Wednesday, September 22, 2004

My proposed response when Kerry is inevitably asked about his vote in the Iraq War Resolution during the debates:

"President Bush told us that he wanted to hold Iraq's feet to the fire. He told us that without the authority to use force, he would not have the power to force Iraq's hand. He told us that Iraq posed an imminent and growing danger. He told us that the security of the United States was in our hands. I made the mistake of believing him. I made the terrible and inexcusable mistake of assuming that because he was the duly elected President of the United States, with all of our diplomatic, economic, intelligence and military power entrusted to him, that he would act appropriately and with honor. To my everlasting regret, I was completely wrong. Ever since that fateful day, I've given him every benefit of the doubt. But with revelation after revelation, it's become incontrovertibly obvious that he has handled the authority I gave him with astounding negligence. He ignored the advice of our military planners. He replaced the State Department Middle East experts with political flunkies. He mercilessly distorted the available intelligence to support plans he had made years ago. The Iraqis did not greet us with flowers. The war did not pay for itself. We have not established a secure beachhead for democracy in the Middle East. Not only did we not destroy a terrorist breeding ground, we created one. There were no Weapons of Mass Destruction. I gave the President every possible benefit of the doubt. I stretched and groped in the darkness to believe that he lead us truly, because I was raised to beleive that that is what the President of the United States does. But in this case, I was wrong. I made the mistake of trusting the security of the United States to George W. Bush, and I swear it is a mistake I will never make again."

Monday, September 06, 2004

An article called Stuck on The Fence from the Washington Post tells the story of 10 rather unenthusiastic uncommitted voters from Erie, PA, and their reaction to the Presidential nomination acceptance speeches (which most of them weren't planning to watch before the Post asked them to.) The responses aren't surprising - Bush wins on straight talk and specifics but is fighting an overall negative impression of his record, while Kerry is seen to have said pretty much nothing. All in all, a wash. However, it's a wash in which Kerry can improve, and Bush is already firing on all cylinders. This is an opportunity, as illustrated by the adage about the two athletes - if they both run at the same speed, jump the same height, and lift the same weight, then draft the one with worse form. If he's already equal to the other guy now, imagine how he'll be once he gets into shape?

Very few people have both the mental capacity to effectively analyze complex issues and the rhetorical skills to distill these issues down to clear, unequivocal terms. Bill Clinton had that talent. Neither Bush nor Kerry does. To speak simply is a gift, but to think simply is blindness; with these candidates it's all or nothing. George W. Bush speaks simply because his mind works simply. It's no trick to speak in simple terms when that's all you can comprehend. John Kerry, on the other hand, has a firm grasp of the world in all its sometimes inexplicable glory, but lacks the ability to process his results into a more palatable form. From Bush, you get a straight, absolutely wrong answer. From Kerry, you get the right answer in indecipherable form. This is where the potential Kerry advantage comes in. If Kerry makes better use of spokesmen - Edwards of course, but also Dean, Obama, and so forth - he can get his message out in plain English. The right answer delivered with flair and charisma - Clinton in two steps. Bush, on the other hand, is already delivering his message as well as it can be delivered. His allies can't improve on what he says without contradicting him. Kerry's message, poorly delivered, is as convincing as Bush's message, well delivered. So let's work on that delivery.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

A blog post that kind of morphed into an open letter to John Kerry

John Kerry has got to go Howard Dean. There's no way around it. His circumlocution and Senatese, his professional courtesy, everything about him that the world sees on a day-to-day-basis is tailor made to be ripped apart by some asshole like George W. Bush. For God's sake, this guy could be saying "let's nuke Japan again" and he'd be winning the battle for the minds of America, because at least he's fighting for them. George W. Bush is campaigning like Patton. He's put all his forces in order, and he's bulling straight ahead with absolute efficiency. Kerry is fucking around like Marshal Petain. A little effort over here, a little over there, oh no, better not fight over here, it might be inconvenient, and I'm sure he wouldn't attack through the Ardennes, so I'll just ignore that. Jesus Christ, John, you're getting slaughtered piecemeal! What in bloody hell is your platform? You've got fiscal policies, environmental policies, social policies, the works, and you just keep sending them into battle once at a time, not connected, not supporting each other, and they're getting murdered. Damn it all, John, you were in the military. You of all people should know that you can have the best troops, or ideas, in the world, and if they're not organized, they're going to get slaughtered! Damn it, John, you have the better ideas. You have the better troops. But where the fuck is the leadership? And then there's foreign policy. That's the battlefield this election is going to be fought on. You tried to draw him into the domestic arena, but it didn't work. That's North Africa. Foreign Policy is Europe. This is where the war is going to be decided. So what the hell is your battle plan? You can beat him on every issue, and he'd still win. Why? Because his army is going somewhere. You?re just playing defense. And it's appropriate that I call him an army and talk about you like you?re playing a game, because that's what it looks like. He comes out and says "we're going to remake the world in our image", and you respond with "yeah, but you're not being sensitive enough while you do it." How about "what the fuck are you talking about, George? Are you fucking insane?" You can't just keep on saying "I agree with everything he says, but we should have done it better." How about "I gave George Bush authority to go to war with Iraq because I love my country and would do anything to protect her from harm. I didn't give him authority to go on some crazy-ass crusade to overthrow the governments of half the Middle East." And if his Swift Boat surrogates go after you one more time, how about you finally say "You know what? You decide for yourself whether I deserved my medals or not. The fact is, I was still fucking there, getting my ass shot at for my country, while George Bush was getting drunk off his ass while AWOL from the Champagne Battalion in the Texas Air national Guard. I'm sick and tired of these idiots telling me I didn't bleed enough to cover up the fact that their guy was a drunken embarrassment to his family. You want to spend any more time digging up my past, be my guest, because anything you find is still gonna leave me 20 miles ahead of George W. Bush." John, I don't know what you're planning. I don't know what you've got up your sleeve. But this is no game. You have to win. I'll back you - we'll all back you - but I swear to God, if you're fucking around, if you lose this thing to that asshole because you didn?t try hard enough, I will never forgive you. Your name will go down in history as "the guy that let George Bush win". What ever wars, whatever misery he is responsible for in his second term will be on your conscience. So pack it up, soldier. We've got work to do.

Update: You might want to note that I posted this at 4:16 AM. That may explain a few things.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Yahoo! News - Russia School Standoff Ends With 250 Dead: BESLAN, Russia - The three-day hostage siege at a school in southern Russia ended in chaos and bloodshed Friday, after witnesses said Chechen militants set off bombs and Russian commandos stormed the building. Hostages fled in terror, many of them children who were half-naked and covered in blood. Officials said the toll was at least 250.

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Russia, it seems to me, is in an Israeli situation in regards to Chechnya. Problem is, unlike Israel, Russia is too big to be effectively secured, hence the Chechens propensity for seizing entire schools and buildings, as opposed to the Palestinians habit of blowing themselves up at guard posts. It seems to me the only logical thing for them to do would be to cede Chechnya and get this thing over with. What do they lose? Pride? Does Chechnya have any strategic significance? Does Russia have any moral claim to their occupation? Is there anything other than sheer bloody-mindedness that's keeping Russia embroiled here, that's holding open the gates for these things to keep happening?

Someone's going to say "why don't you blame the terrorists?" If I hear that one more time, about anything, I'm going to lose my temper. I think we can all agree around here that taking over a school and holding the students hostage is wrong. In fact, that it's really wrong, that it's inexcusable, and that anyone who does such a thing with the expectation of a reward in paradise will find themselves sorely mistaken. What I want to do is stop it from happening again. God can handle the vengeance. I just want to stop it from happening again. If that can be done through escalating violence, then great, do it. The perpetrators have given up their rights to peace. But for God's sake, what Russia and Israel should have figured out right now is that they CAN'T do it through escalating violence, and that every time they do that, they're effectively condemning more of their citizens to death. It's insane, it's illogical, it's horrific, and they just keep doing it anyway.

Forgive me for presuming to intrude on the internal affairs of soverign nations, but I've just seen too much of this all over this Earth. Leaders everywhere with the best intentions take the task of judge and executioner upon themselves, when all they need to do is protect their people. In the name of vengeance, they stoke the fires, and the cycle starts again. Too many people die in the same cycle that presents itself so plainly, and it's just such a sorry sight to see. I know no one's listening, but I still feel the need to shout this into the ether.