A New Can Of Worms
10 July 2004
Liberal Outrage Fatigue
08 July 2004
Usually, a service is developed then people recognize some need to regulate it. Not so with Voice Over Internet. VOIP is still 10 years away yet our runaway state and federal governments are seeking to saddle with regulations even before it is viable.
The Sun Timesnotes today that :
" Heavy regulation of phone calls made over the Internet would crimp innovation and stifle investment in the new technology, industry officials told Congress on Wednesday."
It's 10 years away and executives still crawl before Congress to beg to be left alone. It's disgusting...
07 July 2004
In Praise of Attrition by Ralph Peters will be a much talked about article in military circles I predict. In it he cuts to the chase on the war on terrorism.
To win we will need to find and kill terrorists. Among some of the insights:
"There is no better example of our unthinking embrace of an error than our rejection of the term “war of attrition.” The belief that attrition, as an objective or a result, is inherently negative is simply wrong. A soldier’s job is to kill the enemy. All else, however important it may appear at the moment, is secondary. And to kill the enemy is to attrit the enemy. All wars in which bullets—or arrows—fly are wars of attrition.
Of course, the term “war of attrition” conjures the unimaginative slaughter of the Western Front, with massive casualties on both sides. Last year, when journalists wanted to denigrate our military’s occupation efforts in Iraq, the term bubbled up again and again. The notion that killing even the enemy is a bad thing in war has been exacerbated by the defense industry’s claims, seconded by glib military careerists, that precision weapons and technology in general had irrevocably changed the nature of warfare. But the nature of warfare never changes—only its superficial manifestations.
The US Army also did great harm to its own intellectual and practical grasp of war by trolling for theories, especially in the 1980s. Theories don’t win wars. Well-trained, well-led soldiers in well-equipped armies do." . . .
"Far from entering an age of maneuver, we have entered a new age of attrition warfare in two kinds: First, the war against religious terrorism is unquestionably a war of attrition—if one of your enemies is left alive or unimprisoned, he will continue trying to kill you and destroy your civilization. Second, Operation Iraqi Freedom, for all its dashing maneuvers, provided a new example of a postmodern war of attrition—one in which the casualties are overwhelmingly on one side.
Nothing says that wars of attrition have to be fair.
It’s essential to purge our minds of the clichéd images the term “war of attrition” evokes." . . .
". . .No model is consistently applicable. That is—or should be—a given. Wars create exceptions, to the eternal chagrin of military commanders and the consistent embarrassment of theorists. One of our greatest national and military strengths is our adaptability. Unlike many other cultures, we have an almost-primal aversion to wearing the straitjacket of theory, and our independence of mind serves us very well, indeed. But the theorists are always there, like devils whispering in our ears, telling us that airpower will win this war, or that satellite “intelligence” obviates the need for human effort, or that a mortal enemy will be persuaded to surrender by a sound-and-light show." . . .
. . . Of course, we shall hear no end of fatuous arguments to the effect that we can’t kill our way out of the problem. Well, until a better methodology is discovered, killing every terrorist we can find is a good interim solution. The truth is that even if you can’t kill yourself out of the problem, you can make the problem a great deal smaller by effective targeting.
And we shall hear that killing terrorists only creates more terrorists. This is sophomoric nonsense. The surest way to swell the ranks of terror is to follow the approach we did in the decade before 9/11 and do nothing of substance. Success breeds success. Everybody loves a winner. The clichés exist because they’re true. Al Qaeda and related terrorist groups metastasized because they were viewed in the Muslim world as standing up to the West successfully and handing the Great Satan America embarrassing defeats with impunity. Some fanatics will flock to the standard of terror, no matter what we do. But it’s far easier for Islamic societies to purge themselves of terrorists if the terrorists are on the losing end of the global struggle than if they’re allowed to become triumphant heroes to every jobless, unstable teenager in the Middle East and beyond. . . .
Thank you AL Daily for pointing this out to me.
Norquist Take on John Edwards
One of my favorite things to witness is Grover Norquist on a riff. He is an extremely insightful and entertaining analyst. Here are his thoughts on Kerry's selection of Edwards:
"According to Norquist, Edward's background as a trial lawyer will inject tremendous energy into both the business and medical communities.
By choosing Edwards, Norquist said, Kerry declared war on on both groups. 'This choice was a declaration of war on doctors, hospitals and the entire business community.
'It also has another problem. Vice President Cheney as Bush's nominee is a guy who obviously could become president because he has a serious leadership history, which Edwards doesn't.'
The selection of Edwards also has great political significance, Norquist said. 'Every Republican who wants to be president someday wishes Bush well. If you are a governor or senator who'd like to be president in 2008, you want Bush to win - you don't want to be running against Edwards in 2008. You want Bush to retire and give you an open shot at it.
'On the Democrat side, should Kerry win, the presidency isn't open in 2008 - it won't be open until 2012. With Edwards as vice president, if Kerry wins, it's not open until 2016.'
This, he said, was 'bad news for Hillary Clinton. It means her career is over. She'll never be president. The whole point of being Hillary will be she's just another vote in the Senate unless everyone you talk to believes that someday you'll be president. Then you're not just another Senator from a liberal state, you're important.
'As a result, every significant Democrat who might be president knows that they would be better off if they woke up the day after the election and Kerry lost.' "
06 July 2004
Bad Week Good Week on the Column Front
My column is up at The Coles County Leader...
It's on the Budget impasse in Springfield. And I must say, I think it is the worse I've ever written. In it I compare Hot Rod to Nero -- a leader famous for playing games (actually his lyre and his love of theatre) rather than ruling.
I use a comparison of job numbers from the fifty states in May to point out that Illinois, by a wide margin, is bleeding jobs while the rest of country is adding them. So far this year only three states have lost jobs, Illinois leads the pack in this category. In response, we have a state government seeking tax hikes on businesses and a expansion of state government, when clearly the impetus should be on job creation.
I say Hot Rod fiddling because he continues to blast legislators and has begun to spend money that hasn't been budgeted. That's all fine.
But, what gets me is how poorly the damn thing is written. It looks like in my haste to beat my deadline during a holiday weekend I left a couple of words out in an effort to keep it at 500 words. My transitions are terribly weak.
... All in all, this is not up to my standards... I'm very embarassed.
Of course the week before I wrote on Jack Ryan's withdrawal from the U.S Senate race. That I would recommend. In part I say:
"One theory holds that Jack Ryan lied when he told former Governor Jim Edgar and State Republican Chairwoman Judy Baar Topinka of the file contents and therefore he had to go. Another theory is that while Washington, DC Republicans were circling the wagons for Ryan, state GOP officials were doing all they could to undermine him. After all, they were the only group saying he lied to them and Jack was telling everyone the same story. Therefore it’s the state GOP’s fault.
These theories strike me as just as he said-she said as the very allegations that landed Ryan into this imbroglio in the first place. Nailing down who said what to whom, how we characterize it, and how it was interpreted seems to me to be an exercise in futility.
Moreover, much of this revolves around the cliché that the cover up was worse than a crime -a rationalization often used for piling on when the original “scandal” proves to be much ado about nothing.
Yet, since most Illinoisans - 57% in one poll - don’t believe the allegations were serious enough to force Ryan’s withdrawal, we really don’t have a transgression do we? And if we don’t have a transgression - just characterized allegations - there isn’t really much to cover up. After all, the judge gave Jack what he wanted, not his ex-wife. The suggestion the cover-up and the lying are the cause of Ryan’s demise seem somehow insufficient."
My analysis basically revolves around the state's individualistic political culture and the hypocrisy obsessed political press. People are essentially playing their roles:
"It’s not that these leaders are vindictive; it’s just the way things are done. In the tale of the frog and the scorpion, the moral is that the scorpion stings the frog ensuring both of their deaths while crossing the river because it’s the scorpion’s nature to sting. It’s the same in Illinois political circles.
For better or worse Jack Ryan found himself in a battle between this political environment and a popular democratic opponent. As it turned out he just didn’t have the will to fight a two-front war. That’s why Jack Ryan withdrew."
So why was one pretty good and the other one lousy? My heart wasn't in the Blago piece so it was lousy, it was in the Ryan piece so it was all right. A good columnist can probably write about everything because he likes to write. I tend to be good about things I'm interested in. That makes me a good analyst of... say... political culture or state spending drivers ... but a bad columnist because I can't write about anything.
If I'm going to continue to write a weekly column, I need to overcome that.
Islam Needs a Renaissance
Stepehn Schwartz on TechCentralStation.com makes a strong case for what is needed in the dar al Islam.
Not only does he makes some interesting points on the state of Islam, but he uses the US's checkered past on religious toleration as an example.
It's a good read.