Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Odds and ends

No Iraq-Al Qaeda Links Found
That one addresses the question of whether Saddam was in cahoots with Al Qaeda. He wasn't. Did he support terrorism? Yes, against "his own" people. He fits the bully profile, and didn't want to take on the U.S. And he didn't want anyone operating in his country that might threaten his power, which would be a threat from letting an Al Qaeda type organization loose in his own country.

Chuck Norris, U.S. military cult hero
This article got a knowing giggle out of me. Where I am, Chuck does not enjoy the rock star status he enjoys at larger U.S. facilities. We don't get Stars and Stripes, we don't ever meet anyone that works for KBR, etc. But the few times I've passed through larger U.S. facilities in Iraq and Kuwait, I've learned just how important Chuck is to our troops. In the porta-johns, actually. Those who apparently lack focus on the task at hand take the time to render various homages to the man, the myth, the legend. Some of them are really quite funny (and yes, some of us who lack focus on the task at hand take the time to read some of them). And they are all better than the many profane, vulgar, racist, sexist, anti-Iraqi, anti-Arabic or other comments that seem to also find their way onto the porta-john walls.

Here's a brief sampling, thanks to the Chuck Norris Facts page:

1. If you have five dollars and Chuck Norris has five dollars, Chuck Norris has more money than you.
2. There is no 'ctrl' button on Chuck Norris's computer. Chuck Norris is always in control.
3. Apple pays Chuck Norris 99 cents every time he listens to a song.
4. Chuck Norris can sneeze with his eyes open.
5. Chuck Norris can eat just one Lay's potato chip.
6. Chuck Norris is suing Myspace for taking the name of what he calls everything around you.
7. Chuck Norris destroyed the periodic table, because he only recognizes the element of surprise. 8. Chuck Norris can kill two stones with one bird.

Iraq's Surging Violence(Washington Post)...Eugene Robinson
I was disturbed by this one. Really appeared to me to be cherry-picking data to support an extreme left-wing argument. I thought it was exaggerated and counterproductive to rational arguments about what should or should not be done here. "Growing less peaceful and tranquil by the day"? He's clearly experiencing a different part of Iraq than most of the people here are. Yes, it is still very dangerous in many parts, but the "trend" he's identifying ignores the larger sets of data- he's clinging to the spectacular attacks that occur from time to time.

Keeping Iraq In The Dark (New York Times)...Glenn Zorpette
This one highlights a problem that can be very frustrating, not just for the citizens not getting the electricity they want, but also for the U.S. side, trying to lead, cajole, even beg their counterparts on the Iraqi side to make good decisions about how to use their expanding financial resources. They ignore positive ROI projects and make decisions seemingly to spite each other. You'd think they'd make the choices that would lead to increases in services to their people, but often their choices suggest that the welfare of their people rates a low priority. I've seen so much of people treating each other poorly here. And the Catch-22 for many of us Americans is trying to help without interfering- sometimes respecting their sovereignty leads to extreme dismay as you watch them screw their citizens. This is a good example.

Reality and the Iraq war (USA Today) By Michael O'Hanlon
I think Michael did a much better than Eugene (above) of sounding rational and coherent. If the democrats lose this next presidential election, it is because they go so far left with their opinions and pledges about the war that they lose the middle.

The democrats are amusing me more than the republicans lately. I am almost ecstatic at the prospects of seeing the party have their nominee decided by superdelegates after all of the screeching about disenfranchisement over the years following the Bush-Gore Florida Funfest. Wouldn't that just be delicious?

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