PDA

View Full Version : Ooooops...


Judy G. Russell
February 23rd, 2006, 03:06 PM
On January 31, in his State of the Union address, President Bush committed the country to a major initiative to develop and shift to alternative fuels. The very next day, February 1, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which researches solar and wind power plus ethanol and other plant-based energy sources, announced that its budget had been cut and it was laying off 32 researchers whose specialties were wind and ethanol research (areas that the President had singled out as offering great promise).

Then the President's handlers scheduled a visit for him to the laboratory.

And, of course, money was suddenly found in the budget to rehire the 32 researchers who had just been let go.

Lindsey
February 23rd, 2006, 11:43 PM
And, of course, money was suddenly found in the budget to rehire the 32 researchers who had just been let go.
It's a miracle! :rolleyes:

I'd advise the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to watch its back. Remember early in the Bush II presidency when Laura went out supporting public libraries, only to have her husband cut funding for libraries in the federal budget? And that very same day, the president himself visited a local Boy's Club, praised the program to the skies, and yes, the budget for those sorts of things got cut, too.

The Mafia has the kiss of death; with Bush it's the photo-op of death.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
February 24th, 2006, 01:45 PM
The Bush Administration seems to think a lot of things are good ideas unless federal money is needed for them. Then they have to wait behind stupid wars.

Lindsey
February 24th, 2006, 09:12 PM
The Bush Administration seems to think a lot of things are good ideas unless federal money is needed for them. Then they have to wait behind stupid wars.
And the current war gets more stupid and more tragic every day.

This is exactly what I had feared would happen when they first started stumping for this "new product" of theirs. And it makes me so angry that neither they nor their apologists were the least bit interested in considering any take on the situation but their own.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
February 25th, 2006, 11:00 AM
The odds on civil war have gone up substantially in the last few days, haven't they? Sigh... but hey... as long as there's a "mission accomplished, bring 'em on" photo op, it's just fine, isn't it?

Lindsey
February 25th, 2006, 09:24 PM
The odds on civil war have gone up substantially in the last few days, haven't they? Sigh... but hey... as long as there's a "mission accomplished, bring 'em on" photo op, it's just fine, isn't it?
The odds? I think we're already in the middle of one. And that is an outcome, as I recall, that was predicted at the outset. And dismissed by Bush, Cheney, & Co.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
February 25th, 2006, 11:47 PM
Right now we're in the middle of sectarian violence. It hasn't quite become a civil war... yet.

ndebord
February 26th, 2006, 10:15 AM
Right now we're in the middle of sectarian violence. It hasn't quite become a civil war... yet.

Judy,

You're right, but only in a narrow sense. We're in the eye of the storm. After the elections, the Shia have progressively removed all "federalists" from the military and government that they could. Replaced them with religious people with allegience to the various religious militas.

Our grand strategy of arming the Shiites has now meant that those 300,000 unemployed Sadaam soldiers can pick their arms back up now with whichever side they choose. After the follow-up violence following Al Qaeda's destruction of the Golden Dome, the Sunnis have awoken and decided they need their own milita to fight the government. Not dead-enders or foreign jihaddists, but regular folks from every Sunni tribe. The press has not done a great job of explaining just how many Sunni town and mosques were hit in retaliation for the Golden Dome attack.

Even without Syrian and Saudi aid, the Sunnis have plenty of arms to fight back with and they have a tradition of being able to work together, unlike the Shiites. Given the facts of the Middle East (80-90% Sunni), I do not doubt that the Sunnis will be short of heavy arms when they call for help.

Our military presence in Iraq, as it downsizes prior to the midterm elections, will be increasingly unable to keep its pulse on the situation on the ground and will rely more on air power and local advisers as to where to drop those bombs. Guess who gets hit.

Lindsey
February 28th, 2006, 11:37 PM
Right now we're in the middle of sectarian violence. It hasn't quite become a civil war... yet.
I dunno -- sure sounds like civil war to me.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
March 1st, 2006, 09:42 AM
If the Kurds end up joining in (or opting out entirely), then I'd call it civil war. At the moment, it's still sectarian violence. (Or sectarian war, if you prefer.)

Lindsey
March 1st, 2006, 09:55 PM
If the Kurds end up joining in (or opting out entirely), then I'd call it civil war. At the moment, it's still sectarian violence. (Or sectarian war, if you prefer.)
Well -- to my mind, when there is sectarian war between factions within the same country, that is civil war. What is it that makes it otherwise? I don't understand the distinction.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
March 1st, 2006, 10:56 PM
I don't think the aims here are well enough defined to be considered civil war.

Lindsey
March 2nd, 2006, 09:44 PM
I don't think the aims here are well enough defined to be considered civil war.
There was a discussion on the situation in Iraq earlier this week on Diane Rehm, but I hadn't had a chance to hear it until this afternoon. From what at least one of the participants was saying in that, I gathered that his "tipping point" as to whether or not to conisder it civil war depended on the Shiite clerics and other Shiite leaders and what instructions they gave to the militias. At present, he said, they were keeping the militias on a relatively tight leash. But if they ever dropped the restraints and gave those militias their head, then, he said, there would be civil war.

That line of demarcation made some sense to me.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
March 2nd, 2006, 09:47 PM
That I certainly agree with: if the militias ever slip their leashes, it's all over.

Lindsey
March 22nd, 2006, 11:07 PM
Coming back to the question of "Is there or isn't there a civil war in Iraq?": Juan Cole has an article on Salon.com (http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2006/03/23/civil_war/) that addresses this question and he offers this definition of civil war that was formulated some years ago:

J. David Singer and his collaborators at the University of Michigan (where I also teach) have studied dozens of such conflicts and have offered a thorough and widely adopted definition of civil war. It is:

"Sustained military combat, primarily internal, resulting in at least 1,000 battle-deaths per year, pitting central government forces against an insurgent force capable of effective resistance, determined by the latter's ability to inflict upon the government forces at least 5 percent of the fatalities that the insurgents sustain." (Errol A. Henderson and J. David Singer, "Civil War in the Post-Colonial World, 1946-92," Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 37, No. 3, May 2000.)


Sustained military combat - check
Primarily internal - check
At least 1000 battle deaths per year - I don't have precise figures, but the US military combat deaths alone were over 800 in 2005, so I think this is a check
Central government forces against an insurgent force - check
Insurgent force capable of inflicting a fatality rate on government forces at least 5 percent of the rate they sustain - again, I don't have precise figures, but I think it's pretty safe to call this a check, too


Afraid by this definition it looks like civil war. Not that I think it really matters what you call it. By any name, it's a horrible mess.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
March 23rd, 2006, 12:31 PM
Central government forces against an insurgent force - checkWelllll.... here I'm not so sure. I don't think you can legitimately say that there is a central government, much less central government forces.

Lindsey
March 23rd, 2006, 10:32 PM
Welllll.... here I'm not so sure. I don't think you can legitimately say that there is a central government, much less central government forces.
You mean all those Iraqi police forces and military units they keep telling us about, the ones that supposedly were running that big helicopter raid they ran just recently, don't really exist?

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
March 24th, 2006, 01:13 PM
Oh I think there are Iraqi police forces and military units. But I don't think there's a central government that they report to. One tribal chieftain here, one mullah there... but a central government? Uh... no.

sidney
March 24th, 2006, 01:42 PM
You mean all those Iraqi police forces and military units they keep telling us about

I just read a newspaper column that mentioned something I had not really thought about -- You know all those news reports that mention death squads / insurgents / kidnappers / whatever that were "dressed in police uniforms" or army uniforms? The author of this column pointed out that those reports probably did not mean that there was some huge stock of surplus uniforms that al Quaeda and "insurgent groups" shop at to disguise themselves on their missions, even though the phrasing is clearly deliberately used to convey an administration spin that the people involved could not possibly be real police or military.

So now in my mind I'm imagining the impact of those articles if each time it said "dressed in Iraqi police uniforms" it had said "uniformed police officers".

-- sidney

Judy G. Russell
March 24th, 2006, 02:51 PM
So now in my mind I'm imagining the impact of those articles if each time it said "dressed in Iraqi police uniforms" it had said "uniformed police officers".Bush's poll numbers would probably drop all the way into the 20s. (I suspect there's 20 percent on each side -- the right and the left -- that can't be bothered with facts no matter what.)

ndebord
March 24th, 2006, 04:18 PM
I just read a newspaper column that mentioned something I had not really thought about -- You know all those news reports that mention death squads / insurgents / kidnappers / whatever that were "dressed in police uniforms" or army uniforms? The author of this column pointed out that those reports probably did not mean that there was some huge stock of surplus uniforms that al Quaeda and "insurgent groups" shop at to disguise themselves on their missions, even though the phrasing is clearly deliberately used to convey an administration spin that the people involved could not possibly be real police or military.

So now in my mind I'm imagining the impact of those articles if each time it said "dressed in Iraqi police uniforms" it had said "uniformed police officers".

-- sidney

Sidney,

Can't remember where I read (or saw)it, but it is pretty clear to me that the Army is a mix of Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis, but the police are a thinkly disguished front for the Dawa (sp) militia and other relgious militas from the Shiite community and they are definitely out for revenge for the Sunni slaughters over the years.

Lindsey
March 24th, 2006, 09:32 PM
Oh I think there are Iraqi police forces and military units. But I don't think there's a central government that they report to. One tribal chieftain here, one mullah there... but a central government? Uh... no.
I think the Bush administration is under the impression that there is a central government. And somebody must be paying the police and the military units.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
March 24th, 2006, 09:35 PM
I think the Bush administration is under the impression that there is a central government.The Bush Administration also thought there were weapons of mass destruction...

Lindsey
March 24th, 2006, 09:37 PM
The author of this column pointed out that those reports probably did not mean that there was some huge stock of surplus uniforms that al Quaeda and "insurgent groups" shop at to disguise themselves on their missions, even though the phrasing is clearly deliberately used to convey an administration spin that the people involved could not possibly be real police or military.
Good point. Something I was listening to today -- I think it must have been the first hour of Diane Rehm -- said that part of the problem within the police force is that you have both Sunnis and Shiites enrolled in it, and they're fighting one another.

--Lindsey

Lindsey
March 24th, 2006, 09:53 PM
The Bush Administration also thought there were weapons of mass destruction...
So who did our ambassador over there present his credentials to? Who is in charge of the court trying Saddam Hussein? And who supplies the uniforms for the police?

I'm not saying it's a very strong central government. But I do think there is one.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
March 24th, 2006, 10:50 PM
You have very separate, very disparate groups running small portions of the country, with nobody except the alliance (and maybe not even the alliance) with anything even vaguely approaching control of the entire thing. The Kurds aren't talking to the Sunnis aren't talking to the Shiites aren't even talking to other Shiites from a different tribe. The newly elected parliament couldn't even manage to meet for an entire half hour. That is not my idea of a central government, any more than Karzai is in Afghanistan (he may have most of Kabul under his control but don't bank on more than that).

Lindsey
March 25th, 2006, 11:18 PM
any more than Karzai is in Afghanistan (he may have most of Kabul under his control but don't bank on more than that).
I was going to ask what you thought about Afghanistan, but you anticipated my question. ;)

I think we can agree that any way you slice it, the situation in both countries is a great mess, and one that we bear a large degree of responsibility for. We probably could have done better by Afghanistan had we not gone into Iraq, but going into Afghanistan in the first place was probably inevitable. Iraq, though -- that was entirely a war of choice, and we as a country have to answer for that choice.

Something I was reading on Friday put the total cost of the war to date at a trillion dollars, including things like the ongoing cost of treatment for those who have been disabled and the cost of the debt we have incurred to launch and prosecute the war. A trillion dollars is an amount that is hard to get your head around, but it's a little easier to understand in terms of what it means for individual Americans: it amounts to $10,000 per household, on average.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
March 26th, 2006, 09:16 AM
I've always wondered how things would have turned out in Afghanistan if we'd put the manpower and financial resources into that country that we've squandered and wasted in Iraq. And I've wondered in particular if Osama bin Laden would have been (a) dead or (b) in an American courtroom if we hadn't squandered and wasted so much in Iraq.

$10,000 per household, huh... I want a refund...

Lindsey
March 26th, 2006, 11:41 PM
$10,000 per household, huh... I want a refund...
$10,000 and counting.

Afghanistan would have been difficult in any case, but if we had kept more resources there rather than re-deploying them to Iraq, we may well have been able to completely root out al-Qaeda and break the power of the Taliban. Maybe even make Karzai a real head of state rather than just the mayor of Kabul. As it is, the Taliban are coming back to power, and al-Qaeda is creeping back in.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
March 27th, 2006, 04:21 PM
As it is, the Taliban are coming back to power, and al-Qaeda is creeping back in.Depressing, isn't it... All that effort... and little if anything to show for it.

Lindsey
March 27th, 2006, 10:02 PM
Depressing, isn't it... All that effort... and little if anything to show for it.
It's beyond depressing. Not only have we lost too much money and too many lives -- we have pretty completely emptied our store of good will with the rest of the world, something that we will be lucky to begin to recover within a generation. We are become the Evil Empire. And some here wonder why I weep for my country?

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
March 27th, 2006, 10:13 PM
Not only have we emptied our store of good will... but think what that store contained on the morning of September 12, 2001. We had carte blanche to do so much then... and we threw it all away.

Lindsey
March 27th, 2006, 11:19 PM
We had carte blanche to do so much then... and we threw it all away.
Yes. It makes me so angry.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
March 27th, 2006, 11:54 PM
And with all the good will and political capital we spent... Osama bin Laden is still out there... I can't help but wonder if he'd have been dead or in an American courtroom if this Administration hadn't had I-R-A-Q on the brain.

Lindsey
March 29th, 2006, 12:22 AM
And with all the good will and political capital we spent... Osama bin Laden is still out there... I can't help but wonder if he'd have been dead or in an American courtroom if this Administration hadn't had I-R-A-Q on the brain.
I'm not sure I even think Osama bin Laden is our worst problem at this point. We have managed to generate so many more immediate ones...

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
March 29th, 2006, 09:56 AM
I don't think he's necessarily our worst problem now. But I think we would have accomplished so much if we had gone aggressively, inexorably, after him and his crew... and then stopped and gotten out.

Lindsey
March 29th, 2006, 10:16 PM
I don't think he's necessarily our worst problem now. But I think we would have accomplished so much if we had gone aggressively, inexorably, after him and his crew... and then stopped and gotten out.
Agreed. And I don't know that he's necessarily a less bad threat than he was on 9/10/2001, it's just that there are so many who have become so much worse since then. :(

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
March 29th, 2006, 11:15 PM
Sigh... I wish I didn't agree so much...