An American Parable: Life’s Too Good for Fighting

Last month, the United States Army missed its recruiting goal of 5,500 new recruits by almost 400. The army cited the war in Iraq, and a strong economy, as reasons they fell short of the goal. It’s understandable that young people would be wary of joining the army during wartime. Even more so while we wage a war that is so unpopular and fruitless. But by citing economic factors in explaining the recruiting shortfall, the army is being refreshingly candid, something that politicians would do well to take note of. It has never been a secret that the United States has depended heavily upon those less fortunate to bear the burden of national defense. Military pay is low, the hours are long, and during a war, the risks are high. We have every reason to be proud of those who sign on the dotted line and put on the uniform, but it is unseemly that so many people take a hard look at their lives and feel getting shipped off to war is a better alternative. That alone is evidence we still have some nation building to do here at home.

Global Warming, the Unstoppable, World Destroying Force, Bound to Drown Us All in an Ever-Rising Ocean of Suffering

I have to admit, when it comes to global warming, I am a pessimist. I have little faith in the ability of mankind to curb its appetite for energy, thereby burning less fossil fuels, the main culprit of global warming. I look at what the United States has managed to accomplish. By becoming the greatest economy on the planet, built on a mountain of coal and an ocean of oil, we have contributed more than any other single nation to the process of global warming. We are far from being the only culprits, but we are without a doubt the glutton at the buffet table. Continue reading “Global Warming, the Unstoppable, World Destroying Force, Bound to Drown Us All in an Ever-Rising Ocean of Suffering”

The United States Must Withdraw From Iraq

The question of victory against an insurgency boils down to the will of occupier versus the will of occupied. In the case of the Iraq War, the will of America, the occupier, has been exhausted. A withdrawal is the inevitable outcome of a war that has already been lost. We have the materiel, the technology, the weapons, and, on a long enough timeline, we should have the correct skills to battle an insurgency. But the most important weapon in battling an insurgency is not killing insurgents. The most important benchmarks are not reviving local economies, stabilizing government, providing security, or even winning the hearts and minds of the local populace. The most important weapon is resolve. In the face of setbacks, or progress too slow to measure in anything less than years or decades, the ability of the nation to absorb slow progress while the conditions mentioned above are given time to reach effect, is the key to defeating an insurgency. Continue reading “The United States Must Withdraw From Iraq”

Junkyard of Power

The sun blazes down white hot on this place even in April. The salt flats are baked, the Russian thistle thrives, the rattlesnakes lie in wait. The pipes, cables, and squat buildings all add to the layer of rust bringing on their inevitable demise. But this is the desert, so decay is slow. These remains, these corpses of the greatest power mankind has ever wielded, could last long enough to be witnessed by our grandchildren’s grandchildren, as they should. As they must. It’s the craters, however, that are the great testament to what went on here. Continue reading “Junkyard of Power”

Four Years

We have arrived at yet another milestone in the Iraq War. Four years ago the bombs and missiles began to pound Baghdad. To the south, coalition forces began their inexorable flood across the border from Kuwait. We rolled the Iraqi army. They were no match for the most highly trained and technically capable conventional military the planet has ever seen. We were slowed by the unexpected tenacity of some Iraqi soldiers in the middle of the country, and a dread sandstorm, but the fall of Baghdad was epically swift for a city that has been the scene of such sieges from time immemorial. Continue reading “Four Years”

Hanging by a Rope

The firing of eight U.S. Attorneys has become a huge scandal for the Bush administration. It has not stopped growing. While the scandal has a slim chance of becoming the catalyst for an all-consuming subpoena-fest, the kind that cripples a lame-duck administration, it could peak shortly with either the firing or resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Continue reading “Hanging by a Rope”

Indecent

Sometimes, there is little difference between the illegal and legal; between violation and right; between the strictly prohibited and the merely unethical. This is something politicians understand all too well. Politics exists in a murky state, constantly testing the bounds of the law behind closed doors. There is much allowed within the law, and even more when only few are aware the law is being broken. Here is a fundamental disconnect between politics and real life. Politics is Manichaean. It is also Machiavellian. Politics are these and many more things, but it is missing one prominent thing that permeates the wellspring of human life, and that thing is decency. Continue reading “Indecent”

It’s Getting Warmer

The days are growing longer, the nights correspondingly shorter, and soon, things are going to begin to heat up in Afghanistan as the yearly winter hiatus, the annual break in thirty years of war, comes to an end. It’s a rite of spring in that part of the globe. This year looks to be a particularly important year in the world’s most consistently war-torn country. Continue reading “It’s Getting Warmer”

NEXT!

The denials will continue to issue forth from the White House and the Pentagon until the day the bombs begin to fall on Tehran. The Bush administration has stepped up its rhetoric against Iran. Intelligence briefings for the press and other public statements have painted a picture of a merciless regime in Tehran that is responsible for seemingly every casualty in Iraq in recent months. Continue reading “NEXT!”