diet coke for breakfast

Friday, December 15, 2006

Posted by Tanstaafl

Farewell for now.

Not sure if there's anyone out there reading, but I've decided to join my brother's blog at Hopefully with the two of us blogging, there will be enough comment to keep some readers interested and coming back.

Thanks to anyone who's been reading here, and look for me as Tanstaafl at the new site.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Posted by Tanstaafl
I would have voted NO
The law would also instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a study analyzing the state of the art of data centers and servers in the U.S., including potential cost savings owed to the use of energy-efficient products. The EPA is then supposed to recommend new ways to attract interest in energy-efficient products, which has been the goal for years of the government's Energy Star initiative.

I have nothing against energy efficient servers. In fact, I hope more companies will invest in the technologies that are making them more efficient. Aside from the environmental benefits, it makes good business sense, as the article points out. My complaint is that this is a complete waste of tax-payer's money.

Do the authors of this bill honestly believe that corporate IT and finance departments need the EPA's help in figuring out how much money they will save?

Just another intrusion of government into an area where it has no business, at the expense of those of us who foot the bill.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Posted by Tanstaafl
Rumsfeld and Iraq:
Few know that in early 2003 - a month or more before the Iraq invasion - President Bush was presented with two plans for post-war Iraq. The first, written by CIA Director George Tenet and Secretary of State Colin Powell, provided for a long occupation of Iraq and the nation-building that the president renounced in his 2000 campaign. The second, a Pentagon plan authored by Rumsfeld's team, provided for the establishment of a provisional government before the invasion and American withdrawal within months of Saddam's overthrow. The president, convinced by Powell that 'if you break it, you own it', chose the Powell-Tenet plan and ordered Rumsfeld to carry it out.

For a long time, I have felt that Rumsfeld was the only competent, high-profile, member of this administration. Yet again, I find another well-informed, well-reasoned argument supporting that fact.

In a discussion I had when we were prepping to invade Iraq, a relative of mine suggested that there were 4 criteria that would be necessary in order to achieve "victory" in Iraq.

1) We would need to be greeted as liberators in the streets as we were in Paris during WWII.

While this this may not have been exactly the case, we certainly had a bit of a honeymoon period before the insurgency took hold, and the images of Iraqi's pulling down Saddam's statue definitely suggested the majority was pleased with their freedom.

2) We needed to find some sort of WMD's.

As I understand it, this was a "slam dunk". In fact, Secretary Powell told the UN that we knew they had them... guess they dropped the ball on that one.

3) We needed to be out in one year.

Based on the quotation above, it sounds to me like Rumsfeld had structured a plan to make this goal a reality, and together Tenet and Powell preferred a long occupation.

4) We had to avoid getting caught in a three-way civil war. (Bosnia and the like should have taught us about pent-up hostilities.)

Again, the Rumsfeld plan would have pulled our troops out of theater before a civil war could erupt. Now, 4 years later, civil war is a reality that we have to deal with. The only good news is that the Kurds have not started fighting. But, we can not kid ourselves, they are almost certainly arming themselves in case they need to enter the fray.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Posted by Tanstaafl
Rumsfeld Demonstrates his intelligence, again:
The situation in Iraq has been evolving, and U.S. forces have adjusted, over time, from major combat operations to counterterrorism, to counterinsurgency, to dealing with death squads and sectarian violence. In my view it is time for a major adjustment. Clearly, what U.S. forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough.

By now, anyone that is politically aware may know that Donald Rumsfeld wrote those words in a confidential (and now leaked) memo to the White House one day before the recent elections, and two days before he was effectively fired.

While many might be surprised at Rumsfeld's views as outlined by the memo, I am not. I have never believe that Rumsfeld is as detached from reality as his critics suggest. Instead, as a careful analysis of Rumsfeld's Rules would suggest, I believe that he has been trying to give the best advice he can to the President in private, and then supporting in public whatever decisions are made in the Oval Office.

As for the content of the memo. I generally agree with his above the line suggestions. In fact, I've echoed many of them here and here.

In true Rumsfeldian fasion, he has very astutely put the single most important recommendation first:

Publicly announce a set of benchmarks agreed to by the Iraqi Government and the U.S. — political, economic and security goals — to chart a path ahead for the Iraqi government and Iraqi people (to get them moving) and for the U.S. public (to reassure them that progress can and is being made).

Much of the problem with the President's policies and the resulting electorate sentiment can be directly linked to the White House's inability to communicate effectively.

The problem that most people have when the President says we must stay until we "achieve victory" and create a "stable democracy" is that we do not know what either of those terms really mean. Does the sectarian violence have to be over? Do the Iraqis have to hold 2 more elections? 10 more?

Until we have clear and measurable goals, it is really impossible to have a constructive debate about what actions to take going forward. We should decide where we are going, and only then decide how to get there.

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