February 16, 2005

Friends of America

In light of earlier comments about the cost of the war I present this article. It states that the Pentagon is spending more per soldier than ever before. It also offers this quote from Loren B. Thompson, a military expert with the Lexington Institute.
''The bottom-line problem with the all-volunteer force is you have to convince middle-class people to risk their lives for middle-class pay, so of course the price for each soldier keeps going up,''

Personally, I'm outraged by the outing of Valerie Plame as a covert CIA operative. I hope Robert Novak goes to prison for it. I also think that whatever administration figures are involved should also go to prison. What any of this has to do with two virtuous reporters who refused to spread the story going to prison I have no idea. I understand the judge already knows the identity of the administration figure, he just wants to ask the reporters some questions about the approach. On the one hand, if journalists don't have confidentiality no one will tell them secrets. On the other hand, this really smells like treason to me. George isn't the only one who's heard of national security. We need to get to the bottom of this. All you eager Gannon snipers get busy.

Way down at the bottom of this article from Rolling Stone comes this startling claim.
David Qualls, who joined the Arkansas National Guard for a year, is one of 40,000 troops in Iraq who have been informed that their enlistment has been extended until December 24th, 2031.
That's no typo. He's suing the government for breach of contract over it. This must be that "backdoor draft" I keep hearing about. "Backdoor draft", "hillbilly armor", it sounds kinda folksy. Next thing you know we'll have "double-wide economics". Living on credit cards.

John Kerry really needs to shut up. A Reuters headline about his backing the president's new "supplemental" spending request for the wars only serves to remind me what a lame candidate he was in the first place.

In one of those stories that make me glad to be a blogger, the US government has actually denied court ordered compensation to US soldiers who were tortured in Gulf War I. That's right. No money for tortured vets. You see, it would have to come from Iraq, and Iraq's our friend now, so they need that money more than some POW types. Not that there's any chance of the nearly $1 billion providing food, water, electricity or anything other than a bulge in some rich man's pocket.

CBS reports that some states are considering doing away with their gas taxes. This move is in response to the wiliness of some people driving unfairly fuel efficient cars. If you don't buy enough gas, the state road improvement fund runs dry. The gas tax would be replaced by a "tax by the mile" system that would require every car to have a gps locator to keep track of mileage. What could possibly go wrong??

Tonight on NPR's Fresh Air, Terry Gross was interviewing Boyden Gray, chairman and founder of the group Committee for Justice, which was formed to promote conservative judicial nominees. I can't get a transcript yet so I will paraphrase the very last exchange of the interview (audio link). Terry asked this guy if, since Bush didn't win the election by much, and he's been saying he wants to be a uniter not a divider, why not stop nominating the type of conservative justices the Democrats always fight. The guy answered that Bush won the election, the Republicans control the Congress, and he didn't see why they should offer concessions to the enemy. That's the word I want to talk about. Enemy.
Who is the enemy? When Boyden Gray talks about enemies, he probably means liberals, maybe Democrats in general. The President talks about enemies a lot. Anyone who isn't with him is against him, remember, so he may have plenty. This is all an extension of the basic human division between rural and urban. Nature rewards respect for tradition, so rural people are more traditional. City life rewards tolerance and the willingness to take risks, so urban people welcome new ideas. It's the basic compromise at the heart of our Constitution.
The Constitution says that no matter where you live, in Montana or in Massachusetts, you are an American. Republican or Democrat, Socialist or Libertarian, we are all working for a better America. Some people may have different ideas about what the problems are or how to fix them, that's ok. As the internet is proving, diversity of ideas is a good thing. The problem is this "enemy" thing. You don't seek compromise with an enemy. There's no point in discussing anything with "them", all "they" believe is a bunch of lies.
Doesn't America have enough enemies right now without making more?

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