Pet Cobra

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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Middle of the work day. My shoulders are killing me from working out yesterday, yet I blog on through the pain. I'm sure that my preparation for rugby will be an interesting addition to Pet Cobra, but practice doesn't start for a couple of months, so suffice it to say that for now I'm in the gym for an hour 4 days a week. I start my running tonight. Hope the knee holds up.

It's hard to put a name to the stupidest piece of the Bush administration's agenda, but if I had to pick, at this point I'd have to go with (drum roll please) Missile Defense.

Opponents of missile defense (namely, most Americans, including just about everyone in the Pentagon) are "living in the past", according to Bush. Which is why Bush wants to move forward with a system that was first put on the drawing boards 20 YEARS AGO. A system that is designed to defend against Eastern Bloc long-range missiles that are now either completely dismantled or gathering dust. A system that is by definition useless because it will never be 100% effective. Let's say we deploy a missile defense system that is, like most weapons systems today, about 70% effective in optimal conditions (in other words, if everything is perfect - no system malfunction, perfect weather, etc. ) And let's say that North Korea develops 5 long range nuclear missiles, which they proceed to launch at the U.S. Statistically, 3.5 of those missiles will be shot down. At least 1 will hit its target. (And if that's an acceptable loss, consider the short and long term damage inflicted on the U.S. by the comparitively small loss of two very large skyscrapers.) And that's a best-case scenario.

Not to mention that most experts agree that the biggest nuclear threat is a locally detonated, man or ground vehicle-portable tactical nuke. The type that a terrorist is likely to either steal, buy, or build.

Basing defense policy on Budweiser and cocaine-fueled Atari "Missile Command" sessions seems to me to be a bit unsound. Our money and energy will be better spent at working on overt and covert means of addressing the nuclear proliferation issues facing us today, although it may be too late for that. While we were busy chasing imaginary WMD's in Iraq, the North Koreans and Iranians have been busy as bees working on the real thing. And no one should be surprised when it's delivered via unmarked van, and not by an Atlas rocket.

More fuss over the planned withdrawal of troops from Europe and Asia. I'm on the fence about this. I think more than anything, this is a campaign tactic aimed at the majority of Americans who feel that it's time to bring our guys home...from Iraq, that is. And the fact is that we are severly overtaxed and need to redeploy additional troops to the Middle East, so those 70,000 troops that are being pulled out of Europe shouldn't be surprised when their flight home includes a six-month layover in Baghdad. Frankly, we need to have a military presence in Germany and Italy - that's about as close as we're going to get to having a quick jump-off point to the Middle East. (What about Turkey? Right. That worked out well for Operation Iraqi Freedom.) Unless, of course, we're all going to buy a Prius and take the high-speed magnetic rail to work. While it's hard to maintain the rationale that those troops are needed to provide security to Europe (I hear Poland is massing troops at the border - gonna get some payback for WWII), we're looking at the very real possibility of a resurgent Iran taking advantage of the power vacuum created by Saddam's overthrow (I can't believe I'm typing this, but - deep breath, steady - Tom Clancy painted a disturbing and very plausible scenario of this very thing happening in his book "Executive Orders").

More interesting is this artice:
I believe we're going to see more GOP reps and senators make similar statements. The Republicans are faced with a grim possibility - Bush winning the election, but the Dems gaining control of Congress. And in that case, impeachment suddenly becomes a very real prospect. The GOP will either have to stick by the President, or put some distance between Bush and the party. The smart money would be on the latter - especially as Bush's rating are already low. Americans, as George S. Patton C. Scott said, love a winner, and will not tolerate a loser. You see a lot - a LOT - of anti-Bush books out there, but where are the Bush-backing scribes? (And I'm talking about the Ann Coulters and Michael Savages - they are anti-"liberal", but I've only seen a couple of books that tout Dubya's greatness. No, I won't list them, even to hold them up to the ridicule they deserve, but I will say that one author, John Podhoretz, states that Bush is "the best presidential speaker since Roosevelt". JFK, Reagan? A couple of hacks, apparently.) Not a lot of people out there are sticking up for their guy. Being a Bush fan is akin to being a Clippers fan - there's really no way to justify it.

I'd actually cast my vote for the guy who vows to bring down the Baby Equipment Syndicate, and their most heinous cell, the Car Seat Mafia. Lucas has out grown his infant seat, so we needed to buy a bigger seat which we can use until he reaches 40 pounds, at which point we will need to buy an even bigger seat. I installed it (actually, reinstalled it - put it in a few days ago and thought it didn't fit right, only to find out that it's supposed to look like it's been crammed in) last night, a labor that prompted a slew of profanities and the fear that I had torn a bicep. The Car Seat Mafia could probably design a seat that you could use from birth to the magic 100 pound mark (the point at which they no longer have to be in a kiddie seat - the 1st year of high school, if I'm not mistaken) but of course you'd only have to buy one. And the Secret Order of Stroller Masons could also design a jogging stroller that works equally well at the mall or grocery store - but of course you'd only have to buy one. Still, the seat looks pretty sturdy, kind of like President Donald Pleasance's ejection pod in "Escape from New York", and given the way the drivers in my area operate (Del Mar and La Jolla Xanax-popping blueblood housewives in their battle-scarred Benzes) that's a good thing.

More Olympics tonight - too bad I already know what's going to happen. Curse you, MSN.


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