Saturday, December 30, 2006

Is this a great country, or what?

Don’t you just love this Bush administration? They got their saying, "New Way Forward!", long before they had any plan. At the time of this post, they still don’t have a plan. Get the jingle, and then worry about the plan. Is that not symptomatic of this administration? Appearance comes before substance. And substance so far has been naïve ideology that never works in the real world – that’s the kicker.

The military maintained its professionalism while being ill used by political leadership. Did Rumsfeld’s less-is-more military take Iraq as proof of his design or did the military adjust and overcome insufficient support a modern military needs? Have the Neocons provided proof backhandedly of the Powell Doctrine? If only they could get the right jingle, everything would be OK.

If only the purpose of government was to get elected, Bush would be one of the greatest presidents we have ever had. But it isn’t, and he isn’t. Bush has learned as many before him, it is one thing to take over the government, it is a whole other thing to govern.

Other jingles the Bush administration was considering:

It's the liberals fault.

Liberals are so dastardly; you can't even see how it's all their fault.

Think how bad things would be if that flip-flopper Kerry was president.

Think how bad things would be if that tree-hugging, do-gooder, anti-global warmer Gore had been president all this time.

Don't you just love hating Hillary?

We are right; reality is wrong.

Sunnis and Shiites are killing each other over there so they won't have to kill each other over here.

When Iraqi stand up, we’ll be fired upon.

We are going to be victorious, because we have better jingles.

You don't need a good plan if you've got a good jingle.

The Mission was Accomplished, but all those Democrats in the military lost it.

We are not winning; we are not losing; but we are still dying.

By the way, “we are not winning; we are not losing,” is the strategy for insurgency and guerilla warfare. While a small faction can never win, they are not losing as long as they survive. Not winning/losing is losing for a super power. The question is “have we lost?”.

Here’s another jingle for the Bush administration:

Don’t worry; we’ve identified in the Green Zone all the flat roofs from which we can helicopter evacuees.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Time's Person of the Year

I was shocked and awed upon learning I was Time's Person of the Year. I have reserved a tux at the rental in my size, found a sitter for the dogs, and am anxiously awaiting my invite for me and the fam’ to New York City for the big party.

When I first saw the cover of Time, my first thought was that the monitor on the cover had the worse case of glare I've ever seen, and then I thought maybe my computer had been awarded the Person of the Year, but no, it was me. We have met the enemy and he is us, comes to mind.

I find Time's tribute a dubious distinction. Here we are supposed to be the new power broker, and sure, we brought down Trent Lott and Dan Rather among others, but the world is going to hell in the Middle East and there was nothing we could do to stop it. I feel like some guy who was given an award for attentiveness to air security Sunday morning in Honolulu just before the Japanese bombed Pear Harbor – Time’s cover like accolades and congratulations as Japanese planes drone over head.

The blogsphere raised a racket about Trent Lott's comments in December 2002 to the point he had to step down as majority leader, but was unable to check the intelligence farce that lead to the invasion of Iraq the next year. We’re the new wise guy in the ‘hood – yea, sure. If Lott had remained in power, would the Republican Congress been able to stand up to the administration more than it did? Was what he said worse than what Bush and his Neocon wonks did? We can only wonder.

We received the acknowledgement of Time as a force to be reckoned with in regards to the MSM, but at the same time, we now sit at the power players’ table as guilty as the MSM we condemn for allowing Iraq to happen.

Most of Time’s story on You, Person of the Year (When you phase it that way, it is always someone else and never anybody particularly.), is about the part of the internet I rarely visit. While I had seen lonelygirl15 cropping up all over the indices and roundups, I didn’t get into it until the story appeared in the NYTimes, and then I was interested because I appreciate a quality spin or scam (spin’m?) It’s always amazing whether it’s Karl Rove or the lonelygir15 team.

Time went on about Web 2.0, the new new thing. We’ll see, but I wonder will we have seen? Nothing is more quaint than reading yesterday’s predictions about today. The older they are, the quainter they become – especially when communication, technology, and people are concerned. If you are reading this on your Dick Tracy wrist communicator, I stand corrected. What I’m looking forward to is that always connected, ever refreshing newspaper that made a brief appearance in the movie “Minority Report”. When can I get me one of those?

However, the immediate future trumps cyberspace sooths. Will the escalating war in the Middle East be the major factor in next year’s news cycle or will the investigations by Democrat committee chairmen lead to a scandal followed by a MSM feeding frenzy and blog storm and eventually to even the third impeachment in my life time?

Maybe all of the above. A major world crises and the United States embroiled in an all consuming internal affair sounds like a situation made for history.

Only time will tell. Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Happy Birthday Bill of Rights

December 15, 2006, is the 215th anniversary of the U.S. Bill of Rights. Most if not all the rights guaranteed and protected in the Bill of Rights were radical liberal ideas at the time they became law. We have become so accustom to these rights that we take them for granted.

However, conservatives don't take them for granted – as they are always reminding their liberal opponents. I wonder how they would feel if they realized their defense of the individual possession of a gun by a commoner was once a liberal idea. "You'll have to pull my cold dead fingers from around this liberal idea," just doesn't have the same ring to it, but it's nonetheless true.

The right to due process and protection from unreasonable search and seizure were radically liberal ideas when included in the Bill of Rights. The people who demanded these rights be the first amendments to the new constitution knew of a time when the king's men could come into your home and take anything they wanted, and there was nothing you could do about it. They didn't want their new government to have any such power to do the same and they wanted protection – in writing, spelled out, specifically, a law.

Royalty and the ruling class had rights such as these for some time but not commoners. The unalienable rights for all men mentioned in the Declaration of Independence (another liberal idea) were in effect codified in the Bill of Rights. What was a liberal idea has become the foundation of conservatism. Such is the way of history.

The separation of the British colonies from the king was a revolutionary liberal idea. Conservatives were loyalist who wanted to stay with England. It was those stinking liberals that wanted separation to form a whole new nation. So, the next time you hear someone trashing liberals, remember, they are talking about our founding fathers.

And if you have a chance to comment on a conservative blog – and I know the chance to comment on conservative blogs are slim – be sure and tell them: You’re Welcome! We got more were those came from. What of today’s liberal ideas will be the conservative foundations of tomorrow?

I wonder if these founding liberals realized just how loaded and pregnant the ideas were they wanted attached and apart of the new constitution. It would take hundreds of years for the impact of these ideas to include non-white non-European non-males. The struggle for racial, ethnic, and sexual equality, which continues even today, benefited greatly from the presents of these liberal ideas in the Constitution.

So, buck up all you depressed and muchly ridiculed and scorned liberals, sometimes you win one for the Gipper even if he would never admit it.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Matt Lauer’s “Cronkite Moment”

We are now engaged in a national debate over Iraq. Is it an insurgency or even sectarian violence as the administration wants to call it or is it civil war as their opponents say? NBC’s Matt Lauer made a “Cronkite Moment” when he announced on the Today show that NBC News would henceforth refer to what is going on in Iraq as a “civil war.” NBC is not the first to say the fighting in Iraq is a civil war, but they are the first major U.S. network to make a big deal out of using the term.

The BBC had an post in April 2006 asking the same question and giving their definition of a civil war, so the question has been bandied around for some time.

If you go to the Wikipedia link for Cronkite, you can look around at the definition of civil war and insurgency to see what the classical definition and what you think is going on in Iraq.

To be a true “Cronkite Moment”, all sort of other things have to happen and to understand the full meaning of the term, I’m going to ask Mr. Peabody’s boy Sherman to turn the Wayback Machineto the time when the moment occurred, the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War. We need to flesh out Walter's Wikipedia post.

The Johnson administration had been saying using the phase “light at the end of the tunnel” to describe our long involvement in Vietnam and that the end was near. North Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap plan was a general uprising in which the North Vietnamese forces – but mainly the Vietcong insurgency in the South – would seize power by taking key strategic points and using captured material to re-supply. The uprising was scheduled to occur during the Tet celebration of 1968.

While the Vietcong did take over key points and threaten military bases including the American Embassy, the take over was a military failure. The Americans hunkered down, counter attacked, and tracked the Vietcong back to their staging areas and strong holds and wiped them out. After Tet, the Vietcong was never a major force threatening the South or the Americans. Proof of this is when the fall finally did come some seven years later, it came in an invasion from the north. There was no uprising in the south.

However, standing in the ruins of the Tet Offensive, Walter Cronkite, dramatically reporting from the scene, wondered if our involvement in Vietnam would ever end. He saw no light at the end of the tunnel.

Most of our modern press sees that as a "Cronkite Moment." something to be desired and envied as the Holy Grail of journalism, the scoop. Here we have a journalist standing up to the administration and describing what is really happending, the truth, the news, no matter what the administration's spin. What journalist in their narcissitic, self-serving attitude fail to recognize is there is more to the moment than just standing up to one very powerful president. For one, Walter Cronkite was wrong is so many ways.

When LBJ saw Cronkite have his moment on the CBS Evening News, he said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost the rest of America.” He sued for peace, reinforcing it with the statement he would not run for another term as president. We didn’t know then what we know now: North Vietnam had shot its wad, we had beaten them, and they needed peace as much as we thought we did. Will Lauer’s “Cronkite Moment” include this kind of ending in Iraq?

Also, even as we were abandoning Vietnam from the rooftop of the American embassy, many where becoming aware that Communism as a form of government was a failure. Many could not help but notice that planned economies do not perform as well as free markets. Even as Vietnam fell, free markets were wining the Cold War.

Does Lauer’s “Cronkite Moment” include the beginning of the end of radical Islam’s reign of terror?

Don't get me wrong, we should never have gone into Vietnam just as we should never have gone into Iraq -- but once we are there we need to win. Of course, that takes a realistic strategy; something in which Bush's Neocon wonks are sorely lacking. If we had stayed in South Vietnam, it would be the economic success South Korea is, and Iraq could be, but I don't think we are going to win in Iraq anymore than we won in Vietnam.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Bogus Leaked Memos is My Shtick

I know when the Bush administration will admit that what is going on in Iraq is a civil war. When it's too late. Given their previous performance, they will come to realize what is happening in Iraq after it is too late to do anything about it. Since the invasion, the Bush administration has been responding to events instead of making them happen.

On Nov. 29, NYTimes published a memo supposedly leaked to one of its reporters. The accompanying story cites the memo and what it is supposed to mean, especially with Bush's meeting with Maliki in Jordan.

On Dec. 2, Rumsfeld’s memo followed, if not on the front page, posted on the web site. There’s nothing like getting a parting shot in on your replacement. Whatever Gates decides to do, Rummy can say: I said it first.

Of course the most significant newsworthy aspect of these memos went – as usual – unreported. Who leaked the memos and why? Were they leaked or planted? Is the administration testing the political waters on possible action it could take in regards to Iraq? Is Cheney or another administration official going on the Sunday news interview shows and wants to be able to reference the leaked memo.

They've done as much before, and could you expect the administration to do otherwise, given their "stay the course" mentality. Why, oh why weren't they "stay the course" before the idea of invading Iraq came along?

However, one characteristic of the memo makes it look genuine. Never mentioned is an alternative to getting Maliki to separate his government from the extremist like Sadr. What are the Bushies going to do if Maliki decides to "stay the course"?
The memo has the same old idealism that got the Neocons in Iraq in the first place and their naïve plan for post hostilities that got us to where we are now.

Most importantly, no plan is offered for what happens if the civil war gets worse.

Bush calls Iraq Study Group's suggestion unrealistic. "This business about graceful exit just simply has no realism to it whatsoever." Well, if there's anybody that knows anything about lack of realism, it's Bush, but he wouldn't know graceful even if it happen to be his father – which recent history has proven it is.

Bush and his Neocon wonks thought Bush senior was a wimp. Even I thought he was an intellectual lightweight, but Bush junior has proven us all wrong. The old man is a subtle genius at least in foreign policy.

I blogged it before, and I'll say it say it again: The first Gulf War will prove to be a case study in how a short military action should be done. Of course this will be all forgotten when the Iraqi civil war escalates into an all out WWIII, centered in the Middle East, but involving the whole world. The center for our religion and energy – could it get any worse? There's your legacy, Bush.

Did you see that Saudi Arabia is arming the anti-Hezbollah forces in Lebanon much more aggressively than they’ve ever done before? Or, that Maliki's canceling his dinner invite was not a snub to Bush but to Jordan's King Abdullah because he is a Sunni. And the Hadley memo shows the Bushies want to separate Maliki from his Shiite friends. They were out of touch with reality before the war, and the memos shows they are still out there in idealismland. Oh, this war is escalating, baby, and we’ve got Wrongway Peachfuzz at the helm.

And don’t leave without checking out my own bogus leaked memo.