Thursday, August 30, 2007

Lucky or Skillful?

Fred Thompson's much anticipated launch of his official campaign could not be better timed.

Let us set the scene - The press is focused relentlessly on the Larry Craig gay-sex-solicitation scandal. Viewers, especially Cultural Conservatives, are being turned off from politicians in droves. In comes the lanky southern Thompson, exuding plainspoken, downhome goodness. More importantly, Thompson is seen as an outsider.

Of course Fred Thompson's outsiderness is pure illusion but that doesn't matter. He has slipped in the polls as the press tired of waiting for him to do something - anything. Now he has an angle, a narrative that the media can pick up on. This timing is assuredly coincidental but the campaign should be judged on their ability to exploit MensRoomGate. If they can't catch an obvious bone like this when it is thrown to them, Clinton will have them chained to a tree in the backward before you can say "Y'all come back now, ya hear."

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Another one

Well, apparently the Republican party is quite serious about winning California. First they decide to sponsor a proposition that would split California's electoral votes by congressional district rather than the overall vote winner selecting all electoral college delegates. Fair enough. It beats the Texas mid-term gerrymandering plan. Now we can be certain that Phase 2 of the plan is to win more votes in that uber-liberal state by having a series of Republican congressman pretend to be gay! That Karl Rove really is a boy genius!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Let's Compare Vietnam to Iraq...

George Bush's advisers will always win points for audacity. Making the taboo comparison between Vietnam and Iraq turns convention on its head and beats the Democrats on over the noggin with it.

Alright, Mr President, we should stay the course in Iraq just like we should have in Vietnam. Of course, to do this we will need an Army a lot like that which was used in Vietnam. Did I mention that it was an Army of conscripts? Maintaining a force of this size will require a long term commitment to a much larger military and a draft is the only way that is possible in a time of war.

Let's roll.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

On Iraq, Viet Nam and Fighting Terrorists

In an August 22 speech, the Historian-in-Chief claimed, among other things, that America’s enemies view American withdrawal at the end of the Viet Nam War as a sign of our inherent weakness. Throw in Beirut or Somalia and Bush is 100% correct. Kudos to his speech writers. Someday a young terrorist may point out to his followers that the US did not have the stamina to complete our mission in Afghanistan before moving on to Iraq.

The conceptual error, or rather the psychological crutch, comes in concluding that Viet Nam was lost because we pulled out. By definition I suppose the war is not lost until you leave the battlefield or are dead. In practice, there comes a moment when one side can no longer achieve victory and the war is, for all intents and purposes, over. This is the point when those living in the Reality-Based community start searching for a way to prevent their retreat from turning into a rout.

The lesson on Viet Nam is that the number of situations in which military might is sufficient is fleetingly small. So Osama Bin Laden thinks that the US is weak because it pulled out of Viet Nam and Mogadishu? Let him! This is a man who believes that he is going to establish a new Caliphate. So let’s allow him the fantasy that America is a pushover. We may be na├»ve and anti-intellectual but we are also basically resilient and just plain big. Now is the time to prove we are not stupid.

While Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri sit in godforsaken Waziristan, boasting about how they have tricked the West into doing their bidding, we should come to our senses and treat these thugs in a quiet and deliberate way. No B52s. No bounties. There may still be a role for “special” units but the thrust will be - *gasp* - diplomatic and judicial. We have dealt with spies, internal terrorists and organized crime in the past. Many were brought to justice. It’s not sexy and it would be hard work but it can be done (as if fighting a land war in central Asia is a cake walk.) America has never been especially good at human intelligence and we will have a lot to learn. In the end, however, while Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri dream their dreams of the overthrow of apostate Egypt and Saudi Arabia, we will be steadily tightening the noose and dragging them, finally, disgraced and robbed of their mystique, to be judged before the world.

Update 24-Aug-2007: Punched up the ending