Thursday, August 24, 2006

Here we go again

I remember hearing over and over again something along the lines of history repeats itself if no one learns and applies lessons from history. Case in point, Afghanistan. It looks ever day to me that we are repeating past mistakes in our dealings with the pivotal country. You may ask, why pivotal? There doesn't appear to be much in the way of natural resources or other things we might seek. Problem is, Afghanistan is located in just the right spot to provide a wonderful place to train and ship terrorists around the globe. It would be much better to commit funds and troops towards rebuilding the country than any other place if we truly want to fight terrorism.

As for history repeating itself, remember that little conflict in Afghanistan between the Soviet Union and the locals? The U.S. provided considerable backing to those opposing the Soviets. Eventually the Afghanis defeated the Soviets. After all of that assistance, seems like we would help them out and build up their country so they would be one of those beacons of democracy, right. Well, we didn't. We mostly left the country to rot. This lead to the rise of a little group name the Taliban. They eventually allowed this Saudi fellow, you might have heard of him, Osama Bin Ladin, to take up residence.

After 9/11 we went in and defeated the Taliban and sent Osama running. So, once again, you would think we would back the quasi democratic government, right? Nope, we are supplying no where near the support required either financial or military. We recently pulled out troops and handed over operations to NATO troops in the south. Guess what? What is left of the Taliban is based in the south and they are gaining strength. Nothing against NATO troops, but I am betting they can't suppress the Taliban. Elsewhere in the country things are moving back to warlord controlled normal. Seems folks are not to keen on this, so they are a bit miffed at the government.

I'm betting that we see a repeat of the past. Collapse of the government, rise of the Taliban, new breeding ground for terrorists. We should consider putting money and troops into Afghanistan, BEFORE it is too late.

(As per normal, this is all much more complicated than I have distilled it here or even than what the media presents. I suggest you pick up Ghost Wars by Steve Coll. This is a thoroughly researched book that presents an even handed look at the history of Afghanistan from the Soviet invasion through September 10, 2001. I highly recommend it.)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Responsible Journalism - Blog Maverick - _

Responsible Journalism - Blog Maverick - _

Ok, I don't get it. Someone is actually totally transparent as to their motives, intentions, plans, and profit motive, yet everyone questions whether it is ethical. I'm not sure most so called journalists would know any more about ethics than they would about quantum physics. As usual Mark is shaking things up again, probably one of the reasons I admire him.

My friend Red has a great series of post on his blog, Red's Review, regarding ethics in journalism. I highly recommend everyone check them out.

Bush challenges hundreds of laws - The Boston Globe

Bush challenges hundreds of laws - The Boston Globe

The American system of government depends on checks and balances. We have all heard recently various rumblings about activist judges, where by judges seem to be taking over Congressional power to write legislation, at least to a limited extent. However, until this story broke, no one was really talking about the current president's attempt to grab both the judicial branches power of interpretation and congress' power to write legislation. This article is a bit long, but well worth the read. Yes, other presidents before this one issued signing statements, but none has ever abandoned the veto to completely follow this practice. Is it significant? Unfortunately, we probably won't know for years. I would also add, this paves the way for expanded presidential powers for whatever party holds the White House. Beware those unintended consequences...

Friday, August 11, 2006


I hope veryone is ready for the ride. Come along and see the sites. I'm happy to be your guide.