Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Ruminations on Robertson and Rumsfeld

Republicans Robertson and Rumsfeld are in the news this week, the former for recommending the assassination of Venezuela's president, the latter for flatly downplaying the prospect of civil war in Iraq. For both, it's merely more of the same.

Robertson, the founder of the Christian Coalition and host of the "700 Club" broadcast, proved once again that he's simply a right wing radical posing as a Christian. His previous inane comments include accusations that the women's rights movement advocated killing children and practicing witchcraft, and that homosexuals have Nazi tendencies. So it's 100% in character for the 75 year old Robertson to propose an assassination as a good solution to dealing with a left wing Venezuelan politician who is irritating the United States government. Robertson makes no mention of the ten commandments or "turning the other cheek", since these are Christian admonitions that don't jive with the radical right wing agenda. Where is the Bush administration on this one? Well, since Robertson is a private citizen "he can say whatever he wants to". Now that's a strong repudiation, typical of the tepid official responses to gaffes by Republican supporters! This "moral" president has a pretty flexible backbone...

Rumsfeld, meanwhile, doesn' t think the current problems with devising an Iraqi constitution increase the chances of a civil war. This conclusion arises from his process of assessments by the "wishful thinking" approach. So far his wishes for the U.S. to be loved by Iraqi's, his wishes for a quiclly-quelled insurgency of incompent rabble, and his wishes that the far-from-finished war could be prosecuted successfully with 130,000 troops have not been fulfilled. Based on where Iraq seems to be going, the likely outcomes are either a civil war or a repressive Iran-like state far from Bush's desires for a true democracy. That ugly old Saddam looks better every day!

So, with gas prices now $2.65 per gallon (including the $1.00 uncertainty tax that Bush has kindly provided the sheiks and his Venezuelan friends), we look forward to the U.S. economy going into an inflation and deficit-driven recession in 2006. Perfect timing! The 2006 elections will be a great opportunity to hand over the mess to the darn Democrats! Time for a third party again...

The Nationwide Tour was in Pittsford, NY, last weekend. Those guys really are good! And they are accountable, too. Watching them keep score makes you wish there was an honest political scorecard... unfortunately, politics has no rules and flexible scoring. Blogs are a good surrogate for an official honest broker, don't you think?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Bush Enemies Avoid Capture - Embarassment!

The recent heavy casualties in Iraq pushed the U.S. death toll to well over 1,800 soldiers, and another 10,000+ have been wounded. Had President Bush explained to us when he started the Iraq war that we would suffer this much, and more, to secure victory, I doubt that congress would have gone along with his costly plan. As a former army officer, I now feel that the main problems in Iraq are the fragmented political scene and the endemic corruption. Bush's premise that "everyone everywhere wants freedom" has turned out to be wrong...the fact is that everyone in Iraq wants to have their own way, whether it be a religious way or a tribal way or a criminal way. Without a semblance of unity in Iraq we are doomed to failure over there, and the situation may well be worse five years from now than when Saddam was in power. Some rather smart people in the State Department and other world-wise organizations made this prediction before we fired a shot, and they are looking pretty smart right now.

Perhaps the most telling component of our apparent failure in the "war against terrorism" is the survival of Abu Musab al-Zarkawi and Osama bin Laden. They command large organizations, they make video tapes of threats, and they are murderous fanatics. They are also at large, which Bush does not mention too often. Despite all the U.S.'s technical prowess and the financial inducements aimed at capturing or killing these guys, they have become the Energizer bunnies of terrorism - they go on and on and on. So far, George Bush has been as successful in dealing with them as he has in making Iraq work. I suspect that the reason we've not caught them is closely related to the reason our casualties are much higher than expected - the administration just didn't understand the level of support and loyalty that the terrorists would maintain, nor did they figure the terrorists could sell their message better than Bush could sell his. These kinds of errors in judgment are not what we elect presidents to commit, but I pray that the experiences outlined above will encourage men and women of influence to exercise much more control over GWB during the remainder of his unfortunate term in office.

Yes, it's been a hot summer in a lot of ways!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Bush Not Intelligently Designed

GWB has done it does the saying go, "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread"? Well, young George has proven the point when it comes to mixing religion and politics. Seems like his physicians gave him a clean bill of health but forgot the mental exam. Certainly his recent comment that schools should teach "intelligent design" alongside evolutionary theory shows that, as a thinker, he was not intelligently designed.

As a Christian, I believe that God did create the universe with some purpose in mind. And I choose to believe that some day I will get a much better sense of what that purpose was and how I fit into it. But prove that, I can't. It's just a belief. And if it's a belief it belongs in church and in what I say to others - but not in school. School is for theories that science can work on.

But what about those critters that some "scientists" say they can't explain through evolution? Those critters that have parts that needed to develop all at the same time? OK, I'll admit these assertions have aroused some curiosity on my part, but science has always dealt with mysteries and has generally solved them. I'd rather leave these critters in the pending file than jump to a giant conclusion with no better reasoning than "we don't understand how...". And, I must add, I don't believe God leaves physical clues designed to give us certainty about God. I think God wants to remain a mystery who must be believed rather than proven.

But, just for fun, let's say George W. Bush is right in believing that the universe was intelligently designed and that we should teach the concept in schools. The next obvious question is "what was the purpose of the design?" Did God do it just to do something difficult, or as a throwaway, or as one of many parallel universes, or for God's entertainment? Surely George has a pat answer for that one, as well. Probably something about God designing us with free will to choose Him or not, with the "not's" going to a really hot place. And the proof for that one? The Bible, of course. Next thing we'll be studying the Bible in school, just like our Pakistani foes study the Koran. Where would it stop? At some point we'd all be killing each other over religion.

My president may well be a fool with noble motives. History is full of such people who went down the wrong roads for the right reasons. If he wants to have the faith of a child, that's his prerogative, but it's hard to believe he would cross the line and start talking about putting religious beliefs in the schools. But he did. And if he's not a fool, but stirred this pot for political reasons, then he is responsible for whatever is done by the idiots who are willing to follow this line of reasoning to the end. Think Timothy McVeigh. Thanks, George, for another great job as a "unifier". Right.