Tuesday, November 28, 2006

You'll probably be hearing more about this idea in the next few weeks (as soon as I get that paper on terrorism done), but here's a sketch of my plan for world peace. I explained it well in this IM conversation with my friend...plus, you get the benefit of me seriously explaining why a draft is such a bad idea that it will never happen.
(jeez, sometimes liberals need the most basic things explained to them (though, this doesn't really include my friend, most of the time)

Here we go(edited slightly for readability and anonymity):
Ben: guess what E and I decided we need to do this summer...

A: I heard protest for the invasion of Iran

Ben : Yup. But actually, it was to "Protest for the Ending of Human Rights Abuses" the world over...though particularly in Iran, cause we're strategically placed, and a couple other reasons.

A: I think its a great idea
A: I just hope you guys like the draft cuase thats the only way its happening

Ben: Not really...we don't need the draft.
Ben: We just need to redeploy from Iraq to Iran...We have them surrounded, and we'll be able to use the Navy more...
Ben: There will never ever be a draft again, it's inefficient.
Ben: It takes us about a year to train someone to be a basic soldier, at which point we send them to specialized training, which takes at least another 6-8 months. Most specialties take more time than this. (remember, this isn't exact, I was thinking off the top of my head. It is generally correct. - ed.) If we drafted people for two years (like the draft is currently set up, and how it worked in Vietnam) (In WWII we drafted people for the duration. - ed.) we would barely get to use them at all. Plus, they would not be as good as the volunteers we currently have, who are in top physical shape and all that. So, a draft would increase our needs and costs and we wouldn't really get much (a draft would also reduce the number of volunteers)
Ben: A draft is just pretty much all-around, bad strategy, and we can increase the size of the military without it.
Ben: Like we have been doing, for the past four years, despite the fact that we missed our overall recruitment goals for one of those years.

A: and its your asses that are going

Ben: I probably would go... but I would be a volunteer...not a draftee...

A: I would volunteer to but thats not the point
A:I guarntee if it was necessary which it very likely could be in the future
A: Training and standards would be lowered which is yes bad strategy but if you can't get enough kids to volunteer you don't have a choice

Ben: I just told you all the reasons it's not necessary, even, not helpful nor beneficial...
Ben: We don't have wars that need bodies to fill trenches or storm a beach anymore. We use skilled technicians that complete highly specialized missions that come together to create the desired impact.

A: And when it comes down to it the military is going to what they have to to keep enough people there
A: Well good fight the war without them then

Ben: We need people who can use a computer with one hand, while shooting a gun with the other, while running full speed at a crouch.

A: and how are you going to redeploy

Ben: from Iraq to Iran?
Ben: well, no one wants us there anyway, right?

A: we can't even keep iraq stable now and the Iraqis sure as hell can't do shit

Ben: I assume we'll just take the helicopters, tanks and everything and drive across the border to Iran...

A: no one wants us there but we can't leave it in chaos

Ben: I mean, if the trainers and suppliers can come this way, it can't be that hard to go the other way.
Ben: why not?
Ben: If we did, they would bleed out, and the problem would fix itself. (please, sarcasm - ed)
Ben: Plus, it would show them that being stupid and violent never works.

A: then all your various insurgents that are keeping global terrorism down by busting the shit out of iraq will start moving around or just go to iran
A: and then we will just be fighting the iraq war in iran

Ben: yeah, so?
Ben: we'll move to Pakistan when that happens.
Ben: Run once, run twice, what's the difference?

A: can't do both at the same time
A: yes alexander the great
A: go take over the middle east i don't care i just want a job wiht the CIA

Ben: eventually, we'll destroy so much stuff (which is what our military is designed to do, not be a police force) that the insurgents won't have anything left to make bombs with.

Ben: I don't want to do two things at the same time.

A: please keep me in business for the next twenty years or soo

Ben: I want to leave Iraq, and go to Iran, then leave Iran, and go to Pakistan, then leave Pakistan, and go to North Korea, then leave NK and go to Burma, then leave Burma and rest for a few minutes before we get to Africa, (cause we'll need it to pump ourselves up for being in Africa, which is far more confusing than the Middle East) but we'll have to be there eventually.
Ben: See, just one thing at a time...

A: fine go to iran see what happens just make sure they don't nuke cuase austrailia has great surfing but i don't wanna live there with bunny rabbits

Ben: and if we move quickly enough, the terrorist won't be able to run fast enough to keep up.
Ben: and we'll just kill the leaders in every place, so that the terrorists won't know how to build bombs any more, and they'll have to spend more time learning all over again.


Ben: It'll be like they got sent back to kindergarden from (well, I almost said 10'th grade, but that's too advanced for where they're actually at) 6'th grade.
Ben: Well, I think that for best effect, we should use them both in conjunction with each other.
Ben: Maybe Nuke The Moon again each time we have to move on to another country.

A: fabulous

Ben: Maybe people will eventually get the point and stop being stupid idiots so that the moon doesn't get destroyed.

A: probly not

Ben: *Sigh* Probly not.
Ben: But, on the plus side for us, we get to downsize our nuclear armament, and meet those treaties we have that the russians aren't following.
Ben: it'll be cheaper than disposing of them (im)properly (cause properly disposing of them would be to blow them up, but everyone wants us to just take them apart), and it'll make us look good for meeting our treaty obligations, unlike Saddam

A: they will scream about killling infdels and muhammad and 70 virgins and stuff keeping trying

Ben: Yeah, but we don't really want them to stop anyway...we want to go in and destroy stuff.
Ben: I mean, what's the point of being the most militant country on the planet if you don't get to use a few bunker busters and such?

A: good point

I always make good points, thank you very much.
And just for the record, the US spends 4% of GDP on our military. Iran spends closer to 20% currently, though there aren't really any good figures. NK has no good figures, but you gotta believe that it's closer to 90% of GDP. And, our 4% investment makes most countries (aside from Iran, NK, and France) feel safer in the world, while the Iranians and North Koreans just make everyone feel scared about the crazy things they're going to do next.

Ok, off to lunch.

I am a typical Yankee


What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
The Inland North
North Central
The South
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

So, the results of that dismay me...however true it might be. My accent has been heavily influenced by the couple years I've spent out of the country, and also by the international and country-wide setting in which I went to high school and college.
However, they didn't ask me how I say "room" (I pretty much say it like "rum").

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Jesus is Coming!

Quick! Look Busy!

That was a bumper sticker I saw on the drive down to my family's house for Thanksgiving. It made me laugh for a long time.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Valour-IT wrap up

So, here is a preliminary final account, which also pays due tribute to the Navy team, which crossed the line first. Thank you all for the support you've given us!

If you'd like to follow the project during the off time throughout the year, check this blog out.

And if you'd like to see more analysis of the statistics, check this place out.

And congratulations to everyone who helped, and big thanks to everyone who donated, and remember to come back next year!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

It seems to me that I need to live in Germany

This isn't part of the great beards series, cause there's too many of them, and some of them don't count as beards, just facial hair...but which one of these is great?

Does anyone speak Gaelic?

Cause I've got a question for them.

So this past weekend I went to a great band at a cool bar. It was an Irish bar, which they had actually shipped over from Ireland, piece by piece. It was quite a lot of fun. But the company that does this is not all that old, maybe 10 years or so, from what I can tell. Their name is Ri-Ra, with an accent over the i which I can't put in.

Does Ri-Ra mean anything in Gaelic?
'Cause the acronym could mean something in English, and given the history surrounding those groups, I'm not sure spending money there is a good idea. RIRA is the name of the successor to the the IRA, and they are one of the few republican groups not standing by the cease-fire. And, it was common for the IRA to raise money in bars in America...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Exciting Day

So, I don't normally diary my life here on the blog, but tomorrow is exciting enough to merit a post. If only to calm me down a bit by telling someone about it!

Tomorrow I'll be going to the State Department for my first full working day there. I'll be at the OSAC security briefings, because the internship I have currently, is intricately involved in international security matters. I'll just be sitting around and taking notes, but I will be doing all that within the confines of Foggy Bottom...given the fact that I really, really, want to work for the State Department as my career, that's enough to get me excited about the prospect of being there.

So, if you work at State, or are there for the same reason I'll be there, say hi to the kid with the dark suit and red bow tie who looks slightly over-awed by it all. I hoping it won't be that obvious, but the last time I went to a conference at State, my friends teased me incessantly about how I was constantly looking around, marveling at the slightest things. (by the way, I'm not embarrased, it's good for me to be over-awed by something as big and cool as the workings of the State Department, especially if I plan to work there. The problem would be if everything was mundane to a person as young as I am.)

As an added bonus, I'll be meeting a contact at the state department for lunch, cause my roommate was cool enough to mention that he and I were going to be taking the OA's in a couple weeks when he met this person. The timing actually worked out perfectly for us, since I'll already be there, and I won't have to take an absurdly long lunch to go meet them.

In the next few weeks, I'll be posting my Statement Of Intent (which is a short essay about why I want to work for state), in case anyone would like to comment on it. That will be two of these boring posts about my life (and both betray my own innate pride, because who really wants to read about my life?), but I hope you'll forgive me. By the time I post that business, I'll hopefully be in the middle of a series of posts looking at several current definitions of terrorism. I'll be trying to create one that works in all the important parts, but is still simple and robust enough for general consumption. It should be starting soon, so be on the lookout for something of that nature.

That's enough rambling without much cause, so go back to your regularly scheduled blog reading, if any of you decided to stick around through this whole post.

note: when I say that a diary post like this is boring, I'm only wondering why I should presume that anyone is interested. It's my life, and most people have done similar things. I already tell my friends and family what I'm up to, and it's not like I'm on an exciting adventure in africa. I'm not disparaging any bloggers who do blog mostly about their life; I just think that anyone who does that needs to have insights on life or a writing style that far exceeds my own. I do enjoy reading blogs like that, and you can find a couple on my side-bar. But in general, I feel that my own life and writing don't pass that level of interest; hence, the boring label...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Happy Veteran's Day!

Marines and Navy are over the line! Well done guys! Now, lets help the Air Force out, because the army's got the biggest team, and they should be able to get the rest of the money.

Give some cash to help the fly-boys!

Also, take a moment to remember our veteran's today. They have given us the world, we should give them a few moments of remembrance.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Navy Made it!

Good work!

Now go help the Marines! It is their birthday, after all...

Happy Birthday to the Marines.

You're a hell of a fighting force.

“The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle.”— U.S. Army Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing

“The safest place in Korea was right behind a platoon of Marines. Lord, how they could fight!”— U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Frank Lowe

“Marines have it [pride] and benefit from it. They are tough, cocky, sure of themselves and their buddies. They can fight, and they know it."— U.S. Army Gen. Mark Clark

“Marines I see as two breeds, Rottweilers or Dobermans, because Marines come in two varieties, big and mean, or skinny and mean. They’re aggressive on the attack and tenacious on defense. They’ve got really short hair and they always go for the throat.” — Rear Admiral Jay Stark, U.S. Navy

“[U.S.] Marines have the swagger, confidence, and hardness that must have been in Stonewall Jackson's Army of the Shenandoah.” — A British military officer in a report to his command after visiting U.S. Marines in Korea

And this one, from a more recent conflict:

Still, from a combat-power / force-multiplying perspective, it is the old formula – which creates the magic – that truly sets Marines apart from other soldiers. Perhaps impossible to define, this magic may be expressed in the words of a frantic terrorist whose radio transmission was intercepted by U.S. forces during the assault on Fallujah in 2004: “We are fighting, but the Marines keep coming. We are shooting, but the Marines won’t stop.”"

But give money to the Navy anyway!

Update: Apparently, I didn't realize how close we were to the goal, and how much work is left to be done. It seems to me that we in the Navy should play it straight and lend a little support to our younger brothers, the Marines...
Lets all cross the finish line together - tell your friends to donate, get everyone you know, and have them give money to the team that is farthest away. That way, we should still raise the money (which is the important part) and everyone gets to play. Of course, Navy still gets bragging rights, but why would we need any more of those?
So, give money to the Marines now, cause it's their Birthday, tomorrow, I'll look for the other codes...

Rumsfeld Resigns; Some Thoughts

I've been hearing some Republicans bemoan the fact that Rumsfeld waited to announce his resignation until after the election.

What they're forgetting is that American politics don't happen in a vacuum. Sure, having Rumsfeld step down would probably have helped us with a few voters, but the reason Republicans in the field didn't vote for Republican's in the elections is not really that the war was going badly; it's more that the Republicans in office have failed us on domestic matters. Letting Rumsfeld go would not have fixed that problem.

Rumsfeld's resignation also signals something else, to everyday Republicans, and to our enemies abroad. "We're weak." (I don't think this is true, but that is how the terrorists will try to play it off, in fact they have already.)

The effect on voters in America would have been negligible. The effect on the terrorists would not have been. If Rumsfeld had resigned two months ago, the terrorists would have had a chance to crow about it, a chance to declare it a victory for them. It would have been reported as a sign that America was leaving the battlefield in disgrace. That none of these things would have been true doesn't matter.

With all that negative news (especially with news of the a renewed series of attacks in Iraq due to a renewed sense of hope), we would have lost the election solely because of Iraq. We might have, as you said, kept the Senate, but we would have still lost the House. And that, coming less than two months after the resignation of Rumsfeld, would have been seen as yet another victory for the enemies of America, yet another sign that Americans are weak and cowardly.

The two events (Democrats wining the election, and Rumsfeld resigning) give the terrorists cause to celebrate. However, instead of giving them two victories, Bush only gave them one. Instead of two separate boosts, they only get one. One point is just a dot on a plane, two points make a line, a trend, and that perceived change of momentum would have caused lots of problems for us. Bush also signaled that he's willing to work with the Democrats, gives the DD a new set of fresh eyes (and a set of eyes that has seen insurgency tactics before, something that is obviously useful now), and he gave the democrats a challenge. In effect, he said, "I'm willing to work with you as long as you give me what I need to do my job to keep America safe." Or, I'll get rid of Rummy if you give me Gates without any trouble, and we'll see where we can go from there.

We'll obviously have to wait and see how things go, but I think the resignation of Rumsfeld was played in a decent way. It's a natural time for a shake-up, and we've seen the Rumsfeld resignation coming in one way or another for a long time. This way, we limit the damage it does to us, and Bush gets to send a balloon up to the Democrats to see how they're react to a more Uniter-type policy.

Just another silver lining (though admittedly a thin one) that I'm seeing this week.

She gets it right

I suspect lots of people feel this way...
I too wanted the Republicans to take losses this election, but I think I realized that we were going to loose the House and Senate (Though I held out hope for the senate until the end). I'm not sure everyone had the foresight to see that this is what would happen if enough republicans were thinking the same way that Althouse and I were, and were therefore unprepared for the reality of Wednesday morning. I think we'll probably survive, but it is kind of disappointing.

However, there are reasons to think that it isn't all this bad. For one, it's less than a normal second-mid-term election pickup, according to Krauthammer. Number two, like everyone's saying, we've elected a lot of conservative Democrats. They used to be a dying breed, and if they can overcome their populist tendencies, I think we could use a bit of that philosophy right now. There are more than enough of them to overcome anything Pelosi really wants to do, and there are also enough of them for them to make an impact in all the committee's. Sure, the committee's will all be headed by really Liberal democrat dinosaurs. However, with both houses being so close, the margin in each of those committee's will also be very close. Look for a lot of defections from the more conservative democrats over the next two years. Also, remember that Bush can always start using his veto-pen like he's supposed to. Divided government generally leads to lower spending and fewer laws created, which is a good thing most of the time. In fact, if it wasn't for the war, (which, as Althouse correctly pin-points, is the main issue today) I'd be pretty happy at the moment.
Though this election was certainly a loss for the Republicans, it was just as certainly a victory for the conservatives in this country. I can think of worse things that could happen.

I still think we're going to be suffering from buyer's remorse this week, a la Jane Galt...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A tasteful disagreement

Well, the Gregg at TMQ put this paragraph in his column: "The most offensive attack ad of the season is the "Harold, Call Me" spot run by the Republican National Committee against Democratic Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr. of Tennessee. The woman who declares in the spot, "I met Harold at a Playboy party" has, in fact, never met Harold -- she's an actress reading lines. All the people who give opinions about Ford in the commercial, presented as men and women on the street, are actors. That is to say, the commercial consists exclusively of lies. You can't go any lower. The ending lie is especially repellant on the part of the Republican National Committee, as viewers are not warned that the person presented as knowing the candidate personally actually has never met him. "

He seems to think (as evidenced by this quote) that it's not ok to use actors in political comercials, unless they are giving their own true stories, not reading anything someone else wrote. I think that's a little unfair, and if everyone felt the same way, political ads would be ever more boring and annoying than they actually are.

I actually thought (racist allegations aside) that that particular ad was one of the more comical ones from the season. It was arguing against Ford using the "argumentum ad absurdum" or however you spell it, so obviously nothing said there was actually true. It did turn around a lot of Ford's statements to phrases that Tennesseans would disagree with, and that Ford would never say, but only because he would phrase them differently (I'm not sure about the gun-comment, though I'm sure that Ford probably support more restrictions than his opponent). As far as the girl went, Ford did go to a playboy party (though not at the playboy mansion) and the Corker campaign was trying to play up the young, irresponsible image that Tennesseans already had of Ford (because he was in the public eye because his family has long been involved in politics). I think that all that is fair game, and the American People are smart enough to figure things out for themselves.

Sorry for a late midterm elections post, but I'm just reading the TMQ now...and I will be giving my silver lining later...

A fitting Tribute

This is a good way to remember our Rummy. Later I'll talk about the silver lining of losing him and losing the congress.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

NPR Surprise

So, I've been listening to NPR today at work, cause I wasn't getting enough election stuff from the web...but then I ended up getting a long screed about some road they're building somewhere near a wet-land environment. And I didn't care.

But, I did hear this clip, which I thought was interesting, since it was a republican on NPR. They even let her talk. 'Course, she was black too, so they were just fulfilling their diversity quota. She spoke well, I want to see if we can get her to come all the way out to my college...

Monday, November 06, 2006

New blog, plus great tactics

Ok, so the republicans aren't the only party playing dirty tricks, but they may have the funniest technique. According to the new Economist blog, Democracy in America, some republicans are computer dialing voters with a message from a democrat, and setting it to redial anyone who hangs up. This is wonderfully funny and creative. Those silly republicans, what will they think up next? Push Polling? Google-Bombing? Who knows? I know only that it'll be funny and amazing!

MSM watch

So, sometimes even the NYT can't help but put out inspiring stories about our troops. They do at least pretend to tell the truth, so one can't be surprised that sometimes a few things they'd rather not publish get slipped through the cracks. Today we've got two stories that show the honor and valour of our troops, although they ran sometime last week. You have to get through the first couple of paragraphs before you can see the good stuff, but they're both good stories.

While we're on the subject of Valour, and the Troops, I should mention that you should give money to this great project that I told you about last week...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

If the Democrats win the house, Pelosi becomes part of the line of Succession

It is for this reason, and this reason alone that I withdraw my previous opinion that it might be better if the Republicans lost the House. I love to read The Economist, but I'm not a fan of their current endorsement. In it, they say that the Democrats should have control of the House, and then go on to list many reasons why, in my opinion, Nancy Pelosi should never get close to that kind of agenda shaping power.

I was aware of all these reasons not to like her before, but I was willing to swallow my distaste because I thought the Republicans could use a wake-up call, and the US could use some divided government to get the budget and excess regulation-making under control. Plus, I think the Republican's could use some plausible deniability for the state of the world in the run up to the 2008 elections.

Those reasons are now all moot. Even though I knew that the speaker of the house was third in line for the presidency since forever ago, it never connected in my mind that Nancy Pelosi would be this person. Prior to this, the best reason for not assassinating President Bush was that Cheney would assume power, and that Hastert (or Delay) would after Cheney. However, now that would not be the case. I call on the secret service to step in and not allow the Democrats to take control of the House based on security reasons.

Just think what would happen if a bomb went off at the wrong time and we then had Madame President Pelosi, instead of just Madame Speaker Pelosi! I leave you with that nightmare as you get ready to vote on Tuesday.

I agree with Andrew Sullivan about this

Here's the link.

I'm pissed at us for listening to PM Maliki about withdrawing from Sadr City. It's actually more complicated than that - Maliki told us we should take down our barricades, not that we should stop searching for our soldier, and we should probably do our best to work with the PM of Iraq. However, we got no back up from the Iraqi's who should have replaced us at the barricades, but didn't because Maliki is listening too closely to Al Sadr, who wants his militias to be able to go and kill whomever they'd like to, mostly cause that will keep them too busy to try and take power away from him.

It's a bad situation, and what should be a great story (an American citizen from an Iraqi background who married an Iraqi woman before he chose to join the military and go to Iraq) is now a story about us abandoning our soldiers. It's disappointing, and I want to get him back. Not that I can really do anything about that, but I do want us to not get into a situation where our soldiers continue to get kidnapped. We need to be resolute and not tolerate anyone who keeps our people from us. Especially since, like I've said before, our enemies don't even have a counterpart to Gitmo, let alone whatever prison the left would like to point to as being the ultimate in respecting human rights.

Friday, November 03, 2006

"You are going to burn in a very special level of hell."

"Hello? Woman-person?"

"Yeah, we're pretty much just giving each other significant looks and laughing incessantly."

Firefly quotes that are running through my head after recent events. Not in the context that they were said on the show, of course...I don't talk at the theater or anything like that. But they fit into my situation anyway...

Wow, this is kind of a zen post. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The reason France didn't go to Iraq

They've already got enough trouble at home.
This is from an article on Oct. 28'th, the first anniversary of the start of riots that errupted across France last year.
"Some 100 cars were torched nationwide overnight, half of them in the Paris region, police officials said. The figure was higher than usual ?? police say between 30 and 50 cars are set on fire during an average week, though some weekends the figure jumps to 100. On the most fiery night of last year's riots, more than 1,400 cars went up in flames."

30-50 cars are burned a week, on average? Wow. I mean, those kids need to get back into school or something. Make them play more soccer so they're too tired to go out and burn stuff at night.


I'm worried that no one has finished my comment over at this post on IMAO. Will I have to go finish it myself? I know it's not exactly the same as the quote I'm going for, but I feel that it's similar enough for a fan to understand (and there are plenty over there) yet subtle enough to not impede the flow of comments...oh well. Maybe I'm crazy.

Do exactly what Frank J. Says

And donate money to our team! Go Navy! Beat Army!

Squirrel Attack

Just more evidence for the conclusions that I posted earlier on this blog.

Sticking it to the French

So, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani just finished visiting France, as he tried to heal the wounds in their relationship, caused by France's refusal to support freedom in the region. He urged them to look at Iraq with a fresh eye, and maybe we'll return the favor. At the end of his speech, he said: "Without this war, perhaps you wouldn't see me here as a president, but as a refugee."

That's some pretty tough language in diplospeak. Good for him.