Thursday, November 09, 2006

Ding Dong The Rumsfeld’s Dead; What Now?

And thus ends the era of Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld seemed to be consistently out of touch with the true state of affairs in the countries he attacked, putting national interests and the safety of young men and women at risk on a day to day basis. I must say, no tears are being shed in this corner at his demise. But have we really made any improvements with former CIA Director Gates?

Hold on to your socks, folks, because I am going to answer with a resounding “yes”.

Perhaps our largest problem in Iraq has been the belief that we can win this war on sheer brute strength. In reality, as the war has shifted from targeting the Iraqi population to targeting terrorist activity, the United States has been in need of a shift in strategy as well, moving from brute strength to a more intelligent war, based on information and thoughtful, targeted attacks.

Perhaps the perfect example of how to face off against terrorism can be found in Israel’s daily struggle against Hamas. While there are many civilian casualties, Israel does not target civilians but rather targets Hamas leaders, the brains behind the attacks which plague the embattled country. Israel considers civilian casualties a necessary evil, a philosophy which must be adopted when fighting a grout that shares the philosophy.

Gates understands the power of intelligence, and knows that it can be used to radically change the direction a war is taking. He showed his prowess in collecting military intelligence during the Cold War, and even showed his ability to do what’s necessary to win a war during the Afghanistan conflict with the Soviet Union.

But perhaps the greatest hope attached to Gates’ appointment lies in his philosophy that it is a spy’s patriotic duty to tell the truth, even when the truth is in direct conflict with the will of the leaders who are requesting information. This is a direct indication that, despite close ties to James Baker and the senior Bush, Gates will be anything but a yes-man to Dubya, and will provide a true picture of our greatest conflict today.

In all, I’m encouraged by the appointment of Robert Gates to the position of Defense Secretary, and hope that it is the first step towards so real improvements in the way this country is governed now that the Bush administration is held accountable by a Democratic House and Senate.


Posted by Scottage at 3:21 PM / | |  

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Getting Away, Vermont Style

Sometimes, a person just has to get away. There has been a great deal going on here recently, lots of stress, and lots of little things to drive me crazy. And suddenly, a hole emerged, a rift in both my schedule and Denelle’s schedule, 3 days (maybe 2.5 days) with no real obligations. And we jumped on the opportunity.

As suddenly as we realized that the opportunity existed, we were hoping in the car, heading to Burlington, Vermont. I hadn’t been to Vermont since I was a kid, and Denelle had never been there. But there was no real reason to head to the city, just a rumor of beautiful scenery and a laidback city that was not to be missed.

I have to say, Vermont did not disappoint. It’s a beautiful state, with a tremendous balance of mountains and lakes that is a treat for the eyes. Whereas Rochester has already become grey and cold, Vermont was bright and crisp, with a natural beauty carefully preserved by a conscientious state population.

And the attitude Burlington was great as well. I’m not sure I have the words to describe it, but Burlington was warm, welcoming, and friendly. The pace of life was completely different in Burlington, whether driving around the farms, taking the tour at the Ben & Jerry's plant, or walking on the pedestrian-only shopping street.

But the real treat was spending the time with Denelle. I have no idea where our relationship is heading, whether towards a great friendship or a lifelong love, but I do know that time I’m about as happy as I can be when I’m spending time with her. And it doesn’t get any better than that.

Yeah, we rushed around a ton, spending half of our very short vacation driving. But I must admit I feel a million times better having taken the vacation, and wouldn’t trade it for the world. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.


Posted by Scottage at 11:49 PM / | |