June 20, 2015 6 Comments
Sir Ken Robinson gave a talk recently on creativity in education. It’s pretty interesting, and here it is.
The view from the Prairie, with an emphasis on Energy
March 19, 2013 Leave a comment
Remember what you were doing ten years ago this week? I surely do. I was sitting fascinated, watching the American, British, and Australian forces make the conquest of the largest army in the middle east look easy. It’s already ten years since the execution of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I remember sitting there half the night watching the embedded reporters send back videotape of what looked for all the world like a road march. Never have the armies of freedom looked so all-powerful. Remember Iraq had fought Iran to a standstill for ten years, but they barely laid a glove on our forces.
To the point of listening to Baghdad Bob tell us how they were winning as we watched American armored forces drive by the hotel in Baghdad.
And remember too, it was America’s war. No matter what they said later, the war had wide (and bipartisan) support. Naval War College professor of national security affairs Stephen Knott had this to say behind the Wall Street Journal’s paywall in an op-ed last weekend.
In the U.S., there was a bipartisan consensus that Saddam possessed and continued to develop WMD. Former Vice President Al Gore noted in September 2002 that Saddam had “stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.” Then-Sen. Hillary Clinton observed that Saddam hoped to increase his supply of chemical and biological weapons and to “develop nuclear weapons.” Then-Sen. John Kerry claimed that “a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his [Saddam’s] hands is a real and grave threat to our security.”
Even those opposed to using force against Iraq acknowledged that, as then-Sen. Edward Kennedy put it, “we have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing” WMD. When it came time to vote on the authorization for the use of force against Iraq, 81 Democrats in the House voted yes, joined by 29 Democrats in the Senate, including the party’s 2004 standard bearers, John Kerry and John Edwards, plus Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Sen. Joe Biden, Mrs. Clinton, and Sens. Harry Reid, Tom Harkin, Chris Dodd and Jay Rockefeller. The latter, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, claimed that Saddam would “likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years.”
Support for the war extended far beyond Capitol Hill. In March 2003, a Pew Research Center poll indicated that 72% of the American public supported President Bush’s decision to use force.
If Mr. Bush “lied,” as the common accusation has it, then so did many prominent Democrats—and so did the French, whose foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, claimed in February 2003 that “regarding the chemical domain, we have evidence of [Iraq’s] capacity to produce VX and yperite [mustard gas]; in the biological domain, the evidence suggests the possible possession of significant stocks of anthrax and botulism toxin.” Germany’s intelligence chief August Hanning noted in March 2002 that “it is our estimate that Iraq will have an atomic bomb in three years.”
According to interrogations conducted after the invasion, Saddam’s own generals believed that he had WMD and expected him to use these weapons as the invasion force neared Baghdad.
The war in Iraq was authorized by a bipartisan congressional coalition, supported by prominent media voices and backed by the public. Yet on its 10th anniversary Americans will be told of the Bush administration’s duplicity in leading us into the conflict. Many members of the bipartisan coalition that committed the U.S. to invade Iraq 10 years ago have long since washed their hands of their share of responsibility.
We owe it to history—and, more important, to all those who died—to recognize that this wasn’t Bush’s war, it was America’s war. […]
We ran into some trouble later on, of course. A good bit of it is structural to the American armed forces.
This is what I mean. The American forces are by far the best combat force ever seen in the world, they can go farther and faster than anybody anywhere, and destroy anything in the way. (The British and Commonwealth forces aren’t very far behind.) But because of the high level mechanization, American forces are always short of straight leg infantry. This was true as far back as World War II. In some ways our army was founded on the Indian campaigns, we can move very far and very fast (although with a large logistic tail). We can destroy almost anything, and do it quickly.
But men with bayonets are always in short supply, and to occupy a country what you need most are guys with bayonets, and ears, and mouths, to interact with the natives. That’s the other thing, ask the locals around any of our armies, their ruling classes may hate us but almost without exception the common people love the American grunt. They’re the best ambassadors we could ever have.
I think Rumsfeld made it worse in Iraq by trying to make war on the cheap, and so the shortage of infantry was even worse than it had to be. But it is the structure of the army that is the basic cause.
I’m not sure there is an answer, really. The American army is basically an expeditionary force, designed for complete victory over any opponent, anywhere. If that is the mission, unless we add follow on forces that are basically leg infantry, with limited transport, and added exposure to casualties, and more expense, this is the best we can do. Often we have allies or indigenous forces that can help with the constabulary mission but not always.
March 28, 2012 Leave a comment
By Tom DeWeese
I don’t know about you, but when I take on a cause or a project I’m proud of what I do. I support it against all detractors and nay-sayers because I believe in it. So, when proponents of a cause suddenly start to hide what they are doing, or deny they are even doing it – that should set off alarm bells and raise questions about the honesty and legitimacy of that cause.Case in point, when evidence emerged that the Earth was actually cooling instead of heating, the alarmists didn’t miss a beat as they changed the predicted disaster from Global Warming to Climate Change. These are cleaver guys.
Such is the case now with the enforcers of Agenda 21 and its policy called Sustainable Development. For the past several years, those imposing this policy have denied its United Nations origins, ignoring the many documents that clearly prove that the very term “sustainable development” can easily be traced back to the 1987 UN report titled, “Our Common Future.” That radical report has been used by the UN as a virtual springboard for a “wrenching transfor- mation” (Al Gore’s words) of human society. The words “sustainable development” are used in nearly every federal, state, and local development plan; on nearly every federal, state, and local government web site; and in nearly every public statement on new development policies. We even had a President’s Council on Sustainable Development, created by an Executive Order of Bill Clinton, with the stated purpose to impose the policies of Agenda 21 into United States law. Many serving on the Council helped write Agenda 21, including John Sawhill of the Nature Conservancy, Jay Hair of the National Wildlife Federation and Michele Perrault, international Vice President of the Sierra Club.
So, the exact words “Sustainable Development” come from UN documents and its exact policies are imposed at the local level – yet, we are told by its proponents, none of these development plans have anything to do with UN policy. It’s an amazing tap dance. As local residents question their county commissioners, city councilmen, mayors, state legislators, and governors about the origins of their policies, it has become routine for these “representatives of the people” to get a puzzled look on their faces and a wrinkle in their brows, as they say, “I’ve never heard of Agenda 21.” “That’s just a conspiracy theory.”
Yes, we’ve heard it for years now. But as more and more citizens begin to learn the truth and opposition builds, what is the response of the Sustainablists? Do they now stand up and proudly defend their policies? Do they attempt to open debate and allow other voices to be heard in a legitimate discussion about our “Common Future?” Do they try to find reasonable solutions for citizens who have become victims of such policies? None of the above.
First they have ignored those protests with the usual, “don’t know what they are talking about.” Then they have tried to ridicule those of us who have led the charge against the policy, calling it a conspiracy theory. As our anti-Agenda 21 movement has picked up steam, they have enlisted the big guns to attack our credibility, including front page articles in the New York Times, and in the pages of the Washington Post. Each of those articles took the position that protestors at public meetings are simply wasting the valuable time of legitimate professional planners who are just trying to do their jobs. How dare we question their motives or the origins of their schemes? There’s serious business going on here. Will the peasants please get out of the way of progress? ….