Tuesday, October 31, 2006
You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Today is the anniversary, in 1905, of Russian Emperor Nicholas II’s October Manifesto, which promised Russia its first constitution, and established the State Duma. Although commentators like to say that neither the Manifesto or the eventual constitution (23 April 1906) amounted to much, it was a vast improvement over the then-existing autocracy, and the freest government Russia ever had until the 1990’s. Had it not been for World War I, no doubt this experiment would have developed further. (Oh, Franz Ferdinand, why couldn’t you have just dodged that bullet ? Oh Tsar Nicholas, why didn’t you Just Say No to mobilization ?).
Okay, turning away from cosmic universe history questions, and on to our own. The political news continues to look up, a little bit. The Houston Chronicle reports this morning that Republican Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, the write-in candidate for Tom DeLay’s old seat in the House of Representatives – is actually in the game, and running a dead heat with Nick Lampson, the Donkey Party’s candidate. Polling indicates that Ms. Sekula-Gibbs would defeat Lampson handily if this were a normal election, and the Republicans not in the desperate position of resorting to a write-in candidate after the courts refused to let the party replace DeLay on the ballot.
I know very little about Ms. Sekula-Gibbs, and I have not followed her campaign, but the fact that this is not a long shot -- that she’s making a credible effort in a write-in campaign, tells you: (1) that she’s a good candidate; (2) and, that Texas Congressional District 22 is very Republican. Still, winning a campaign with a write-in is complicated, and Ms. Sekula-Gibbs, alas, is not named Smith. Good luck to her though. Here’s hoping that S-H-E-L-L-E-Y S-E-K-U-L-A G-I-B-B-S manages to pull it off, and stick a big thumb in the eye of all the great and good who have abetted the effort to disenfranchise the Republican voters of District 22.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Saturday, October 28, 2006
In the moral crisis that causes the disaster of an army, it is customary to study first the loss of confidence in victory; then, the surprise, resulting from a brutal manifestation of the enemy's will and carrying with it stupor and discouragement: then the panic, following upon some incident of battle; and finally, the debacle or capitulation. . .
Charles de Gaulle, The Enemy's House Divided, Chapter 5 "The Debacle of the German People," p. 115 (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2002 [orig. published 1924]).
AP story today on Iraqi Prime-Minister's employment of the political views of US defeatists.
Friday, October 27, 2006
Thursday, October 26, 2006
. . .Iraq deserves one last chance. But to make that chance even remotely viable, we'll have to take desperate measures. We need to fight. And accept the consequences.
The first thing we need to do is to kill Muqtada al-Sadr, who's now a greater threat to our strategic goals than Osama bin Laden.
We should've killed him in 2003, when he first embarked upon his murder campaign. But our leaders were afraid of provoking riots.
Back then, the tumult might've lasted a week. Now we'll face a serious uprising. So be it. When you put off paying war's price, you pay compound interest in blood.
We must kill - not capture - Muqtada, then kill every gunman who comes out in the streets to avenge him.
Our policy of all-carrots-no-sticks has failed miserably. . .
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Friday, October 20, 2006
If I should die, think only this of me:That there's some corner of a foreign fieldThat is forever England.There shall beIn that rich earth a richer dust concealed;A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,Gave once, her flowers to love, her way to roam,A body of England's, breathing English air,Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.And think, this heart, all evl shed away,A pulse in the eternal mind, no lessGives somewhere back the thoughts by England given.Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;And laughter, learnd of friends; and gentleness,In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
The new law is, above all, a stinging rebuke to the Supreme Court. It strips the courts of jurisdiction to hear any habeas corpus claim filed by any alien enemy combatant anywhere in the world. It was passed in response to the effort by a five-justice majority in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld to take control over terrorism policy. That majority extended judicial review to Guantanamo Bay, threw the Bush military commissions into doubt, and tried to extend the protections of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions to al Qaeda and Taliban detainees, overturning the traditional understanding that Geneva does not cover terrorists, who are not signatories nor "combatants" in an internal civil war under Article 3.
Hamdan was an unprecedented attempt by the court to rewrite the law of war and intrude into war policy. . .
Until the Supreme Court began trying to make war policy, the writ of habeas corpus had never been understood to benefit enemy prisoners in war. The U.S. held millions of POWs during World War II, with none permitted to use our civilian courts (except for a few cases of U.S. citizens captured fighting for the Axis). . .
(emphasis in underline supplied)
We are in Iraq for good reasons and for reasons that were well-intentioned but wrong. But we are there. Those who say that it's not the central front in the war on terror are in a worse state of denial than they think Bush is in. Of course it's the central front in the war on terror. That it has become so is a valid criticism of Bush, but it's also strong reason for seeing our Iraqi intervention through. If we pull out precipitously, jihadism will open a franchise in Iraq and gain steam around the world, and the U.S. will be weakened.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
That's why North Korea's upcoming Winter Training Cycle (WTC) will be very interesting--and potentially important, at least from a military perspective. It should be noted upfront that there are currently no indications that Pyongyang is contemplating an invasion of the south. . .However, the WTC is significant because it's the time of year when the DPRK military conducts most of its training, and North Korean units typically reach their highest levels of readiness. The WTC usually begins in late November or early December and runs through March. Using a building-block approach, North Korean units usually start off the training cycle with individual and small-unit training, then shifting to larger-scale exercises in January and February. North Korea's WTC often culminates with a national-level exercise in the late winter. After that, much of the military shifts to agricultural projects, and training levels plummet.(emphasis supplied).
Monday, October 16, 2006
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Today is traditionally Columbus Day and celebrated as such through most of the Americas, although the USA celebrated it on Monday. Columbus Day commemorates the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, Admiral of the Ocean Sea (1451-1506). Americans are still allowed to remember Columbus, if they choose, but fear not, Columbus Day will no doubt disappear into the liberal memory-hole, or go the way of Washington's Birthday (folded into generic, anonymous, obnoxious "President's Day"), soon enough.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Monday, October 9, 2006
To nobody's surprise, the Kim Jong Il regime has gone ahead and tested a nuclear device. Whether the NK's have a usable weapon, much less a warhead that could be fitted to a rocket, or otherwise detonated under other than controlled test conditions remains to be seen. How others will react is also not clear presently, but we can draw some preliminary conclusions:
Big Loser: CHINA. China now has the worst of all worlds: life next to a basket-case country with a population on the verge of starvation -- that now has some sort of nuclear capability. China is North Korea's windpipe, and I expect the Chinese leadership must be mightily tempted to tamper with Mr. Kim's oil and grain supplies. . . but that just got a lot more dangerous. Still, it is not wise to hack off the Chinese. They don't have to worry with happy talk about democracy or non-aggression -- if they want, they can make Mr. Kim very dead. But this is now, more than ever, gambling. If this wasn't enough, the Chinese have to worry about...
Big Loser No. 2: JAPAN. Banzai ! Can you say "Imperial Japanese Strategic Rocket Force ?" Oh, in today's world they'll call it something dishonest and innocuous, like "Japan Self Defense Flower Protection Force" -- but you get the idea. The Koreans, north or south, to put it mildly, do not like Japan -- if Cousin Kim wanted to be elected God-Emperor of Korea forever, he would use his nuke on Tokyo. The Japanese know this, and they are now going to go nuclear, themselves, faster than you can say Tora ! Tora ! Tora ! Full Japanese re-armament is now a certainty, although if the Japanese are smart they will do it quietly, and take extra special care not to hack off the Russians. (Chinese enmity is a certainty, as is Korean, but the Japanese should be careful not to add Russia to this list).
Thursday, October 5, 2006
One such leopard appears to have concluded that Georgia is a tasty morsel – and a morsel which quite possibly can be had.
No, I don’t mean the home of Georgia Tech, the Bulldogs, the Falcons, the Braves and peaches. I mean Georgia, the country located in the Caucasus Mountains, between Russia and Turkey. Swallowed by Russia in bite-sized chunks from the 1780’s to 1810: Georgia has since generally been part of Russia, both in Russian Empire and Soviet Union days. When the Czars fell, the Georgians saw their chance, declaring independence on 26 May of 1918.
The Red Army showed up in 1921, bringing freedom, socialism and brotherhood; plus prisons, executions and the secret police for anybody who didn’t want to be liberated. Some local stooges were rounded-up to petition for annexation to the Soviet Union, which they duly did. (It’s always possible to find sheep willing to be pro-leopard). Joseph Stalin, himself an ethnic Georgian, but a spiritual Muscovite - had few illusions about the love his countrymen bore for the Soviet Union (that man had few illusions about anything, other than trusting Hitler) -- so Stalin shot, deported and imprisoned as liberally in Georgia as anyplace else, if not more so.
Georgia formed part of the “unbreakable union of freeborn republics,” as the old Soviet national hymn (catchy tune) said, which, “welded forever” by “Great Russia” stood, until a miracle happened. Lenin’s prison house toppled, and the Union broke. The Georgians, having a proper appreciation of the Soviet “motherland, home of the free” -- bolted again on 9 April 1991…and here we are.
Quite naturally, there are plenty of Russians who want to undo the result of the Cold War and put Georgia and other wayward secessionists right back in the Bear’s claws where they traditionally belong. Had I been born in Moscow or St. Petersburg, quite possibly I would be one such person.
Wednesday, October 4, 2006
Tuesday, October 3, 2006
Monday, October 2, 2006
Nor is the struggle in Iraq "ours" for many Democrats. It's "their" war, the Bush administration's war. And they seek not the road to victory, but the acknowledgement of failure.Their pit bull attacks on Bush, their constant references to the Abu Ghraib abuses as if they were typical, their opposition to letting the NSA listen to coversations from al-Qaida suspects to persons in the United States. . .these amount to a strategy of rule or ruin. You must let us rule this country, or we won't regard it as "our" country anymore.