The silliness of the Haditha debate

Three points spring to mind:

1. Soldiers are supposed to kill people. It’s what they do, it is their reason for existence. If you are dumb enough to put soldiers in a situation where they can’t tell the enemy from the civilian, civilians will get killed. It is inevitable. The person who should be held responsible for Haditha, if there is indeed anything for which to hold anyone responsible, is President Bush.

2. Civilians killed by errant bombs are as unjustly dead as those killed by bullets fired by errant soldiers. To pretend that these Marines are potentially murderers while Air Force pilots can only be responsible for “collateral damage” is absurd.

3. The battle for hearts and minds has been lost. It’s over and it has been for a while. It doesn’t matter if the Haditha shootings were murders or the wholesale invention of Al-Jazeera, the result is the same.

The Occupation is a complete and utter failure, as I predicted from the start, and since the USA is going to pull out and declare victory at some point in the future, it might as well be now. The idea of “democratizing” Iraq was always insane, as the election of Hamas has now proved to those too historically ignorant to remember the four military coups required to save governments in Turkey and Algeria from democracy.

The only way to successfully occupy a country in the long term is to do it the way the Romans did. (If you think the German Occupation worked, I encourage you to compare a map of Greater Germany circa 1942 with one of the European Union.) Establish your people in the conquered territory and colonize. Since we can’t even successfully populate our own country these days and no American is yearning for a condo overlooking the Euphrates, the idea is a non-starter.

If this was a real war in defense of the nation, no one would be concerned with this sort of thing. But since it isn’t, I have no doubt that we’ll spend plenty of time and effort prosecuting good soldiers for doing exactly what they are supposed to do. The world is still the nasty, brutish place it has always been and no amount of “training” and pretending otherwise is going to change that fact.

A professor’s heretical thoughts

It seems Forbes Magazine and I are not the only ones dubious about the value of a modern college education (Link to PDF):

In America and all across the western world, intellectuals are enthralled with the abolition of moral and intellectual standards. In the courts and in the media, as well as the classroom, they are ramming this dogma down the throats of the vast majority….

But am I not endorsing the very anti-intellectualism I decry? Not at all. Authentic, rigorous higher education is simply not designed for everybody. By pretending otherwise, we spend millions on counterfeit courses, cheat those who would have benefited from genuine learning, and frustrate legions of young people who drop out and flunk out. Nothing, of course, prevents those who opt for vocational
training to investigate the world of books and ideas. Indeed, they may do so without being exposed to the leftist slant that colors much of the current academic experience.

As is often said, democracy depends upon an informed citizenry. But “informed” is not a synonym for half-educated or badly-educated. There is such a thing as self-education, of course, and after decades in the college classroom I’ve become convinced that it is the hope of the future.

Formal education is mostly a scam. For example, I have a piece of paper that claims I am some sort of expert on Asia and can speak Japanese as well as what passes for the lingua franca of the Dismal Science. I also have a few college credits of German, (albeit only thanks to a good high school teacher and decent results on an AP test).

The reality is that I can understand a few words of Japanese on a good day and if I’m lucky I might be able to respond with some polite noises. I can get by reasonably well in German as long as the conversation remains simple and superficial. Es tut mir leid, ich spreche nur ein wenig Deutsch, sprechen Sie mehr langsam, bitte…. However, I am fully functional in Italian despite my complete lack of corresponding academic credentials. Go figure.

As the price of college continues to spiral, as grade inflation continues apace and as the mind sewage of left-wing propaganda continues to flow, one really has to wonder why any parent in his right mind would encourage his child to attend a university.

More from the "Women are Children" crowd

The Telegraph:

Unmarried couples could win the right to a share of each other’s wealth in the event of a break-up under plans being published today. The Law Commission will publish a consultation document setting out possible improvements in the rights of the two million Britons who live with a partner.

A key proposal is likely to be changing the law to recognise contracts drawn up between live-in lovers and setting out how property should be divided if a relationship falters. The commission may also propose that couples who live together for a certain period of time – according to some reports, for two years – should get legal and financial rights.

The plans may even go as far as proposing divorce-style payments when cohabiting couples split up in some circumstances, particularly when children are involved.

So, having created massive disincentive for men to marry with the ridiculous divorce laws, the British government would now like to hold men legally and financially responsible for relationship duties that they have successfully and intentionally evaded. No doubt the American family courts will soon see cause to cite British law in this regard.

I wonder if I can hit up Big Chilly and the White Buffalo for support cash… after all, we lived together for more than the proposed two years, so what about my legal and financial rights?

I rather hope Britain does enact this lunacy. The unintended consequences should be humorous, especially the adventures of the cohabitation police who will be required to investigate and determine if a man has dumped his girlfriend after 23 months solely to avoid her establishing a claim on his property.

Isn’t it amazing how the Left, in the nominal name of preserving rights, ends up trying to dictate every little detail of a man’s life.

Abandoning the Democratic-Republicans

JU sees through the veil:

You are exactly correct. It amazes me how long the vast majority of Americans have been willing to “hang in there” as Pres. Bush packed dynamite around the Liberty Bell and the Statue of Liberty and poured carbolic acid on the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence!

Only now is there beginning to be heard across the land the voice of outrage at the traitorous, treacherous acts of GOP leaders. I figured it out in Feb 2005, shortly after I returned from a tour in Fallujah with the Marines. The contrast between what I knew was true and what Pres. Bush was doing to our Country was so immense that in utter disgust I threw in the towel and joined the Constitution Party.

If I never vote for another “winner” again on election day, at least I will have the small comfort of knowing I did not vote for the destruction of my childrens’ freedom!

There speaks a man who understands that he swore an oath to be faithful to the Constitution, not to a man, an administration or a political party.

Bring them home now

I would like there to be fewer dead American soldiers to remember on future Memorial Days:

Monthly US Casualties in Iraq

March 2003 267
March 2004 375
March 2005 407
March 2006 520

This is not exactly the sort of progression that was seen three months into the German, Japanese or Korean Occupations, let alone three years, even if the moving average has been declining after less bloody months like February (86 casualties).

I miss you, Gamp. I know you’re guarding those streets with a smile on your face, keeping out the riff-raff.

Discuss amongst yourselves

Disasters in logic

Scott Adams should probably revisit his assumptions if he wants to play with logic:

After reading the replies to my prior post, I am forced to administer this logic test to the believers among us. Find the error in either the assumptions or the line of reasoning.

1. Ordinary people can be convinced to believe almost any ridiculous thing.

2. I am an ordinary person.

3. Therefore, it is POSSIBLE that I have already been convinced to believe something ridiculous.

1. DEPENDS. Every individual, ordinary or extraordinary, CAN theoretically be convinced to believe ridiculous things. However, there is no shortage of examples demonstrating how ordinary people cannot be convinced to believe things that are both non-ridiculous and demonstrably true, even if the aforementioned thing is not complex and require no formal scientific training beyond the ability to read or listen.

I would have agreed with this statement: “Every human being is capable of believing information that is factually incorrect.”

2. FALSE. This depends on the precise definition of ordinary, of course, but if we apply Ockham’s razor and assume the most common definition, I have numerous pieces of paper as well as copious statistical evidence that this is not the case. Moreover, even the most ordinary person is extraordinary in some way; I imagine that convincing people that they are ordinary would be harder than “rounding off the edges” of what Mr. Adams considers to be their misplaced beliefs.

3. FALSE. The assumptions are flawed, ergo the conclusion fails even though I strongly agree with it on other grounds.

Scott’s bigger problem is that many believers are already inured to pure reason by faith. For example, every Christian knows that he is incapable of grasping God’s wisdom, moreover, most Christians have witnessed this sort of shoddy logic, or worse, outright fraud and factual ignorance, used for similar purposes. Having seen the sociologists, psychologists, archeologists and historians repeatedly embarrass themselves in incompetent attempts to attack the bases of Christian belief, most intellectually inclined Christians are more likely to roll their eyes than experience a crisis of doubt when presented with yet another nominally reason-based assault on their faith.

I think anyone who doesn’t fully grasp the current state of quantum mechanics and world politics is foolish to even attempt to play at this game. Such a tiny minority have even the smallest understanding of the verities of the natural world that it is insane to expect anyone to be capable of comprehending the supernatural.