The husband and I watched Restrepo the other night. I sat there numb with a choke in my throat the whole time. From the moment the captain said, "When they told me I was going to the Korengal Valley, I didn't read anything up on it, I didn't want to, I wanted to go in there with an open mind..." until I fell asleep that night.
I thought about how many units this has happened to. The willfully ignorant -- purposefully ignorant -- commander comes into an area, tells the "elders" to forget how things were done under the old unit and that this time, this time I will fix things. And we will have cooperation and harmony and win your hearts and minds. So we use whoever we can get to translate important policies -- my husband made the analogy that it would be like if the Germans invaded backwater Alabama and used Quebecois translators to talk to the natives --and hope that our message is being accurately conveyed. Which it's absolutely not, because there is way too much cultural baggage that gets in the way of the words. So some of them die, and some of us die, a year later the remaining guys breathe a sigh of relief and go home, and a new group of guys shows up, tells the "elders" to forget how things were done last year, and this year, this year it will work.
For a decade, we have been reinventing the wheel. Led by people who decided not to study wheel-building because they thought their good intentions and gut feelings could guide them better than centuries of history and anthropology could.
And the men under them died defending a valley that a few years later the US decided wasn't really worth the effort anymore and ceded it back to the Afghans. Those grizzled old crypt-keeper, henna-bearded ingrates who care more about dead cows than dead humans.
I am jaded and broken.
I will never forget sitting on the arm of the sofa in my hotel room on Fort Knox, cheering as the Iraqis pulled down the statue of Saddam Hussein. Back when I thought everyone in this world deep down wanted to live in freedom. That the world deserved liberty. That all men were endowed with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
I just didn't realize that what makes many Afghans happy is to be left alone to bugger little boys and honor-kill their daughters.
A decade later, what I see is that most Americans don't even want liberty. Not true liberty. They will trade liberty for security nearly every time. And if we can't get more than 15% of Americans to vote for personal liberty and responsibility, how in the hell did we think we could export that desire to the Middle East?
I really believed that what my country and Army was doing was noble. But I was willfully ignorant too, ignorant that the task was monumentally too difficult to ever succeed.
For lots longer than that. The period 1965-73 comes to mind.
Posted by: Glenmore at August 21, 2012 12:11 PM (h/mwe)
4I really believed that what my country and Army was doing was noble. But I was willfully ignorant too, ignorant that the task was monumentally too difficult to ever succeed.
The likelihood of success never had anything to do with the nobility of the undertaking. On a national policy level, if ever we had such a thing, we have no chance to succeed in Afghanistan and we never did.
But we can and do have small victories, and we find what nobility we can in a Sisyphean task well-executed.
I wouldn't feel much different deploying there now than I did in 2005--my task is to take care of my people, and lead them in trying to do a thing that can't be done. We will succeed within the sphere of our influence; it's just a much smaller sphere than we'd like to believe. That's as true for nations as it is for five-man teams.
Posted by: Sig at August 21, 2012 09:28 PM (DfX6p)
American history didn't begin with the Vietnam War.
I get where you're coming from, but the reason I can't think this way about it is because I served in Korea. Not in the war, of course, but standing where they stood with the hindsight view of the war 50 years later.
I spent time with Korean War veterans and know they, too, felt "jaded and broken" from their experience. I know enough of the war's history to know that many of our Korean War veterans and Americans in general felt, at the time, that Korea "was not worth it" and the "task was monumentally too difficult to ever succeed".
While north Korea continues to be a testament to what we failed to achieve now-60 years ago, South Korea is a testament to what our sacrifices and commitment did help achieve. The South Korea at the time that hostilities were suspended was radically different than the South Korea of today. The likelihood that South Korea would stand up as it has seemed unlikely when the war ended.
Of course, comparing the South Korea of today to the Korea of 60 years ago can't guarantee the same positive development for Iraq and Afghanistan, but it does remind us that changing the course of a country doesn't bear fruit right away. It may take a lifetime.
Posted by: Eric at March 19, 2013 05:14 AM (4yRgM)
So it is necessary for more of us to do what Ayaan Hirsi Ali recommends: share the risk. So that the next time a novel or a cartoon provokes a fatwa, it will be republished worldwide and send the Islamic enforcers a message: Killing one of us wonâ€™t do it. Youâ€™d better have a great credit line at the Bank of Jihad because youâ€™ll have to kill us all.
"INVIDIOUS ATMOSPHERE OF LIBERALISM"
It's been a long time since anything political has moved me enough to log in here and post it. But this did it, this made me do the intellectual equivalent of a fist pump: A Burke For Our Times. It reminds me of a more erudite phrasing of my granting the premise blog post. Favorite bit:
Because what Burke forces us to do, if we really take him seriously, is to stand outside the invidious atmosphere of liberalism which permeates and stifles every last recess of modern society, to recognize it â€” for perhaps the first time in our lives â€” as only one form of political order, and that not the most just or appealing, and thus to rob it of any claim to self-evident truthfulness. For at the level of practical politics, liberalism is just a certain kind of language, with its own connotative atmosphere â€” an atmosphere in which appeals to rights cow everyone into a cessation of debate, where appeals to freedom are generally hysterical and unqualified, where doubts about the virtue of "the peopleâ€ are always akin to wickedness. To stand outside that atmosphere for the first time is to realize that there is nothing obvious about these assumptions, that, to the contrary, there is great reason to question the rightness of the whole world view implicit in this language. And the moment we entertain such doubts, liberal dogma loses the greater part of its persuasive force, because liberalism has always presented itself as a universal creed, as the commonsensical conclusions which all honest persons will arrive at in time, divested of the superstitions and prejudices of their own local traditions.
Thanks to my imaginary friend Queenie for finding it.
So the Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity is building schoolhouses in Afghanistan. Big deal. The problem, in Kandahar as in Kansas, is not the buildings but whatâ€™s being taught inside them â€” and weâ€™ve no stomach for getting into that. So whatâ€™s the point of building better infrastructure for Afghanistanâ€™s wretched tribal culture? Whatâ€™s our interest in state-of-the-art backwardness?
Couldn't agree more... and then we'll complain about the problems stemming from cultural issues a while from now, (affecting us both directly and indirectly), and be all surprised that yet another project that "seemed like a good idea at the time" (to someone) came back to bite us... ::eyeroll::
Quite a fun article to read... I loved this quote: "War is hell, but global 'mentoring' is purgatory."
Posted by: Krista at July 08, 2011 03:06 PM (BqTRT)
I barely follow politics lately and try not to let it work me up anymore because I can't waste energy right now being depressed about the direction of our country, but this open letter to Rush at Hillbuzz (via Amritas) got me all pumped up on dorkosterone.
Having done a 180 myself, I know where Kevin DuJan is coming from, though my party didn't betray me. (I used to think the Democratic Party was too conservative!)
I'll admit it: I wanted Hillary Clinton to win the Democratic nomination. A third Clinton term would be preferable to one term of the One.
I've known a number of converts - libertarians, centrists, and conservatives who voted for Obama - but I've never read an article explaining the PUMA perspective. DuJan's allegations are shocking. I would like to see a response from the other side.
Exit polls showed 8 million PUMA voted Republican for the first time in our lives in the fall of 2008
How many PUMA will vote Republican for the first time in their lives on Teasday?
Record numbers or not, the battle will be long:
Just like with the Leftists Carter infected the Democrat Party with, Obama legacy hires will be in the DNC for a generation to comeâ€¦and it might not be until the 2030s before the Democrats can remove the taint Obama and his Leftist agenda have put on the party.
Posted by: Amritas at November 01, 2010 12:21 PM (5a7nS)
DUSTY BOOKSHELVES, MY FOOT
Via The Corner, I had to laugh at this NYT article about the Tea Party Movement. I think the author is pretty ignorant of her subject matter. It would be as if I tried to write a professional article on the environmental movement; I am not a part of it, I am fairly contemptuous of it, and I really haven't done the grokking necessary to understand why its followers behave the way they do. (But I'd like to think I could do it better than she does because I've done it before.)
Her thesis is that "long-dormant ideas" and "once-obscure texts by dead writers" have shaped the movement. (I find it amusing that she considers Hayek to be obscure, but I digress.) She says of authors like Hayek and Skousen, author of The 5000 Year Leap, that:
They have convinced their readers that economists, the Founding Fathers, and indeed, God, are on their side when they accuse President Obama
and the Democrats of being â€œsocialists.â€ And they have established a
counternarrative to what Tea Party supporters denounce as the
â€œprogressiveâ€ interpretation of economics and history in mainstream
All told, the canon argues for a vision of the country where
governmentâ€™s role is to protect private property â€” against taxes as much
as against thieves. Where religion plays a bigger role in public life.
Where any public safety net is unconstitutional. And where the way back
to prosperity is for markets to be left free from regulation.
I think she's attributing parts of the movement to these books when really she wants to attribute them to Glenn Beck, but that dead horse has already been beaten, so she focuses on the books he promotes on his show. I admit that I am out of the loop these days, but I have watched some Glenn Beck lately and I must say that I am impressed with his new approach to bettering America. My summary of it is that he is moving away from pointing out how much Washington stinks these days and is instead truly trying to encourage Americans to "be the change you want to see in the world." His plan calls for self-reflection and self-improvement, with a focus on "faith, hope, and charity." He wants everyone to commit to becoming a better person, and once we're all better people, we will have better people running for office as virtuous candidates for whom we can vote. We are a nation of individuals, and we will be a better country once we are better individuals. It's a long-term strategy, something quite interesting to promote nightly on a news show.
Glenn Beck does encourage people to strengthen their religious devotion on the way to becoming a better person. If the NYT wants to characterize that as "where religion plays a bigger role in public life," um, OK. I think that's a negative oversimplification of what he's proposing from a journalist who wants to scare readers into thinking he is advocating the blurring of church and state, but maybe I'm nitpicking. I think the scare tactic of saying that "any public safety net is unconstitutional" is more egregious though. It's funny because it's technically a true statement, but by not explaining it, the article leads readers to conclude that Tea Party folks are Scrooges who are out to screw the poor. I have never heard anyone say anything of the sort: they resent the safety hammock, not the net. And Glenn Beck regularly encourages his following to tithe, either to a church or a charity of their choice. He wants people to be more charitable, not less.
I just thought the article was an interesting example of someone who is obviously writing outside her level of understanding. It's a window into the mind of someone who's trying to be objective while writing about something she clearly thinks is simultaneously hokey and dangerous.
It wasn't as bad as it could've been, but the undertone of contempt was clear. And I bet she thought she was being fair and balanced.
The most interesting part of the article was this, in my opinion:
Doug Bramley, a postal worker and Tea Party activist in Maine, picked
up â€œThe Road to Serfdomâ€ after Mr. Beck mentioned it on air in June.
(Next up for Mr. Bramley, another classic of libertarian thought: â€œIâ€™ve
got to read â€˜Atlas Shrugged,â€™ â€ he said.) He found Hayek â€œdense
reading,â€ but he loved â€œThe 5000 Year Leap.â€
â€œYou donâ€™t read it,â€ Mr. Bramley said, â€œyou study it."
Across the country, many Tea Party groups are doing just that, often taking a chapter to discuss at each meeting.
I think this would've made a much better thesis. Glenn Beck is prompting postal workers and regular folks to read substantive books. I read Hayek last year and found it dense as well; the fact that Glenn Beck's viewers are devouring these intellectual tomes and creating book clubs to discuss them is phenomenal. People are setting aside their Harry Potter and Twilight for Frederich Hayek!
But one would have to be less contemptuous of Tea Party people to write that story.
I think that this is the problem that occurs when you start a story choosing facts (or "facts") to fit your foregone conclusion without the willingness to use your research for your own better understanding.
I've changed my mind many times after researching something. It wasn't always the case, but I got my ass handed to me often enough during arguments because I used selective facts that eventually I got sick of looking stupid and changed my approach.
I also found myself irritated at her accusations of "abolishing the safety net". One reason is that as a volunteer for Sew Much Comfort, as well as someone who has worked for government agencies (aside from the whole military wife thing), I have seen the tremendous difference between volunteers taking care of people and the government doing so. It's profound. Although money is always nice, throwing money at a problem and having the government own it doesn't help everything. Or most things. And some would argue it doesn't help anything. There are things only the government can do - national defense definitely, and much infrastructure (a lack of standardization in roads and substandard building leads to more problems than the current system by far). But we take care of each other better than Uncle Sam can take care of us.
Posted by: airforcewife at October 04, 2010 10:57 AM (uE3SA)
Although this article is not too bad, its opening is a Modist attack. The reader is supposed to dislike the Tea Party because it's not with the times, maaaan. But the reader might not realize that the Tea Party isn't the only movement that "has reached back to dusty bookshelves":
"These [Leftist] ideas are beyond old. Theyâ€™re dead. Yet theyâ€™re still walking around."
The age of an idea does not matter. The truth of an idea does.
The ideas of Bastiat and Hayek are only "obscure" because they are not Leftist and therefore not mainstream. I don't remember either man being mentioned in my economics class. I may have first learned of both when I entered the blogosphere.
I have not read Skousen's book on Communism in over twenty years and have not read The 5000 Year Leap. Does the article distort his ideas or the ideas of other authors in the canon? If Skousen believed that "public schools should be used for religious study, and should encourage Bible reading," then I can understand how the author might feel justified to write, "The canon argues for a vision of the country [...] Where religion plays a bigger role in public life." Yet this is potentially misleading since Bastiat and Hayek weren't religious advocates. The canon does not speak with a single voice. If I wrote the article, I would point out that the canon includes both libertarian and conservative books.
The author does not lie, but she does omit. Is omission always deliberate deception? Is it even her fault? Could an editor have removed clarifications to make the article fit the print edition? (Space considerations matter far less in the blogosphere.)
The author could have stooped to depicting Tea Party members as illiterates touting books they can't even read, but she didn't. I've seen far worse depictions of the Tea Party.
"someone who is obviously writing outside her level of understanding"
Couldn't this describe almost all journalists, who are rarely specialists in the field they're covering?
What is acceptable journalism as opposed to simply rehashing press releases from some political organization or corporation?
Was Rightist coverage of the One Nation Working Together event any better than this? Can any of us really get into Al Sharpton's head? (As an ex-Leftist, I can try.)
Posted by: Amritas at October 04, 2010 01:32 PM (5a7nS)
The contempt felt by many "progressives" for the vast majority of Americans has become more and more obvious. What drives these feelings?...in some cases, like a John Kerry or a Teddy Kennedy, it is an aristocratic sense of entitlement. With others, it is a fear of loss of status...for example, the individual who drank the academic kool-aid and got a degree in some squishy subject and is now working at Borders...all he has to hold on to, psychologically speaking, is the sense of superiority that his credential gives him.
I expect that the attitude of typical NYT writers, once you get below the top tier, is more driven by the second factor than by the first. After all, they are working for an institution that may not even be around in 10 years, and if it is, it will need a lot fewer employees.
Posted by: david foster at October 04, 2010 02:34 PM (Gis4X)
David, good points. I can only add that the insecure vastly outnumber the aristocrats. The latter appear in the NYT but don't deign to work for it. Both share an entitlement mentality - a need for recognition by others for their alleged 'superiority'. The Tea Party scares them because its members - mere 'little people' - aren't 'looking up' to them anymore. They're suffering from acknowledgment withdrawal.
THE SOLUTION TO GLOBAL WARMING
Today's amen goes out to Pat Sajak. (Yep, THE Pat Sajak.)
Letâ€™s assume that a third of the worldâ€™s population really believes
mankind has the power to adjust the Earthâ€™s thermostat through lifestyle
decisions. The percentage may be higher or lower, but, for the sake of
this exercise, letâ€™s put it at one-third. Now it seems to me these
people have a special obligation to change their lives dramatically
because they truly believe catastrophe lies ahead if they donâ€™t. The
other two-thirds are merely ignorant, so they can hardly be blamed for
Now, if those True Believers would give up their
cars and big homes and truly change the way they live, I canâ€™t imagine
that there wouldnâ€™t be some measurable impact on the Earth in just a few
short years. Iâ€™m not talking about recycling Evian bottles, but truly
simplifying their lives. Even if you were, say, a former Vice President,
you would give up extra homes and jets and limos. I see communes with
organic farms and lives freed from polluting technology.
when the rest of us saw the results of their actionsâ€”you know, the earth
cooling, oceans lowering, polar bears frolicking and glaciers
growingâ€”we would see the error of our ways and join the crusade
voluntarily and enthusiastically.
How about it? Why wait for
governments to change us? You who have already seen the light have it
within your grasp to act in concert with each other and change the world
forever. And I hate to be a scold, but you have a special obligation to
do it because you believe it so strongly. Then, instead of looking at
isolated tree rings and computer models, youâ€™d have real results to
point to, and even the skeptics would see the error of their ways and
My husband put up a post on my blog concerning the corruption of scientists. If you haven't heard, they actually put out a blacklist. He is so upset about it. He entered science, marine biology, in the 1950's as a believer in true science. It has become so corrupted he mourns for it. This is his article: http://rockportconservatives.blogspot.com/2010/08/climate-science-credibility.html
The next day I collected some other links concerning the blacklist and posted them all together: http://rockportconservatives.blogspot.com/2010/08/more-news-on-science-blacklist.html
The world at large doesn't seem to know about this, how would they unless they are right wing bigots and read the right wing blogs. I've been pretty cynical about science and grant money for many years. Unfortunately, all I feared is true.
Posted by: Ruth H at August 10, 2010 04:16 PM (KLwh4)
"Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary."
St. Francis of Assisi
Posted by: airforcewife at August 11, 2010 01:50 PM (uE3SA)
THE MOTHER'S BURDEN
My present for my first Mother's Day was that my husband would take over feeding our daughter during the night while I sleep. In the guest bedroom, with earplugs in, to guarantee that I sleep through the whole night. I have been looking forward to this for two weeks, and there have been times recently that I would've done anything to not have to get up during the night to take care of a crying baby. I have been exhausted again of late and have been getting really excited about my first night free from responsibility.
Yet when I put her down to sleep tonight, I cried. I will miss her during the night.
What a delight it is to be wishing you a Happy Mother's Day!
Posted by: MargeinMI at May 09, 2010 07:37 AM (XejzR)
Happy first Mother's Day, Sarah. What a thoughtful husband! I hope you woke up refreshed this morning. :-)
Posted by: Heather at May 09, 2010 04:16 PM (6I5nZ)
Sarah, I hope you had a great mother's day and things are going well!
Posted by: Keri at May 12, 2010 08:02 AM (6/M22)
An infrequent commenter, but a repeat commenter. I've been dealing with PCS moves lately and so I'm a little behind, but have taken such joy in seeing your baby dream fulfilled and it's with great pleasure and thankfulness to God that I can wish you a Happy Mother's Day. Congrats.
-- I'm back. I feel like I should elaborate. Stewart is right that Comedy Central pays the bills and has the right to censor whatever they like. He's also right that the radical Muslims are the true enemy and can bleep themselves. But...shouldn't we hold a bit of contempt for Comedy Central for caving? Paying the bills or not, they took the cowardly route, and he kinda excused them. He made the bigger point, but I can see where Jeffrey Lord thinks that the bigger I-am-Sparticus would have been for Jon Stewart to berate Comedy Central for not standing with Parker and Stone.
Donâ€™t look for principles and values from Jon Stewart.
Posted by: tim at April 27, 2010 03:25 PM (vb4Ci)
Agreed. Stewart is a comic, not a journalist. (Not that I expect any kind of integrity there, either.)
I think comedy central has every right to censor their station--they DO pay the bills. Parker and Stone have every right to go John Galt, and move to a network, one that will allow them to express themselves more openly.
Do I think comedy central has a double standard? Absolutely. (Remember Merry F'ing Christmas?) What are their options? Cave, and let the cartoonists do what they want, or censor. What are the results of each? If they cave, either Islamic Rage Boy kills someone, or multiple someones, or they don't. If they censor, Islamic Rage Boy is appeased, nobody dies. CS was in a lose-lose, and I don't think it's worth pissing off half the muslim world (ask Salman Rushdie about that) over a cartoon. Had CS not caved, it'd be a tempest in a teacup for certain, but they'd have garnered nowhere near the same amount of publicity as they have for censoring it. They took a lose-lose and turned it into a win-lose-win.
Posted by: C huck at April 27, 2010 09:44 PM (bMH2g)
THE SLIPPERY SLOPE OF RIGHTS
I'm learning the ropes of taking care of a baby, but I still don't get on the internet that often. (Example: my friend said, "So how about that volcano business?" and I said, "What volcano?") However, today I did read something that got my goat.
The European Union has declared travelling a human right, and is
launching a scheme to subsidize vacations with taxpayers' dollars for
those too poor to afford their own trips.
Antonio Tajani, the European Union commissioner for enterprise
and industry, proposed a strategy that could cost European taxpayers
hundreds of millions of euros a year, The Times of London reports.
"Travelling for tourism today is a right. The way we spend our
holidays is a formidable indicator of our quality of life," Mr. Tajani
told a group of ministers at The European Tourism Stakeholders
Conference in Madrid on April 15.
And this is the slippery slope of rights. Once we believed that we only had "rights to action." Now by declaring that we have the right to health care, we have fundamentally shifted to saying we believe we have the right to someone else's labor. So where does it end? Once you have the right to money from another taxpayer's pocket, who's to say it should end with health? It's good for your health to be stress-free, and vacations help you relax.
Initially travel expenses will only be paid to those who pledge to use ground-based mass transit to reach their destinations. Only the One, St. Al, and other elites should have the right to fly. Eventually "travel expenses" will be redefined as expenses incurred during travel by bicycle or by foot. Then bicycles will be banned ... oops, forget we said that. Propaganda campaigns will tout the value of vacations spent at home. One can take a day off without leaving a big carbon footprint.
Posted by: kevin at April 21, 2010 03:47 PM (+nV09)
Wow, that is really interesting. I live in a system where my money from my pocket pays for health care for those that can't afford it, and I have been ok with that so far. But paying for someone else's vacation? Not sure I'm on board with that! I guess it really can be that slippery slope.
Posted by: Stacy at April 22, 2010 01:55 PM (qlReK)
I GROK MOTHERHOOD
Reader TK told me a long time ago that my post on lasik was an "honest account of the procedure." I thought I'd try to do that for the first month of having a baby too.
Oh, and as an aside, I can't tell you how happy I am that I got lasik now. I can see my baby in the middle of the night to nurse. That is worth any money I had to spend and any disappointment I previously felt with my imperfect results.
A year ago, my husband was at SERE school. We decided that having a baby is my version of SERE: you don't grok it until you've done it. No matter how much you think you mentally understand what it's like to be starved and beaten, until you go to SERE and experience it, you really can't grok. That's how I feel about having a baby. Sure I knew that labor would hurt. I knew that babies cry and don't sleep through the night. I knew that my life would get difficult.
I knew it. But I didn't grok it.
The first days home from the hospital were rough. And that's an understatement. I remember weeping frequently. Wandering around the house in a daze because I had had no sleep at all. Topless, because my breasts were leaking both milk and blood. Unable to sit, because my episiotomy hurt so bad that I couldn't sit upright without severe pain.
No one fully explains that to you when they say "being a mother is hard." Or "childbirth hurts."
My husband remarked that a woman goes through the most pain she will ever experience in her life and simultaneously gets slapped with the biggest responsibility she's ever had.
No one could possibly have helped me grok the sense of frustration and failure I would feel when my baby is in pain, when she gets severe gas, when she projectile vomits several times a day. How manic I would get, googling over and over to figure out how to breastfeed better so my scabbed and bleeding nipples would heal. How to prevent and cure her gas. How to help her calm herself when she's obviously tired but simply won't listen to me when I beg her to just close her eyes and sleep.
I have done this for one month, in a fog of pain and exhaustion. I cannot believe how hard it is. I can't believe that most of the women in my life have done this before me and survived. Without constantly complaining about it. Because that's what I want to do.
It's getting easier. Or at least more predictable. I am starting to distinguish her hungry cry from her tired cry. I am slowly learning how to fix both. I no longer panic when she barfs all over me at 1 AM; in fact, I have learned to burp her while standing in the bathtub for an easy clean-up. And when I jolt awake in serious pain because of a blocked milk duct, I know what to do. And I push through the pain and feed her because that's what mothers do.
I am learning to be a mother. It's far harder than I imagined it would be.
And I am now smart enough to grok that it won't get easier, just different.
Posted by: Stacy at March 30, 2010 05:31 PM (bVL/L)
By the way, keep it up...you're doing a GREAT job...learning those survival things like burping in the bathtub...it shows you were made for this!
Posted by: Stacy at March 30, 2010 05:32 PM (bVL/L)
Insane, isn't it?
Motherhood is forever a full-mind-and-body experience--and you often don't get full use of your mind and/or body in the duration! It's a good thing those little babies are cute (and remain cute as toddlers, for the most part), or the human race would never have survived.
By the way, if you haven't already, try out some Lansinoh lanolin cream. It's stickier than honey, but it's extremely soothing AND you don't have to wash it off before nursing. Beware of using gel pads, especially sticky nursing pads, because they can block the natural flow of milk and cause clogged ducts, and the adhesive tears the tender skin, making bleeding worse.
You might also consult a lactation consultant to make sure your baby's latching on properly. Supposedly, "nursing isn't supposed to hurt." I beg to differ sometimes, but on the whole, it's not. I had to fix Ian's latch from birth till I weaned him, because he kept getting that upper lip in the way and just wouldn't open his mouth wide enough on the first try. As much as I would have loved it to be, nursing just wasn't a natural, easy process for us.
But I'm sure you've had enough unsolicited advice. I have a hard time shutting up when I get going.
Posted by: Deltasierra at March 30, 2010 07:38 PM (/Mv9b)
Tired cry is easy--close the door and go downstairs. It'll play itself out in under 15 minutes (an hour at the longest.) Hungry cry is easy too--just give the baby to mama! --Oh, wait...
I agree with Russ, you go through the most painful experience in your life, and simultaneously get life's greatest responsibility. But then, you also get a baby shower, and bigger juggs, so it's totally worth it.
The bad thing about the crying is that as they get older, it only increases in duration, volume, and frequency, until they turn 22 or so. Then they stop crying long enough to ask if they can move back in after college.
My 10 year old son threw an hour-long fit yesterday because I grounded him for a single day. A full-on, wailing, screaming, sobbing, hyperventilating fit. And my 7 year old pitched one tonight, because she thought she was in trouble for something she did, even after her mother and I assured her she wasn't in any trouble.
If the honkers are bleeding from being chapped, Udderbalm or Lansinoh (or even chapstick) but the thicker the cream, the better. To keep my nipples tender (okay, to help my skin grafts heal faster,) I wholeheartedly recommend gold-bond hand lotion or Nivea. Whatever you choose, ensure it does not contain any of the alcohols, or it will make the problem worse.
The Mrs. says to try alternating ta-ta's between days, to allow recovery time. If blood is coming with the milk, don't nurse. Otherwise your baby will become a goth kid.
I know you get advice from everywhere, and you aren't asking for it--just telling you what worked for me, because I really can't imagine what an episiotomy feels like, although I imagine it's something like having having a testicle explosively amputated. Nobody gave me a baby to care for afterward, however, just lots and lots of narcotics; so, YMMV. I'm not giving advice to tell you what to do, just to let you know that what you are going through is normal, that you are not alone, and that gin and Zoloft will cure postpartum depression just fine.
One last tip: sometimes babies won't stop crying until you take them for a drive. Just remember to take them out of the car when you get home.
Posted by: Chuck at March 30, 2010 09:40 PM (bMH2g)
That is the wisdom of the ages. I understand that breastfeeding is very important to some mothers. We bottle fed our kids though. As a dad, the middle of the night feeding was a VERY special time for me as I was the one to do it. Holding my children close as I fed them is a fond memory. As crazy as it sounds now, you will miss these days.
A helpful hint about the gas. Look into a product called Mylicon (simethicone drops). It was a tremendous help with my son when he was colicky.
Posted by: SciFiJim at March 30, 2010 09:53 PM (kJF1e)
If you haven't already, I totally second getting Mylicon (I think Gripe Water does the same thing). We gave it to the Captain whenever she was uncomfortable and it works like a charm.
Just keep on keepin' on. Keep doing the things that work for you and let go of anything that doesn't. She'll change the game on you frequently but you are a smart woman and you roll with it with the best of 'em. I know you know this already but it gets better/easier/you get more used to it every day.
Posted by: Ann M. at March 30, 2010 11:15 PM (+GQ3g)
Hang in there, Sarah -- I've no doubt you are becoming an awesomer mommy by the moment!
Posted by: Lissa at March 31, 2010 04:59 AM (mgjM7)
Sometimes I comment to my husband now "I can't remember when they were little" maybe its the sleep deprived fog - -or maybe I just dont want to remember all those nights of standing/rocking in front of the exhaust fan from the stove (the only thing that worked to calm the cries!) but in a few weeks, she will sleep more, you will sleep more, the stitches of your epis will be a distant memory (ok maybe not...
) but you will settle into a routine and be able to more fully enjoy your new bundle of joy. Oh and I totally agree the people that say "nursing doesnt/shouldnt hurt" must've never nursed b/c I beg to differ - at least in the beginning....
Posted by: Keri at March 31, 2010 07:33 AM (6/M22)
I remember, after having my firstborn, looking around at other mothers I knew and feeling bonded in a way I never knew existed. We had all gone through this experience that could never be fully explained to someone who hasn't been through it.
Just remember, the first three months are survival mode. (At least that's how I view it.) As long as you and your baby make it through the day, it's a good day. LOL. Seriously, anything else is secondary and optional.
I triple the recommendation for Lanisoh. Slather it generously before and after feedings. And, I found the best nursing pads were Johnson & Johnson. Many other pads have plastic backs or lining, which don't allow nipples to breathe properly & can lead to further problems. Nursing, honestly, sucks the first month. (Ba-dum-pah.) But, it gets better! Hang in there! When it gets towards weaning time, you'll weep because that stage is ending.
Posted by: Heather at March 31, 2010 08:29 AM (k6tVi)
It is hard work, but we do it anyway. Maybe some words of advice, maybe not: My mother nursed 6 of her seven children, including me and my twin. On the seventh for some reason, I was 12 and remember this, she had projectile vomiting because of blood in the milk. She had to bottle feed her seventh child. On the other hand, my first child was bottle fed and had projectile vomiting, till we tried about 4 different soy milks. She had it until she was about 12 when I started making her clean up the mess! I know it was not her fault as a baby and young child but after about three it came after tantrums.;D Thanks for giving us the grokking update, its cool.
Posted by: Ruth H at March 31, 2010 09:04 AM (19vzx)
Welcome to the sisterhood! My babies are 23 and 28 now, but I vividly remember the sleepless nights and the overwhelming feeling of navigating a place I'd never been.
I was engaged in a nursing marathon (constantly smelled like a dairy cow) for a year and a half with each of them. BEST investment I've ever made. Each daughter was a little different, as is every mother/baby team, but here are things that remained constants for me: for the first three or four months, I eliminated onion, brocolli, asparagus, cabbage, caffeine, chocolate, milk, and cheese from my diet. These things made them gassy and/or made the milk taste funny. Gradually, their stomachs became less sensitive and my diet didn't matter much. Neither of them had fruit or juice or cereal until they were six months old. Another thing I had to do early on was burp them gently every few minutes during feedings. This mostly eliminated trapped air bubbles which caused tummy ache and spitting up.
The pay off for all this effort? Some day soon, you'll be nursing, and you two will make eye contact, and she will smile and pat you. I wouldn't trade five minutes of my experience for anything in the world.
Posted by: char at March 31, 2010 09:08 AM (5q8VK)
You've already had lots of personally tested ideas and advice given above. I'll add a few. Advice gives you starting points, since each baby is different, some advice may resonate while other stuff is already being used or is not relevant or doesn't work.
My kids were prone to the projectile vomiting, not after every feeding, but enough to take two or three outfits in a diaper bag with me. When they were infants, you were told to have them sleep on their tummies. I worried about the vomiting and them choking, so we raised the head of the mattress. Each baby slept on a slant in the crib. We raised the head of the mattress a notch or two above the foot end. I think it helped. My son also did this with his infant after he got home from 10 days in the NICU. He put packages of diapers that the baby hadn't grown into under one end of the bassinet type crib's mattress to create the slant. That seemed to really help his son as well. He is turning 4 this week, and slept on his back per the current advice.
I also recommend making an inexpensive album of the first month of baby pix. Relatives cherish it, especially if they aren't local, and your baby changes so fast, it's nice to look back and see what and how they were doing when you were so exhausted. Kids like looking back at themselves as well... especially if and when younger siblings arrive.
First meaningful smile is magic and has a wonderful way of softening any pain and worry memories. It still is amazing to me how a baby, so small, can so change a house and the people in it.
Posted by: HChambers at March 31, 2010 10:03 AM (m6pqD)
You're doing great, Mama! It is so hard. And no one can really explain that to you, and it's something we don't talk about which makes it that much lonelier. But you are doing it and doing it well.
I just want to say, because of course, it's my thing... You don't say much about how you're feeling here, and I'm not assuming anything. I say this because I wish someone would have said it to me--if how you're feeling doesn't start getting easier... If it continues to feel too hard... If you just feel off and not yourself... It is so ok to get help. It's ok to explore the idea that maybe you're dealing with PPD. Because you CAN feel better. And motherhood CAN feel better than bleeding nipples and exhaustion. And again, I'm not assuming anything. I'm just giving my little PSA because I wish I had known that before I went through it.
With neither of my kids was I ever able to distinguish the cries...it was always going through a list of possible solutions. I would laugh, because for my husband, it was always: they need to be changed....my first thought was: they're hungry...lols.
I grok'd your grok. Give your husband a hug for me. I love his quote about responsibility and pain. Many of my friends will firmly believe that I'm sure. I love your raw honesty and thoughts how "childbirth will be hard" doesn't describe the pain, the bleeding nippples, the inability to sitdown or the survival techniques like burping in the bathtub. Hang in there! My twin used to say ... how many years to go? That 11 years has flown by.
Posted by: Darla at April 01, 2010 08:39 AM (RAPsl)
"The pay off for all this effort? Some day soon, you'll be nursing, and
you two will make eye contact, and she will smile and pat you. I
wouldn't trade five minutes of my experience for anything in the world."
My wife would second this. And the advice to see a lactation consultant - a regular nurse (even the L&D nurses) just won't do.
The mushy feelings might not be there (my wife didn't have them, especially that first month) - it's the actions that show you love your baby (and you really do if you are doing all of that).
That first meaningful smile wipes away a lot of the troubles. And we just weaned our fourth (and last), and it was hard for my wife, despite the pain from the teeth and other abuse nipples get.
Parenthood is the hardest, bestest thing I've done (am doing - the oldest is 6, the youngest 1).
Posted by: Phil at April 01, 2010 01:30 PM (ldQys)
I love that even the "Dad's" are weighing in...says that they were a great support to their wives.
Momma you are doing a great job and before you know it she will be old enough to date and then you and Dad can fight off the "evil little boys!" (I say that because I had three boys and always used to tell the boys that "girls are evil" I knew because I was one.) Enjoy these moments they do fly by quickly
Posted by: Laura, A Military Mom at April 01, 2010 03:33 PM (oLHZ3)
Though I've never been a mother (and never can be, sadly) a friend has sworn that her usage of the offerings from LeLeche http://www.llli.org/nb.html helped her immensely. Particularly in re: nipple issues and thrush...
I am confident you are smart enough to have already been there, done that, so I offer it as a just in case your exhausted brain hadn't reviewed yet.
I have to tell you - I came home all mad because we had to rush to a dinner tonight and the kitchen was left a mess that I returned to...a dog that had to be let out...a garden to water...a stack of laundry...but after reading your words I can put all those things in their proper level of importance. As in not very damned. Thanks for giving me some real perspective tonight...
It WILL be better.
Posted by: LauraB at April 04, 2010 08:47 PM (2uqvG)
I MEAN, THE MAN HAS HIS OWN CURVE
If you love Art Laffer the way I love Art Laffer, might I recommend watching his ideas for how to fix the ecominy? He laid them out on Glenn Beck last week; check out clips two and three here at Glenn Beck Clips.
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The idea that government spending creates jobs makes sense only
if you never ask where the government got the money. It didnâ€™t fall
from the sky. The only way Congress can inject spending into the
economy is by first taxing or borrowing it out of the economy. No new
demand is created; itâ€™s a zero-sum transfer of existing demand.
White House says the $300 billion spent from the stimulus thus far has
financed as many as 2 million jobs. Maybe. However, the private sector
now has $300 billion less to spend, which, by the same logic, means it
must lose the same number of jobs, leaving a net employment impact of
zero. But the White Houseâ€™s single-entry bookkeeping simply ignores
that side of the equation.
Washingtonâ€™s transferring money from savers to spenders doesnâ€™t create
demand, since the financial system already converts one personâ€™s
savings into another personâ€™s spending (as I detail here). A
family might normally put its $10,000 savings in a CD at the local
bank. The bank would then lend that $10,000 to the local hardware
store, which would then recycle that spending around the town,
supporting local jobs. Now suppose that the family instead buys a
$10,000 government bond that funds the stimulus bill. Washington spends
that $10,000 in a different town, supporting jobs there instead. The
stimulus has not created new jobs. It has merely moved them to a new
1The idea that government spending creates jobs makes sense only
if you never ask where the government got the money.
We educators make sure that no one ever asks such questions. Question authority only when Republicans are in power!
It didnâ€™t fall
from the sky.
Of course not. The money comes from eeeevil rich people who won't share their wealth with you! Demand your fair share! Vote Democrat! (At least until Communists are on the ballot. Who keeps them off? McCarthyism lives - even in modern Omerica!)
The only way Congress can inject spending into the
economy is by first taxing or borrowing it out of the economy.
But at least Congress is doing something, unlike the Republicans who can only say no, or the lazy libertarians who believe the economy runs itself - hah!
However, the private sector
now has $300 billion less to spend
Good. The more money in government hands, the better. The government has collective wisdom lacking in unwise greedy individuals.
stimulus has not created new jobs. It has merely moved them to a new
A more deserving town. Redistribution is righteous.
Posted by: kevin at February 18, 2010 01:46 PM (+nV09)
Well, as a business owner I agree completely that the accounting doesn't add up. Â BUT! Â It does have an affect on public opinion and empty statements like "we've created jobs" actually do help to improve people's spending habits. Â
I've seen it first hand. Â The whole thing doesn't make a lick of sense on a rational level, but it seems to be serving an emotional need. Â I'm not educated enough on economics to understand what that emotional satisfaction is "worth" but it seems to be working from my (admittedly low-level) experience.
Posted by: the pinko at February 18, 2010 03:24 PM (wZ30l)
Posted by: david foster at February 18, 2010 05:57 PM (Gis4X)
The "jobs" being created are government jobs...expanding the empire. I just laugh when I hear the President or Biden or whomever bragging about job creation...it reminds me of what Romney said in one of his campaign stop talks...something about if the best hope for the future of job creation is in the government sector and not private enterprise, we're all in trouble...I agree!
Posted by: Nicole Namken at February 19, 2010 01:48 PM (es18+)
This isn't a politically correct thing to say, but I knew - even at 18
- that I wanted to marry and have children. What's more, I wanted to
raise my children myself. It made absolutely no sense to me to place a
home and family last on my "to do" list when it was first or second on
the list of things that were important to me. And it made no sense to
me to spend years and years prepping myself for a high powered career I
would have to give up almost as soon as I attained it. [...]
I raised two fine sons and ran a household well and efficiently. And my
support enabled my husband to have a family and concentrate on his
career. A lot of folks sneer at that sort of thing, but I always
wondered why society would want only the "stupider" sort of women to
raise the next generation.
Teach your daughter that grades will not be the most important factor
in her future. It is important for her to learn for the sheer pleasure
of knowing too, not just to win approval. Someday she will be a woman
and engaged in the project of loving a man and starting a small society
together. This is primary. All she learns can be put to use in this
task. Every interest she has and every scrap of knowledge will be of
value. Let her know how exciting it will be for her.
How could America produce "Heroes, Statesmen, and Philosophers," she wanted to know, if it didn't also produce "Learned women"? [...] Abigail never doubted that women were men's intellectual equals. ... Unlike the radicals, she believed that women found their highest fulfillment within marriage and the family. With a better education, she said repeatedly, a woman would be a better wife and mother and contribute more in the long run to the well-being of the new nation than if she were uninformed. Well-educated women, she insisted, could help their husbands safeguard republican liberty; they could also rear boys qualified for leadership in the young republic and girls who in turn could become the devoted mothers and wives of patriots.
wondered why society would want only the "stupider" sort of women to
raise the next generation."
I love this. I'm a stay at home, homeschooling mom to three (soon to be four) boys. I also graduated magna cum laude with degrees in honors and psychology. All the time I hear comments about "wasting my degree ... blah, blah, blah". I think these people are absolutely nutty! Really? They'd rather my children be in a factory type daycare setting? Their minds, values, and personalities being formed by someone who barely graduated highschool and is making $7.00 an hour?
Two speeches I think you'd like: http://www.nationalcenter.org/TRooseveltMotherhood.html I love this whole speech!
http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/gkc/books/Social_Reform_B.C.html Written in 1927, this part at the end has shown to be eerily prophetic:
The advocates of Birth Control are in
revolt against the conditions of human life .... They seem to express a sympathy with those
who prefer "the right to earn outside the home" or (in other words)
the right to be a wage-slave and work under the orders of a total
stranger because he happens to be a richer man. By what conceivable
contortions of twisted thought this ever came to be considered
a freer condition than that of companionship with the man she has
herself freely accepted, I never could for the life of me make out.
The only sense I can make of it is that the proletarian work,
though obviously more senile and subordinate than the parental,
is so far safer and more irresponsible because it is not parental.
I can easily believe that there are some people who do prefer
working in a factory to working in a family; for there are
always some people who prefer slavery to freedom, and who
especially prefer being governed to governing someone else.
But I think their quarrel with motherhood is not like mine,
a quarrel with inhuman conditions, but simply a quarrel with life.
Given an attempt to escape from the nature of things, and I can
well believe that it might lead at last to something like "the
nursery school for our children staffed by other mothers and single
women of expert training."
I will add nothing to that ghastly picture, beyond speculating
pleasantly about the world in which women cannot manage their own
children but can manage each other's.
Posted by: Heather at February 18, 2010 09:58 AM (9k/pz)
Ching and I were talking about "life" the other night at 3 a.m. and I said I felt like I hadn't accomplished a damn thing in the past ten years. Then I thought to myself - well, other than be a good wife. And she said, well, you've taken good care of me. And with the army and the moves and civilian jobs... it hasn't been easy. And now - with Pinhead on the way, I finally get to do the one job I've been waiting over eight years to do - be a mom. I can't wait.
Posted by: Beth at February 18, 2010 10:07 AM (Xd7j/)
A friend had a conversation just the other night with a man whose son cries after school each day. He raises his hand in class, you see. He knows the answer. "Does anyone OTHER than Billy know the answer?" the teacher asks with disdain. Or parks him in an empty classroom so his intellect won't insult the others, one assumes.
Their eyes are open, now, to the other options. You can stay home, you can raise your own child and, yes, teach it. Vacation when it works for your schedules, teach through experience, and love them all day long, every day.
Anything else seems like a very poor trade-off to me.
Posted by: LauraB at February 18, 2010 10:40 AM (F24xe)
My mother had seven children. At several times in her life she was asked by other, very rude, women why she had so many. Her answer was always this, "the world needs the type people my children are." In her later life she referred to this often and would then add to us, "what would I do now without my children?" Yes, we are all intelligent people who are not afraid to speak out, and have raised children who are intelligent and not afraid to speak out. We are also compassionate and caring. Our mama taught us well.
Posted by: Ruth H at February 18, 2010 01:57 PM (KLwh4)
Great post, Sarah. I agree with Ruth. I think the most important job we can have is to raise intelligent, responsible and caring children. I don't believe in leaving their development up to the random caregivers we would encounter through our frequent moves and situation changes. This truly is the greatest job we will undertake and I am so grateful I have the opportunity to stay home with my kids. I know you will make a great mom! So excited for you!
Posted by: Jen D at February 18, 2010 02:18 PM (h8XAc)
I <3 Abigail Adams and *I* needed this perspective today. It is so easy to feel like I am accomplishing little. I need to be reminded how important my job, and the gifts that I bring to my job as a mother really are.
Posted by: Val at February 18, 2010 06:47 PM (JPt9E)
Thank you so much for posting this. On particularly tough days, I begin to question why I stay home with my children, why I homeschool, and why I'm doing everything contrary to the way everyone else seems to be doing things. It's nice to read a little affirmation from time to time.
Posted by: Val L. at February 19, 2010 09:03 AM (F4Qv7)
I find value in all of your posts, but this one in particular spoke to me. As many others have commented, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to stay at home with children without having to justify why you do so. It always amazes me when people wonder how I could have walked away from my career, or how I could stay home all day with two small children. How crazy is that??? I did intentionally have them, you know! And now, they wonder why we are choosing to send our oldest to a university model, classical school for kinder in the fall (part-time private, part-time homeschool education). Why is it so difficult for people, especially other women, to understand why we are investing so much time, love and care in our children?
And btw, I'm a good friend of Heidi's and a faithful reader/lurker. You inspire me and I'm so thrilled for the next chapter of your journey to begin. Praying your husband is home soon and for the safe arrival of your sweet baby.
Posted by: Kathy at February 19, 2010 10:27 AM (3v7Fv)
I completely agree with your post, parenting is such an important job... and I think that part of the fall out of feminism was the total rejection of things previously in the stereotypical women's sphere.
But, I also don't agree with some of the tone of the comments prior to mine. And perhaps I'm just sensitive. I chose to return to school part time when my daughter was 3, and prior to that I was a stay at home mom. It was a very tough decision to make, I loved being at home with her, but I felt that it was the right decision for me and my family. There is something to be said for pursuing a dream outside of motherhood, and I don't like the all or nothing approach that seems to reign whenever this topic comes up. Either you are painted as a terrible mother who couldn't or wouldn't stay at home, or conversely you are seen as an unintelligent, unmotivated person without a career for investing instead in your children. It's no win.
There, now I feel better having written it. I'm so excited for you to start the journey of motherhood, Sarah. You're going to love it
Posted by: dutchgirl at February 20, 2010 12:01 AM (Yg8bq)
This post, and the links, and the comments, make my heart so happy!!! Motherhood really is the most critical occupation on the planet, and the *most worthy* of our investments of time and talents.
Dutchgirl, I didn't pick up an "all-or-nothing" vibe from these comments; we know what works for *our own families*, and I don't think your getting more education means that motherhood isn't your top priority. FWIW, I'd like to become an ND; someday (probably at least a decade out or so, LOL...) I'll have time & money to do that while Kiddo is working on his reading or a research paper, since I'm teaching him at home, too - we can work on our HW together!
Posted by: Krista at February 23, 2010 01:21 PM (sUTgZ)
I HEART ART
If Art Laffer thinks we're boned...well, yikes.
â€œIn anticipation of known tax increases the economy will shift income
and output from 2011 -- the higher tax year -- into 2010 -- the lower
tax year. As a result of this income shift, 2010 will look a lot better
than it should, and 2011 will be a train wreck,â€ he predicts.
Thanks for linking to Laffer's article. I just assumed the rest of Obama's reign would be straight downhill, so I didn't expect Laffer's "false recovery." His argument would be stronger if he had pointed out previous false recoveries.
I wonder how the public would react to a federal tax holiday. Unlike bailouts, such a holiday would directly benefit ordinary people without taking money out of anyone's pockets.
Posted by: Amritas at January 31, 2010 09:19 PM (TZltr)
I know it's an appeal to authority, but I like to think that his argument is strong enough by virtue of his being Art freaking Laffer
Posted by: Sarah at February 01, 2010 08:47 AM (gWUle)
I think my kids and I will take our normal Halloween tradition of watching scary movies all month long and turn it into watching financial returns.
Much more terrifying.
Posted by: airforcewife at February 01, 2010 01:21 PM (uE3SA)
I keep thinking about Laffer's recommendation of a one year, nine month tax holiday. The impact that would have on the average American family is astounding. But then, what would we do with all of those IRS workers and accountants? How frustrated would people be when they had to start paying taxes again, and realized exactly how much wealth the system is stealing from them every year. Thanks for the great article!
Posted by: Val L. at February 02, 2010 12:40 PM (F4Qv7)
1If, as a contracted employee who signed on for the sole purpose of
making money, I did everything I was supposed to do to earn a payout of
$5 million dollars, I would expect to be paid. I assumed a level of
risk, and preformed as asked. A deal is a deal.
When is a deal not a deal? When is it acceptable to break a contract? Those who regard the AIG bonuses as the necessary outcomes of inviolable contracts may not regard other contracts as equally sacred.
And, who are these guys that crafted these unbreakable contracts? Every
CEO and board member should be thinking to themselves, "Next time I
have a contract I need made up, that's who I want on my side of the
negotiating table." Talk about rocket scientists on Wall Street!
They're not on the trading floor but in the legal department.
If history and physics tell us anything, itâ€™s the guaranteed failure of
all things, including companies, countries, people, and entire
civilizations. (Packard? The USSR? George Burns? Rome?)
Yes, all. I'd add the USA to the list. When will it fall? Is it falling?
Posted by: amritas at January 21, 2010 06:20 PM (+nV09)
I don't know if all things fail. Most things fail. Things which are not properly maintained, certainly. Things which move even moreso. The Egyptian pyramids still stand.
I don't think that the US will fail simply as a function of the nature of things. It may grow or morph into something else. If we look at failure in absolute terms, where something ceases to exist, then as long as a Packard operates on a road, the company still (in a sense) exists.
The US can trace its history to the Magna Charta, and even to Hammurabi's first codified law. What nations in the future will trace their origins to us? When the combined federation of planets signs its charter, will that charter have origins in the US constitution? The United States isn't a living thing, it is an idea. Ideas are notoriously hard to kill, just ask Buddha, Christ, Abraham, Mohammed (peanut butter on him) and the Sumerians.
I doubt there is much about our country that our founders would recognize (even less that they would approve, but that goes beyond the scope of this comment.) That doesn't mean that their America doesn't exist, or that we will eventually decline and then become dispersed like the legions of Rome. It means that anything which changes can adapt, and adaptability is what makes things resilient. The founders sought only to create a *more* perfect union. Their intent was not to create *the* perfect society, nor that we should settle for the one we have, and that it was the responsibility of generations to improve that society, learning from the mistakes of their parents and grandparents.
What can the government learn from the contractual bonus debacle? That the free market works. That they cannot possibly hope to have lawyers working for the government (except the very rare few who serve for services' sake) who can compete professionally with the lawyers who earn millions writing contracts for wall street. It's roughly the same thing as a state champion high school football team playing the 6-time superbowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Even with the worst team they've ever fielded, the Steelers would absolutely murder the high school team. Both teams have drive and desire. Both teams know how to play the game. Both teams love the game. But only one team is populated with players drafted from the very best that the sport had to offer.
If your local congressperson (who, odds are, is a lawyer) were any good as a lawyer, they'd either be a judge or still be a lawyer. There's tons more money in private lawyerin' than there is in public politics (assuming an honest politician.)
Posted by: Chuck Z at January 21, 2010 10:18 PM (bMH2g)
THE SCOTT HEARD ROUND THE WORLD
I happily watched the results of last night's election in Massachusetts and couldn't believe what I was seeing. It's definitely a step in the right direction, and if solid people keep running for office, we may see the pendulum swing the other way. Thank goodness.
I only wish Dean Barnett were still here to see it.
Massachusetts elected a Republican. Anything is possible. And now that Democrats have that fear and Republicans have that hope...well, I am excited to see what might happen in the fall.
Oda Mae pointed out that there's already a Hitler video. I love the Hitler meme, and this one is particularly good.
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THE DOMINO'S MODEL
This is genius. Genius of Domino's, genius when applied to the GOP, just genius. What the GOP can learn from a pizza chain If something isn't working, you can either bury your head in the sand or face it head on and change. I wish the president of Domino's were running the US government right now. Mea culpa video here. Makes me want to go try a Domino's pizza again.
Unfortunately, the GOP (and the DNC) don't bother answering to customer complaints.
When all you have is option "a" or option "A", it doesn't matter what kind of pizza you order.
Dominoes will rebound, I think, if they can make a quality product and sell it competitively. For the record, they seem to have had a head-on collision with the noid, rather than heeding their own advice to avoid him. The big question is whether this will rebound them short-term, until they opt to appease shareholders and stop producing a quality product--instead opting for cheaper ingredients at the cost of losing customers.
The major advantage that dominoes had so many years ago: a nationally recognized brand, decent pizza, and a guarantee.
Other nationally recognized brands have risen, the guarantee went away, and there is better pizza to be had, and people are realizing they can actually have pizza they want, not just the kind of pizza that is offered.
Yep. Swap "Pizza" with "GOP" or "DNC" and it works. At least Dominoes is taking competition seriously, instead of just calling their competition "pizzabaggers."
Posted by: Chuck Z at January 08, 2010 03:36 PM (bMH2g)
I get about 10 pounds of political direct mail per week, almost all of it from Republican/conservative/libertarian organizations. From a pure marketing standpoint, 90% of it is, in my not-at-all-humble opinion, just awful.
When somebody gets an envelope that has no return address but says "OPEN IMMEDIATELY--Special Survey--Immediate Response Required--Serial #545454353453"...what do they think the reaction is going to be? What do they think this is, some TV version of the 1950s?...
"Maw! Maw! We got us some MAIL"
"Who's it from, Paw?"
"Don't know, but it looks IMPORTANT! It's got a BIG LONG NUMBER on it! And it SAYS it's real important!'
"Better open it RIGHT NOW, Paw!"
Posted by: david foster at January 08, 2010 05:52 PM (uWlpq)
RATIONALITY UNDER INTERROGATION
Jonah Goldberg wonders if terrorists, even if they know Americans cannot kill them in custody, would still break under the stress of interrogation. (Read the whole thing for a complete understanding of the post.)
All I can add on this matter is what I know secondhand from my husband. After a week of "interrogation" at SERE school, he said he probably could've murdered one of the guards without hesitation if he thought it meant escape. The same guards he rationally knew were paid employees there to train him. And that if he ever saw one of them out at Walmart, he's not sure he could see them as normal human beings. He barely wanted to speak to them once the training was over.
So I think that letting terrorists read our playbook is a bad thing, but weeks or months of interrogation probably destroys whatever rationality one may have towards the situation.
One could argue that one should never write about topics one hasn't
experienced firsthand. That hasn't stopped me from writing about war,
but for some reason I am particularly reluctant to write about torture.
I feel like I'm guessing in the dark. I don't even know how effective
it is. Here is an objection I've never seen before:
Whenever a person who knows military secrets is captured by the
enemy, the colleagues of the person who was captured instantly take
action to render what he knows obsolete. For example, if we ever lost a
monthly code book when I was in the Army, they would immediately issue
new ones to everyone and order the prior code books be destroyed and
the prior codes never be used again.
Any future actions
that were known by the captured person would be canceled or greatly
modified. Hidden assets or persons would immediately be moved to new
locations unknown to the captured person.
If you were an
enemy secret spy or saboteur, the moment you heard a colleague who knew
your identity or location was captured by the enemy, you would hightail
it and most likely get completely out of the undercover business.
During World War II, Allied personnel who escaped from behind German
lines were not allowed to be on the front any more for fear they might
be recaptured and give up the identities of those who helped them
This has always been true of all militaries and spy
services. It does not matter whether the country that captured the
person has a policy for or against torture. Mere incarceration causes
many to talk.
So not only is information obtained by torture
usually useless because a tortured person will tell you whatever you
want to hear even if he knows nothing about it. [This is a problem with surveys in general. -A] Americans in World War
II who were tortured to reveal the secrets of the Norden Bomb Sight
drew many diagrams of how it worked even though they never knew how it
worked. But even the good information that a captured enemy knows is
generally useless because the mere fact that the person has been
captured means that the enemy will make immediate changes that renders
the information obsolete.
Two questions come to mind:
First, is it possible that some information a captured enemy knows is less subject to change than other information?
Second, does it make sense to ask for relatively static information first, particularly during the time lag (if any) between the capture of a prisoner and the enemy's knowledge of the capture?
Notice I wrote "ask for" instead of "torture to obtain". I am interested in the effectiveness of interrogation in general.
Posted by: Amritas at January 05, 2010 11:22 AM (+nV09)
I read this on my phone last night and was kinda in agreement with you about it. I think it is incredibly stupid to allow things to make the light of day that will give aide and comfort to the enemy. But I would like to think the self assured-ness will be worn down by the actual interrogation (TORTURE!) 'process'.
And that is on Mark's summer school checklist before he leaves. Then he goes directly to another something or other. Not sure when I will see him after he is done with that, so I am interested in how he will do.
Posted by: wifeunit at January 05, 2010 01:01 PM (4B1kO)
I read this on my phone last night and was kinda in agreement with you about it.
Do you find yourself reading more on a phone than an actual computer? I think I might be reaching that point.
I think it is incredibly stupid to allow things to make the light of day that will give aide and comfort to the enemy.
I agree. Has anyone argued that this is a good thing for national defense (as opposed to ... other agendas)?
But I would like to think the self assured-ness will be worn down by the actual interrogation (TORTURE!) 'process'.
As the article I linked to says,
Mere incarceration causes
many to talk.
Is that true?
And that is on Mark's summer school checklist before he leaves. Then
he goes directly to another something or other. Not sure when I will
see him after he is done with that, so I am interested in how he will
He's going to SERE, or something like it? As a reader of Sarah's blog, you have some idea of what to expect ... shudder ...
Posted by: Amritas at January 05, 2010 04:51 PM (+nV09)
Sincerely, if I recognized an individual as being paid to do [things I don't even know the smallest part of], I'd have trouble looking at them like human beings if I saw them at Walmart, too.
I understand the earnest purpose in theory, but I don't even think that how a lot of TI/DIs behave is right. I'm sure that's ungrateful heresy for a milspouse, but there it is. Hubby has considerably more forbearance, which serves him well.
As to the "real issue," it's an interesting question. I tend to agree with your thought that the incarceration might do just fine, if anything must "do" to aid interrogation. I'm sure that Cabin Fever gets more acute in those situations.
Posted by: Krista at January 05, 2010 05:35 PM (sUTgZ)
I have never been, and never expect to be, interrogated in any manner, but I read a lot of these theories about how we should waterboard the panty bomber (I like Mark Steyn's name for him) and I just think, "why do they think a man who would blow off his own genitals would break with waterboarding." In his case it is possible he would think it would get him into the afterlife in a way he was not able to do on his own. Also, they may have trained him in being able to withstand it in the same way we train our people to withstand it. I do believe in intense interrogations, there are some things we need to know.
Posted by: Ruth H at January 05, 2010 08:03 PM (WPw5a)
MacGyver felt pretty much the same way about his SERE experience (though it was nothing like your husband's as it was "SERE light" for flight school). He purposely avoided his guards and interrogators for that reason. He was so close to graduation and didn't want to ruin it by not being able to control himself if he were to encounter one of them.
I've been interrogated once and can honestly say that I should never be trusted with state secrets - I folded like a house of cards. Granted, they pulled a hard-core "good cop/bad cop" routine on me but you'd think, after years of watching "Law and Order", I'd know how to resist.
I never, in my entire life, want to go through that again. Ever.
Posted by: HomefrontSix at January 05, 2010 09:02 PM (umhCJ)
Yep...just like the new penalties for flights delayed and sitting on the tarmac for a certain period of time: it won't be paid to the people sitting on the plane for their inconvenience...nope, it will be paid directly to the government.
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