Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Why Stay

A Sullivan reader nicely sums up my own reasons for not wanting to leave Iraq:
One of the main arguments against an American pullback or pullout is the likelihood of a genocidal and brutal civil war that would "force" the U.S. to come in to stop the slaughter.

I think it is appropriate to assume that there would be massive killing. I've heard arguments to the contrary and I've heard arguments that Syria/Iran, etc. would not permit it, but assuming that it would not take place is as foolish as assuming that everything will be just fine. So we should assume that there will be incredible slaughter, religious dislocation and depravity - at least in the non-Kurdish areas - if we get out.

Query: Do we have the discipline to stay out and to be presented night after night with scenes of uniminaginable slaughter that we will be accused of being "responsible for"? Because if we don't have the discipline - or the cold-heartedness, if you will - then that's a strong argument to continue with Bush's approach.
It's that simple; I don't want scores of Iraqi people to die. This morning I was listening (NPR) to a story told by an American soldier who was treating two Iraqi kids (a 6-year old boy and his 7-year old sister). The girl told him through an interpreter that she watch both her parents die. By the time he got them to the hospital the girl was clinging on to him and didn't want him to leave.

War is horrible. We can't leave the Iraqi's to kill each other unless there's no hope left. I'd rather maintain status quo for 2 more years until we can get a competent president who can put in place a regional plan that works. Sorry Hillary. It sucks for Democrats to have to clean up giant deficits and messy wars after Republican presidents. I'm all in favor for Krugman's suggestion that Democrats should stop fixing the deficits only so that Republicans can keep cutting taxes. But basic human decency means the same strategy can't be applied to unnecessary wars.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Bill and Steve

I didn't know this:
The only problem with Microsoft," said Jobs, "is they just have no taste, they have absolutely no taste, and what that means is - I don't mean that in a small way I mean that in a big way..."

Yes, in a big, big way.

And you can see why. Bourgeoisie Bill's career was helped by his parental connection to the business charity The United Way; IBM may well have lost patience with the tiny contractor Microsoft if Big Blue chairman John Akers hadn't indulged the son of fellow board member Mary Gates. Meanwhile, Orphan Steve was raised in the lower middle-class trades and had to acquire his own wit and nous, and develop his own sense of which technologies could be made malleable and sellable. It's entirely understandable then that when Bill made off with the loot, Steve felt cheated.
More fun at the link.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Journalism 101

An excellent set of rules that might have prevented the Iraq war and could prevent the looming Iran war from the Washington Post's Dan Froomkin (h/t Glenn Greenwald).

Iraq "Surge" Update

I heard on NPR this morning that Iraqi defense and police forces have now been placed along with American troops under a single command. They interviewed an American Colonel who said even though this is the last chance to get Baghdad under control he thinks the strategy might work.

This type of news coupled with a new Secretary of Defense (Gates) CentCom commander (Petraeus) warrants some optimism about the "surge". That is not to say Bush has not been a complete idiot about this war. But Democrats should not hurry to condemn Iraqi civilians to civil war either. But as usual nobody in Congress (Rep or Dem) seems to be thinking about the real issues here.