What’s Doing (Reptiles Dept.)

I just want to thank all the people who have kept the comments lively at The Buck Doesn't Even Stop By For Visits while I've been somewhat distracted by work.

If I know what's good for me, blogging will be light for the next few days — I have to write an exam and do major surgery to a paper.

The world certainly is doing its best, however, to be very distracting.

For one thing, there's a good-sized scaly toothed reptile back in the campus lake. I saw about seven eights of it, but not the snout which it had lodged under something at the bank of the lake, so I don't know if it's a gator or a croc, but I'd guess gator. The whatever-it-was had beached the front of its face, nose first, only 100 feet or so from the Rathskeller where students were happily boozing it up on a Friday afternoon, but there was a campus cop keeping the passing students from getting too close. He didn't seem to be enjoying the job, and gave a rather grim smile when I observed that the gator had a police escort.

Previous posts on our toothy friends include Crocodile Reminder, Crocodile Coincidence, What? A Croc?, Croc II !, Cold Front Flushes Out UM Croc, Fair Warning (Alligator Dept.), Who Gets Custody of the Alligator ? and of course Exam Question: Is an Alligator a Deadly Weapon?. It's not an obsession, really, just a fact of life.

Speaking of reptiles, the DoJ has done another Friday evening document dump.

Speaking of sinking your teeth into things, or maybe it's man-bites-dog, don't miss Army Officer Accuses Generals of 'Intellectual and Moral Failures' an amazing article about a Lt. Col. attacking his superiors (generically, not by name) in a prestigious army journal for incompetence and dishonesty in their prosecution of the Iraq war and for misleading Congress about it.

“After going into Iraq with too few troops and no coherent plan for postwar stabilization, America's general officer corps did not accurately portray the intensity of the insurgency to the American public,” he writes. “For reasons that are not yet clear, America's general officer corps underestimated the strength of the enemy, overestimated the capabilities of Iraq's government and security forces and failed to provide Congress with an accurate assessment of security conditions in Iraq.”

Yingling said he decided to write the article after attending Purple Heart and deployment ceremonies for Army soldiers. “I find it hard to look them in the eye,” he said in an interview. “Our generals are not worthy of their soldiers.”

Next to last, but not least, the Bush administration war on the rule of law continues apace with its latest attempt to make it impossible for lawyers to provide meaningful or effective representation for Guantanamo detainees. I would write about this but words fail me to describe the petty viciousness of this idea and the manifest hostility to the very due process that I would have thought was one of the great achievements of our civilization. The NYT has an editorial which says part of what needs saying; some more of it is found in this Conversation with Gitmo Lawyer on Proposed DOJ Rules. Don't look to the Supreme Court to do anything fast — in tangentially related cases, it's not rushing the process, which is Shakespearian in its delay:

“For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,”

Meanwhile, only the willful blindness of one or two men (Bush, Chaney, take your pick), ensures that the US Army will continue to bleed itself dry in Iraq, to no visible benefit to anyone outside the White House. I understand that our departure could lead to horrors — and think we have a duty to mitigate them, especially be admitting a very large number of refugees here in order to protect all the people who have helped us. If there were a plausible scenario by which staying on would allow us to enact the 'Pottery Barn rule' (you broke it, you pay for it), I could support that. But the occupation is as big a failure as the initial military campaign was a success. No one arguing for staying on has a winning strategy that they can articulate other than “retreat is not an option”.

I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.

— Thomas Jefferson

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One Response to What’s Doing (Reptiles Dept.)

  1. Patrick (G) says:

    From the Excerpt at Political Animal, this paragraph jumped out at me:

    …In 1997, the U.S. Central Command exercise “Desert Crossing” demonstrated that many postwar stabilization tasks would fall to the military. The other branches of the U.S. government lacked sufficient capability to do such work on the scale required in Iraq. Despite these results, CENTCOM accepted the assumption that the State Department would administer postwar Iraq. The military never explained to the president the magnitude of the challenges inherent in stabilizing postwar Iraq.

    I seem to recall reports that the state department boffins attempted to put together a plan for post-war Iraq and ended up being entirely ignored by the Military. Only the Military played a significant role in setting up the post-Saddam government (by neocon design), so to blame its failure on the non-military branches not being up to the task is deeply, deeply asinine.

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