Saturday, June 02, 2007


Are We On the Brink of Dystopia?

If you're a fan of literature like me, you are no doubt familiar with the term dystopia. Simply put, it is the opposite of utopia and it provides the setting for some of the great stories of twentieth century literature - stories such as Orwell's 1984, Huxley's A Brave New World, and Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, to name a few. Read by themselves, these novels provide great, if not somewhat disturbing, entertainment. But when gathered together as a whole, novels such as these appear to be frighteningly prescient. Granted, we've all heard the term Orwellian applied to the current administration, but I believethere's more to things than that. On closer examination, I'm left asking the question I've posed in the title - Are we on the brink of dystopia?

In dystopian novels, there is always a cataclysmic event such as a war, an attack, or a natural disaster that sets things in motion. This event causes great despair amongst the citizens forcing them to look to the government for help or protection. Under the guise of leadership, the government convinces the citizenship that they can't go on living as they do. It is dangerous to believe everything they see and hear as it is most likely controlled by the enemy. Anyone espousing such filth must be in league with the opposition. To combat the enemy, the government seizes control of media outlets and begins a propaganda campaign to ensure that all citizens are sufficiently frightened and are willing to rally to whatever cause the government wishes to pursue. To accomplish this, the opposition is painted as purely evil and it is only through the government that society can be protected. A certain amount of freedom and rights will have to be forfeited, but when it comes to protection it seems like a small price to pay so everyone acquiesces. In fact, it's not uncommon, as evidenced in 1984 for the government to spy on its citizens to ensure that the enemy doesn't infiltrate the population. (Sound familiar yet?)

Another aspect of dystopian society is the importance of social class. In Huxley's A Brave New World, society is divided into Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon classes with each capable of further division such as plus and minus (ie. - Alpha Plus, Gamma Minus). Often these social classes are determined at birth and there is little opportunity for ascension to a higher strata. As we see the rich in America continuing to distance themselves from the middle class and more and more Americans sinking into poverty, the privileges social class in our country can not be denied. Basically, if you're born rich you'll stay rich and have all the opportunity you care to pursue. Yet if you're born poor... well, that's another story. (I'm reminded of John Edwards' concept of "Two Americas.")

Dystopian societies flourish by not allowing people to excel. Keeping the citizens sufficiently uneducated, it's easy to convince them that the government is looking out for their best interests. This is one of the main concepts of Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451: books cause people to think and to ask questions so the government bans them. When the main character Guy Montag wants to know why books are bad, Captain Beatty explains it by saying:
You can't build a house without nails and wood. If you don't want a house built, hide the nails and wood.

So to keep a dystopian society in tact, the government must put in place a system that will keep individuals from advancing. Some sort of requirement that sounds helpful but is really meant to squash intellectualism. In F451 it's the banning of books because they foment thought and dissention which ultimately leads to unhappiness and unhappiness is what society abhors. So to keep the society happy, books are banned and the public is fed a steady stream of good news through their televisions and ear radios. All the while they are kept at a mediocre level of intelligence and are only taught what the government feels they need to know. (Sort of like NCLB, if you ask me. Not only are children (supposedly) not being left behind, neither are they allowed to get ahead. But that's whole other diary.)

Another feature of a dystopian society is the preoccupation with the sexual habits of the populace. In A Brave New World members of society were encouraged to be promiscuous - to enjoy the pleasures of sex. In 1984 however, sex was discouraged among the citizenry and groups such as the junior anti-sex league were formed to help reinforce this position. In George W. Bush's America, sex has become an area of increasing scrutiny. Abstinence-only education is pushed and same-sex coupling is strongly discouraged. Suddenly what happens in the bedroom between anyone but a man and a woman who are legally married in the eyes of the church and state is of serious importance. Certainly this is not exclusive to this administration, but the focus of the sexual microscope has indeed become more intense.

Many of literature's dystopian societies also feature economic models that are controlled by the government. Privatization is a frequent characteristic of a dystopian economy as much of the wealth is directed to and controlled by corporations with governmental ties. The economic policies are set to ensure that social stratification is kept in tact and that only the wealthiest can enjoy the benefits. (I'll let you all draw your own comparisons to this point.)

Certainly there are many more characteristics of a dystopian society that could be examined such as the push for a single religious focus or the use of technolgy to control the populace, but I think you see my point. I'm not asserting that there is any grand conspiracy underway to purposely create a state of dystopia in America. As I've done before, I'm simply pointing out the similarities between some of the great literary works of our time and modern day society. But I have to ask the question once again: Are we on the brink of dystopia? Could we be unknowingly headed for our own brave new world?

Sidenote - Yes, I'm still around. It's been two months since I last posted and if I have any readers left I'll be amazed. Lately, I've been trying to finish up school plus my grad classes. Both are done now and I'm free for the summer. Hopefully, I'll be able to start posting again.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Income Inequality = Educational Failure

This is a post I've wanted to write for quite some time, but haven't been able to put into a cohesive form. Up to now it's consisted of a variety of disjointed thoughts and observations. However, after reading teacherken's excellent diary from this morning discussing the Democratic presidential candidates and their respective positions on education (all of teacherken's diaries are excellent by the way), I felt like this was as good a time as any to try and connect these thoughts and ideas. What you are about to read is based on ten-plus years of first-hand observations and some cold, hard data. Basically, the entire diary can be summed up as follows:
We will never solve our education problems until we address the increasing problems of income inequality in America.

For years, the CW has been that money is at the heart of the education problems we face in America. From teacher pay to school funding, there never seems to be enough money to do what we would like to see done. While I agree that funding for public education is woefully inadequate, I believe that the true money problem facing public schools here in America lies in a different area - the families. In short, income inequality is the true culprit in today's schools.

Here in Illinois, we recently received our school report cards for 2006. Based on my experience, the data contained in the report card was not surprising. Economically disadvantaged students consistently perform at a lower level than all other subgroups with the exception of students with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency.

Just looking at the state of Illinois' report card (PDF) for now, we see that Economically Disadvantaged (ED) students have a lower graduation rate (76.5) than all but two of the twelve subgroups: Migrant and Limited English Proficiency (LEP).

And by high school, ED students are performing at a rate far below that of most others with only 35.1% meeting or exceeding standards in Reading, 27.5% meting or exceeding in Math, and 23% meeting or exceeding in Science.

Looking at this particular report card, one may notice that when the scores are broken down by race, Africa-Americans scored lower than ED. But according to the US Census Bureau (PDF) nearly one quarter of blacks in America live in poverty. In addition, the numbers aren't much better for Hispanics and are actually worse for American Indians and Alaskan Natives. Unfortunately, it's impossible to look at ED numbers and not realize that many of the students that fall under that category are minorities.

Looking at other schools' report cards, I've found similar results when it comes to ED students. In Iowa (PDF) for example, only 60.1% of ED students tested proficient over all at the high school level. In South Dakota, only 49% of high school ED students were proficient in Math and 60% we proficient in Reading. In Arizona (PDF), less than 50% of high school ED students were proficient in Math and just slightly more than 50% are proficient in Reading. Moving on to New Jersey (PDF) we see that only 65.2% of high school ED students tested proficient in Language Arts while a mere 54.1% were proficient in Mathematics. And in North Carolina only 45.1% of ED students passed both parts of their end of year tests.

While reading teacherken's aforementioned diary, the thing that struck me most is that this issue isn't even addressed by most of the candidates. With the exception of John Edwards and, in a roundabout way, Dennis Kucinich, nobody even mentions poverty as an issue. This, to me, is sad. The data clearly shows that poverty is a problem when it comes to education in America but none of the candidates will address it.

Of course the Republican argument is that our kids need to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" and "buckle down." That all sounds well and good and probably looks nice on paper, but in reality that's not an option for most. You see, poor families don't have the same options others do. When Mom is sick or has to work or otherwise has an appointment, the family can't afford daycare and the older kids have to stay home to babysit the younger ones thereby missing out on a day's worth of school. When the weather's bad, students from poor families who live too close to school to ride the bus but don't have a working vehicle will stay home rather than brave the weather. Oftentimes, poor families suffer from what's called generational poverty where the family has lived in poverty for years and they don't see the value of an education and their children aren't encouraged to attain an education. So to say that students need to "pull themselves up by the bootstraps" really doesn't work because many times the families in poverty don't have the bootstraps to pull themselves up by.

So what can be done? Well, again it comes back to money. For years the CW has been to put more money and funding into schools to fund after school programs, increase per student expenditures, and raise teacher pay to attract better teachers, but to an ED student it really doesn't matter how much money is being spent to educate him or her and it sure as hell doesn't matter how much the teacher's making. In the end, the student is still ED and the family is still in poverty. That's why I believe that to truly address the problems with our public education system we need to honestly address the problem of income inequality. Until we find a way to keep the poor from getting poorer while the rich get richer, we will never be able to truly address the real problem with our public schools.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Bitten On the Ass!

You know how things sometimes have a way of coming back around and biting you on the ass? Well, the entire Republican party got bitten on the ass big time today on Meet the Press. And who did the biting? Why none other than the people-powered Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania.

Allow me to set the scene...

Midway through today's broadcast, there was a roundtable discussion concerning Iraq that included Sestak, Fmr. Rep. Tom Andrews (D-ME), Robert Novak's long lost twin Richard Perle of the American Enterprise Institute and PNAC, and Fmr. Rep. Tom DeLay (shouldn't he be in prison by now?). Naturally, Perle and DeLay were bleating endlessly about how withdrawal would only lead to defeat (pretending of course that we haven't already lost) while Sestak and Andrews were arguing for a redeployment as our generals have now acknowledged that there is no longer a military solution to the issue. Relevant quotes from Perle and DeLay include:
MR. PERLE: Well, I think it is certainly true that setting a date certain would alter the leverage. Unfortunately, it would alter it in favor of the terrorists. If they know that we're going to leave on a date certain, they will adjust their strategies to take full advantage of that... What a date certain will do is guarantee the defeat to the United States' effort in Iraq. Guarantee it!


MR. PERLE: ...(to Andrews) what you're saying is that we should pull out. Setting a date certain only anticipates the pulling out, but it will unleash forces that will be completely uncontrollable. And the consequences of an American pullout will not only be a defeat for the United States and a setback in our effort to combat terror around the world, it will be a catastrophe for the people of Iraq.


MR. RUSSERT: Mr. Delay, you raise an interesting point in an interview--in your political column. You talked about congressmen advocating withdrawal, and you conclude by saying, "Yes, I am questioning their patriotism." Why is that?

FMR. REP. DeLAY: Well, I--it, it is my opinion that when you go to war, we ought to all come together. You can debate going to war, that's a legitimate debate. But once you have our soldiers and our, our young people dying on the battlefield, we should come together, and we shouldn't have what we had yesterday on the Mall of, of, of--in Washington, D.C. When the--those are not, in my mind--my opinion, patriots that are talking about impeaching the commander in chief, that are--that are--work as, as Tom's group works....

MR. RUSSERT: But setting a date for--is setting a date for withdrawal...

FMR. REP. DeLAY: ...every step of the day, undermine--I think it's aiding and abetting the enemy. When you tell the enemy what your strategy is, that's aiding and abetting the enemy because they can use that strategy to come back and harm your soldiers.

And then Sestak sank his teeth in deep.
REP. SESTAK: Tim, I spent 31 years in the service of our nation leading men and women into combat in war. And I always assumed, at least I always hoped, that the men and women back here, the policy makers, day in and day out, were spending hours, weeks, debating about the best use of this national treasure. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said it best a few weeks ago when he said, as someone asked him about this debate and what's going on in the House, he said, "Our men and women of our military are educated. They understand the democratic process." I remember when working for President Clinton as director of defense policy, when I didn't agree with you, Tom, but that there was the Buyer Amendment to stop in a year any more funding for our troops in Bosnia. And then there was, in 1999, the effort not to place any more troops not--in Kosovo. While I may have disagreed with you, I respected your office, that that is the constitutional duty of Congress, to take pride for the common defense.

(emphasis mine, obviously)

Buyer amendment? Kosovo? What's he talking about? Well, thank whatever deity you believe in for Thomas. With a little searching I was able to find the following tidbits of information.

In 1997, Rep. Stephen Buyer (R-IN) proposed an amendment to H.R.1119 ("An Act to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 1998 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to precribe personnel strengths for such fiscal year for the Armed Forces, and for other purposes"). The purpose of Buyer's amendment read as follows:
An amendment to prohibit any funds authorized in the bill to be obligated for the deployment of U.S. ground troops in Bosnia after June 30, 1998, except to support a limited number of U.S. military personnel sufficient to protect U.S. diplomatic facilities and noncombat military personnel serving in an advisory capacity to NATO commanders of peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

(again, emphasis mine)

The amendment passed on a vote of 278 - 148. Among those voting in favor of it, Tom DeLay and a number of other Republicans still serving in congress. Now I don't know about you, but June 30, 1998, sure sounds like a "date certain" to me. Does it not?

As for the Kosovo remark, it took a little more searching, but I think I've located the relevant legislation. In 1999, H.CON.RES.42 dealt with "the use of United States Armed Forces as part of a NATO peacekeeping operation implementing a Kosovo peace agreement." Among the amendments proposed to the resolution was one by Rep. Tillie Fowler (R-FL) whose purpose was "to limit the deployment of U.S. Armed Forces and not authorize the President to deploy ground forces to Kosovo as part of a NATO peacekeeping operation." The amendment failed by a vote of 178 - 237. However, over 75% of the voting Republicans supported the amendment. Once again, Tom DeLay was among the "Ayes." As were a large number of the other Republicans who are currently decrying Democratic efforts to change the course in Iraq.

So while DeLay, Perle, and the rest of the Bush-apologist Republicans, like to cry cut-and-run and vilify the Democrats for even considering re-deployment or tightening the purse strings, it's just another example in a long list of Republican hypocrisy. More of the "do as I say, not as I do" style of leadership we've come to expect from them.

So to Joe Sestak I say "Thank you!" Thank you for pointing this out." And to Tom DeLay, Richard Perle and the rest of the Bush-apologist saps I say "Ouch! That's gonna' leave a mark."

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Obamarama Hits Iowa

This weekend Barack Obama made five campaign stops in Eastern Iowa - Dubuque, Clinton, Davenport, Muscatine, and Burlington. Although I currently live in Illinois, I grew up in Muscatine. My family still lives there and as luck would have it, Sen. Obama's stop was practically in my in'laws' back yard. It only seemed logical that I would go.


Things started on Monday when it was announced that Sen Obama would be visiting Eastern Iowa. My sister e-mailed me about the event, so I looked it up in the local paper. The event would take place in the gymnasium where my wife went to junior high and they were expecting over 200 people to attend. They were a little off.

According to the online information, the doors were supposed to open at 10:00. To be sure I got a good seat, I wanted to get there early. Well, daylight savings time screwed me up and I didn't get there until 9:20. However, the doors were already open and as it turned out I got a pretty good seat anyway. At this point, there were approximately 200 chairs set up on the gymnasium floor. By 10:45, the bleachers were entirely full as were all of the chairs on the floor and they had begun bringing in more chairs. By 11:00 when the local Democrats were opening the event, the staff had brought in somewhere between 50 and 100 extra chairs and there were at least 100 people standing along the walls. In the end, I would estimate that there were at least 1,500 people in attendance. According to the local papers, this had been happening at the other events, as well. The Telegraph Herald in Dubuque estimated 2,700 people while the Quad City Times claimed 3,700 in Davenport. (No official numbers on the Clinton appearance, but a local discussion forum claims that there were people who had to stand outside and watch through the windows.)

Finally, after an introduction from the local officials, the good Senator entered the room to a standing ovation.

He spoke of progressive issues like energy independence, wage inequality, education reform and funding, and, of course, ending the war in Iraq. This last topic received the most vigorous applause. He spoke for twenty to thirty minutes then took quesstions. He said he was going to take three, he ended up taking five. The topics included what his plans were if he didn't get the nomination, his plans for Iraq and Afghanistan, government waste, "Don't ask - Don't tell," and a question concerning the wording of a report that one of his oversight committees approved. He didn't have all the answers (more on this later) but he was open and attentive and never appeared defensive or evasive.

At the end of the event he announced that he would stay right where he was and shake hands, sign autographs, and take pictures for as long as he could. Luckily, I was the last person to get anything signed. He signed my copy of Dreams from My Father just before one of his aides took the Sharpie away from him and said that they needed to hurry up.


Living in Illinois, I've been to an Obama campaign event before. I've heard the term "Rock Star" applied to him on many occasions and I have to say - it fits. When he enters the room, the electricity is palpable. He is completely at ease in front of an audience. He doesn't give speeches at these events, he simply talks to everyone in the room. No notes. No teleprompters. No lectern. Just talk. He jokes, he laughs, he's self-deprecating, he's humble. However, he's confident and honest. I never feel like I'm being fed a bullshit answer. For example - I mentioned earlier that he didn't have all of the answers to the questions the audience asked. In particular, the one question about the wording of a particular report. His answer? "I don't know." He honestly said "I don't know." Where most politicians would give a bullshit answer that danced around the question without ever answering it, Obama said "I don't know." He then told the woman who asked the question to give her name and contact information to his aides and he would find out the information for her as soon as he got back to Washington and had a chance to look over the report in question. I don't know about anyone else, but I find that type of honesty refreshing.

In 2004, the Republicans enjoyed saying that America would rather have a beer with George W. Bush than with John Kerry. I guess that's supposed to mean something. I don't want to have a drink with my president. I just want him to be honest and trustworthy. (To say that the current administration has fallen short on the honesty front would be the understatement of the century.) As far as I'm concerned, the Republicans can have their President Blutarsky. I'm looking for an Atticus Finch, myself. In my honest opinion, Obama is it. He's the real deal. He's honest, intelligent, and respectable. God knows these qualities are severely lacking in our current leadership. I know that there are some people here who aren't sold on Obama. To those of you I say give him a chance. His policies are sound, his attitude is positive, his character is unimpeachable and his honesty is refreshing. If you can make it to a campaign stop, do it.

I hope this is helpful to anyone who may be on the fence about Obama. To close, I've got a few more pictures I'd like to share.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Dear Mr. Bush (An Open Letter)

Dear Mr. Bush,

Last night, during your annual address to the nation, you asked congress (and, by proxy, you were asking America) to support your new plan for Iraq. You did this by forcefully stating:
...whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure.

While that may be true, allow me to remind you what else our elected officials (and, by proxy, America) did not vote for.

They did not vote for incompetence.

They did not vote for mismanagement.

They did not vote for lining the pockets of Halliburton and Bechtel.

They did not vote for Abu Ghraib.

They did not vote for Al Qaqaa to remain unguarded.

They did not vote for babysitting a civil war.

They did not vote for undeterred looting.

They did not vote for botched executions.

They did not vote for militia supported leaders.

They did not vote for leaving billions of dollars unaccounted for.

They did not vote to for lying about forged documents.

They did not vote for disclosing the identity of an undercover CIA agent.

They did not vote for death squads.

They did not vote for suicide bombings.

They did not vote for over 3,000 dead American soldiers.

They did not vote for being lied to about the readiness of Iraqi troops.

They did not vote for being told that we're winning in Iraq when it is obviously untrue.

They did not vote for being labeled cowards and unpatriotic when they had enough common sense to recognize that the current approach was not working.

They did not vote for being smeared in the media when they spoke out in opposition of what has obviously become a failed policy.

They did not vote for stretching our military too thin.

They did not vote for ignoring the advice of our military leaders.

They did not vote for abandoning the search for Osama bin Laden.

And today they did not vote for supporting your new plan for more of the same.

But they got all of these things, just the same, didn't they?

So you see Mr. Bush, sometimes things happen. Sometimes you don't always get what you vote for. It's like Mick Jagger once said: "You Can't Always Get What You Want." Mr. Bush, I'm afraid you may just have to resign yourself to the fact that whether they voted for failure or not, they're going to get it due to your incompetence, your mismanagement, and your continued inability to face the reality of the situation.


Saturday, January 13, 2007


We Don't Need a Plan! (Redux)

In today's radio address, George W. Bush tried to once again paint the Democrats as the party of no ideas, saying:
Members of Congress have a right to express their views, and express them forcefully. But those who refuse to give this plan a chance to work have an obligation to offer an alternative that has a better chance for success. To oppose everything while proposing nothing is irresponsible.

Forget about the fact that the Democrats have offered up a number of plans for a minute and think about what he is saying. Essentially, it boils down to this: The Democrats need to fix my mistakes or shut-up. I believe Representative Chris Murphy may have best summed up my feelings when he said when he said:
"It is like dropping a raw egg and asking me what my plans are for putting it back together."

But I'm reminded of something I posted nearly two years ago. So join me in the wayback machine as we rewind to April 28, 2005, when I wrote the following:
With Bush's poll numbers sagging like week-old party balloons, we're seeing more and more conservatives going on the offensive to deflect criticism away from Georgieboy's failed policies. This week alone, the Today show has had Tucker Carlson (I don't care if he's employed by the network or not, he's still a conservative hack) and William Kristol on without any liberal opposition to discuss Bush's performance. (Damn liberal media bias!)

What I keep hearing from all of these babbling suits is that "the Democrats don't have a plan." Georgieboy even did some of his own babbling tonight during his "press conference" when he claimed that he was proud to be "of the party of ideas" (implying, of course, that the Democratic Party has none.) According to them, we are clueless and only capable of obstruction.

Well, I have news for them...We don't need a fucking plan!

Let's say I go out for drinks with my favorite local conservative hack. We talk politics and sports and argue and have a good time. At the end of the evening I call myself a cab but my conservative friend decides to drive himself home. I say, "Why don't you split the cab with me? I'll pick you up in the morning and we'll come back to get your car." But my friend, wanting to save himself a few dollars, says "No, I'm alright. I'll see you tomorrow."

On his way home, he sideswipes a parked car and hits a telephone pole. The police arrive and determine he's intoxicated and place him in jail. Now, is it my responsibility to come up with a plan to get him out of trouble? Hell no. He got his sorry ass into this mess, he can get himself out.

Such is the case across today's political landscape. The conservatives are too busy complaining that the Democrats lack a plan to realize that this is their own mess. They got us into this shit, they are now responsible for getting us out it.

Iraq? Republican mess. Social Security? Do you remember Al Gore's lockbox? What was in it? That's right, the Social Security trust-fund. He was going to protect the trust-fund with the budget surplus but Bush decided to blow the surplus on tax cuts thereby making it necessary to borrow against the trust-fund. Once again, it's his fuck-up. He can come up with his own damn plan! John Bolton? Not my party's nominee. Terri Schiavo? My party stayed out of it. The "nuclear option?" Public opinion is opposed to it by 66%. Doesn't sound like my party needs a plan.

The way I see things is this: The Republican party stepped in it big time when they decided they had a mandate. Now they want us to clean the shit off of their shoes for them. I say screw them. This is their mess, they got themselves into it, they can damn-well get themselves out of it. If they hadn't gotten themselves so damn drunk with power, they wouldn't have tried to drive this shit home in the first place. It's not our job to bail their asses out of trouble.

Oh, and one more thing. I've had enough of the Republicans saying "at least my party has a plan." You're right, they do. It's a shitty one. Congratulations. Just because somebody comes up with a plan doesn't mean that we should follow it. A shitty plan is a shitty plan. Following it because you're too damned stupid or lazy to come up with a better one is no way to run a country. Maybe if you weren't such arrogant shitheads you'd have listened to some of our plans before you started implementing your own.

Dammit! Now I'm pissed!

Needless to say, I'm still pissed.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Bush Endorses "Cut & Run"

In his speech to a fed up nation last night, George W. Bush fully endorsed a "cut and run" policy in Iraq. Yeah, yeah, I know it sounded like he was dragging the nation deeper into this extremely unpopular war, but that's only if you listened to the words he said. However... If you actually paid attention to what he meant, it was quite clear. And it only took one sentence.
I've made it clear to the Prime Minister and Iraq's other leaders that America's commitment is not open-ended.

WTF? Is he serious? What about stay the course? What about finish the mission? What about honoring the sacrifices of those... aw screw it! Old GW said we're leaving if shit don't get better. Because that can be the only interpretation of "America's commitment is not open-ended."

In those short six words, Georgieboy essentially said "We will cut and run if we have to." Basically, it looks as though the administration is escalating the war by injecting 20,000 more troops into the situation in a last ditch effort to bring peace and stability to the region. However, they know full well that it isn't going to happen. Why, you ask? Because adding 20,000 more troops puts us at approximately 150,000 to 160,000 troops, the same number of troops we had as late as last year when things were already going to shit. And what of the plans to do house-to-house searches? Well we tried that twice already and it hasn't worked worth a damn either time.

So the way I see it is this: Bush and the other fuckwits are sending 20,000 more troops to Iraq knowing damn-well that it won't help the situation. We've agreed to help the Iraqis achieve their "benchmarks" knowing full well that they won't be able to because of the continuing violence and sectarian strife that we will still be unable to control. Then six or eight months from now when the shit's really hitting the fan, we're going to hear "America's commitment is not open-ended" again and we're going to bug out because the Iraqis didn't uphold their end of the bargain at which point we can push all of the blame onto the Iraqis for not being grateful that we fucked up their country. Now that, to me, sounds like a true "cut and run" strategy.

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