Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Iraq Conflict

Those who continue to defend the war in Iraq say that we can't bring our troops home until we achieve victory. But what does that mean? Eliminate WMD's - Done by the UN before GW took office. Remove Saddam - Done. Write Constitution- Done. Ensure Elections - Done. What exactly do these people consider victory? The biggest problem with this war is that we should have never gotten involved in it in the first place. While we are wasting our resources on the Bush-Cheney war, we can't defend our nation from legitimate threats. The second biggest problem is no definition for victory. You can't achieve victory when you don't even know what it is.

Here at my workplace we have to write objectives every year. Then at the end of the year, our raises and bonuses are based on how well we achieved these objectives. If we exceed expectations, we get big money. If we fail to meet expectations, we get nothing.

Specific Spell out what is to be achieved and to what degree
Measurable Can be measured either quantitatively or qualitatively
Achievable The target is challenging, yet attainable
Results Oriented Identify a specific end product or outcome that is of value
Time Bound Set a timeframe for achieving the result

The Administration needs to create SMART objectives for the war. They don't necessarily have to publish what they are, but they do need to prove that they exist and that they will stick to them. It would certainly be best to share them, but not if it undermines the effort by revealing too much to the enemy. They at least have to share them with Congress. Preferably have some sort of reward if they stick to them and a punishment if they don't.

They don't need a timetable, they just need to have some way of defining victory. Some way of concretely proving we have accomplished what we set out to do and we can go home now. As it is now, we don't even know what the objectives are, yet alone whether we have achieved them.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Personal Maxim

Here's an observation, a golden nugget:

If you think you're doing a good job as a parent, you probably aren't.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


People complain about Liberal bias in the media all the time. I don't see it. Personally, I think it's just people believing the manipulations of the Republican/Conservative propaganda machine. That's why the right is dominant right now- they have better spin doctors.

On the other hand, I see a HUGE bias on the Fox News Channel. That channel is so Conservatively biased that it's nauseating. Maybe you can only see "bias" when it's the opposite viewpoint of your own. I don't see any bias in media other then Fox News. But maybe that's just because I am Liberal so the other coverage only seems more accurate. Maybe bias doesn't exist in the media - it's just one of those words used to dismiss other points of view.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Good News

I haven't been blogging as much lately because the world has been looking better. It's not as much fun to talk about good things. It's more fun to complain. :)

Good Items:
Bush is doing horrible in the polls on all counts. The country is finally realizing his incompetence.

Iraq pullout is starting to look like a real possibility. A respected pro-military Republican is pushing for a phased pull out starting immediately. The Iraqi's are getting ready to show us the door.
(Sidenote: The only ones who use the term cut and run or even imply that is an option are Republicans. They accuse opponents of encouraging immediate withdrawal. No one wants that. No One. Even people like Cindy Sheehan are willing to wait for a phased pullout. That's all war opponents want: some sort of reassurance that this war has an end point and that end point will be sooner rather then later.)

The Republican monopoly on power is starting to break up a little bit. There are signs they might take a significant hit in midterm elections. I wish I could say Democrats are taking advantage of the opportunity, but they'll probably screw it up like they did when they chose Kerry as their candidate. (The only person more clueless then somone who voted for Bush is a person that voted for Kerry in the primaries.) I still hope that someday Democrats will win back the heart of Religious People and minority groups by returning to traditional Democrat values and breaking the Republican spin machine.

This positive note doesn't sound very positive does it? Oh well, I guess I'm just a bitter person. Living in a two party state where majority rules will do that to you.

UPDATE: the "respected pro-military Republican" is actually Democrat. I'm referring to Murtha. And after reading his proposal, it does look like cut and run. The Democrat's inability to get their act together continues to frustrate.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Bush the Liar

The current news cycle includes anti-war protests heating up and voices declaring Bush lied about the reason for going to war in Iraq getting louder. It also includes Bush continuing to deny it and accusing anyone that says anything negative about the war and his handling of it as being harmful to the troops.

My Observations:
Bush and Cheney are incapable of admitting to a mistake (any mistake, not just the war). It's possible they may recognize a mistake and just not admit it publicly. But I doubt it. They are the type of people that simply cannot admit mistakes. Their psychological makeup is such that their worldview become distorted as it needs to be in order for their mistakes to not be mistakes. So when they say they are doing the right thing, they honestly believe it to be so. When they refuse to admit a mistake, it is because their minds are physically incapable of admitting their judgment could be flawed. When they outright lie about WMD's or any other threat, they don't believe they are lying. They honestly believe their own bullshit. It's just how some people are - they are so full of themselves and their power that the outside world (reality) does not intrude into their worldview. A very dangerous type of person to be leading our country.

Bush likes to say that Clinton, the Democrats, and Congress all had access to the same intelligence he did before the war. That may or may not be true. Even if it is, a legislator does not have time to pore through thousands of documents. Nor should they have to. They depend on other people to read the details and give accurate summaries. And they assumed that the President would reveal accurate interpretations. A little biased in his favor perhaps, but not outright wrong. That was a bad assumption, a mistake they will not make again. (Unlike Bush, Congress appears capable of learning from it's mistakes - sometimes.)

When Clinton looked at the data, he concluded that sanctions and other measures were working and that Hussein was not an immediate threat. Even without access to intelligence data, I could tell that. Why couldn't Bush? Because he didn't care. He wanted war with Iraq and his worldview twisted in whatever manner it needed to make it justifiable. An example of twisting the evidence to reach the results you desire.

Bush says congress gave him authority, including Democrats. They gave him some authority, but he greatly exceeded their intentions. Not to mention that they were still under the mistaken impression that they could trust what they were being told about Iraq. Nonetheless, it was still pretty foolish to give him any sort of authority. They had to know he would go to war despite their wishes and that he would use their vote against them. Bush isn't the only one that makes a mistake. Now they have realized their mistake and they are being criticized for trying to correct it? Makes sense - Bush doesn't believe in correcting mistakes.

Harming the troops: I don't think protesting the war disrespects the troops. If anything, it shows greater respect then Bush does. It shows that we object to them being put in harm's way for questionable reasons and are trying to get them to be used for something useful. I don't think the average soldier knows or cares about politics anyhow. They just do their job and watch out for one another. Most of them don't care about anything other then keeping their buddies alive and well. They just go where their told and do what they were trained to do.

My prediction (worth less then two cents):
Troops will be mostly withdrawn within a year. Either the political pressure leading up to midterm elections will dictate it or the Iraqi's will kick us out. Or we'll declare war on Syria or Iran and be required to remove troops from Iraq. We most likely won't do anything about North Korea - Bush is incapable of addressing actual threats.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Small Government?

I've been watching West Wing episodes on DVD. Cool quote: You Republicans like small government, so small it fits into my bedroom.

They were talking about gay marriage at the time, but it applies to almost everything on the Republican agenda. Definition of ideal government according to Republicans: A government which favors the rich and big business at the expense of social programs like feeding the poor, helping the disadvantaged and taking care of those who cannot take care of themselves. Spend as much as you want and cut taxes as much as you want, as long as it supports your personal agenda and ability to get reelected. Government should minimize interference with economy. On the other hand, government does have the right to legislate morals and values to encourage everyone to act as a Good Republican (Protestant White Businessman) should.

Republicans don't believe in Big Government (so they say) but they do believe in Big Brother. Given the choice, I'll take Big Government in a heartbeat.

Sidebar: I like the fact that the President on the West Wing is a Democrat that is also a strong Christian. The two are NOT incompatible, despite what the Republican spin doctors would like you to believe. As I've said before and I will say again - no true believer in God can be a Conservative Republican.