Wednesday, January 25, 2006

If It Ain't Broke

There's a new antiwar hype in town: the Krepinevich report. Or rather, the hype about the report, which I doubt most of the reporters have actually read.

According to the Associated Press:
Andrew Krepinevich, a retired Army officer who wrote the report under a Pentagon contract, concluded that the Army cannot sustain the pace of troop deployments to Iraq long enough to break the back of the insurgency. He also suggested that the Pentagon's decision, announced in December, to begin reducing the force in Iraq this year was driven in part by a realization that the Army was overextended.

As evidence, Krepinevich points to the Army's 2005 recruiting slump _ missing its recruiting goal for the first time since 1999 _ and its decision to offer much bigger enlistment bonuses and other incentives.

"You really begin to wonder just how much stress and strain there is on the Army, how much longer it can continue," he said in an interview. He added that the Army is still a highly effective fighting force and is implementing a plan that will expand the number of combat brigades available for rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Don't look to see that last sentence as widely quoted as the word "broken".

Also don't expect anybody using the word "broken" to be challenged as to how a "broken" Army can continue to meet its objectives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I see this as an example of the peacetime Army dying hard. The Army is rejecting peacetime limits on deployment and extension of tours of duty, in order to meet its wartime missions. And so it is therefore seriously at risk of "breaking" even as it meets its wartime missions. Wartime missions, to some in Washington, are somehow not the primary measure of the effectiveness of the Army.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Defusing the Abortion Bomb

With the Alito nomination seemingly in the bag, the center-right is trying to shore up the prochoice Republican base with assurances that the Court will never, ever, ban abortion. It may reverse the phony assertion that the Constitution forbids any government regulation of the procedure, but it will never ban it.

We'll see.

In the short term the Court will probably approve one or more forms of restriction on abortion procedures, and let lawyers argue the fine points for a few decades.

Once that happens, abortion will stop being a federal issue and become a national issue, like property taxes, that both parties talk about broadly but don't form decisive plans regarding.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Fatuous Center-Right Unthink

Glancing at transcripts of the Alito hearings, I'm struck by the stupidity of the "living constitution" advocates-among them, regrettably, a Republican chairman.

To them, the ratified language of the Constitution is clearly inadequate, and must bend to the times through vague penumbras and emanations of public opinion as insubstantial as Nixon's "silent majority", coalescing into a "living Constitution" relevant to modern America.

And once that develops, it becomes fixed rock-hard into "super precedent" so rigid that the Court can't undo it without destroying its own "legitimacy".

And thus to a whole class of political hack, Roe v. Wade becomes more definite than the First Amendment ban on Congressional regulation of political speech.

Nuts.

Perhaps it is due to my youth and inexperience...but this seems more about a bunch of old farts seeking immortality for their pet issues, than logical understanding of the Constitution and judiciary.

Sorry fellas: anything 5 justices improvise is just written on glass with a felt-tip marker. You understand that, deep down, which is why nominations are more disputed than in previous decades.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Battening Down

Well I'm enjoying my last day off for over a week. I'll be busy training my relief as I work 8 days straight. Blogging will be light--along with most everything else!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Shift in Tel Aviv

News tonight that Ariel Sharon has suffered a massive stroke and has tranferred duties to his deputy.

I don't follow Israeli politics too closely, but this looks like the hard-line Israelis get the advantage in the upcoming election, as Iran gears up for nuclear production.

The real drivespring of Middle East tension has always been Muslim ambivalence over the very existence of Israel. 2006 may be a year of real upheaval compared with which our Iraq venture will be a sideshow.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Peter Jackson Festival

I've viewed the extended DVDs of The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. Then I took a break to go see King Kong.

Peter Jackson is definitely the king of the Three Hour Flick!

King Kong 2005 is better than the 1933 original. I didn't care that the ape didn't show for the first half of the film (though my landlord fidgeted). Adrian Boyd and Naomi Watts turned out terrific performances, and Andy Serkis delivers another anthropomorphic knockout. For me, although beautiful, the special effects were the least impressive part of the film. The scene where the crew of the Venture wrestle with a reef is more compelling than Kong's death scene on the Empire State building.

There's ample evidence that Jackson remains at heart a horror director, so it's definitely not for young kids or the squeamish.

I'll finish my Jackson film marathon with The Return of the King tonight, and then back to the salt mines for a few days.
Next week, I plan on seeing Narnia, and I'll have to compare and contrast.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Dawn of a New Year

January already?

Seems like a time to relax and take things easy, perhaps because I'm scheduled to relax and take things easy. Or maybe the pace of things is slower these days.

The Left is busy chasing its tail with startling exposes on how Bush is actually messing with Al Qaeda's Friends & Family membership. Or how he decides those things without calling on half of Washington first. Or how clues get shared with antiterrorist agencies instead of being lost in the circular file. Oh, how could he?

In true form, the pundits view Bush's immediate poll numbers as just a passing fluke. The real indicators were two weeks in December where he was really low. Why exactly anybody should follow weekly polls if that's true, nobody will say. I'll have more on that later.

Zarqawi seems stuck between Boris & Natasha bomb plots. The "Bomb Muslims 2005" campaign didn't rally the Muslim street behind him, and he's got people looking into the demographics of that, as he prepares the next master strike.

Other than that, there's not much in the current events to grab my interest. The "Worst Americans" list sparked a fire but I got bogged down trying to justify putting any politician ahead of John Wayne Gacy. Or Robert Alton Harris. I can't see it myself.

Right now, at this moment, I've got that letter to Grandma to write. I've got the extended version of the Lord of the Rings to enjoy in its entirety. The long blog entry I started December 5th keeps peeping in its cage.

I could either blog a series of brief reactions to current events, if I have them, or try knocking out long coherent treatises on You Psychohistorian Rats Hijacked My Party And Ran It Off A Cliff, which is the theme of that lengthy post. I can't do those more than once a month.

Or I could blog about blogging. Meta-blog. Hey, that's how Hugh keeps his running!