war on garbage

Marines Declare War:

...on garbage. Ramadi must be a pretty quiet posting these days.


Astroturfing, Again:

IVAW is still at it.


On the Children of War:

Cassandra asks a hard question: What do we owe the children of our dead? The answer seems self-evident; and the sad thing is, we all know that there is not one chance that they'll get it out of American society.



Talk about a beating. Man alive.

Nobody likes being on the wrong side of serious security arrangements. We've got Ugandans here too. They are a little distant, but that's because they're not thinking of you as a person -- they're thinking of you as a potential suicide bomber, who will kill them first if you kill anyone. If they're a bit cold, it's because they're scared of you, and everyone else they see, and they see ten thousand people a day who might be coming to kill them.

It's respectable enough to regret the necessity for such things, and to hate that we have to treat each other -- even fellow Americans -- with suspicion. I hate it myself.

But it's not the guards. It's the terrorists.

UPDATE: The post is gone, which is a shame because the 197 wrathful comments were a joy. Greyhawk captured the post, however.

Running Man

Running Man:

Wretchard asks how far you can run without a support structure. The answer really depends on who "you" are, and where you are. It is possible to live off the land, if not easy to do so; and don't miss his story of the Japanese soldier who fought his war for thirty years after surrender.



It's not often that a post manages to be both patronizing and right-on. Get some, girl.


Diplomatic Contractors:

I'm fascinated by this concept. I'm accustomed to military contractors, being one myself; but watching State do what MPRI does is really interesting. We know why the story is in the news now, but it's still bigger news than most people realize. My sense is that this story is correct: State and CIA are both so tied to Blackwater in Iraq that they hit a period where they were stalled because it was stalled.

That's something that shouldn't be allowed to happen; but it's not clear why it did happen. If State were guarding its own convoys with internally owned security assets, it wouldn't allow them to become shut down. The separation here is artificial -- State needs these assets, whether it owns them or contracts them -- but it allows State to plausibly deny responsibility.

For a diplomat, that would be a useful advantage. "It's not me!" he can cry, pointing his finger at the guy he hired to do the job. It won't hurt Blackwater, not in the long run, because the country needs what they've got. It isn't honest, but then, diplomacy often isn't.

I say call his bluff.

Hell, its not like they don't speak the language, que?

Death & Women

Death & Women:

The Economist tells us that men die young from chasing girls. It makes a good counterpoint to the discussion on socialized medicine, below. The concept at work there applies also here -- smoking or drinking can reduce your lifespan, and incur costs that spread beyond yourself; but, because you died young, you're saving society from other costs that it would incur on your behalf if you lived to an old age. This includes a vast array of medical expenses (15 pills a day for forty years, numerous operations, etc) as well as retirement/pension benefits.

There are then two questions. The lesser one is the one we've asked here: If there are social costs either way, why not let people be 'drunk or sober, just as they please'?

The bigger question: Aren't women worth dying for? I always thought so.



Greyhawk couldn't make it out here a week ago, but he did come by last night. It was a pleasant dinner. He and I turn out to have a lot more in common than you'd expect, and I greatly enjoyed the evening. He has some good stories, including even some horse stories pertaining to his sister's family, that you've not heard yet. If you run into him, pry them out. :)