Daily Archives: November 5, 2006

An Interesting Editorial

A snippet of an editorial someone sent me a link to:

…We think a vote that is seen—in America and the world at large—as a decisive “No” vote on the Bush presidency is the best outcome. We need not dwell on George W. Bush’s failed effort to jam a poorly disguised amnesty for illegal aliens through Congress or the assaults on the Constitution carried out under the pretext of fighting terrorism or his administration’s endorsement of torture. Faced on Sept. 11, 2001 with a great challenge, President Bush made little effort to understand who had attacked us and why—thus ignoring the prerequisite for crafting an effective response. He seemingly did not want to find out, and he had staffed his national-security team with people who either did not want to know or were committed to a prefabricated answer…

There may be little Americans can do to atone for this presidency, which will stain our country’s reputation for a long time. But the process of recovering our good name must begin somewhere, and the logical place is in the voting booth this Nov. 7. If we are fortunate, we can produce a result that is seen—in Washington, in Peoria, and in world capitals from Prague to Kuala Lumpur—as a repudiation of George W. Bush and the war of aggression he launched against Iraq.

The name of the liberal rag in which this editorial was published? The American Conservative, co-founded by Pat Buchanan. The whole editorial is here.

I think it goes without saying that Pat Buchanan and his pals are not necessarily smack-dab in the mainstream of current conservative thought. Even so, this is another sign of interesting times on the right side of the political spectrum. I don’t know what would make it more interesting: If the GOP loses the House and/or Senate on Tuesday, or if they keep it.

One More Thing

Holy crap, look at these Ohio polling numbers for state offices and the US Senate. The story that accompanies those numbers is here.

What would be really interesting is if all the Republican candidates won, 51 – 49%. If that happened, this building would probably be on fire before morning:

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That’s the head office for these folks, incidentally. Located right here in the great state of Ohio! It’d be either them or the State House, frankly.

One More Thought Before My Brain Once More Collapses Like a Flan in a Cupboard

You know what’s nice to get? An e-mail from someone you truly like and respect, but who hasn’t read your books before, complimenting you on your writing. Not that I don’t like getting compliments on the writing from other people: Really, please feel free to pile on, because I might as well have a neon sign flashing “please feed the author ego.” But when one receives sincere comment from from someone who knows you and who you care about, it’s a good thing.

I’ll tell you a funny story, which was Krissy’s reaction right after she read Agent to the Stars. As most of you know, Agent was the first book I ever wrote, and when I handed it over to Krissy to read, she was rightfully filled with dread. Because what if she didn’t like it? After all, she was married to me. And she certainly wasn’t going to lie to me about whether she liked it. So she was in no small way actively dreading reading this mass of papers her husband was eagerly shoving toward her. So when she read it and liked it, her first emotion was relief. Because there was one really awkward marital bullet, well and truly dodged.

Of course, this only means that when I do write a book Krissy doesn’t like, I’m in deep trouble. Because now she knows I can write well enough to make her happy. And she won’t actually tolerate me not doing so. So basically you’re never going to see any sort of novel from me that my wife is not 100% happy with. That’s quality control, my friends.

All right, I’m done thinking for today.

Catching Up on Incompetent War Administration

Turns out in 1999 a simulation of an attack on Iraq suggested that we would need 400,000 troops to get it done — and even then there was a good chance that things would tip into chaos. As a reference point, currently we have 144,000 troops in Iraq, and things are a bit of a mess there right now, as you may have heard (although there was a spot of good news from there today as well).

Despite it being fashionable to pile on Rumsfeld at this time, I do think it’s worth remembering that the actual “fighting Saddam’s army” portion of going into Iraq was indeed done very well by the much smaller invading force that we used; that portion of Rumsfeld’s plan worked fine. Where everything fell down was in everything after desposing Saddam, where it’s clear we didn’t have the troops but more importantly, we didn’t have the plans, to do a creditable job occupying the country. I think not having the plans is clearly the major issue; it’s hard to point to a single thing that was done competently in Iraq after we took control of the place. Without intelligent planning it really wouldn’t have mattered if we had put 400,000 troops in there, or a million.

Of course, as this war gaming document notes, it may simply have been that no matter what, we’d have had a failed state. So here’s some irony for you: It may be that Rumsfeld did us all a favor by committing as few troops as possible. After all, if the end result is going to be a failed state anyway, better to have as few troops on the ground as you can, so you have fewer body bags coming home. But that assumes that Rumsfeld et al, knew from the very beginning that the end result of invading Iraq was going to be failure; I don’t imagine that was really seriously discussed.

The neocons who justified the War in Iraq, incidentally, now explain why none of the bloody mess should be laid at their feet. It boils down to the neocons saying “hey, we’re just the idea guys. You can’t blame us when the implementation fails.” Funny how so many neocon ideas fail in the implementation; at a certain point one has to reasonably wonder if every neocon idea is fated to fail when it hits the real world. This is what you get when the people who build policy are so far removed from reality that Atlas Shrugged is their lodestone for ideal human behavior.

Personally, I think they should all win a delightful expense-paid vacation to Tikrit. Hell, I’ll even cough up for a collection. God knows we’re paying for their accomplishments anyway.

Also, if you have to ask me how I feel about the administration logic that says that people who have been tortured by the US in secret CIA prisons can’t talk about being tortured to their lawyers because those torture methods are state secrets, you’ve really not been paying attention. And no, I’m not going to bother with the polite fiction that suggests that “alternative interrogation methods” are something other than torture, because, see, I’m the sort of straight-talkin, hip-shootin’ fella that tell it like it is. Hi there, I’m from the US, where we torture people now, even if we don’t want them to talk about it. Nice to meet you. I’ll understand if you don’t want to shake my hand.

I’m just glad I’m not to poor son of a bitch from the Justice Department that has to stand up in front of a judge and make that argument, because I’m pretty sure that tearing sound I’d hear in my brain when I made it would be a piece of my soul being tugged right off. Not entirely sure any job is worth that.

Catching Up on Evangelical Licentiousness

Ted Haggard officially removed as pastor for sexually immoral conduct: Since when is getting a massage sexually immoral? I mean, that’s all that happened, right? Hmmmm. I guess the church was no less convinced by that particular explanation than the rest of us. Personally I think the real issue here would have been not the fact that Haggard got serviced by a guy, but that he apparently cheated on his wife while doing so. Sure, common adultery is not as (heh) “sexy” as hot religious conservative/man whore m4m action, but it’s a lot more problematic for Haggard’s relationships. I suppose it’s possible that Haggard got clearance from the missus for this sort of thing, but all things considered I sort of doubt that.

While we’re on that subject, here’s a rather vile comment from another pastor about why Haggard may have been getting his pulpit polished by another man:

Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.

If only Ms. Haggard had dressed up as a burly lumberjack or maybe a leather boy from time to time, ol’ Ted wouldn’t have felt the hunger for man flesh! Yes, I’m sure that’s it. I sure hope if Ms. Haggard ever meets this fellow, she gives him a healthy punch in the testicles.

Update, 1pm: Haggard comes clean, without much in the way of detail:

“The fact is I am guilty of sexual immorality. And I take responsibility for the entire problem. I am a deceiver and a liar. There’s a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it for all of my adult life,” [Haggard} said.

The entire letter is here (pdf link).

I think the implication here is that the “dark and repulsive” part of Haggard’s life is his desire for men; I, on the other hand, would venture to say that the dark and repulsive part of his life was that his own fear of that part of who he is caused him to punish, in his words and his deeds, at the pulpit and beyond it, those who did not reject that same part of themselves. It’s sad; sad for him that he had this self-loathing, and sad for all the gays and lesbians who have their lives burdened, indirectly and directly, by Haggard’s self-loathing. Nor are they out of it, since the anti-same-sex marriage amendment Haggard helped get on the ballot in Colorado has yet to be voted on. If it passes, will gays and lesbians find it in their heart to forgive Haggard his role in its passing? It’s an interesting question.