October 09, 2004
Now we just need some good news of our own in November!
Oh, crap. I'm still not used to the Gazette's new format with ten billion authors. My deepest apologies to John of Argghhh! for misatributing his work. In fact, I agree with John, since he was the one who wrote this post. I also loved Grim's anecdote in the comments section:
So I showed my wife this picture you lead off with tonight, hoping to teach her about the injustice you cite.
Pointing at the three guys sweeping the area with their rifles, I said, "Dear, do these look like infantry or cavalry to you?"
"Cavalry," she said.
"Really?" I asked. "What makes you say that?"
"Well, look how short they are!" she answered.
With Bush it seems that we will get just more of the same. If you like that then I imagine you will vote for him. But with Kerry we may get something better. There are no guarantees but Kerry is certainly not the ogre of the negative campaign.
However, since the first debate, bloggers have been pointing out how Kerry's plans have already failed. Wretchard wrote about how The Global Test already didn't work for us, and CavX addressed the "allies at the table", Iran, and North Korea. I'm not sure I agree that we "may get something better", since Kerry's suggestions seem to be falling apart even before we get to 2 November.
October 08, 2004
So I clicked on the link to the petition. Heh. It's not a petition against the draft; it's a petition to Demand Honesty. The aim?
I demand to know how George Bush plans to guard the homeland, protect against threats abroad, and stabilize and occupy Iraq -- without resorting to a draft.
Yes, we need troops to fight in Iraq. We need lots of them. Many of my students are leaving in January for their second year in Iraq, and of course that sucks. But I've listened to John Kerry -- god help me -- and I don't see how his plan is going to require any less boots on the ground.
Kerry said in the debate last week:
That's why, in my plan, I add two active duty divisions to the United States Army, not for Iraq, but for our general demands across the globe. I also intend to double the number of special forces so that we can do the job we need to do with respect fighting the terrorists around the world. And if we do that, then we have the ability to be able to respond more rapidly.
Two active duty divisions is an addition of roughly 40,000 people. Where are they going to come from? More active recruitment? Tell that to Michael Moore, Kerry; since you parrot him on other issues, you might want to review his segment on the recruiting Marines. (Oh, and the money will come from cutting crucial defense systems and weapons programs. Way to go, Kerry.)
Kerry has also disingenuously suggested that he would start pulling troops out of Iraq in January. What he specified in the debate last week though was
I didnÂ‘t say I would bring troops out in six months. I said, if we do the things that IÂ‘ve set out and we are successful, we could begin to draw the troops down in six months.
And the thing he's "set out" is to bring more allies to the table to share the load in Iraq. The problem is that he keeps repeating that, knowing full well that Allies Not in Formation on Kerry's Troops Plan: Nations have a hard time supporting his proposal to use their soldiers to fill out the force in Iraq:
"Some Europeans are rather concerned that Mr. Kerry might have expectations for relief [from abroad] that are going to be hard to meet," said one senior European diplomat in a statement echoed in several capitals.
The French and German governments have made clear that sending troops is out of the question. British officials have made no such categorical statement, but they have expressed concern that their troops are overstretched.
Although Japan has supplied a 550-member noncombat force as a symbol of its international commitment, analysts there see little chance the nation would agree to send more.
Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Andrei Denisov, ruled out a commitment of troops. "We are not going to send anybody there, and that's all there is to say," Denisov said.
So Kerry is simply smoking crack if he thinks that he's going to get allied forces to replace our troops on the ground. There won't be anyone replacing the troops already there, so his plan won't work. It's all bogus. (And I think he knows it too, but that's a story for another day.)
Kerry also said during the debate that he would support sending troops to Darfur, Sudan if needed:
Right now all the president is providing is humanitarian support. We need to do more than that. TheyÂ‘ve got to have the logistical capacity to go in and stop the killing. And thatÂ‘s going to require more than is on the table today.
But IÂ‘ll tell you this, as president, if it took American forces to some degree to coalesce the African Union, IÂ‘d be prepared to do it because we could never allow another Rwanda.
So our troops do not seem to be more likely to be in garrison (that means staying at their home bases) if Kerry is elected. That's a misrepresentation on his party's side. Kerry's plan -- only leaving Iraq if we're replaced by other allies, deploying to Sudan if necessary -- is not a benefit for our troops. It will not reduce the number of deployments or make extra soldiers or Marines any less necessary.
Maybe we should also be worrying that Kerry might need a draft. After all, it was two Democrats who initiated the draft legislation in the first place...the same legislation, I might add, that was voted down 402-2.
There's not going to be a draft. The last thing anyone who cares at all about the American military wants are ungrateful punks ending up in the ranks. Let the adults handle the job of defending America; the frat boys and hippies can stay at home.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
And so here's my problem. I find myself in an enormous conflict between Roark and CavX.
Roark's philosophy was not that he was going to try to get others to see architecture the way he did. He just kinda thought you were born with it. If you saw things his way, you had common ground. If not, he didn't want to have anything to do with you. Not in a rude way, but in a matter-of-fact, we-have-nothing-to-discuss way.
On the other hand, CavX, through patient perseverance, has managed to covert many lefties that he works with. He lays out the facts, over and over, until the people admit that there can just be no other way of looking at things. And they're won over; CavX has created right-wingers.
So which way is right?
Lots of people thought that President Bush lost the debate last week. They say he's a horrible debater (whereas Kerry appears to be a Master Debater. Sorry, couldn't resist.) But I understand completely where President Bush is coming from: he's Roarkian. I imagine that Pres. Bush was wondering why on earth he had to debate Kerry -- a man who spends most of his time debating himself on the issues -- to prove that he'd be a good President. I imagine he thinks that if his track record doesn't speak for itself, then what else can he say? If you have no common ground at all, where do you begin? The Bush Doctrine has liberated two countries, forced Libya to disarm, unraveled the enormous Oil-For-Food scam, and brought the hope of democracy to millions of people; if he has to sit down and explain to you why that's good, then what's the point? That's why he looked like he was "smirking" during the debate; it pains him, just as it pains me, to hear the string of nonsense that comes of of Kerry's mouth. He tries, but he just can't understand the way Kerry looks at the world. I completely understand that, for that's the reason I have spent a year trying to grok. These things are self-evident to me and to President Bush; if a majority of Americans and voters can't see that, then maybe they don't deserve to have him as their president.
I admire CavX's style, because it's so unlike the way I think. He's methodical and patient; I fly off the handle and want to either rip heads off or end the conversation. I wish I had his skills of persuasion; then maybe my co-workers would stop trying to convince me that Bush is bad.
Which brings us full circle to The Draft. When we get emails like this, or when our co-workers praise Fahrencrap 9/11, what is the proper response? I can't help but think of a passage from The Demon-Haunted World:
Imagine that you enter a big-city taxicab and the moment you get settled in, the driver begins a harangue about the supposed inequities and inferiorities of another ethnic group. Is your best course to keep quiet, bearing in mind that silence conveys assent? Or is it your moral responsibility to argue with him, to express outrage, even to leave the cab -- because you know that every silent assent will encourage him next time, and every vigorous dissent will cause him next time to think twice?
Sagan ends this section with "Figuring out a prudent balance takes wisdom." I just don't know what to think anymore. On the one hand, I think that some people will never see what I see, no matter how articulately I might lay it out, and it's not worth my sanity to try to beat them over the head with Truth. On the other hand, people are going to be voting next month based on bullcrap like this email forward on the draft, and unless we make a serious effort to counter the media and the junk science, we run the risk of losing President Bush.
If that happened, he would likely go home shaking his head, wondering why people just couldn't see what he saw. He shouldn't have to sugarcoat two toppled regimes and almost the whole deck of cards out of the picture.
My ballot is already in the mail; it's a bit late to be thinking about this topic. But who are we going to be over the next three weeks, Roark or CavX?
October 07, 2004
"Standing for our principles is more important than being loved"
This "reading the meters" analogy is very good.
October 06, 2004
So here I am: feeling useless. But President Bush warned that this was going to be a different war Â– something unlike anything we had ever seen. The front line now, at this critical time, is in the hearts and minds of our own people. ThatÂ’s where the real battle is now. That is our weakest point, our breach, our point of failure. We have not made the case to enough people and time is running out.
So maybe now, at this absurd point in this new kind of war, weÂ’re the crack troops, we old and useless pajama patriots reduced to printing up pamphlets to sell war bonds to the weary, to make the case for holding on to an unglamorous, uninspiring, relentless grind because that Â– not Normandy and Midway Â– is the face of war in this gilded age of luxury and safety and plenty.
Maybe thatÂ’s our job. Maybe we can help cover some small gap in the lines.
If it's "Duty First", then my duty must be to blog.
I spoke of rejuvenation earlier this week. Whittle can always get me fired up. (He gets Blue 6 and Red 6 fired up too.) And he makes me feel good that I stand with him.
I don't think I ever told the story of how I was almost "disenfranchised" in 2000. I went to the voting place and went into the little booth, and I jacked up my ballot Florida-style. Punched it wrong. But unlike Florida I wasn't so dumb that I didn't realize it, so I stood there and tried to figure out what to do. Both the ballot and the sign on the inside of the booth said that if you make a voting error, you should destroy the ballot and return it to the polling people for a new one. So I emerged from the curtain ripping my jacked-up ballot and asked for a new one. And the volunteers started shouting. They used menacing words like "violation" and "irregularity" and reprimanded me for defiling the voting center. They asked me what on earth would possess me to rip up my ballot, and I calmly replied, "The sign you have printed on the inside of the booth." And then they refused to believe that the sign would say such a thing. I tried to get one of them to come in the booth with me to see it, but they weren't budging. They almost refused to give me another ballot, but finally they relented. I voted properly and then left, but I mentioned that they might want to change their signs since there obviously was a huge discrepancy in procedure. It was a mess.
Plus I voted for the wrong guy! I mean, I punched it right, but BOY would he have been the wrong guy!
Well, hereÂ’s why: because the choice isnÂ’t between Bush and George Patton; it isnÂ’t even between Bush and Barry Goldwater. The choice is between a man who, in the end, has made the right moves, if sometimes diffidently, and a man who has shown over a long career in the Senate that he is not just indifferent but actually hostile to the use of American military power in pursuit of American interests. The choice is between a man who, in the immediate aftermath of the most hideously successful terrorist attack in history, had the bedrock good sense and unabashed patriotism to be unable to conceal his anger, and a man who would have needed three polls and a focus group to tell him how he ought to feel about it in order not to discomfit and alienate his America-hating Lefty base. The choice is between a man who genuinely seems to like soldiers, respect their service, believe in their competence, and honor their intelligence and basic decency, and a man who underhandedly wriggled out of his own commitment and came home to slander them as butchers and latter-day Â“JenjisÂ” Khans.
October 05, 2004
Those poor guys!
And this was freaking funny too.
(both via Iraq Now)
He left college after 9/11 and tried to join the infantry but was rejected because of his colorblindness. He then became a combat medic and deployed to both Kosovo and Iraq. Everyone spoke highly of him, saying he was always on the front lines, even when he would get reminded that as a medic he was supposed to hang back! They joked that he was the only medic with a sniper scope on his rifle; one of his fellow Soldiers said that Prewitt was equally a medic and a warrior.
In fact, his vehicle was hit by an RPG while he was trying to move forward to see if medical assistance was needed. They said that he remained calm and was instructing the people around him how to care for his wounds. His family came to Landstuhl and had to make the difficult decision to switch off the machines, but even in death Tyler Prewitt was saving lives. He became an organ donor, and his organs were used to save no less than seven other people at Landstuhl. I -- and his family -- take great comfort in knowing that his death brought so much life to others.
I wish I had known Tyler Prewitt better because he sounds like a wonderful man and the type of Soldier I would like to know. I'm happy that he touched my life in such a small way and that I got to hear his story.
By the way, the husband sent his ballot the other day. As long as the mail moves along in a timely fashion, the two of us will be squared away for 2 November.
October 04, 2004
I love Howard Roark.
I look at him a little differently now than I did in high school, but I love him for all the same reasons. I love him because he's everything I'm not. He's confident and self-assured and he doesn't get driven nuts by people who don't live by his values. I get driven nuts. A lot. But after reading the book again, I think I will be better able to work on letting go of some of those feelings and learning to be more self-assured.
I've always been sort of "evangelical" about my values. I think they're the right ones, and I want other people to think so too. I've never been good at the live-and-let-live when it comes to values, and I spend way too much time worrying about how to present the issues to people who disagree with me so I can "convert" them. I need to give that up, to let go of the idea that I can change people. I need to be more like Oriol, our American in Spain: "I just don't care about the criticism I receive every day, because I know the cause I defend is right." I'm learning from Roark. I'm learning from Oriol. And I recently learned from General Hans Oster.
I was introduced to this brave man when we went to the concentration camp. I'm sure there were more like him, but I had never read a story like General Hans Oster's. As I stood on the site where he was executed, I thought about the bravery it would have taken to stand up against Hitler. I have trouble standing up to negative commenters.
There are people out there whose fortitude constantly amazes me. I can only try to honor them by working every day at being stronger. Since reading The Fountainhead again, I think I'm on the right path, but every day brings a new lesson to test that strength.
And I'm sure by now that everyone has seen that ridiculous photo of Kerry reaching through his legs. I still can't figure out what the heck he's doing!
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