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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Which Side is the Iraqi Government on?
Here's a quote from a man who organized the citizen resistance to Al Qaeda in the Arab Jabour province of Baghdad.
The central government hasn’t dealt with us. There is no provincial government. Every time we try we have been rebuffed. All of the help and support has been from the Coalition. With support like ammunition, we can destroy al Qaeda. We believe al Qaeda is 70 percent finished here. The central government does not want to establish security here. They have an agenda with foreign powers. Quoted from Bill Roggio's The Long War Journal.
This is something I've always suspected of the Al Maliki government, that they really aren't for peace in Iraq, or even merely power for themselves, but that they are the tools of Iran and Syria. Actions and lack of action that affected our part of Al Anbar made this fairly clear back in 2005.
Iran has a lot of blame for the disaster in Iraq since Al Maliki's government was elected, but so does the Bush administration for allowing the elections for the flawed constitution. It's the modern American way of not understanding what makes our own nation so great and inflicting that misunderstanding on others. We are not a democracy.
Our nation is founded on the idea of inidividualism, freedom, and a government constrained to not interfere with our rights. The modern trend has been to simply say that we are great because we are a democracy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Our founders knew that democracy was a terrible political solution and took great pains to limit the power of the government so that the demos could not rob individuals of their rights. They created a government that is intentionally designed to be cumbersome and slow to make laws. They created three branches of government with checks and balances, all of which are limited by the Bill of Rights.

Last time I checked, the Iraqi Constitution did not contain a Bill of Rights. In fact, it named a state religion. It does not have checks and balances, it has a European style of parlaimentary government.

Let's hope that the Iraqis can overcome this monumental blunder of ours and can resurrect some form of government that recognizes individual rights and freedom and restores civilization before too many more people are slaughtered by Al Qaeda and Iran.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Memory Tricks
Yesterday I went to an event for a club that I haven't been involved with for about four years. I didn't attend the entire event, just a short bit. I met them for lunch in Leakey, Texas. If you've never been there, I highly recommend taking a convertible on a nice fall day. There is no better way to live life than that!

While there, a beautiful woman walked right up to me, smacked me on the arm vigorously, and exclaimed, "so good to see you, Mike, you've been gone too long." She then went on to talk about what I was doing the past four years, she had been keeping track to a small extent.

I had no idea who this woman was.
Then I met her husband. What a fantastic guy. He's an engineer, now he's started his own business making turbo chargers for boxsters and other cars among other things. He also knew I had gone off to Iraq, was in law school, etc.

I had no idea who he was either.

I sat and talked with them for a while. I think the woman was a bit insulted that I didn't remember her, and I can only say I'm sorry.

I've never been good with names or faces, it's a continuing embarrassment to me. I was especially humiliated time and again overseas when I didn't know people who worked for me in a combat zone. It's not from lack of trying, I'm just bad at that.

My point in bringing this up is, if I can forget such wonderful people who would be, and may have been for all I know, great friends, how many other wonderful people and things have I forgotten? How much richer is my life than I remember it?

I guess life is good when you know so many wonderful people that you can manage to forget some of them. It's too bad I can't remember that it's even better than I knew.

Friday, September 07, 2007

It's all in the Presentation
General Petraeus wrote a letter to all under his command with a preview of what he plans to tell Congress. His second paragraph sums things up.

"Up front, my sense is that we have achieved tactical momentum and wrested the initiative from our enemies in a number of areas of Iraq. The result has been progress in the security arena, although it has, as you know, been uneven. Additionally, as you all appreciate very well, innumerable tasks remain and much hard work lies ahead. We are, in short, a long way from the goal line, but we do have the ball and we are driving down the field."

I read this and see optimism. But our enemies in the press see nothing but ruin. Tonight I was listening to the radio while running some errands and they cited this very letter. What did they say the General's report said? They said, "General Petraeus sent a letter to his troops telling them that the surge has failed to meet expectations."



Thursday, September 06, 2007

Why the Republicans Fail
Conservatives wonder why the Republican party is failing. The reasons are clear. Corruption stands out as a prominent part of their failure, but that corruption is but a symptom of the real cause. It is the rise of conservatism that is strangling the republican party.

Republicans have a long history of conservatism and dedication to increasing the power of central government. This is their legacy from the Whig Party. The Whigs were dedicated to using government money to create ambitious projects that almost all failed. The Erie Canal was almost the only project that didn't end in utter failure, and its "success" is marginal. Disgust with waste caused most states to amend their constitutions to specifically prohibit such projects and the Whigs to collapse. The Republicans were the renamed Whigs and continued their preoccupation with strong governmental power, accelerated by the centralization of power into federal hands.

I'm no scholar in recent history, but it seems to me that Goldwater was responsible for bringing a new element to the republicans, a classical liberalism wrested away from the Democrat party while they raced headlong into extreme socialism. Reagan finally succeeded in winning with Goldwater ideologies, but since the end of Reagan's administration the Republican party has vacillated from the two polar opposites of traditional republicanism/conservativism to classical liberalism/libertarianism and now has nearly completely rejected its winning ways.

While the Democrat party descends into lunacy, the Republican party resorts to conservativism.
When have Republicans won? Mostly with Reagan and Gingrich. The wins from G.H.W. Bush and G.W. Bush were pale reflections from those ideological victories and both times they resulted in a diminution of Republican power.

So what is are the philosophical differences between the Goldwater/Reagan and Bush/Bush/McCain republicans? Easy.

Small government vs. massive government
Distrust of government vs. adulation of government

Reagan taught that government is not "here to help." The Bushes teach a government that saves us through compassion.

Reagan taught that we should trust but verify. The Bushes teach that we should blindly trust government.

Conservatives have a strange fascination with government agents. Rogue border patrol agents that shoot a non-violent man in the back, violating all laws regarding their use of force are held up as martyrs. Essentially anyone in uniform is lauded as heroic. Reagan republicans were horrified at Waco. Conservatives were righteous about FBI snipers killing a woman holding a child in her arms.

This is why the Republicans are flailing, and failing. They've abandoned the philosophy that gains them the voters that value traditional distrust of government and replaced it with a philosophy that is enamored with government. They'll continue to lose until they switch back.