Peder D4

Discussion of politics and other odious things

Monday, January 15, 2007

Thank you

Every so often I stumble across a post that crystalizes something that's been rattling around my head for the last few month. One such post is here:

Now, of course, I supported the war, so I can be expected to say something like what I am about to say. My only excuse is that I have been thinking hard about this, trying to pick out what went wrong, and I think that I am willing to admit where I was wrong. I was wrong to impute too much confidence to my ability to interpret Saddam Hussein's actions; I was wrong to not foresee how humiliating Iraqis would find being liberated by the westerners who have been tramping around their country, breaking things for their own reasons and with little regard for the Iraqi people, for several hundred years. I was wrong to impute excessive competence to the government--and not just the Bush administration, but to any government occupation.


This has not convinced me of the brilliance of the doves, because precisely none of the ones that I argued with predicted that things would go wrong in the way they did. If you get the right result, with the wrong mechanism, do you get credit for being right, or being lucky? In some way, they got it just as wrong as I did: nothing that they predicted came to pass. It's just that independantly, things they didn't predict made the invasion not work. If I say we shouldn't go to dinner downtown because we're going to be robbed, and we don't get robbed but we do get food poisoning, was I "right"? Only in some trivial sense. Food poisoning and robbery are completely unrelated, so my belief that we would regret going to dinner was validated only by random chance. Yet, the incident will probably increase my confidence in my prediction abilities, even though my prediction was 100% wrong.

That's how I feel too. I remember there being little to no dispute over whether Saddam had WMD. That didn't require lies from the Bush administration; it was the overwhelming belief of both sides. I don't remember predictions of sectarian civil war. If they were made, they weren't prominent.
My side of the argument was wrong about a number of things and that erodes my trust in the decisions that are made from the same set of judgements. But I don't really have any more confidence in the other side either. They can keep there 'blood for oil' theories and their freudian psychology. I don't trust a group of pacifists with foreign policy.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


The striking thing when listening to the left these days is how hard it is for them to get past Bush. Reaction to the speech last night was predictable from their side, they dismissed it out of hand. They've lost any confidence they had in his ability to lead, so that's fair enough. What strikes me is the petty things they watch for.
  • How was his tone?
  • Did he smirk?
  • Could anything he said have been intrepreted as 'disagreement is unpatriotic'?
  • Did he apologize enough? How much crow did he eat?
That's it. Hardly any analysis of what he actually had to say or whether or not it could work. Just pettiness.
When Clinton used force in Kosovo, there were many conservative critics that warned of the possible dire consequences of those actions. (Interestingly, their criticism was correct - if applied to Iraq.) Some of their objections were obviously based on partisanship and mistrust of Clinton's leadership. But they never based important decisions on his body language.
What do I think of the plan? I don't know. I've been proven so wrong on many other things in Iraq that I don't really know the way forward. I suspect that the way out of this is to just ride out the sectarian violence. It was inevitable, and frankly we were blind to it. But 'inevitable' doesn't mean eternal. It will subside.
Stopping arms from Iran and Syria would also help. That's a military problem and frankly one that I think is doable. Our political will is probably not there though, so it probably won't happen.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

New Congress

The very best thing the Dems can do now that they are in charge is to work on party neutral 'good government' things. Things like more transperancy and fewer earmarks. Another thing they could do is spearhead a policy of more natural districts.
Let's see if they do the smart thing.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


From the Strib's Jan 2nd letters:

coyote coexistence

We're on their land

Nowhere in Dec. 27 story "Coyotes love the suburbs but the feeling isn't mutual" did the term "urban sprawl" appear.

We have infringed on the habitat of wildlife, not the other way around.

I was amused by the comment by DNR Deputy Director Ed Boggess suggesting that coyotes have moved to the refuge of the suburbs to avoid being shot in rural areas.

If we hadn't invaded their territory and driven them away, the suburbs would still be a rural area -- and natural habitat to the animals.


Kathy, if you'd like to start us off by moving to someplace that wasn't the territory of large predators in the past, go ahead and do so. I'm hard pressed to figure out where that would have been but you seem so certain in your stance that maybe you have someplace in mind.