July 07, 2004

It's not just adults we're holding in Iraqi prisons

As you can read here, here and here, we appear to be holding a number of children in Iraqi prisons and the number may be, or may have been at one time, more than 100. It's hard to tell, though, since our brass hats at the Whatagon haven't been letting folks like the Red Cross and Unicef check it out.
Sgt. Samuel Provance, as part of his spilling the beans on Abu Ghraib, talked about minors there. Allegedly, they've also been held at Um Qasr.
But, with no photos (yet, at least) this has gotten little U.S. media play.

July 05, 2004

Will Kerry make much difference in Iraq insurgency?

Since "the man who would be president," John Kerry, has said in essence that he "hopes to have us out by the end of his first term," why would we think things will improve any more than marginally to moderately for our actions in Iraq if he is elected?
Oh, I forgot... those extra 40K active-duty troops he plans to replace Guard and Reserve personnel will take care of that.
Right. And how long with it take to get Congress to expand the Army that much? Will class admissions at the Point have to be expanded to get active-duty officers to lead these people?
And, knowing they have a good chance of going to Iraq, how likely are any but the most poor (if they can pass the non-physical qualifications) going to be likely to sign up? How much in the way of recruitment bonuses does Kerry think will be needed?
Since "the man who would be president," John Kerry, has said in essence that he "hopes to have us out by the end of his first term," why would we think things will improve any more than marginally to moderately for our actions in Iraq if he is elected?
Oh, I forgot... those extra 40K active-duty troops he plans to replace Guard and Reserve personnel will take care of that.
Right. And how long with it take to get Congress to expand the Army that much? Will class admissions at the Point have to be expanded to get active-duty officers to lead these people?
And, knowing they have a good chance of going to Iraq, how likely are any but the most poor (if they can pass the non-physical qualifications) going to be likely to sign up? How much in the way of recruitment bonuses does Kerry think will be needed?

July 04, 2004

Liberal hawks need to apologize more

A few sotto voce mea culpas from pundits like Michael Ignatieff don't cut it.


In my opinion, they need to apologize for aiding and abetting a number of things that have happened since mid-2002. That includes:
1. The nearly 1,000 soldiers and contractors who have died in Iraq;
2. The hundreds of people killed in al Qaeda attacks at Bali, Madrid and elsewhere, as well as actions by groups such as Abu Sayyef. (If not all of those 135,000 troops in Iraq were sent to Afghanistan, some would have been quite useful elsewhere.
3. The fact that bin Laden himself is still alive and that al Qaeda still appears pretty functional.
Some bloggers who were at least somewhat sympathetic to the liberal hawks at one time, such as Kevin Drum, want to give them a light slap on the wrist and easy readmission to the world of well-meaning liberals. Others, self professed liberal hawks themselves in early 2003, such as Josh Marshall, have been pretty silent on the issue. Maybe they wonder if they've done enough mea culpas themselves.

More on why I'm not supporting Kerry

The special 9/11 Commission’s preliminary comments on the lack of collaboration between Iraq and al Qaeda, coupled with 16 months’ post-inspection failure by U.S. inspectors to find the weapons of mass destruction President George W. Bush alleged Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had, should be cause for rejoicing by Sen. John Kerry.
But it’s not. No more than the missing weapons have been.
Why? Because it paints him in a box as to his stance on foreign affairs, especially vexsome given that he sits on the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee.
In short, John Kerry is Bush lite on Iraq and foreign affairs.
This is from my July 1 column at my newspaper. (Note: we do not archive; this expires July 8.)

About myself

What the heck - why not take the plunge and join tens of thousands of other bloggers out there?
I plan to blog primarily, but by no means exclusively, about politics. Sports, the natural and social sciences, history, classical music and more will surely make the pages here sooner or later.
But, a fair amount of that will be politics, so let me describe my general political stance.
Call me an independent progressive.
As for specific issues, I was against the Iraq war, and saw through the reasons being offered for it, pre-February 2003. That feeling has only grown since then.
Because of this, and other concerns about foreign policy issues, barring some major change, I will not be voting for either Bush or Kerry.
And, no, it's not Nader, either. The Green Party has it's own candidate now in David Cobb.
That said, would I take Kerry over Bush? Yes. Do they differ on at least some domestic policy issues? Yes. But, I can't pull the trigger for him.
Anyway, other political interests of mine include GM vs. non-GM foods, globalization, fair trade and more. Nonpolitical interests include cognitive science, science and skepticism versus various "rightist" and "leftist" attacks or pseudosciene, most sports to at least some degree, classical music, healthy eating and ethnic foods.
My day job is as the editor of a suburban Dallas weekly paper. I have been strong against the war, in print, on hard copy, in the midst of "Bush Country," since February 2003. Why can't the "so-called liberal media" do that?