Let's get our Aretha Franklin on, shall we? R-E-S-P-E-C-T...what it's all about in the Middle East.
There's a lot of talk about us backpedaling on the Iraq "mistake." We'll just put the kitten in the box with a little food, drive it WAAAY out in the country and leave it on the side of the road. We'll drive home thinking about the happy life the kitten is going to have on a pretty little dairy farm.
Wrong. In real life, the kitten gets flattened on the highway. In the kitten-as-Iraq analogy, the kitten gets smashed on the highway and all its kitten relatives follow you to your home and piss on your carpet for years.
Let's talk about the Iranian hostage crisis. You know, the one where we made some disapproving sounds and launched one spectularly unsuccessful attempt to free our people? Yeah - that one. That was Them shoving Us. And we flailed around the ground for a while and then they let us get up and run home.
And then there was Beiruit and the 241 dead Marines and Sailors. And then there was Khobar Towers. And the first attack on the World Trade Center. And the African Embassies. And the USS Cole. And the SECOND attack on the World Trade Center.
And then we kinda blinked and said, "huh? Someone out there hates us? Well, let's KILL 'EM!"
Which was precisely the right response, albeit 20 years late.
So now we're thinking about running the Hell away from Iraq. Because it's difficult, and winning would require more than a week and courses of action that are not easily fit on a bumpersticker.
Hmmm...I'm not really into the Vietnam analogies, so let's see if we can find another situation which might shed a little light on Iraq's future without some serious adult supervision. We need a country with lots of Muslims. A country where the U.S. tried to help and left when things got hairy. Preferably one we've visited in the past 20 years...
Oooh! I've got it! SOMALIA!
Now, of course, Somalia is in Africa, has a less-educated populace and fewer natural resources than Iraq. But the security situation is making Iraqi school attendance iffy and the populace is settling nicely into the habit of sitting in the dirt and watching their goats while thinking hateful thoughts, so it's really not a BAD comparison.
Somalia is a sore topic here at Bad Dog Central, as, 14 years ago, Mr. Abby did a lot of sweating in the dirt there. He LOVES to watch CNN while they point out what a violent, evil pit of hysterical Islamic Terror that country is swirling into. Makes him feel like it was time well spent.
If they're not already, Al Qaeda will be running airplane-takeover drills in Somalia very soon. Al Qaeda leaders will be living in mud huts and giving evil orders on satphones from Somalia.
If we leave Iraq, they'll do the same things from there.
Also, if we leave Iraq, the neighbors will notice. They will notice that Americans will NOT tough things out. They will notice that Americans will NOT be inconvenienced at home by a protracted war. They will notice that AFTER Iraq, Americans will NOT be willing to send a single soldier any farther east than a pub in Germany.
And then they will begin again. With no fear that we will come storming in and destroy their nasty little dominions, the masters of terror will take a poke at our warships. They will carbomb western businesses in the middle east. They will storm our embassies and take hostages.
And someday not so very far in the future, they will take more of our planes. They will knock down more of our buildings. They will kill our children and our non-combatants here in our country again.
And we will wonder why.
The Middle East is a strange place. The currency is R-E-S-P-E-C-T and the language, the only one universally understood, is Force. There is at least one country in that region that is working toward developing the world's most dangerous weapons, and he is watching closely what we do on his border.
We must not leave Iraq whimpering. There is no painless solution, as much as we Americans like painless solutions. We change strategies, pay the price and win in Iraq now. Or we will bleed at home later. There is no third way.
02 December 2006
Let's get our Aretha Franklin on, shall we? R-E-S-P-E-C-T...what it's all about in the Middle East.
I don't mind ranting about the War on Terror (as those who know me are well aware). But I normally don't do a lot of that here because...well, this is a public place. But I'm going to go ahead and do it.
We're fucking this up big time. The United States and, I believe, Western Civilization as a whole, is locked in a no-shit struggle with the forces of savagery and darkness. Seriously - take a GOOD LOOK at the Middle East. Other than Isreal, do you see any place that doesn't just SUCK?
I'm not going to go into a ton of detail about economies, personal freedom, the god-awful treatment of women, life expectancies, etc. It's a basic premise of mine that the entire region sucks ass and has pretty much nothing to offer except seething resentment and hate.
When President Bush had sent troops into Afghanistan and was shifting focus onto Iraq, I thought - great! This guy gets it!
We were finally going to start Draining The Swamp. Now, we all know that U.S. policies since WWII have not helped the Middle East, and in no way have encouraged the growth of self-determination and human rights there. In exchange for continued access to oil and the opportunity for our companies to profit from said oil, we'd prop up any sonovabitch over there. And we did.
But post-9/11, I thought we had it figured out. Long war, national committment to changing that part of the world, the whole nine yards. Lose the dictatorships, standing up some representative governments, let people do better and have hope and maybe they'd leave us the hell alone. I could have skipped Iraq and seen us going into Iran or (god forbid) dealing with Saudi Arabia like the terrorist petty-cash box it is.
But the President said Iraq and, honestly, it was as good a place as any to start.
Then, all of a sudden, we're doing Iraq on the cheap. No, we were assured. Our military kicks so much ass that we don't need a giant troop buildup ala Gulf War 1. We'll just send a few divisions zipping up to Baghdad. Hell, we won't even worry about bringing the 4th ID in through Turkey. We won't stop in any of the little towns along the way. Piece of cake!
And it was. Of course. Our military does kick massive ass. Problem is, there we were in Baghdad and the oil fields and a few major cities with our collective thumb in our collective ass, while the Saddamites ran away and hid in all the little towns we'd bypassed.
And we never poured the bodies in. Because that would have been some sort of admission of defeat for the Bush Administration, which the hysterical shrieking bitch Democrats would have jumped all over.
Bush is so polarizing that we've been entirely deprived of the ability to have a useful national dialog about how to best conduct this war. The Republicans have, until very recently, been loathe to admit that maybe the ENTIRE plan wasn't ENTIRELY perfect from the VERY beginning. And the Democrats have not offered a single useful bit of input other than grasping at any straw to jump and holler "it was lie! And it's a failure! And we should bring all the troops home!"
Check this out - the troops don't want to come home like that. No shit. Listen vey cloesly: I do not want to have fought in a war we lost because we lacked the balls to win it. None of my comrades in arms want to have fought, bled or died in a war we lost because we lacked the balls to win it.
Our political leaders on both sides need to shut the hell up. They need to stop listening to mothers. We all love mothers, but all the mothers want all the warriors home safe, too often at any cost.
We don't want to be safe and shamed in the United States. We want to be safe, victorious and proud in the United States. We'll take not safe but able to look in the mirror in Iraq.
So the politics needs to stop. We need an assload more troops in Iraq and we need to turn the clock back.
Step 1 - Bigger military.
Yep. The military is overcommitted. But the services are making their recruiting goals. So our Congress needs to get off its dead ass and authorize a massive increase in the Army and the Marine Corps. The 9th Infantry Division colors are in a closet somewhere. Pull them out. Stand up the division again. Give the recruiters a mission - they'll fill it. The Army is just packed with NCOs and officers with combat experience. Fill that Division. Wouldn't take but a year or 18 months to see that full Division's worth of combat power come on line. And the Army has old barracks all over the county.
The Fifth Marine Division raised the flag on Mt. Suribachi. Reactivate. Fund. Fill.
Step 2 - Stop letting Iraqis fuck up Iraq
So great was our desire to declare our on-the-cheap war a success that we turned the running of Iraq over to the Iraqis far too soon. We needed to run that country for a year, while suitable Iraqis were found for key positions. Then we needed to let them run it, but with an American standing right there. We can't take it all back, but we can shove our way back into things. Every time a hospital administrator in Najaf calls Baghdad to try to figure out why they can't pay nurses, there needs to be an American standing by the phone in Baghdad, and the call needs to be on speakerphone. That way somebody is paying attention to who is stealing the money that's not getting where it needs to go.
This is an annoying problem when it's a hospital or school. It really sucks when the rank-and-file of the Iraqi Army isn't getting paid. No pay leaves them susceptible to bribery, which is a Bad Thing. Trust me. I can show you pictures of what a Bad Thing it is.
Iraq is a place where bribery and graft are a way of life. You can't blame these people - we're obviously working up to run out on them, so they need to steal while they can so they have enough money to flee hours after our last soldier gets on a C130. We must make them do better.
Step 3 - Blanket that country in Americans.
Story time! Once upon a time, a civil affairs unit was given an entirely stereotypical mission from their CA Higher. "Go forth," said Higher. "Ask around town and find a site for a Government Information Center, where we can have resprentative from each Ministry so the locals can find them easily."
This in a town where nobody who cooperated with the Americans LIVED. Oh, some officials who worked there were on our side, but they didn't LIVE there. They would have been killed. We had one non-dirty judge there and HE received death threats on a daily basis.
Nobody was going to openly side with the Americans, because we couldn't be there to protect them when the Bad Guys came. There simply weren't enough U.S. troops to have a patrol ALWAYS out and about in each neighborhood. And the IA didn't work at night.
So how stupid were our local Iraqis? Not stupid enough to do the stupid things we wanted them to if it was going to get them killed.
More Americans in Al Anbar. More Americans in Baghdad and Babil and Najaf and Karabala. 18 months of an American on every street corner will take care of a lot of problems.
Step 4 - Kill Al Sadr.
Yep. Don't know why we didn't do it before. Al Sadr is not helpful in the job of building a free and open Iraq where each individual is empowered to seek happiness as he or she sees fit.
We conquered the country. We're being very polite about it, but we're the ones with tanks and artillery, so we still own it. We get to kill whoever we deem worthy of killing.
All is not lost in Iraq, but we need to get past political posturing in order to win there. And win we must, for reasons I'll discuss shortly (I'm on a roll tonight).
Step 5 - Bomb the Hell out of Iranian nuclear sites
OK - I know we can't get away with this, but it would send a phenomenally valuable message. Remember - Iran is Not Our Friend. Iran is not a Friend of a Happy Middle East.
I was out and about today at the Gun Show. No - no new toys - it's too close to Christmas for me to spend a bunch of money on another gun. I was walking in, and passed two young (early 20s) guys walking the other way.
They were dressed with the GREATEST of care in similar-looking jeans and faux-faded Tshirts. Pseudo-distressed baseball caps. They were doing that "young man" thing - talking loudly to try to be overheard, gesturing too broadly.
I see another variety down here pretty often, too. The "urban male," dressed again with great care, talking loud, slouching around, trying to look...well, I dunno. Scary? Dramatic? Thug-esque?
I see them up home and in inland, redneck Florida. 22 year old boys in big pickups with tattoos and chew. Loud pipes, etc etc.
They're all young men who are trying to BE men. They desperately want someone to take notice of them, they seem to crave some sort of validation.
And every time I see them, I just roll my eyes. You think you're a MAN? You wanna be a MAN? Stop "hanging out" and acting like a over-contrived jackass. I got a phone number for you, son.
I know posturing and bravado are part and parcel of adolescent and just-post-adolescent guyhood. But it chaps my ass to see all those FALSE balls out there wandering around.
Seems to me like any young man worth a damn would be marching his happy ass down to his local recruiter about three days after high school graduation.
But no - these little wanna-be's just wander around, their behavior a giant billboard screaming "treat me like a man and respect me!"
Makes me want to spit. All that excess testosterone and not a uniform to be seen. Makes me want to spit because therein lies a big part of the solution to our Iraq issue. And no, I'm not a fan of the draft. More on this later.
But for now - young men! If you are sitting around, playing grab-ass with your buddies at the gas station and trying to convince your Dad you're an adult while you live in his basement...
The bus is over there. Give your ID to the nice man in the uniform and Get On It.
Posted by Abby at 17:19
01 December 2006
So after the attack of the Kamikaze Pigeon this morning, I sat around the house for quite some time. Then I thought - hey! I'll take the Bad Dogs for a walk.
Tell you what, that's like taking retarded children to DisneyWorld. Lurching all over the place, randomly stoping, acting more or less like I normally keep them locked in the basement.
We got down to the park and Sparky decided to jump in the lake. Then roll in the dirt. Jesus God. So I got home and stuck him in the shower, where he shook several times, covering the entire shower in lake mud.
So - things are going to hell in a handbasket here. And what does that mean? It means Mr. Abby is out of town (in the military sense). Downside - everything instantly goes tits-up the instant he leaves. Upside - I can drink a pot of coffee at 2100 if I want and stay up all night watching chick flick DVDs.
The state of Florida and the absolute knuckleheads who live here have not yet ceased to amaze me.
This guy, one Florida's posterchildren, decided to smoke some crack, get nekkid, then go swimming a lake at 0400. Which is when this GATOR decided he was just stupid enough to eat. That, ladies and gentlemen, is an 11-foot, 8-inch alligator. THAT is why Abby does not hang out in lakes in the hellhole state.
Four Polk County deputies took a 911 call, raced INTO the reeds and dark water, and pulled said Rocket Scientist out of the jaws of the gator. Showing yet again that the Polk County Sheriff's Department apparently has "balls of solid brass" as a hiring requirement. Of course, I think the smart thing to do would have been to let him get eaten, but he was screaming a lot and disturbing the neighbors, so I suppose they had to respond.
We also had a Hillsborough County deputy bitten by a 6-foot rattlesnake while hiking this week. A fellow deputy with whom he was hiking helped him get out and he's now recovering nicely. The snake, like the gator, was shot.
Also shot was some idiot who was burglarizing a home on the north side of town when the homeowners came back from a Thanksgiving trip. This being Florida, the cops merely showed up, hauled the wounded burglar away, and all is good.
This state...I tell you what...something or someone is ALWAYS getting shot here. The bad thing is, something or someone always NEEDS shot down here.
Dropped Mr. Abby at the airport an hour ago and as I was coming home - WHAM - suicide by windshield. Freakin' pigeon...
Fortunately, we have USAA for our insurance and their glass coverage is great (yep - a stealth Product Endorsement). This is the second windshield they'll have replaced for me in the last three months (the last one was a small boulder I caught on I75).
The only downside is that I don't want to drive the Jeep with this going on, and they'll be out to fix it tomorrow. Grumble grumble - if I want to go anywhere today I have to take Mr. Abby's giant Green Truck.
So if you hear shots from Tampa, it's me exacting revenge on the pigeon population...
29 November 2006
Mr. Abby and I did dinner and a movie tonight (the first movie we've been to in...4 or 5 months). Dinner was Chinese at PF Chang's (good).
Movie was Casino Royale - the new Bond flick.
I give it two thumbs up. More if I had more. The plot was...well, I guess there was a plot. Very groovy chase scene to open. It went on a little long.
But there were two scene w/ the "new Bond" (David Craig? Craig David? Whatever) hanging out in the ocean in those tight little swimming trunks, and some AWESOME Bond-in-a-tux footage.
So in short, I don't know if this movie was any good, but I think all our female readers should go see it. Immediately.
I'd been meaning to put this up while I was up north, but had photo uploading issues. My trip home managed to coincide with Deer Season. Deer Season is, of course, not merely a time of year but damn near an extended relgious holiday where I come from.
I did some hunting. I saw a lot of deer, but nothing to shoot at. Of course, one morning when I decided to sleep late and skip the woods, I woke to the neighbor on the phone. He needed help with a deer. Needed help getting it out of the woods.
This is Carl. I hate him. Can you tell why? And of course, he can manage to drive all night home from college, walk out in the woods and bust this monster after 20 minutes out there. But can he manage to shoot it next to his truck?
Oh no - he could NOT. So we dragged it. Dragging a deer will convince anyone their fitness routine is inadequate.
But good for Carl, this is a once-in-a-lifetime deer. The biggest I've seen taken from around those parts. But next time I'm NOT taking his phone call.
So I'm still working on Casey's fall molt. This is insane. NOrmally I brush her a couple of times a week, get a couple of handsful of hair, and she looks fabulous. Right now...it's (at least) once a day for twenty or thirty minutes. I get BAGS of hair, and she still looks like a scruffy coyote two hours later.
Apparently, though, ditching your entire coat ITCHES. She's been miserable. She LOVES the brushing, though. Normally she tolerates it, but right now she's rolling over on her back, leaning into the brush, just eating it up.
There is one sport on her back that she seems to have scratched a little vigorously, and so I'm going have to chase her down with the Cortizone cream.
A few more days, I think, and we'll be fully switched into the chic G. Shep winter ensemble... I certain HOPE so.
28 November 2006
...by a box.
I shall explain. Mr. Abby deeply enjoys EBay. He loves to find things I had no idea we needed and then buy them. He also loves to sell things that he thinks will net us millions.
Very recently, he sold the Very Special Seat from his recently deceased motorcycle. Of course, he's Very Busy these days, and so the task of boxing and shipping said object fell to ME.
But, being the endlessly helpful being he is, he DID bring home a box he suggested I use. It was like a FREEZER box or something. So I measured and I cut and I taped and I folded and I cut and I taped some more. Then I screamed for help until one of the neighbors came over and un-taped me from the love seat. Then I stuck the seat in the box and folded and taped and swore. And swore some more.
Then I grabbed the seat, drove up to the Box Guy (Package Emporium on Dale Mabry just south of Kennedy), and gave him a fistful of cash and an address label.
I think Mr. Abby has finally recognized that sitting around in Tampa is making me insane, and has decided to devise clever little challenges like this box thing. I've done the same thing with Casey when I've filled her Kong with peanut butter and stuck it in the freezer. I know she'll spend the entire day obsessing about it and won't be hysterical when I get home. I think he intended this boxing project to work the same way.
Alas, whereas Casey cannoy pay Kong Guy to come and get the peanut butter out of the Kong and put it in her bowl, I can pay Box Guy to make the damn seat go away.
27 November 2006
...of broken dog hearts, I have returned to Bad Dog Central.
I made a trip out of it, stopping at my trusty Days Inn in Mammoth Caves, KY, and for a VERY enjoyable evening with Cousin Ruth and Dog Cousin Allie in Georgia.
I returned home (triumphantly, of course - it's me we're talking about) last night. All is more or less well here. Mr. JJ is recovering nicely from his fall-down-go-boom the other day. Casey is blowing her coat and I think I brushed a garbage bag full of hair off her today.
Went to the gym tonight and could really tell I'd taken only two short runs while up north - made good time for 2.5, but that's about all I had.
Abby's Mom continues to do well. She got rid of the 3 of the 4 drains she's been cursed with since her surgery, which will improve her life dramatically. The docs say she can now DRIVE, so if you encounter a short blond woman in a Subaru and hooded sweatshirt in West Michigan, be extra nice to her!