Another cog in the wheel known as the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy to combat the Extreme Left-Wing Media.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Friday notes

What do we have today?

Well, it's mid-April so we have the annual story of some idiot refusing to pay their taxes because they don't agree with how the government is spending it. These ones are upset that their tax dollars are supporting the war effort. Worst of the bunch is this one:
Jim Allen, a retired Army social worker now teaching at St. Louis University, knows he is breaking the law by withholding some of his income taxes. But last year he and his wife, Jan, became fed up with the billions of dollars spent to fund the war in Iraq and decided to take a moral stand. "I am not opposed to paying taxes, but I am when such a large percent is going to pay for war," says Mr. Allen, who served in the Army for 20 years.
So he accepts his retirement check which comes out of taxes other people pay but he refuses to pay his share because he doesn't like where some of the money goes. Hey, dummy. I don't like 90% percent of the government spending (actually that is just a wild guess, it might be as much as 91 or as low as 85 percent) but I file my taxes because that is what the law requires. If you don't like the law contact your representative to get it changed. Until it changes you must follow the law.

From the NYT we have some retired generals calling for Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to resign. I have a few thoughts about these generals and their complaints. First the origin of these complaints are borne out of anger at Rumsfeld's attempts to modernize the military. Some senior military people embraced proposed changes some were threatened. Secondly, the generals main complaint about the Iraq war center around whether enough troops were used in the initial occupation. I'll grant that it may have been harder for the insurgency to get off the ground if we had flooded the country with soldiers after the initial air assault. However, making that assertion three years after the event conveniently ignores the facts at the time. Prior to the air assault we had substantial troops levels in the eastern Mediterranean waiting to enter northern Iraq through Turkey. More important than not being able to move troops through Turkey was Saddam's threat to use chemical or biological weapons. While some politicians are ignoring or disavowing their previous statements about Iraq WMD program, Rumsfeld (and his commanders in the field) had to proceed with the belief that the threat was real. Using a minimum number of soldiers reduced the number of targets on the ground. While every soldier lost is a tragedy, the truth is our casualty numbers have been extremely low for a conflict of this type and would be much, much higher if we had flooded Iraq with targets. Also, it's interesting that we don't have lots of retired Navy officers spouting off as Monday morning quarterbacks.

Almost as a counterpoint to catterwalling of the various retired generals, the Washington Post has an op-ed today titled, Troops in Support Of the War. The author is a Marine who served two tours in Iraq. His stated intention is to refute the notion that comments of people like Representatives Jim Moran or John Murtha reflect the views of those serving.

While we are still arguing over Iraq, Iran's efforts to develop a nuclear weapon is becoming a major concern. Here are two articles discussing military options.
John Podhoretz
Thomas McInerney
We all need to get more familiar with the Iranian situation. There is no easy answer.

Jay Nordlinger has a new Impromptus column online. Well worth reading. Here is one snippet:
More Clinton: "I don't know how you have a great country that is a beacon of hope for the world, for peace and freedom and democracy, if you let a third of any group of people wind up going to prison sometime in their lives."

Point 1: If Clinton doesn't know how a country can be great while at the same time being flawed — and having many flawed people within its borders — then he is not nearly as smart as we suppose. Point 2: I'm not sure that "we," or "you," as Clinton put it, are "letting" people go to prison. I think they have some role in that themselves.
Read the whole thing. He even includes a punctuation lesson.

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