Friday, July 02, 2004


The Boston Globe reports that Jordan and Yemen are agreeing to "conditionally" send troops to Iraq.

Hmmn--I wonder what the conditions are....

From Monty Python's Meaning of Life: If you're not getting your hair cut, you don't have to move your brother's clothes down to the lower peg, you simply collect his note before lunch after you've done your scripture prep when you've written your letter home before rest, move your own clothes on to the lower peg, greet the visitors, and report to Mr Viney that you've had your chit signed.

Then send troops.

Yeah, I know I've used this line before--and I know the conditions aren't quite as absurd. But they aren't quite as straightforward either. Jordan's King Abdullah says he'd send forces to train the Iraqi police "if asked." Yemen agrees to be part of a UN peacekeeping force. Funny. I don't think either of these is all that likely, although Allawi MIGHT beg for Jordanian help if backed into a corner.

Meanwhile, the insurgency continues.

Last night, after a very pleasant telephone call, I found myself bored to the point of watching the Charlie Rose show. Normally, I avoid this guy like the plague, but last night I had the pleasure of seeing both Michael Moore talking about his movie AND Dr. Evil himself, Henry Kissinger, assessing the situation in Iraq. I'm guessing all five folks who give me a look will know Moore's general attitude--excited, humbled, ready to roll against Shrub--but the Kissinger monster has been out of the loop, it seems, since he slithered away from chairing the 9/11 Commission.

I found his take on Iraq interesting. First, he warned of dire consequences in the event of a "loss" in the country. That doesn't surprise me--Henry has played the doom card to his benefit for an entire career, and will ride it into the ground--literally--when he finally joins--well, I was going to say Marlon Brando, but if there IS an afterlife, Henry will have a LOT more explaining to do than Marlon. Anyway, the scenario he outlined was a general weakening of secular Middle East governments worldwide. He added that repurcussions would be felt as far away as India--to which I'll add perhaps Indonesia as well.

You know, in spite of embodying pure evil in virtually undistilled form, Kissinger might have a point. If the United States loses in Iraq, it will certainly have far reaching consequences--if for no other reason than the fact that the world's reigning superpower will be shown to have a glass jaw. Will it truly cause destabilization in the Middle East? Perhaps, although I really believe that most of the region has as little use for fundamentalist Islam as we do (or maybe I should say the Middle East no more wants fundamentalist Islamic rule than we want fundamentalist Christian rule--at least, I HOPE neither does). That said, the loss will be significant--both for us, and Israel.

Of course, Henry made it clear that the rest of us--not including himself and his family, of course--should shoulder any cost, and bear any burden, in order to "win." Now, interestingly, "winning" in his book isn't quite the same rosy picture George W. Bush fantasizes about when not stammering through a scripted press conference. No--winning is essentially Ba'athism without Saddam, which is not just a few steps down from the neo con program, but the equivalent of being tossed down a whole flight or two. And it once again puts Iraqis into the position of pawns in a chess game orchestrated by outsiders.

Which is why, in the end, Kissinger's fear will be realized. We're GOING to lose this one, and we might as well get used to it. Now, if the odd right-winger comes to this site, they might whine, piss, and moan about how such an assessment "doesn't help the troops." To which I say: Bullshit. You can't dream your way to victory, and at this point in the game the Iraqis will easily run the clock out on us, so you might as well take a serious look at Operation Go Fuck Ourselves and begin to assess what the hell went wrong. It's high goddamned time we learned from this blunderfuck and dealt with it, and leave the fantasyland dreaming for college football--although, to be honest, I can't for the life of me figure why die hard college football fans want to rip the heart and lungs out of a coach who loses two games (and put them on a stick in the yard) but don't have anything to say about idiot Bush who managed to get beat by the two weakest countries in Asia. Fire the guy? Hell, if there was any justice in the world, Dumbya would be leaving DC in a disguise.

Football analogies aside, Kissinger was telling us that OUR costs--in lives and money--are going to rise to the extent that Vietnam will seem like a two-bit ripoff. Yes, there's the possibility--indeed, the probability--that Iraq will soon be a theocratic nation, which is why when Bush, when not drooling, rhetorically asks "Is the world better off without Saddam Hussein?" the proper response should be "Is the world better off WITH Moqtada Al Sadr?" In the end, though, I think the public will see through the crap--once someone in the press stops drinking the Kool Aid long enough to ask a simple question like, "Mr. President, by August of 2001, it was clear that Al Qaeda was planning to attack the United States using planes as weapons. What sort of equivalent smoking gun--that is, what clear, hard evidence did you have--by March of 2003 that demanded an invasion of Iraq?" No amount of bloviating over years old charges of genocide (which, by the way we turned a blind eye to at the time) would justify the deaths of close to 1,000 young men and women wearing our contry's uniforms (not to mention ten times that number of Iraqi civilian deaths). THAT, by the way, is a question I'd like to see Bush answer.

As far as Saddam is concerned--may he rot. But I can't justify that much death and destruction for one pathetic old murderer--who, being weaker than anyone imagined, probably could have been toppled without nearly the amount of bloodshed--if only Bush had thought it through, instead of demanding an aircraft-carrier photo op.

Off Topic: Again, sorry for being a slow post. Work caught up with me--lot's of stuff before the 4th of July holiday. To which I say--enjoy it, enjoy the legacy it stands for--sort of--I prefer Tom Paine and John Peter Zengar to George Washington and Rufus King--and here's hoping we can one day actually stand for the ideals enunciated at that time. Cheers.
War's Hidden Cost

CNN reports on combat stress among US soldiers:

Almost two out of every 10 U.S. troops who have faced combat in Iraq may return with serious symptoms of depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder, according to an unprecedented study...

The study found 17 percent of those who served in Iraq met the criteria for major depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder -- or PTSD. Eleven percent who served in Afghanistan met the criteria.

But even worse, the study found, was that less than 40 percent of those afflicted by PTSD sought help...

Steve Robinson, executive director of the National Gulf War Resource Center, [notes] "This study indicates that the sickest veterans who need the most help won't go."

Ninety percent of those posted to Iraq reported being shot at. A high percentage also reported killing an enemy combatant, or knowing someone who was injured or killed. About half said they had handled a body.

That's the US side--does anyone think Iraqis aren't similarly affected?

Off topic: yesterday was unbelievably busy over here--hell, I thought state workers were supposed to take naps. But I was out and about for most of the day. We'll see how things shape up now that the weekend approaches...anyway, I hope to be posting a little more regularly now that most stuff has been taken care of--for now. Remember, I deal with Microsoft products, which means nothing is ever really fixed.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

That's Why They Call it Work

I'll be busy here at least throught the morning. More issues with DNS, load balancing, Linux and Microsoft, etc. etc.

My own solution: take the two servers in question and throw them off the roof--was not considered acceptable by the higher ups. Oh well. I tried.

Hopefully, this will come to some sort of solution this afternoon...

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Failing Grade

This New York Times article sums up the problems our Iraqi "Marshall Plan" is facing:

...occupation authorities acknowledge that fewer than 140 of 2,300 promised construction projects are under way...

Scrambling to speed up the process, the Pentagon has recently begun pumping out long-awaited money and work orders, committing $1.4 billion in just the last week even as a spreading insurgency cripples the ability of Western contractors to oversee their projects and has made targets of Iraqi workers.

Funny, I thought conservatives were the ones who always complained about "throwing money" at problems. Now they find themselves spending cash like true believers in the Great Society.

But they might as well take all the money, put it in a pile, and set it on fire. The insurgents will continue to attack anyone working on these projects--hence, the agonizingly slow pace of the reconstruction. If something is actually completed, you can expect it to be sabotaged.

Insurgent movement traditionally have engaged in these types of tactics. The idea is to make governing difficult if not impossible for occupiers. Regardless of the so-called power transfer (which Juan Cole accurately calls a "publicity stunt"), the US is still running the show in Iraq, and our abysmal efforts in reconstruction and security speak volumes as to the utter failure of Operation Go Fuck Ourselves. Even as Bush scrambles to find allies and throws fistfulls of dollars at the problem, it clear that nothing short of withdrawing the troops, i.e., conceding defeat, will improve the situation.

The fact is we lost the war the moment we entered the country. I'm convinced that Bush el al believed in their own propaganda, which assumed a grateful population would assist us kicking some Baathist ass. Instead, we had a people who sullenly accepted our presence--hell, there's not much you can do against an armed-to-the-teeth military--but who for the most part wished to be left alone. Without this crucial support, the occupation was, and is, doomed.

Add to this our disregard for civilian deaths--not to mention the Abu Ghraib atrocities--and there's no way we'll be able to turn things around. The lack of results from our reconstruction underscore the limits of American power, and, for almost anyone except the dauphin, offer a sobering lesson in just what we can and can't do as the reigning "world's policeman."

As for the dear leader himself, his response is, in a word, absurd. Showing just how divorced he is from anything remotely resembling reality, Bush continues to rattle his saber, blindly unaware that the world considers him a fool. Citing Iraq as an example of "success" is like showing off your driving skills by sideswiping a row of parked vehicles.

Here's hoping the US public takes away his keys this November.
More "Good News"

The war on terror is going so well the Army has decided to "allow" more people a chance to participate:

WASHINGTON (AP) For the first time in more than a decade, the Army is forcing thousands of former soldiers back into uniform, a reflection of the strain on the service of long campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan...

They will be put on active duty for a minimum of 12 months and mostly likely for 18 months. The Pentagon's policy is to not keep troops in Iraq or Afghanistan for more than 12 months.

But remember, this is not a draft. No, not at all.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004


If I was Vice President Cheney, I'd tell the Division know.

But, since I'm not, and the biweekly paycheck is an important part of my budget--well, when my number is called, I have to deal with the problem, in this case a very odd DNS issue vis-a-vis our network and a single outside host. Unfortunately, said host MUST be resolved by our DNS servers, and this has been hit AND miss lately, and therefore not acceptable. In layperson's terms, it's sort of like how Blogger works--or doesn't--at times.

To be honest, this one really has me stumped. DNS is normally pretty easy to deal with, but this particular issue isn't even what I call "Microsoft normal," which is somewhat conceptual. No, this one is simply weird.

Now, one fun thing is that as part of the troubleshooting process, I get to see, in aggregate, the websites being browsed by the Division. Interesting. Wish I could sort them out by individuals.

OK. Microsoft Tech Support just picked up. Back in a bit.
I Wouldn't Wish This Upon Anyone

Yesterday, I wrote about Keith Maupin, the American soldier taken hostage last April. The Boston Globe has a story, that, if confirmed, brings the worst news to his family.

Tom Burka has the latest on the rules change in the Senate Chamber.
Bremerized for Bush's Protection

The more I read about the cut and run "handoff" of "political sovereignty" to Allawi and the rest of the targets transitional government, the more I've been thinking that one positive element is the potential for a new addition to the English language:

Bremered, or Bremerized.

For example: "Jeez, I had NO idea what I was getting into on that Botany exam. I read the chapter, but all the questions were based on the lab work. Man, I totally bremered it--hell, I didn't even answer the last five questions and turned it in twenty minutes before they called time. I didn't have the first clue.

Or: "I bremerized my relationship. I knew we were going to break up soon, but I left last night. I just want some sleep now."

Another example: "My computer is completely bremered. I tried to clean up the hard drive, but I guess I shouldn't have deleted all the .dll files in the /winnt directory. Maybe it's still under warranty--then I can bring it to the shop, and hopefully they won't ask what happened. It'll be THEIR problem."

"My history teacher is so bremered. He never seems prepared and he's always fumbling through his notes during lecture."

"Cox cable is the bremer of information technology services."

Monday, June 28, 2004

What a Drag it is Getting Old

Again, sorry for slow posting--today found me yet again at a physician's office, this time dealing with an eye problem that is hopefully now fixed, although my left eye has a patch on it until tomorrow. This made for an interesting drive home.

Getting old sucks.

One funny thing I noticed on my drive over was a Louisiana Environmental Education license plate attached to a late model GMC Yukon in what made for the local ironic moment of the day. Of course, this pales in comparison to the Supreme Court having to rule that habeas corpus still counts for something in the United States (what with it being specifically referred to in the Constitution and all), as well as the stealth transfer of--uh, um,--the transfer of something although I'm not quite sure what it is to the new, improved Iraqi government. Hmmn, what to call...oh, here's what it's called: political sovereignty. Must be like "military intelligence."

Oh, and I can see well enough to read about our restoration of diplomatic ties with Libya after almost a quarter century of Ghadaffi being banished to the doghouse. What sort of message does that send? If you're a despot who aligns with Uncle Sam, don't expect much of a retirement package, but if you can handle pariah status for a while (and if Uncle Sam finds himself neck deep in Middle East shit), enjoy the beachhouse...

Oh, one last thing--did anyone notice what was missing from the transfer of power "political sovereignty" today? Here's a hint:

The Character Issue

Some of y'all might remember back when the Republicans spent a lot of time bleating about how "character counts." Well, maybe it does. Sheryl McCarthy writes:

I can't remember a recent White House that was so hostile to Congress, or to any form of criticism or dissent. Ashcroft has refused to answer questions about the application of the Patriot Act, which has allowed hundreds of wartime detainees to be held incommunicado for months or years, without access to lawyers and without formal charges, contrary to the most basic principles of our Constitution. The president only had to declare that the Constitution doesn't apply to them.

Which is like saying "bleep the Constitution and the Congress that has oversight of these things."

Disdain for anyone who questions the way they do business suffuses this administration, even going so far as its supporters on the Supreme Court. To the amazement of many, Justice Antonin Scalia rebuffed all demands that he recuse himself from the energy task force case because of his social ties to the vice president.

McCarthy is of course referencing Dick Cheney's eloquence last week in the Senate Chamber. His theraputic use of language might also be comforted by friendly hands stuffing wads of cash into their pockets--my sister sent me a copy of this by email:

LONDON(AP) - Billions of dollars belonging to Iraq is not accounted for by the Coalition Provisional Authority, which was given responsibility by the United Nations for the country's finances, British lawmakers and aid activists said Monday.

Go on, Take the Money and Run

the CPA handed over the keys to the new, improved Iraqi government in a secret ceremony, which pretty much sums up the entire Iraqi misadventure thus far. The ceremony was held in private so as to not provoke even more violence than the usual barrage of car bombs, mortar/rpg attacks, i.e.d.'s--and beheadings. Speaking of secret, I find it interesting that the Army is just now owning up to the fact that yet another soldier is being held hostage, having been captured back on June 21st. The fate of Keith Matthew Maupin--the other US soldier being held hostage by militants--remains unknown.

You know, I'm beginning to think Cheney might have gotten it right with respect to his language. Our Middle East policy could justifiably be named Operation Go Fuck Ourselves. In Iraq, the insurgency is growing, thanks to our cultural ignorance, criminal behavior, and inability to fix the things we broke during the invasion. In Afghanistan, the resurgent Taliban are executing people who posess voter registration cards. There is what ongoing crisis vis-a-vis Palestine and Israel, while here in the US, Bush has certainly united a number of folks to the point where they've made Fahrenheit 9/11 the highest grossing documentary of all time--after a single weekend at the box office.

Perhaps it's time we told George and Dick to go fuck THEMSELVES--and the lies they rode into Washington on.