enough to do what is right and needed. Get us out of the folly overseas.



Or, Alternate Ways to Eliminate Traffic Jams

The May 7, 2007 US News & World Report cover story was entitled “America’s Worst Commutes.” The article bemoaned the nation’s growing traffic jams and how people were wasting valuable time stuck on the roads trying to get to work.

The traffic jam problem is serious, but it is a self inflicted wound. Unfortunately, the reporter on the topic spent his column space merely repeated the usual homilies (mass transit, special lanes, etc.) while belittling some promising, while admittedly partial, solutions and choosing to ignore others entirely or was negligent in uncovering them.

For instance, there are primarily only two city models in the US - the “LA model” where housing and business are widely separated and the “San Francisco model” where they are not. Sadly, the former with its freestanding houses, each surrounded by large lawns and cul-de-sacs going nowhere, has been declared as well as promoted by publications like US News over the years to be the American dream. Zoning laws now expressly forbid usage mixing in most of the country. In other words, residential zones are here and the places where they must go when they wake up are way over there. Consequently, people cannot walk to work, restaurants or entertainment. A potential elimination of a major chunk of the resulting vehicle traffic problem would be to change the zoning laws and/or provide incentive for workplaces to be near home much like groceries and schools are (or at least used to be).

There are other, more subtle, ways to discourage the sad LA model we have spent the last six decades building. A massive tax on gas, second cars, and parking spaces would provide a market incentive. (If the new revenue generated was used to fund alternative energy sources, that would be a bonus.) There would surely be hardships and dislocations with those who chose unwisely to live in the barren ‘burbs, but perhaps less than feared and assuredly it would be better to do it now before permanent grid lock develops. (Rationing works too, but there are more possibilities for favoritism, cheating and corruption with that type of approach.)

There are also better and cheaper techno fixes too than the ones the US News reporter bothered to mention. For example, encouraging new ways to work and shop at home helps. Is going to the office from 9 am to 5 pm five days a week the only practical way to produce? Surely not. What about supervision, you say? Hard to see if a worker is sleeping on the job if he is at home? That is where new and even off the shelf technology, such as keyboard monitoring, might be useful. If you can monitor your pets from the office over the internet and if customer service can be provided from India, why can’t home workers be appropriately supervised using some of the same techniques? Although, the real test ultimately is, or should be, what and how much the worker produces rather than where and how it is done.

About thirty years ago, I was caught in traffic stalled in a snowstorm watching a ski tourer pass me on the way to work at Downtown Denver. The normal half hour one way trip was increased to two hours. I vowed never again to live further away than I could walk to work. The unintended consequence of that decision was that over the decades it has been almost like finding an eighth day in each week. I suddenly had use of ten to twelve hours per week, 500 hours a year or more, I could devote to other things thanks to not being forced into a car, breathing fumes that same length of time. And, that doesn’t count the small fortune unspent on gasoline, not to mention keeping that money out of the hands of oil producing counties and companies who seem to hate us.

The next time an investigative report is done on the subject, it would be nice for the country if the investigators dug deeper. They should interview those innovating rather than just those wringing their hands.