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An Endless War

When the U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2003, Petraeus said to Rick Atkinson, "Tell me how this ends." We're still waiting for the answer.

There's been an attempt to rename the Global War On Terror, and one suggestion has been The Long War. Kind of depressing, but perhaps it's a case of truth in advertising. The message from Petraeus and Crocker is that any resolution of the situation in Iraq is a long, long way away. And depends upon the Iraqis doing things that so far they've been reluctant to do. (Anyone getting impatient?) Here's some of the testimony this morning in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (via Federal Document Clearing House):

CROCKER [Opening statement]: In my view, a secure, stable, democratic Iraq at peace with its neighbors is attainable. In my judgment, the cumulative trajectory of political, economic and other developments in Iraq is upwards, although the slope of that line is not steep. The process will not be quick. It will be uneven, punctuated by setbacks, as well as achievements, and it will require substantial U.S. resolve and commitment. There will be no single moment at which we can claim victory. Any turning point will likely only be recognized in retrospect....

PETRAEUS: ... I believe that we will be able to reduce our forces to the pre-surge level of brigade combat teams by next summer, withdrawing one-quarter of our combat brigades by that time without jeopardizing in the security gains that we have fought so hard to achieve. Beyond that, while noting that the situation in Iraq remains complex, difficult and sometimes downright frustrating, I also believe that it is possible for us to achieve our objectives in Iraq over time, though doing so will be neither quick nor easy....

I believe Iraq's problems will require a long-term effort. There are no easy answers or quick solutions. And though we both believe this effort can succeed, it will take time. Our assessments underscore, in fact, the importance of recognizing that a premature drawdown of our forces would likely have devastating consequences.


BIDEN: Mr. Ambassador, you indicated that progress will not be quick. In non-diplomatic speak, what does that mean? Should we be telling the American people that we're there for another three, four, five, six, seven, 10 years in relatively large numbers? What do you mean by "It will not be quick"?

CROCKER: I think in the past we have set some expectations that simply couldn't be met. And I'm trying not to do that.

BIDEN: I'm trying to get an accurate estimate.

CROCKER: In terms of concrete things like force levels, as General Petraeus said, neither of us believe we can see beyond next summer. It would be...

BIDEN: But you are seeing beyond next summer. You're saying the process will not be quick. Are you talking about not quick meaning a time frame of a year, or are you talking not quick being well beyond the end of next summer?

CROCKER: It could be well beyond the end of next summer. It certainly will be well beyond the end of next summer before Iraq can achieve the end state I've laid out. There's no question.


HAGEL: ... where is this going to go?

Because the question that is going to continue to be asked -- and you all know it and you have to live with it -- and when you ask questions, as we all do, about is it worth it, the continued investment of American blood and treasure...

Now, where is this going?

We have got too many disconnects here, General -- way too many disconnects.

Are we going to dismiss the five reports that I just noted?

I would say to you, Ambassador, one of your quotes: "If we don't be careful we are going to see Iraq devolve into a civil war."

Come on. Our national intelligence report, earlier this year, said we're in a civil war. It is sectarian violence.

But yet you said that in your testimony this morning. You give us a great inventory of what a brutal, bloody dictator Saddam was. Well, we know that. That is not the issue here.

Are we going to continue to invest American blood and treasure at the same rate we are doing now, for what? The president said let's buy time. Buy time? For what?

Every report I've seen, and I assume both of you agree with this, there's been, really, very little, if any, political process that is the ultimate core issue, political reconciliation in Iraq.

CROCKER: ... at a minimum now, we've got an environment developing, not fully developed, but developing with violence at low enough levels where a meaningful discussion on national reconciliation can take place. That's now what needs to happen.

PETRAEUS: We are talking about really, sort of, finding who are the irreconcilables and trying to isolate them and then to help the Iraqi government to bring the reconcilables to become part of the solution instead of part of the problem. And that is what has happened, again, most notably in Anbar but it is applicable to some degree in other areas, as well.


BOXER: ... we are sending out troops where they're not wanted, with no end in sight, in the middle of a civil war, in the middle of the mother of all mistakes...

OBAMA: I think that some of the frustration you hear from some of the questioners is that we have now set the bar so low that modest improvement in what was a completely chaotic situation, to the point where now we just have the levels of intolerable violence that existed in June of 2006 is considered success, and it's not.

This continues to be a disastrous foreign policy mistake. And we are now confronted with the question: How do we clean up the mess and make the best out of a situation in which there are no good options, there are bad options and worse options?

[Tell me how this ends.]


Did anyone see the soccer this morning? North Korea tying the U.S. 2-2? The sensational save by Hope Solo in the 94th minute?

The U.S. was lucky to get the tie. Here's Steven Goff's soccer blog. Good write-up here.

By Joel Achenbach  |  September 11, 2007; 11:35 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Most Hyped Congressional Hearing Ever? [Updated]
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Posted by: DLD | September 11, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Staff Sgt. Ryan, my best friend's son--now with a second child, a baby girl, on the way, dies during his third tour in Iraq.

Posted by: Loomis | September 11, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone feeling like this?

This is the song that never ends,
Yes, it goes on and on my friends,
Some people started singing it not knowing what it was,
And they'll continue singing it forever just because--

Posted by: dr | September 11, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

My condolences, Loomis. *bowed head*

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 11, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm waiting for the paper copy to go through George Packer at the New Yorker.

I take it (from a Sunday Post story) that Adm. Fallon, who's in charge of things military for that part of the world, is concerned that keeping the Army tied up in Iraq leaves us with limited options for dealing with any number of other nasty possibilities.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | September 11, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I pass along my condolences as well, LL. *sigh*

Posted by: jack | September 11, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

There is a war between Western culture and Islamic fundamentalism that will go on whether we are in Iraq or not. Right now we are losing it. How did we win the Cold War? Soft power and economic growth.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 11, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, my deepest condolences.

Posted by: dmd | September 11, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for your loss, Loomis.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 11, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Keep my SIL in your thoughts, as her Dad passed away early Monday morning. He lost a prolonged battle with cancer.

Posted by: jack | September 11, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Soft Pillows

"Ignorance and incuriosity are two very soft pillows"
- Traditional French proverb
Crow Method

"Method is more important than strength."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Posted by: omni | September 11, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Finally made it to comments.

Loomis, sigh, just a deep unfettered sigh.

Posted by: dr | September 11, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Answering TBG's question from the last Boodle:

I am all Tims. I contain multitudes.

I am ScienceTim, StorytellerTim, CulinaryTim, HistoryTim, and maybe some others that I have forgotten, depending on whether I believe myself to carry some relevant expertise (or if I want to make a reference to the ScienceSpouse or the ScienceKids, which would make no sense if I were not speaking in the guise of ScienceTim).

I am ConceptualTim when making fun of fads in art that require limited-to-zero technical facility.

I am just plain Tim when none of the above specialized criteria apply.

We once had a post from a lower-case tim, but either he never came back, or he changed to another handle. I do not recall which.

I have occasionally been impostured, but that was a long time ago.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 11, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

No, no (oh no), I was answering Joel's hypothetical question, "Tell me how this ends?"

I was devising one possible scenario. Ryan is scheduled to return to Iraq in May 2008.

*keeping my fingers crossed harder than you'll ever know--pinkish color draining from this area*

In and out of the Boodle today--sorry. Just printing off my remarks for tonight's DHS meeting. Must now run over to Office Max.

The new interim (two-year) Plum Island director, Larry Barrett will be at the locl scoping meeting this evening. He's a long way from McClellan AFB, his former communities of Folsom and Sacramento and serving as chief veterinarian for the state of California.

According to an op-ed by Karl Grossman that ran on Sept. 11, 2005 in the NYT titled "Target: Plum Island," a camelpox strain was being studied at that time on Plum Island. One little item of personal interest.

Posted by: Loomis | September 11, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Beneath contempt, Loomis.

Posted by: yawn | September 11, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Loomis - I will never understand how you could post a comment like that.

Posted by: Kim | September 11, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Cruel and manipulative, Loomis. Did you have a good laugh and stick your metaphorical tongue out at us?

Posted by: Yoki | September 11, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Obama made an eloquent summary of what's wrong with the current strategy but used up almost his entire 7-minute allotment and had time for only one question. I think someone may well ask the Senator why he would rather speechify than interrogate. He can make speeches all week long, but here he's got two important witnesses right in front of him -- ask questions!!!

Posted by: Achenbach | September 11, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

"kurosawaguy...I don't know....maybe because you haven't personally engaged to solve the problem?"

What would you suggest?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | September 11, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I think that all the time, Joel. And not just about Obama. It seems to me that it would be so much more effective to say, "Sir, thank you for your service. What developments can you list that lead you to believe that Sunni and Shia can come to an agreement to share power or even co-exist in Iraq?" And then follow-up. Or, you know, something like that. Succinct question and no showboating would be the ticket. Is that asking too much?

Posted by: Kim | September 11, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

OBAMA:...And we are now confronted with the question: How do we clean up the mess and make the best out of a situation in which there are no good options, there are bad options and worse options?

[Tell me how this ends.]

Iraq is split into 4 countries, Iran agrees to take on part of Iraq in exchange for serious oil. We give part to Kuwait, and the rest we hold indefinitely, with money drain, wastage, etc. until people decide that stablity beats resentment.

In the meantime, we try and sentence various people for war crimes.

We yank a lot of civilian contractors out and stop giving Halliburton a tithe of our US Treasury.

And we support our troops' ordeal with more than words, and remember that the true tragedy is not just in the number of Americans dying in Iraq, but also the number of Iraqi dying in Iraq because of failed policies.

Just a crazy thought here. This situation will never end. All we can hope to do is to take it to a new level and do an effective counterinsurgery and get rid of people who lack the ability to be flexible and THINK about Iraq, starting with our CIC.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 11, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I've got a plan. Really. And if I ever run for President -- say, 20-24 years from now -- I may just dust that puppy off and make use of it. I suspect that the need still will be with us to find a good plan for how to get out of Iraq.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 11, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Trying to imagine *Tim's must include a fishing jacket and a pocket knife, no?

Posted by: LostInThought | September 11, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

The disconnect between the administration and so much of the country (and the world) seems so huge, and Crocker and Petraeus provide a nice illustration. An overwhelming majority of Americans don't want the troop level reduced to pre-surge numbers. We want it drastically reduced beyond that, and sooner than a year from now.

We don't want to hear about "an environment developing, not fully developed, but developing with violence at low enough levels where a meaningful discussion on national reconciliation can take place." We want to hear an admission that the Iraqi government has failed to meet the most important political benchmarks set by our own government as conditions for our continued presence, a recogniztion that the Iraquis don't seem interested in meeting those requirements; and we want an explanation of why we should overlook the utter political failure. A straightforward recognition that, without an internal political solution, the military presence cannot "win", would also be nice.

We won't get any of that here. Thank you, and come again.

I repeat, give the whole mess to China, reserving a cut of the oil. They have lots of bodies to throw at the situation and they're good with repression.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 11, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Here is one Canadian writers perspective on how it might end, this by Richard Gwyn of the Toronto Star.

"Once the Americans leave, they will leave behind a human desert of hatred, fear, ethnic cleansing and of an abiding vengefulness by all those who have lost fathers, sons, entire families, kin, to killers on the other side."

Posted by: dmd | September 11, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

There were three give aways in that Loomis post.

1. It was short
2. All in her own words (no copy paste)
3. She claims to have a best friend

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: dbG | September 11, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Carl Levin, closing the hearing:

LEVIN: Year after year, the president and the administration have touted progress in Iraq and called for patience. It has been a litany of delusion, just listen to President Bush's repeated claims of progress.

October of 2003, he said, "We're making progress about improving the lives of people there in Iraq."

September of '04, the president said, "We're making steady progress in implementing our five-step plan."

In October of '05, the president said, "Iraq has made incredible political progress."

In May of '06, the president said, "We're making progress on all fronts."

In March of this year, the president said, "There's been good progress."

And on July 4th, the president said, "Victory in this struggle will require more patience."

Well, there has been little progress on the political front and the American people's patience with Iraq's political leaders has run out.

Success in Iraq depends on Iraqi leaders finally seeing the end of the open-ended American commitment. Success depends on doing what James Baker, Lee Hamilton and the rest of the Iraqi Study Group said we should have done a year ago: that the United States should, quote, "not make an open-ended commitment to keep large number of American troops deployed in Iraq," close quote, and, quote, "If the Iraqi government does not make substantial progress toward the achievement of milestones on national reconciliation, security and governance, the United States should reduce its political, military or economic support for the Iraqi government," close quote. And that was before the surge level was increased.

Posted by: Achenbach | September 11, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for posting that, Joel. I only wish I thought Congress would really lead this charge, or that it would make any difference if they did. The thought of going on basically as we are until another president steps in is completely unacceptable to me; all those bodies maimed and lives lost, for no reason that has been clearly articulated over time.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 11, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

From the Times:

"What's happened over the last couple of years is stunning," he said, describing his visits to neighborhoods that he last saw in 2003. "What has happened to middle-class, upper-class neighborhoods -- the violence, the population shifts, the displacement, the tens of thousands of Iraqis that have been killed. You're just not going to overcome that in a few weeks or indeed in a few months."

That's Crocker in a recent discussion with reporters in Baghdad. Hardly the optimistic assessment.

Posted by: Achenbach | September 11, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I don't think it will ever truly end. That is, I don't think American troops will ever entirely leave Iraq. Instead I foresee American troops falling back to increasingly smaller areas of control while the rest of the country becomes dominated by various local factions. Eventually these regions of control will become defacto "bases" where the Americans will reside behind well-defended tall fences. These bases will serve as both as a buffer against Iran intrusion and as a constant irritant to Iraqi extremists.

I don't necessarily see this as untenable. The notion of massive and highly unpopular American military bases on foreign soil is hardly unprecedented.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 11, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Realize I'm not saying this is a *good* outcome. I just think it is a *likely* outcome.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 11, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I want to change the subject because (a) Iraq just depresses me and makes me angry, and (b) I don't like how some of the other stuff is going. So he's something that made me laugh:

Posted by: Curnmudgeon | September 11, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

What purpose would those bases serve, though, RD, if they were isolated and the American troops could not venture out? There would be no contribution to Iraq, and just more estrangement from the rest of the American population.

Posted by: Yoki | September 11, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Or you can take a rushed, not fully explained till later remark and its explanation exactly at face value.

Which is how we should be taking it.

All I know is that I too will be crossing fingers, toes, ankles, knees and eyes, hoping that young Ryan's tour ends exactly as planned, that he returns home, and plays for decades with his youngins. I'd cross my wrists too but I'd never be able to type.

It occurred to me today how much I miss Cassandra, who is ever filled with grace, forgiveness and kindness.

Posted by: dr | September 11, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse




And in other news, the Nats are only 13.5 games off the wild-card pace.

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 11, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Right on both counts, dr.

I don't think the Emmy overlords should be so worried about offensive acceptance speeches. I don't think their audience share is high enough to have anything really offend anyone, and any rumor of potentially offensive material might make more people watch the show.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 11, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I predict permanent bases in Iraq for the same reason that the United States established bases in Germany during the cold war. As a means to contain a potentially expansionist enemy. Given that we have effectively destroyed the two regional buffers to Iran, I predict decision makers will insist on a permanent military presence in Iraq as a means to deter Iran from dominating the region.

Again, I am not saying I think this is necessarily a good idea. Existing US bases in Arab lands are already a major cause of Al-Qaeda wrath. I think a few carriers in the Eastern Med could accomplish pretty much the same thing without inciting nearly as much anger. I am just giving an honest prediction of what I think will happen. Remember the question was how *will* this end, not how *should* it.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 11, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Maybe all the Iraqis really want is an apology.

And all this talk of benchmarks and such is just bullsh!t. WTF? We invaded their country on false pretenses, killed thousands of people, stood there whistling while the locals looted everything, enabled the killing of tens of thousands more by our sheer ineptitude and lack of planning... and now as we supposedly have our collective "boot" on their necks, we expect them to "play nice"?

Give me a freaking break.

So we lost a few thousand troops who get paid to fight and knew the risks when they volunteered to do so. What about the tens of thousands of civilians killed there? What about the millions (yes, millions) who have left Iraq or are otherwise "displaced" and are still leaving at the rate of something like 60K a week?

We couldn't even put roofs over the heads of Katrina victims -- or even drop them some freaking bottled water -- but we're going to "fix" Iraq.

Superpower my a$$.

I'm sorry, but the grand old U.S. of A. sucks.

All talk, no walk.

And to ensure my place on the "no fly list": George Bush and his entire crew of sycophants deserve to die in a fire. Twice.

And then they should be kicked.

Which means it's up to us -- those who actually give a crap about people -- to end this disaster. Unfortunately, the people we elected last November to do just that are too busy gazing at their belly buttons to do anything useful. The word "a$$hats" comes to mind.

So let all those idiots die in a fire too.

This whole thing simply transcends stupidity.

And we're stupid enough to finance it and put up with it.

And that means you, too.

I'm thinking some serious civil disobedience is in order. For one, don't pay your taxes. For two, anyone who finds themselves in the proximity of a Senator or Congressman should punch the bugger in the nose. Twice. For three, I'm hungry for an impeachment (if not a good old fashioned drawn-and-quartering).

Anybody have four horses I could borrow for a few hours?

Posted by: martooni | September 11, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

>All talk, no walk.


Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

How will it end?

WESSEX: Indeed I am a bride short. How is this to end?

VIOLA has come out of the theatre, amongst some of the other players. The QUEEN catches her eye.

QUEEN ELIZABETH: As stories must when love's denied--with tears and a journey.

--Shakespeare in Love

With tears and a journey, Joel, with tears and a journey.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 11, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm also thinking a road trip might be in order.

One with big trucks filled to the top with food and clothing and 2x4's and nails and all the other stuff needed to actually repair a country.

Stella can only hold so much (and I'm not sure how to float her across the Atlantic) so logistical help would be welcome.

C'mon all you brainiacs! Put your neurons and synapses where your mouth is! The government may be stupid and inept, but are we?

Posted by: martooni | September 11, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Gee, Martooni. Some would say to you go live in another country if you hate this one so much. Verbal attacks only go so far and can be a turnoff.

Why not volunteer for a presidential candidate or a local official? Change starts at the grassroots.

Posted by: birdie | September 11, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I share some of martooni's sense of outrage. Where iraq is concerned I add in a sense of helplessness, as I've suggested earlier. When dealing with foreign policy in a representative democracy there is surprisingly little most citizens can do to affect the outcome. This apparently includes citizens serving in Congress, from the "results" of the last few months, though I think they could do more than has been achieved (being very polite here). To some extent we can load up our trucks and "fix" New Orleans and the Gulf coast, though even then we can't "fix" the economic and policy disasters. We can't realistically physically step in as citizens to "fix" Iraq. Working at the grassroots can be effective on a local and state level (and is certainly better than nothing), but physically affecting national war policy is a different thing.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 11, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I think it was a mis-calculation. Wrong medium. Try a play.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 11, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Some of us are in the government, even in supremely unpopular parts of the government, because we really feel that the only way to improve the government is from within.

But maybe that's just me.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 11, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Me too, RD. For what it is worth (which isn't all that much, depending on the day) I'm a big believer in public service, and lucky to be able to do it. That's also the reason I do civic work. Of course, being involved in the body politic just makes it that much harder to look at where we are, how we got there, and how nobody seems to know what to do next.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 11, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I must run, but just wanted to share with you this news tidbit from the WSJ: three Japanese banks have required their offices to keep the summer thermostats at 82 degrees Fahrenheit, to save energy. I'm sorry. I know it is parochial of me, but this just serves as another example of the inscrutability of Japanese culture. For exhibit 2 I submit Manga and Japanese cartoons.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 11, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I think RD's prediction is one of the more plausible ones. Clearly we never planned to hunker down in isolated enclaves, but then again, nobody's been throwing roses at us lately.

We are building the biggest embassy in history in Baghdad and I don't predict any helicopters on the top of it for a long time. Part of the intransigence of the political factions in Iraq is our unease with the majority that want us out now. Not gonna happen.

We are making a big show of making our military bases look as demountable as possible, but there is nothing so permanent as a temporary arrangement.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 11, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

birdie... I never once used the word "hate".

To be honest, I've seriously looked into emigrating to Canada. But they're almost as barmy as the UK, so I've been leaning towards Belize.

I think the most apt word to describe how I feel about the US is "disappointed". As in "let down", "cheated", "alienated", etc.

I grew up here. Lived most of my life here. I was once told that if I followed the rules and studied really hard, I could even be President -- or at the least, get a decent job with benefits.

I don't think the US is a lost cause, but I'm really struggling to find its redeeming values right now. Especially when our "leaders" lie to us and tell us "this is not a bag of sh!t, it's *fertilizer*".

As for volunteering, I do mine at the local level where it actually matters... like feeding homeless people down at the Salvation Army. Possibly a reason why I'm not rolling in money, I spend a significant amount of time doing work for the little old ladies in my neighborhood -- installing things, fixing things, or just listening.

As for "verbal attacks"... WTF? Are you related to George Bush? If so, you have my condolences. I was only making the point that *we* have allowed our country to be led to he11 in a handbasket by a bunch of inept monkeys who can't wipe their own butts, let alone fix a levee or tell us the unspun truth about anything.

I'm not bitter, though. Just disillusioned.

But now that Joel is working the "national" desk, I expect everything will sort itself out very soon.

Posted by: martooni | September 11, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

To be proud of America the first step is to be an America living a life of which you are proud.

Hey, I didn't say it was easy.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 11, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Martooni.. I also share your outrage, but part of the problem is that this self-serving bunch in the administration seem to forget that Iraqis built their first-world infrastructure to begin with.

We blew it up.

Then we sent in greedy Americans and other foreigners to "rebuild" it while the Iraqis are jobless. Talk about WTF? No wonder they hate us.

I am in no way advocating violence. I disagree with anyone who uses violence to make a point, but when people fought against their invaders and occupiers in WWII they were called The Resistance and Freedom Fighters.

Posted by: TBG | September 11, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

RD, can we work out some arrangement where you write everything I'd like to--but using your own elegant style, of course.

Posted by: dbG | September 11, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

82 degrees is well beyond the accepted levels of comfort for office work. The loss of productivity and morale is bound to make that a penny-wise, yen-foolish decision. I've had banquet managers yell at me because the dining room got up to 75 degrees.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 11, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I hear you, Martooni.

Unfortunately it may take another terroist disaster on our soil before there will be the swell of disgust necessary for big changes to our so-called solutions. We have really dug a hole for ourselves.

Posted by: birdie | September 11, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

dbG thank yo so much for that nice compliment! Although it does make me wonder if maybe you are hitting the Mojitos a bit early.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 11, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

RD... my rant was not against you or others who happen to work in the government sector and are actually doing useful and productive things (you *do* do something useful and/or productive, right? I hope so, 'cause I like ya [not in *that* way, not that there's anything wrong with that, but you know what I mean]).

My complaint is with those who know nothing, yet get to shape and set policy only because people trust their perfect hair and shiny teeth.

My teeth are all still there (not so shiny), but I would think that the length and lusciousness of my locks should at least get me a Cabinet position. I would sooooo love to spill some wine (and maybe do a "number two") on the carpet in the Oval Office George is always bragging about.

If they can keep me sober, I bet I could even be useful and productive.

Posted by: martooni | September 11, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Iced, unspiked coffee, I swear!

Posted by: dbG | September 11, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

TBG - the problem is that we aren't so much like the Germans in France as we are like the British in colonial India.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 11, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Been out all day enjoying a rare rainy day off. All of the creatures seem to be enjoying this wet weather day. I hope you folks in the dc area got rain too.

Geesh Loomis, how could you say such a thing. I usually try and keep my personal opinions to myself,but c'mon. I feel like punching a tree.Geesh NN what could you possibly be thinking?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | September 11, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse


I hope it doesn't come to that (another terrorist attack), but you're probably right.

My fear is that if (no... let's be realistic and just say "when") that happens, as a country, insane knee-jerk reactions will most likely win out. And whether we have a Republican or Democrat in the Oval Office, I can almost guarantee that they'll bomb the wrong country. And for all the wrong reasons.

Call me a pessimist and you'd be right. I just have no more faith. They're all a$$hats. Even the ones I voted for.

Posted by: martooni | September 11, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

>the British in colonial India

I think that's a somewhat good parallel as once the lid was off, there was the Pakistan/India split.

Plan for partition now.

Posted by: SonofCarl | September 11, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

martooni - I like to think that if I play my cards right I might be able to position myself to help, just a teeny bit, to make sure that your scenario never comes to pass. At least that's my plan.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 11, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

SonofCarl - it's all the blood that came with the India/Pakistan split that worries me.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 11, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure I've offended everyone on the Boodle today, but I think Loomis gets the "a$$hat of the day" award for her 12:36 post about a soldier dying who really didn't die but *could* have died if the conditions were right.

LL -- please... stick to self-aggrandizing genealogy and cut-n-paste articles about smoking mulch piles that nobody withing 50 yards of you gives a crap about.

That 12:36 was pretty ignorant, no matter how you look at it, political statement or no...

Posted by: martooni | September 11, 2007 5:41 PM | Report abuse

martooni - I don't think you have seriously offended anyone. We just get, you know, worried.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 11, 2007 5:44 PM | Report abuse

RD... more power to ya. Really.

If anyone can make a difference in government land, it would probably be you (or someone who shares your attitude and possibly your attraction to redheads).

But now that I think of it, Mudge works in some sort of editorial-muckity-muck capacity for some sort of governmentally-associated-or-sponsored-or-otherwise-related agency.

Forget Petraeus's report. Mudge could probably get us the unabridged, unadulterated, unbushified report in PDF format.

I was going to say "give us the dope!" but thought better of it. Stinking DHS and DEA... can't have no fun if you want to ride on a plane.

Posted by: martooni | September 11, 2007 5:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm reposting this because well, I don't know that it can be said too often.

"Or you can take a rushed, not fully explained till later remark and its explanation exactly at face value.

Which is how we should be taking it.

All I know is that I too will be crossing fingers, toes, ankles, knees and eyes, hoping that young Ryan's tour ends exactly as planned, that he returns home, and plays for decades with his youngins. I'd cross my wrists too but I'd never be able to type.

It occurred to me today how much I miss Cassandra, who is ever filled with grace, forgiveness and kindness.

Posted by: dr | September 11, 2007 03:43 PM "

Jeez, look what you made me do. I'm quoting myself.

Posted by: dr | September 11, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt you don't think we were productive and sometimes even had good morale when we worked on offices before is was customary to have air conditioning? My first job after guaduation was an Industrial Engineer at McClellan AFB working in an office that was a steel box suspended from the ceiling of a big steel aircraft hanger that had no air conditioning. I didn't work in an air conditioned office for the next fifteen years in positions that included civil service, military, electronics (AMPEX) and chain manufacturing. From then on I was always enployed as an industrial engineer in startup electronics companies with the collateral duty as the facility manager. The number one complaint was always the AC, it was too cold or not cool enough.

Most of the history of the US has been without air conditioning. Maybe that is the problem with us. We worry too much about the office temperature.

Years ago I worked for the Air Force Civil Engineer department during the Vietnam war making requests for specialist engineers to volunteer for assignment there. The number one request was for engineers with air conditioning experience followed by requests for engineers with electric generator experence to run the air conditioners.

I wonder how much of the cost of the Iraq war is for air conditioners, generators and fuel to run them.

It seemes to me when watching the names and rank of those killed each week in Iraq that most of them are specialist running over IEDs carting stuff around from base to base.

How many of our 130,000 or so troops are actually out fighting? The pictures on TV usually only show a couple of dozen soldiers at a time patrolling the streets.

Posted by: bh | September 11, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

dr, I think the world would be a much better place if more people were as kind as you and Cassandra.

Posted by: dmd | September 11, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

I agree with dmd. RD, you also make me know there are some good folks in our government. Martooni, have you tried meditation? Exercise? Don't burn yourself are too valuable!

Posted by: birdie | September 11, 2007 6:42 PM | Report abuse

There is too much sighing for my taste about the war against Iraq. It is like being inside an Al Gore hologram.

While tragedies, the US deaths (4,000 or so) are so-called statistical lives. It is not like we are losing great inventors and minds. A hypothetical future cultural renaissance or technological shift will not fail to happen because of a long war. Nothing like that comes out of the conformism of the armed forces. Personally, I think we have become too softened and sentimentalized by our mass media and its human interest stories about individual faces of the fallen.

Feudalism has not really disappeared in the USA (think of the working poor without the right to use the Internet at work)). Why should we be so sentimental about the warrior class, which also exists? Death is part of the job.

In pure financial terms, the war may or may not cost billions but imaginative accounting can make it disappear, as can offloading debt to the Iraqis themselves. They will have to sue for bankruptcy over and over again. It is a accounting black hole. Beyond a certain horizon, the numbers don't mean anything. Worrying about the future price tag is patently un-American. It is like worrying about the federal deficit.

I am not a total cynic. What is interesting is the war against Iraq IS actually about freedom. It is about freeing small town people from their wasteland of strip malls and seedy PVC and vinyl tract houses and giving them a bigger narrative which they have never known. Americans will happily allow themselves to be blackmailed (the ransom being supporting the troops) until the end of time. They will always give leaders a second chance.

Why am I certain ? Because so many of our more millennial minded citizens will also wait until hell freezes over for Jesus to come back, even though He has missed so many appointments already. In our priorities, country comes right after God, but really it is a dead heat.

Posted by: benyamin | September 11, 2007 6:52 PM | Report abuse

dr, I appreciate you. In fact, I do more than that, I admire you. I also disagree with you on this one.

Posted by: Yoki | September 11, 2007 7:01 PM | Report abuse

>I am not a total cynic.

Definitely a total something, however.

Posted by: SonofCarl | September 11, 2007 7:02 PM | Report abuse

OK, Benihani, your statement "It is not like we are losing great inventors and minds...Nothing like that comes out of the conformism of the armed forces" just made the smoke start coming out of my ears. Somebody please tell me you were being sarcastic or ironic, or some d@mn thing, 'cause I sure as he11 missed it.

I swear, my interpretation is that you said something very close to "Their lives don't matter all that much because they were only soldiers, and not actually worht as much real people like the rest of us." Somebody please tell me I've got it all wrong. Please.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 11, 2007 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I read it like you did.

I dunno, I subscribe to that old Judeo-Christian belief that each life is worthwhile, and each life lost in a pointless war is terrible. Also, that it is our duty to help each person make the best of his or her life with what each is given.

I'd really like to hear Cassandra's take on this.

Posted by: Slyness | September 11, 2007 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, benyamin sounds like a inside the beltway snob of the nth degree. Maybe his/her blood is a special color, too. Or maybe he/she just likes making preposterous statements to get a rise.

Posted by: birdie | September 11, 2007 7:13 PM | Report abuse

I've been going back and forth on this, but I think I'm hopping on the umbrage wagon.

Martooni, you did not offend me today, but reading the rantings of someone who's been drinking takes me back to the bad old days and I want to put my fist through glass because I'm that angry.

Loomis does not deserve the award for today, you do for awarding it.

The war is a terrible thing, America is in bad shape; but . . . it's easier to rail against everyone and everything else than put your own house in order. Stop blaming everyone else.

And now, as the sky falls because I'm defending Loomis amidst *my* rant . . . , time for the gym.

Posted by: dbG | September 11, 2007 7:14 PM | Report abuse

The history of air conditioning is complicated and can be fascinating. We all remember the good ole days more fondly than they were. It wasn't too many years ago people slept outside in the summer for lack of air conditioning. Try that today is SW DC. In heat waves, the elderly and sick die from lack of AC.

A comfortable temperature is defined one where no more that 20% people surveyed complain. Typically that is between 68 and 78, but can be as narrow at 72 to 75. The more control an individual has over their microclimate, the wider their comfort range is.

It is not a coincidence that indoor air quality complaints tend to be most prevelant in buildings housing government workers. Draw your own conclusions about causuality.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 11, 2007 7:22 PM | Report abuse

yello I prefer it a little warmer, in summer my house is 76-78, winter 68-74. Our biggest office complaint - too cold!

Just yesterday we had our furnance and air upgraded, took me an hour to read the manual for the thermostat that came with the system, sure hope it helps bring down the gas/hydro bills.

benyamin, like the others I took your comments to mean that some lives were worth more than others - I truly hope I read that wrong.

Posted by: dmd | September 11, 2007 7:37 PM | Report abuse

I could use some advice.
I recently learned the phone number of a person I'll call an old friend. I was looking up his address and postal code on the interweb so I could sign him up for interesting free periodicals and catalogues when I realized that I this person deserves much more. Sure, I know he'd be facinated learning the history of the white race, meeting really really interesting people, and receiving notification of the newest in novely items, but wouldn't money be a better gift? I get so many e-mails from friendly people in Nigeria offering me scads of money I can't respond to them all. Why not send my old pal's name, address, phone number, and postal code to twenty or thirty of them? He'd be rich in no time at all! I get all warm and fuzzy thinking of how grateful he would be and how much fun he'd have trying to figure out who his benefactor is.
My problem is dealing with his response when he finds out that it's me who's been so generous. He's not a very physically demonstative person so a face to face thank you would be too much to hope for. I'm more concerned he might respond with something written. I wouldn't want him to go to too much trouble.
Should I be worried or am I just being silly.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 11, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

On one hand, outrage, dismay, disappointment, frustration--no light at the end of the tunnel, the prospect of endless war.

On the other hand, friendship, joy, beauty, the natural world, the birds singing, the pleasure of intellectual discourse.

It's a mixed up old world.

I'd like to think the boodle will always be a kind of oasis where we can express whatever we are feeling without attacking anybody or even disapproving of each other. We can disagree without hating, and we can argue without getting angry. We're good at that. It can even be fun.

I'm sad today, 9/11, but I'm also glad to have someplace to go in cyberspace where I know I'll find people who can understand how I feel. I love you guys. Thanks for all the interesting points of view today and always.

Posted by: kbertocci | September 11, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Go to blue blazes, benyamin. I had a cousin die in Iraq, and he had skills.

The Civil war triggered a lot of medical innovations in which you probably owe your life to.

Jonas Salk, who developed the polio vaccine, was an army doctor.

As for Army inventors, look at this:

You owe instant coffee, food safety and other innovations to military. Even canning was invented after Napoleon awarded a prize to anybody who could devise a method to prevent food spoilage for the long military marches.

Schlep your ignorance back to history class sometime.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 11, 2007 7:55 PM | Report abuse

*Cough*. Um, it's not a good day for me to uphold that ideal, kb.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 11, 2007 8:02 PM | Report abuse

To add to that thread, Wilbrod, many protocols of today's emergency medicine and prehospital care were developed in...Vietnam!

Posted by: Slyness | September 11, 2007 8:07 PM | Report abuse

I miss Cassandra too. I appreciate the voices here. Shall we all bless each other, and especially those in harm's way and all who lack what they need for comfort and courage and community:

every living person in Iraq


Take 'bless' as an action, a wish, a good thought, a metaphor for you wish.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 11, 2007 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Another gift to us all from the military is modern psychology. Funding from the military to understand the human heart and mind made this profession grow away from analysis and into a helping profession, founded in science; Psychology, on better days, addresses human suffering that until recently robbed so many of function, peace, --too often-- life, and,however fleeting, the possibility of joy.

KB -- what you said. Thank you all, especially today.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 11, 2007 8:47 PM | Report abuse

To switch gears quickly, for the last week or so I have been delighted every evening by my moonflowers. They seem to be blossoming well before nightfall, which surprised me, but I have read that this isn't that unusual. They are truly lovely to behold, with enormous white blooms that seem far too delicate for their size. I have been enjoying them very much and wish to thank the charming Ms. CP for giving me the vine.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 11, 2007 8:48 PM | Report abuse

The patterns of magnetic signatures in seafloor rocks that led to the development of plate tectonic theory were discovered by NATO aircraft using magnetic anomaly detectors to search for Soviet submarines during the Cold War.

And, of course, the HMS Beagle was a Royal Navy vessel.

Posted by: Dooley | September 11, 2007 9:01 PM | Report abuse

And some good news for the player sacked on Sunday:

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 11, 2007 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Go, Martooni. We are beset on all sides by morons, pimps, and thieves. It's about time we raised some hell. This is the proper attitude on this day: Defy! Defy! We will not be silenced! Never give up! Never surrender!

Posted by: Jumper | September 11, 2007 9:18 PM | Report abuse

CP, kbert, RD, and all others, I will gratefully accept such a blessing and send it back out into the world.

Thank you. Bless you.

Posted by: Yoki | September 11, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Re: Benny: Some trolls have their tongue stuck so far up their cheek it

Posted by: Pebble Studabaker | September 11, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

slyness, could it have been possible that protocols of today's emergency medicine and prehospital care could have been developed in peace time without the cost of 58,000 American lives. Think of the many other things research could develop with the cost of that war and this one.

Posted by: bh | September 11, 2007 9:27 PM | Report abuse

...And I'm sure Mudge has a special place for John Paul Jones, naval admiral, diplomat, revolutionary fighter, poet, and naval architect.

Heck, there's even a Military Writers Society of America.

Many of our famous 20th century novelists would qualify to join-- Hemingway, Wouk, to name just two.

George Orwell was nearly killed fighting in the Spanish Civil War with a bullet through his neck. His voice was permanently impaired.

He wrote Animal Farm and 1984 after that.

There is no warrior class in America. They are us.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 11, 2007 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Not to mention Hemingway.

Posted by: Yoki | September 11, 2007 9:33 PM | Report abuse

I see the Saudi's persuaded OPEC to raise oil output by 500,000 barrels per day on Tuesday in a gesture to consumer nations.

Posted by: bh | September 11, 2007 9:34 PM | Report abuse

John Hopkins

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Bh, after reviewing the history of medicine and the civil and other wars, I think the answer could well be... no.


Posted by: Wilbrod | September 11, 2007 9:39 PM | Report abuse

I don't think so, bh. The point is that that protocols to protect and sustain trauma victims before they could be evacuated to a hospital were developed in combat situations, in Vietnam. Maybe they would have been developed at home, but I imagine it would have taken much longer. Prehospital care as we know it grew out of the medical experience in Vietnam.

I certainly don't disagree that the resources wasted in Southeast Asia in the Sixties could have been better used elsewhere.

Posted by: Slyness | September 11, 2007 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, Even now going forward in the last thirty years?

Posted by: bh | September 11, 2007 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 11, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the earlier umbrage about saying one life is more valuable than another and disparaging them as 'statistical lives.' Touting medical advances dicovered through treating combat wounds seems off the point and , well, creepy.
John Hopkins (my post) made his name identifying yellow fever in Panama. In peacetime. Yaaa!

Posted by: Boko999 | September 11, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

The ghastly and inhumane medical studies on human prisoners during the Nazi era nonetheless made significant contributions to medical science - and those studies would never have been allowed in a civilized nation in peacetime (although the studies made by deliberately infecting inmates at American prisons with syphillis, for example, come close). The Nazi penchant for meticulous record keeping was a significant, though horrifying, contribution to modern medicine.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 11, 2007 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for sharing that, Wilbrod. I only wish we didn't have to have the physicians developing that knowledge and those skills.

Posted by: Slyness | September 11, 2007 10:01 PM | Report abuse

"Nazi era nonetheless made significant contributions to medical science "

Name one.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 11, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

IIRC my reading of history that in the Civil War the cure for bone shattering wounds to the legs and arms was to saw them off. Now on TV I see at Walter Reed that the cure is to saw them off.

Posted by: bh | September 11, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

"The means are part of the truth, as well as the result. The search for truth must itself be true; true research is truth spread out before us, the scattered members of which are reunited in the result."

--Karl Marx

Posted by: kbertocci | September 11, 2007 10:04 PM | Report abuse

It's not about combat wounds, it's about the training army doctors get which allows them to innovate. A old coworker of mine joined the amry to go to medical school. I think he's in Iraq now; he graduated a few years ago.

In sum, people who serve in the military can certainly go onwards to contribute mightily and creatively to society.

A friend of mine would have died after a motorcycle accident if he hadn't been choppered to a hospital 70 miles away in less than 30 minutes after impact.

Creepy or not, at least in war, such injuries are expected and people plan and try and come up with working plans in advance, and find out what works and doesn't in pretty short order on the ground. Reliable data can be collected in short order. And that's surprisingly helpful.

The minnesota starvation experiment, done with conscientous objectors, was triggered by WWII. The book on "The Great Minnesotan Starvation Experiment" is an interesting read for anybody interested in the subject.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 11, 2007 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Boko, they did hypothermia experiments. The info learned is still in use nowadays to save lives.

Otherwise, the so-called nazi medical achievement was mostly an exercise in brutality and torture of jews, the disabled, political objectors, and identical twins, as far as I can recall.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 11, 2007 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Interesting day. Remind me never to claim First? again.

I've skipped a couple of days recently. Does anyone know what happened to Cassandra? If she lives here in SC I'd be tempted to check in on her. Can anyone enlighten?

Posted by: DLD | September 11, 2007 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Walter Reed!!. Not John Hopkins.
Dagnabit. Sorry

Posted by: Boko999 | September 11, 2007 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Boko: Hypothermia studies at Birkenau, Efficacy of Malaria Drugs at Dachau, Sulfonamide studies at Ravesnbruck, Typhus vaccine trials at Buchenwald, are a few of the studies that contributed to modern medical knowledge.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 11, 2007 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Computer trouble, DLD. It should be fixed eventually.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 11, 2007 10:15 PM | Report abuse

I have a memoir of a Dachau survivor-- a Polish roman catholic priest who later married my parents-- and he makes no mention of malaria, but plenty of starvation and brutality.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 11, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Cuban doctors were making progress on yellow fever before the American Experts came along and took all the credit (there was a scholarly book on the subject about a decade ago).

As for Nazi medicine, the "Atlas of Topographical and Applied Human Anatomy"
by Eduard Pernkopf is apparently the one where the magnificent artwork is believed to have been done using bodies of Holocaust victims. I think there's been quite a bit of reluctance to use this reference for that reason.

During the second war, British scientists did quite a lot of valuable work related to diving and various other aspects of human physiological ecology without resorting to unethical/criminal use of humans. (a book to read is "Life at the Extremes" available in the US from University of California Press).

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | September 11, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

RD, I am so glad the moonflower vine is happy at Chez Padouk. I was concerned, that the plant might be a fertility-impaired sweet thing, as I had to take the least twined plant off the fence to sent of to the neighboring colony of VA. Her sisters are about spent, but the regatta was lovely all July and August. We cannot ask too much of a flower.

I am so glad that the shy but late wall flower is now dancing for you and yours. I hope that MostlyL is moonflower-positive soon.

Perhaps Summer 2006 was Mr. Stripey Time; which would make Summer 07 The Reign of Mistresses Moonflower.

Hey, there! Dave of the Coonties might help us grow those tantalizing shrubbery-cycadish glories. Let the fantasy begin. We have time to build our greenhouses or ask Santa to deliver by Xmas.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 11, 2007 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Taking time to smell the flowers does not remove the stink of past human error.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 11, 2007 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Ok. Name two.

Speaking of flawed protocols PZ Meyers has a funny take on the study showing that conservatives have problems dealing with new data.

I learned something important from the comments section. Did you know John Stuart Mill wrote:
"Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives."

I remembered JSM from economics but then I remembered him from the lyrics

John Stuart Mill
Of his own free will
On half a pint of shandy
Was particularly ill

The Philosophers Song! He was a philosopher making an unproven but self evident assertion. Nary a huersitic nor dialectical imperative in sight. It ain't even a syllogism or any other kind of gism I can recognise. I hereby withdraw all my snarks re: philostophy.

'Cept for Hegel and Rousseau.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 11, 2007 10:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm really struggling to understand the conversation, here, now. I have always thought that Shiloh is a witty and informed and subtly satiric Boodler. I am trying to hold on to that impression. But did I, or did I not, just here Shiloh say, "the end justifies the means."?

I am almost certain that wasn't the message meant to be sent. Nonetheless, I am horrified. Absolutely horrified. Burnt sacrifices of more than six million resulted in some good studies?! The Nazi killers actually produced some valid study results?! I don't think so. I think they and their minions were and are *monsters,* outside of nature.

Posted by: Yoki | September 11, 2007 10:38 PM | Report abuse

SCC: hear

Posted by: Yoki | September 11, 2007 10:41 PM | Report abuse

I must have had a bad mushroom at dinner, because I'm having a hard time following the conversations here. Are we talking about Johns (with an S at the end of it) Hopkins? (Meaning the hospital and university, and or the guy whose money founded them? and he wasn't a doctor, BTW).

I'm still trying to figure out what the references to Hemingway were relative to-- because I don't think I'd qualify Hemingway (of whom I am a fan) as a military writer.

And, uh, Wilbrod, Kevin Everett wasn't sacked -- only quarterbacks can be sacked. Everett was a tight end and he was injured tackling an opposing player. No sack involved. (I know, I know, you don't follow football. You are hereby exonerated. But thanks for the good news link.)

(And yes, I'm a fan of J.P. Jones. A difficult man, to be sure, though. A friend of mine helped discover/explore the wreck of his ship Bon Homme Richard off the English coast a few years ago, and is writing a book about it.)

I agree with Boko that the discussion about medical advances is way off the (truly insane) point raised by Benyamin.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 11, 2007 10:41 PM | Report abuse

he he, Boko said "the dialectic imperative." Excellently well done 999.

Posted by: Yoki | September 11, 2007 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Yoki: To impute the "end justifies the means" to a statement of reality stretches my imagination beyond satire. That is a ludicrous assumption. I prefaced this conversation with "ghastly and inhumane" and did not imply that it was justified, simply that it happened and that knowledge was gained that should not be discarded simply because it was distasteful.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 11, 2007 10:44 PM | Report abuse

That's quite the list of Nazi acheivement guys.
I wonder who did the peer reveiw?

Could it have been,

Posted by: Church Lady 999 | September 11, 2007 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Hemingway as an ambulance driver during the Spanish Civil War may, Cur, have a tangential "military" connection.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 11, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Ohhh... I think you shouldn't change your impression quite yet.

Shiloh: "Taking time to smell the flowers does not remove the stink of past human error."

These nazi medical atrocities occured in (technically) peacetime against civilians. Which is worse, getting medical information out of a war gone into for other reasons, and delibrately and systematically torturing civilians for medical data?

I vote the latter, personally.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 11, 2007 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Posting then off to bed:

But, Shiloh, do you find the flower conversation difficult or inappropriate in some way? (Your 10:35)

Your posts this evening are very hard to take in the best possible interpretation. The subject and context render even in-person or face-to-face devil's advocacy or irony to underscore a point nearly impossible.

If we were speaking in person, you would see my face register disbelief, then discomfort, then I would ask you, "do you mean that?" I feel very upset in this conversation thread.

Perhaps you should remember the limited channels in digital text.

I echo Yoki.

I bid all a good night, with flowers, etc., in your dreams. If you have a particular hurt or fear from the 9/11 and ensuing debacle you have my heartfelt prayers. An entire family from our little community, school, soccer team, died in the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. My son lost a playmate at age 9. Her toddler sister had such soft springy curls and a winsome toothless smile. I am just now not welling up with tears for them; it takes so long. Again, to any sorrowing one here, you have my prayers and understanding.

Mostly what happens in boodleland is fine.

Some of what happened today makes me sad.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 11, 2007 10:51 PM | Report abuse

That is where we differ, Shiloh. If "knowledge" is gained unethically and immorally, I'm perfectly willing to discard it.

I would review the literature and have a peer-reviewed double-blind study done to either reproduce or not, the "study" done on prisoners under duress. Then we'd have some valid results to debate.

Do you really believe that studies of starving, demoralized, brutalized prisoners are as valid as those on volunteers in today's democracies?

Posted by: Yoki | September 11, 2007 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, do you really wanna explore that insane point or go off-topic?

Or even back on-topic?

You've been a Petraeus fan for a while--not sure why, but he does have a great name for a general.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 11, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

The peer review, churchlany and Yoki, of Nazi medical studies was done by the legions of post-war physicians who chose not to ignore the best treatments for hypothermia, malaria, tyhpus, etc., therby saving lives that might otherwise have been lost to time trials. The end is a reality and does not justify the means, but to ignore it would have been inhumane.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 11, 2007 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Narf. Poit

Posted by: Boko999 | September 11, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to accept that.

Posted by: Yoki | September 11, 2007 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I was a Petraeus fan back when he was the only general (and one of onlyv two officers, the other being Col. McMaster), who knew what the he11 they were doing re: how to conduct counterinsurgency warfare. And everybody ignored him. But I suspect like a lot of people he got promoted up beyond his level of expertise. I still think he knows hoiw to fight counterinsurgency -- except that by the time they put him in charge it was way, way, way too late--following 5 years of incompetence. So he's paying for the mistake of thinking he can resurrect a corpse. He's good--but he ain't a miracle-worker. Now he's trying to do geo-political work, as well as follow orders from Chaney; that's not his forte. So he might as well hang it up. The guy is going to go down trying--I have some admiration for that. And I have sympathy for a man who agrees to serve and take a job when his commander asks him to. But I think he just got himself stuck in the quicksand.

When they asked him to take over, he should have said "No." But that's a he11uva tough thing for a guy like that to do, and I'm sympathetic to that. But he's going down with the ship, and that's a d@mn shame.

Read up a bit on what he and McMaster were saying way back when--you might learn to appreciate the guy. (Of course, the entire war was a farce, but that wasn't his fault. And intellectually he was waaaaay out front of the rest of the pack.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 11, 2007 11:14 PM | Report abuse

As I see it, selling out for a 4th star was a Faustian bargain and Petraeus is paying the piper.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 11, 2007 11:14 PM | Report abuse

I think the original point of bringing up things like war-time medical advances was not to claim that it is the best or only way to advance medicine, but to refute benyamin's absurd and insulting claim that the military is peopled by cookie-cutter non-persons who are incapable of creative thought and whose deaths constitute no loss to humanity. Whether or not there were other or better ways to make the same advances is somewhat beside the point. Nevertheless -- medicine, like engineering and science, responds to necessity. War may not be necessary, but medical treatment for the war-wounded is necessary, unless you intend simply to shoot them. My mother (long-time hospital worker and knee-replacement recipient) made an interesting point to me some time back: the central hotbed for the development of knee-replacement surgery was Northern Ireland, specifically because "knee-capping" was popular among the militias to make an example of members who had failed in some expectation.

And, as a graduate of JHU, let me please note that the name of the founding Mr. Moneybags has an "s" at the end of both names: Johns Hopkins. Oh, and it's The Johns Hopkins University, with a capital "The."

And finally -- you want Civil War field-medicine advances? Sterilization. Anesthetics. Narcotics addiction. Leastways, that's what I recall from High School, lo these almost three decades past.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 11, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Spent the weekend away from the boodle with Mr. F mostly talking GWOT, Iraq, and St. Paul real estate-basically being our romantic nerd selves.

Some thoughts that seem pertinent to kit and boodle-
JA wrote " Success in Iraq depends on Iraqi leaders finally seeing the end of the open-ended American commitment." We are past the point where Iraq can be a success. The best we can do is get to a point where we look back and say "could've been worse."

There's a lot of talk about how respected Petraeus is, and that he "wrote the book on counter-insurgency." Makes us wonder, "Did anyone read it?"

Today is Frostdottir's 18th birthday. I am livid that someone told her she really shouldn't be happy because it is 9-11 after all. Luckily I am in MN and will have composed myself before I see this person. Without the distance I would have to go off on a rant about how many Frostdottir birthdays from '01 to now her father has missed because he was deployed. While the glassbowl was putting a yellow ribbon magnet on her car.

Very disappointed in Obama today. He had a chance to stand out from the pontificaters and blew it.

Backboodling makes me think it was a stressful day all around. Good thoughts to all, and fondue.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 11, 2007 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Vaya con queso, Frosty. I am happy for your daughter.
She can vote! Congratulations.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 11, 2007 11:38 PM | Report abuse

frosti - that's an excellent post to end my day. Goodnight all!

Posted by: Kim | September 11, 2007 11:39 PM | Report abuse

I seem to recall that there were decades of soul-searching and ethical wrassling about what to do with Nazi medical records. The issue was that there were things that might only be knowable from experiments that would be unconscionable; yet, if the experiment had been done by some inhuman monster, was it right or not right to use the resulting data? Was it profiting from evil, or was it giving some small meaning to an otherwise senseless sacrifice?

Ultimately, I think it became a moot point. Science advanced enough, by less inhumane methods, that the Nazi's awful experiments had little or nothing to contribute, especially since the experimental methods were so flawed that nothing really could be derived from the work, anyway. Still -- to have such a judgment available, indicates that someone, somewhere, decided to give the data a serious examination.

Have we now moved into the territory in which the first person to mention the Nazis has lost the argument?

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 11, 2007 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Minor point, why is our seemingly endless (now) commitment in Iraq still called a war? It is no longer a war, and hasn't been por mucho anos. Part of the semantic war by the not-soon-enough ex-administration.

Posted by: bill everything | September 11, 2007 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Back in '61 when I was a newly minted Ensign with the best job in the military managing a crew of 15 old civilians and 15 young military techs maintaining, upgrading and automating the light houses and fog signals along the northern
California coast from our base on Yerba Buena Island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay; from time to time I got sent off to various Navy schools to remind me I was still in the military that could be sent off to some hostile action. One such classified school was on biological warefare. I think the intent was to maybe convince us that maybe it wasn't all bad. They started off by showing us victims of phosphorus grenade attacks with holes burned completly through their clothing and coming out the other side of their bodies and still alive. Then they showed us experiments of infantry troops being sprayed by something that caused them to drop their weapons and lay down similing. Which was less humane? When I was a civilian manpower planner working for HQ PACAF during the Vietnam I saw the daily reports of how many tons of bombs were dropping (and dollars worth.) I made a suggestion that if we dropped one percent of dollar bill daily we could acheive two purposes:
1) With all the Viet Cong bending over picking up the dollar bills, they wouldn't be looking up and aiming their rifles at our airplanes that they seemed to be shooting down with some discouraging regulary.
2) They would all soon become capitalists and go home to start fish farms or motorcycle manufacturing.
The powers to be suggested I go back to San Francisco and get a job in that stuff they call 'electronics'. Building, selling and dropping bombs was the true calling of capitalists.

Posted by: bh | September 11, 2007 11:47 PM | Report abuse

The Nurenberg Code (1949) was a significant advance in medical ethics resulting from Nazi medical atrocities.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 11, 2007 11:48 PM | Report abuse

I think steriliztion came just after the civil war.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 11, 2007 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Bill everything-- we can't call it PEACE, can we?

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 12, 2007 12:11 AM | Report abuse

The Iraq OCCUPATION and resulting RESISTANCE are not that different from resistance to Nazi occupations during WWII. The labels change depending on perspective.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 12, 2007 12:21 AM | Report abuse

I did get a bit carried away responding to the benyamin comments. There are many fine people inside the beltway and. I even used to be one. Bless us all, every one.

On a lighter note I saw the return of yellow-headed blackbirds to my feeder. They seem to stop by in late spring and late summer. Wonder where they go? They were a bright spot in an otherwise dark day.

Posted by: birdie | September 12, 2007 12:39 AM | Report abuse

I didn't know that "yellow-headed blackbirds" were an option. I'll keep a lookout for them in my neighborhood!

Posted by: Bob S. | September 12, 2007 3:10 AM | Report abuse

(Given the tone of some of the recent ping-pong here, I feel the need to point out that my remark above was intended to convey surprised delight. I really wasn't aware that such creatures exist!)

Posted by: Bob S. | September 12, 2007 3:35 AM | Report abuse

They're certainly striking birds-- they're west of the Mississippi, alas.

East (and also somewhat west) of the Mississipi, you can often see red-winged blackbirds in wetlands (even if it's an stream or an artifical lake).

Apparently the two species have an ongoing rivalry.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 12, 2007 4:23 AM | Report abuse

Good morning Boodle,
After reading this (, I'm having a bit of a downer.

Let the race begin! (or rather continue.)
Who has got the bigges ba.. eh, bombs.

The problem with these is that the treshhold to use them is much lower then nukes.
And another bonus is that every state can build them. You don't even have to get your production sites inspected. They are legal wmd's.

Posted by: Eurotrash | September 12, 2007 6:52 AM | Report abuse

Eurotrash you link did not work for me, was this the bomb you ment? Saw this article last night and found it chilling. In my view a bomb is a bomb, something awful that will kill many people and when they kill but leave the "environment intact" just inhumane.

Posted by: dmd | September 12, 2007 7:10 AM | Report abuse


The last bracket shouldn't have been included.

I found that sentence about it being "environmentaly friendly" funny in a Strangelovian sence.

I wonder people designing new ways of destroying other people rationalise their behaviour. I understand that they do it out of patriotic feelings etc., but still, how do you go home every night, kiss your kids and tell your spouse "Honey, today I had a great day at work. I just found a way to add another kiloton to the bomb I'm working on. By the way, what's for dinner?"

Posted by: Eurotrash | September 12, 2007 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Eurotrash, I had similar thoughts, I think it must stem from how you view the world, I would like to think the chnnces are slim that a crazy person/government would employ a deadly attack (large scale) so don't see a big need for building massive bombs. I would think those working in the bomb industry would see the chances as much higher. Therefore, if you keep building bigger bombs as a deterent, unfortunately human nature kicks in an it just leads to an endless series of one upmanship justified by saying we are protecting our citizens and the citizen of our allies.

In the end the only winners are the companies who manufacture the materials.

Perhaps those who design armaments should be required to work triage in a war zone - so they can get a realistic idea of what those bombs can do.

Posted by: dmd | September 12, 2007 7:37 AM | Report abuse

dmd, I totaly get it on a rational level, but emotionaly I find it strange.

Then again, maybe that's because I live my life far away from anything to do with the military. If I had grown up close to it, or if I realy needed a job and that carreer was open to me then I might have chosen that path aswel.

Posted by: Eurotrash | September 12, 2007 7:53 AM | Report abuse

It sounds like that article is describing a "fuel-air explosive" (FAE) bombs. Basically they are a big fuel tank usually dropped by parachute over the target, spraying fuel into the air to make a gas cloud. Then the cloud is ignited.

FAEs produce a huge pressure wave comparable to small nuclear weapons, although I don't think they produce as much heat (and, of course, no radiation.)

They were developed by the US in the late 1950's-early 1960's. I think they were used operationally in Vietnam, where they were dropped from C-130s to blast holes into the jungle, making instant helicopter landing areas.

The big drawback to FAEs has been their large size; they are much larger than a nuclear weapon of the same yield. To produce that much energy in a conventional chemical reaction you need a lot of mass (although FAEs use the air as an oxidizer.) They are too large for regular fighter-bombers to carry, so you need a strategic bomber (like the Russian Tu-160, or the B-52, B-1, or B-2) to carry them.

Posted by: Dooley | September 12, 2007 8:01 AM | Report abuse

The U.S. made public the possession of such weapons at least a decade ago. I saw a video clip on network TV, showing a test firing deployed with a cruise missile. I'm pretty sure this was during the first Gulf War.

It is a fact of life that in military matters and weaponry, dispassionate discussion of deaths and injuries will take place. How do you think the military fights? Pillows are not involved, unless they are explosive pillows. It's good to keep these things in mind as a voter -- are we reconciled to the consequences of voting for hawkish politicians? Members of the military are not moral cretins because they speak clearly about causing death and mayhem -- at least, they are not more cretinish than the rest of us. It's the job we have asked them to do. Bush and his ilk probably are more prone to thinking that war is not just an option, it's the preferred option, as a result of never having served in the military nor given much thought to what the military does. News flash: armies are prepared to kill people, in large quantities, and sometimes they have to do it. We have been ill-served by rhetoric such as we heard in the Reagan Administration, about bloodying our enemy's nose and that sort of thing. As if it were that simple and that trivial. As if war were an equal infliction of minor discomfort to all the members of an opposing force. Nope; war is killing people, tearing bodies into tiny bits, putting holes through people, breaking bones, pulverizing organs, ending countless stories. There's no nice way to kill people. That's what we have a military for, to do that. And another news flash: "bomb-builders" do not come around the Pentagon shopping their new invention out of some sick urge to be the biggest and the baddest. They get commissioned to develop these things, commissioned by the military, because the more of the enemy that I can kill at a distance, the fewer of them that are available to kill me and my troops. That's the way it works. And if I can kill them all, without leaving the ground intrinsically dangerous to my troops when we occupy the territory (i.e., radioactive): well, that's even better.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 12, 2007 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Ah, Dooley remembered the proper name: Fuel-Air Explosive. I defintiely saw a video with a cruise missile, so I think the size limitation must have been overcome. I remember it being referred to as an aerosolized explosive.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 12, 2007 8:06 AM | Report abuse

While that is quite the impressive balm its yield of 44 tons of TNT is miniscule compared to the 21,000 tons of TNT Fat Man generated over Nagasaki. Just trying to provide some scale.

Good Morning!

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2007 8:12 AM | Report abuse

If FAEs can now fit in a cruise missle, that would allow them to be carried by small aircraft (F-15E, F-18) or launched from submarines.

There still must be an energy-release issue, though; there's only so much energy stored in chemical bonds. Any chemists out there?

When I was in college we used to simulate FAEs by dropping a handful of powdered non-dairy creamer over an open flame (really!). It would make a spectacular fireball. Once one of my friends actually burned his eyebrows off from three floors up--he wanted to see what the fireball looked like from above. He's now a geology professor at a college in the northwest somewhere, with a wife and a daughter.

It's a wonder anyone survives their early 20's.

Posted by: Dooley | September 12, 2007 8:16 AM | Report abuse

A thermobaric bomb is another name. You can make a small one in your home by shaking out a vacuum cleaner bag with a lit cigarette in your yap. Once.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Dooley you have now made me very glad I drink my coffee black, just exactly what is in "non-dairy creamer" :-)

Posted by: dmd | September 12, 2007 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Dooly, now I know what drives bomb developers.

"hmmm, what would work better then powdered non-dairy creamer?"

By the way in Indonesia Mother Nature proves she can do much better. (8.0 earthquake.)

Posted by: Eurotrash | September 12, 2007 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Note to George Bush.
We are a land of very clean, alert people, possessing huge numbers of vacuum cleaners and vast quantities of non-dairy creamer.
Just something to keep in mind the next time you feel the need to liberate someone.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I've made the Occupier/Resistance Fighter analogy before to thunderous silence. I still want the Farsi remake rights to Red Dawn:

I wish I could remember the quote verbatim but I will try to paraphrase: Do not expect your enemy to roll over from an action that would make you into a hero.

Invading another country will always be a bad idea unless there is a way to win the support of the populace. We haven't been doing that. I like one of SciTims old ideas of just using the military budget to import Iraqis en masse to the US. Once they have mortgages and dishwasher payments, they'll stop plotting jihad.

And I have been ignoring Benwah's troll since my dad is a veteran and definitely not a statistic, but it did take us on some interesting tangents. It seems a lot of plastic surgeons get their training in the military doing wound reconstructions. Then they retire to Beverly Hills and make trophy Frankenwives. See, military medicine has major civilian benefits.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 12, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

SciTim wrote late last night:
I seem to recall that there were decades of soul-searching and ethical wrassling about what to do with Nazi medical records. The issue was that there were things that might only be knowable from experiments that would be unconscionable; yet, if the experiment had been done by some inhuman monster, was it right or not right to use the resulting data? Was it profiting from evil, or was it giving some small meaning to an otherwise senseless sacrifice?

May I point anyone who's interested to the 2000 book titled "Undue Risk: Secret State Experiments on Humans," by Jonathan Moreno--the same bioethicist who will speak at the NORD conference in Rockville, Md. on Sept. 28.

The book presents the first comprehensive history of the use of human subjects in atomic, biological and chemical warfare experiments from WWII to the 21st century. From the courtrooms of Nuremberg to the battlefields of Gulf War I, "Undue Risk" explores a variety of government policies and specific cases, including plutonium injections into unwitting hospital patients, U.S. goverment attempts to recruit Nazi medical scientists (think Plum Island as well--Dr. Eric Traub), the subjection of soldiers to atomic blast fallout, secret LSD amd mescaline studies and the feeding of irradiated oatmeal to children. In the book, Moreno reveals the government's struggle with the ethics of human experimentation and the evolution of agonizing policy choices on unfamiliar moral terrain.

Posted by: Loomis | September 12, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt. Those rights may be available from the producer of "Red Dawn", Jack Abramoff. He shouldn't be too hard to track down.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Back in August NYT ran an op-ed written by seven US soldiers, which was critical of the war. One of the senators brought it up in the hearings yesterday.

It turns out that two of those seven soldiers were killed in an accident on Monday.

Posted by: Dooley | September 12, 2007 9:25 AM | Report abuse

That anon 2:59 post was harsh and of course wrong. There was one give away. Didn't anyone notice the verb tense?

Posted by: omni | September 12, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

You may be on to something omni, I don't get it, but the posts use of "give away" instead of the proper "giveaway" may be more revealing;-)

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

What does it say of the human race if you consider the idea that most of our major technological advancements (or certainly, the accelerated development of said advances) can be traced back to developing weaponry and the capacity to kill each other?

And what does it say of America that the worst terrorist attack on our soil has become something that - because of the way the Adminstration has reacted to it both domestically and in terms of foreign policy - has become terribly corrosive and divisive to this country? Heck, look at the Boodle yesterday.

Today is a beautiful clear blue day here. The problems and issues of the human race remain, but this planet continues to turn on its path around the sun, and the sun continues on its path around the galaxy, and the galaxy on its way through the universe; and us along with it, perhaps becoming - maybe I could say *turning* - one day wiser in the process.


Posted by: bc | September 12, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

The title of my 9:51 above *could* be "Endless."

Not sure if I should include a question mark.


Posted by: bc | September 12, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I hope that this tsunami warning is nothing more than just that.

Posted by: jack | September 12, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Beautiful clear skies here as well, a short but intense storm last night gave everthing a thorough cleanse.

bc, I read a couple articles yesterday concerning Afganistan. One dealt with the Canadian military needing to reclaim territory they won from the Taliban last year. The area had been turned over to local enforcement, but they were unable to hold off the Taliban (for a variety of reasons) so our troops had to go back.

The other article delt with the Taliban demanding to be part of the "peace" negotiations and their requests/demands to be put in place before they will come to the table.

It just seemed that after six years Afganistan is really not much further ahead, Taliban is regaining strength and Bin Laden is free - the cost to get us this far seems very high - the benefits low.

Posted by: dmd | September 12, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

boko, You might be very alert, but I need my coffee.

And quit hogging the creamer. We're out.

In the continuing saga of things, remember broken leg man currently residing in my house? He's got a massive infection and he's been going to the hospital 3 times a day for intravenous drug treatments for a week. The doctors are currently fighting over what to do. Infectious diseases guy says open him up, clean out ALL the hardware, install new hardware, and graft again, Bone doctor says no, there is slow growth of the bone, and he doesn't want to damage the rest of the leg muscles without it being absolutely neccessary. So they have decided that 6 more weeks of iv antibiotic therapy are in order, with weekly blood tests and x rays of limb, and then they shall see. Medical science may have advanced, but you know, a lot of it is still best guess.

Me, I've got to go get that coffee, and then I think I'm going panhandling. The hospital parking metres are destroying my book and yarn budget. Anybody know a good clean, open corner, near a Starbucks or a Tim Hortons where I can set up?

Posted by: dr | September 12, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

dr, sending good thoughts your way. Just hang outside the door of Tim's. Met a very sweet panhandler when I was in Toronto, he was just outside the Tim's, bought him some breakfast and from the look of it many others were willing to help. People seem nice when they leave with their Tim's, the higher cost of Starbucks may preclude generosity.

Since my earlier posts have been dreary I will add this post, just a routine story about shoreline clean up, but the bottom of the story has a list of unusual things that have been discovered.

Among them (this is for bc) A DUCT TAPE CANOE!!, and for Boko - Celine Dion records.

Posted by: dmd | September 12, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

At the bottom of our local Page A-1, there's a story this morning by Gary Martin of the SA Express-New's Washington bureau about how San Antonio has been selected to be the site of a $67 million VA rehab center to treat veterans and troops returning from Iraq with multiple wounds.

This polytrauma center will be built on the existing VA hospital campus here and will be the fifith in nation, along with those in Palo Alto, Minneapolis, Richmond, and Tampa.

The centers are designed to provide extensive rehabilittion care to veterans treated for severe injuries to more than one organ system, including brain injuries--widely acknowledged as the signature wound of the Iraq war.

What a disconnect in my mind. The $67 million is for treating the war-injured who are fighting against a raging civil war in Iraq and the small number of al Qaeda there, while the NBAF (National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility) proposed, with the possibility it will be located here, would be to fight terrorism perpetrated by the al Qaeda of Usama bin Laden in Waziristan, Pakistan.

I am uber-tired this morning. We tried to pack in so many activities into our whirlwind tour on Sunday and Monday of Austin. My name made the local paper this morning--hardly my intent in speaking at the scoping meeting last night--the story buried deep within the metro section, near obits, IIRC. I prefer to give you my own interpretation of last night's meeting that lasted from 6 p.m. until 10:40 p.m.--perhaps later today. What an evening.


Posted by: Loomis | September 12, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Well stated, bc. I dropped in to see how the commentary was yesterday and decided to simply lurk and watch the developing storm. We've had two soccer matches in a row this week and have extended our losing streak. We've lost five in a row by one goal, the past two in the final minute of play. Between the matches, the emotions of the day yesterday and the general pace of things, I'm a bit more tired than usual. There are more important things to do, however. You can always sleep.

Posted by: jack | September 12, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

That quake has generated a tsunami. CBC has reported a 18ft wave making landfall. Sorry, I didn't catch were.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Call me happy, but for some reason I can't get "This Is the End" by the Doors out of my head.

The world's done gone to he11 and to be honest, I could give a flying Ford.

Or even a Fairlane.

This pacifist would die happy if he could be the one who gets to strangle GWB and stuff some poop in his mouth (call it poetic justice since all that comes *out* of his mouth is poop, but I'm thinking it would feel dang good to "fill-er-up".)

I have also decided that I will no longer pay taxes to a government that seems to go out of its way to p!ss off and alienate its constituents. We just learned this morning that Little Bean's health insurance (this would be that S-CHIP sh!t that is now getting no funding) is worth sh!t. All she has to do is get a few shots to make the school system happy, but NO doctors will be able to see her for about three months because we don't have the "blue chip" insurance that my congressman has which I help pay for.

I am one very angry hippie right now.

Posted by: martooni | September 12, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I believe a tsunami struck Padang--I heard 3 m instead of 6, though.

Posted by: Dooley | September 12, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Today's quiz:

I got a surpising 3/5. Oddly enough I got Q. 3 and 5 wrong...

Posted by: omni | September 12, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

5 FOR 5, Omni I could hug you for posting a quiz I can get right! Thanks you made my day.

Posted by: dmd | September 12, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

USGS is now reporting the quake as M 8.2.

Posted by: Dooley | September 12, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Ouch dr, I hope the Fungi's foot doesn't turn that way. Insurance doesn't pay for the accompanator's (is this a word?)parking fee? The ortho keeps pushing the goalposts back though, he will have worn a cast for a solid 10 weeks before starting the pin removing business.

BTW, the BLU82 Big Blue or Daisy cutter used in Vietnam and Afghanistan was rumored to be loaded with fuel-air explosive but it wasn't. 15 000lbs of a water gel explosive was used instead. That stuff is used in very large quantity every day in mines and quarries around the world as ammonium-nitrate based explosives have replaced dynamite as the energetic material of choice in the civilian world. The guided bomb replacing the unguided BB is using a conventional dynamite type military explosive (around 18000-20000lbs of an RDX and TNT mixture, most likely).
Fuel-air explosives are now mostly used in small weapons carried by the soldiers, where the advantage of not carrying the oxidant but using the local atmosphere is maximized. I've seen something about US soldiers lobbing a new model of FAE grenade at baddies in Afghanitan.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 12, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

So does anyone know how to launch a revolution without getting arrested or having to actually hurt anybody?

Just asking...

Posted by: martooni | September 12, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I saw the same report, Dooley. I'm amazed at the speed with which the quake/tsunami warning was reported and the subsequent preliminary report of wave height and damage. Such is the age of the internet: disaster IM.

Posted by: jack | September 12, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Yes, jack. An hour after the Peru earthquake a friend who works on tsunamis emailed me to tell me the computer simulations were predicting a tsunami approximately 16 cm high. A few hours later reports came in that the tsunami was something like 20 cm.

Posted by: Dooley | September 12, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

martooni, I'm real sorry to hear that about the Bean's health insurance. The assumptions that go into these government health insurance programs are hardly consistent with the real world at all, and leave people really in deep pooey. We had similar problems with my grandmother and Medicaid (or was it Medicare? I can never keep them straight).

There's no doctor who can fit her in for a couple vaccinations? I suspect the problem is that they have to clear the decks in order to process large amounts of paperwork to initiate a new patient under S-CHIP. It seems these programs are so terrified they might spend $5 on improper charges that they force doctors' offices to spend $15 worth of manpower to certify their honesty.

(Note: dollar values concocted solely for purposes of illustration. Your mileage may vary. What the real costs and benefits may be, I don't know).

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 12, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I'm equally amazed that the majority of the country and the members of Congress seem to be yawning at the prospect of long term occupation of Iraq. Our government is functioning like that of the Honourable Wm. J. LePetomaine.

Posted by: jack | September 12, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I was five for five, too! Thanks for that quiz. It's nice to have one that I know all the answers to!

Martooni, what can we do to help with the Bean's situation? You know this is a generous crowd.

Posted by: Slyness | September 12, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

3/5 on the flower quiz purely from context clues and guessing. I didn't recognize any of these as anything except "pretty".

Posted by: yellojkt | September 12, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

You're welcome dmd, I imagine I'll make a few others day as well.

yello, mine were all guesses as well. Three chances in 4 to get each one wrong. I think I did better than OK.

Posted by: omni | September 12, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

But Tim... the real p!sser is that I have the cash to cover it!

We've (as in Mrs. M) called the offices of about six pediatricians, and cash or no, they want insurance -- nothing but! And it better be Blue Cross/Blue Shield if you want to see the doc this century.

What ever happened to bringing the doctor a chicken or a bushel of tomatoes?

A$$hats. And greedy a$$hats at that.

More greedy monkeys I hope to see die in a fire.

(jeez... if this keeps up I'm going to lose my peace-lovin' hippie street cred)

Posted by: martooni | September 12, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Dooley: I first learned of GCC in 1981 from a paper originally published in SciAm. I believe that the data was the input for a computer program that modelled GCC and formed the basis for the conclusions made by the authors of the paper. Given the advances in computer modelling as described in your post and the advances in modelling that have been made in the past 25 years, it's particularly disturbing when the reports are marginalized as they have been with GCC.

Posted by: jack | September 12, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I got all the flower questions right and I don't even know anything about flowers! What a pat on the back (any accomplishment, however small, is welcomed).

Martooni, bad news about the shots. There are real problems with actually using S-CHIP coverage. Try not going to a private doctor just for the shots. Most Ohio county health departments seem to run immunization clinics. If you Google "Ohio County Health" you'll find several counties listed; you could also go to your state government website, which should have a link. As long as you are paying those taxes, might as well make use of the money by taking advantage of county services.

About those taxes -- I wish Congress would use its funding power against Bush about the war, and I sympathize with not wanting to pay for it. However, if you owe taxes, not paying them will cause you, the divine Ms. M, and the Bean way way more trouble in the long run. Trust me.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 12, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Slyness... no generosity needed... just need to find a dang doctor who accepts old-fashioned cash for payment.

I really can't believe this.

Posted by: martooni | September 12, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Only six more shopping days 'till 'Talk Like a Pirate Day.'

That is all.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Martooni, I really can sympathize. Younger child, she who is the senior at UNC, went to Student Health Services a year and a half ago for some tests. Her dad carries her on his insurance, but would they pay for the tests? Noooo...that was $200 out of MY pocket. The kicker is that the insurance would have paid if she went to any urgent care clinic in the state, but not at the university. Go figure...

Posted by: Slyness | September 12, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Martooni, I recently went through a series of inoculations that insurance covered for Dear Child, but not for me (she's on my policy). Her series were $20 a pop (what her insurance paid and her doc took as payment in full). Mine weren't covered at all (the silliness of it all) and ended up being $250 for one, $100 for each of the other two.

One other note...some school systems will look the other way for a few months *if* you have an appointment scheduled.

Posted by: LostInThought | September 12, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Slyness... when I decided to go back to school a few years ago, the university health center was actually a great deal (long wait to get in, but free once you got there [including prescription drugs]).

This thing with Bean's shots is driving me nuts. The schools says she has to have them yesterday, but the soonest appointment we could get with a doc is two months from today. And we told them we'd pay cash. Up front.

Ivansmom... we checked the state stuff, but they're as bad as the doctors... wait wait wait and we'll see. And believe it or not, even though I'm on unemployment (for about another week), I *still* make too much to get Bean covered.

I just can't win for losing.

And I appreciate your advice regarding taxes, but son-of-a-b!tch... I've been paying into the system for years and all I get out of it is sh!t and a "thank you, you now owe $x". Not even the courtesy of a reach-around. Bastages.

Belize is looking dang good right now.

Posted by: martooni | September 12, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Martooni: I'm adding my two bits without background, so forgive me if this has already been offered as advice to solve your problem. Our county health clinic is a failsafe when our MD's office is jammed up. I suspect you aready tried that route when you posted *state* a bit ago. Good luck.

Posted by: jack | September 12, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Martooni, can you try neighbouring states? Walk in clinics etc? Good luck.

Posted by: dmd | September 12, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

martooni - "doc in the boxes" as we call them in the biz or more appropriately "Urgent Care" clinics will gladly take your money and it's just a question of walking in that day and waiting (and probably waiting and waiting) to get Bean in. I don't know what the situation in Ohio is, but they are everywhere in Virginia.

I feel for you. Money, no money, insurance, no insurance, sickness or well-being...getting healthcare in this country ain't easy. Without insurance, it's a nightmare.

omni - 3/5 - geez, I thought I was going to ace it! That zinnia didn't look like any zinnia I've ever seen.

Posted by: Kim | September 12, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I've posted a new kit.

Posted by: Achenbach | September 12, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

jack... the only option we've got for "quick" service is the ER. Another reason to punch GWB in the nose. He says "you can always go to the emergency room" and he's right... but have you seen an emergency room bill lately? I had to resort to that not too long ago (being uninsured) and I'll probably be paying that bugger off for the rest of my life. Seriously, my bill was in the thousands and they basically just patted me on the head, gave me a couple of aspirin and showed me the door.

If I had good insurance, I'm sure my treatment would have included treatment. But so it goes in America.

Our tax dollars get funneled off to pay for bombs and bullets when what we really need is universal health care and the shoring up of Social Security. But then we've got an a$$hat dry-drunk frat boy who's never worked a day in his life running the joint, so we should be happy for what we get.

I'll ask again... anybody know how to launch a revolution on a shoestring budget without having to hurt anyone?

I got the beard and ponytail (and a sometimes running 1970 VW Bus). All we need is lawyers, guns and money (and maybe another lawyer or two, just in case).

Posted by: martooni | September 12, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, I'll shut up now with my whining about paying the gd parking. shots are basic medical care and every person is worth more than that.

I don't personally remember the foofraw, but I recall mom and dad talking about the doctors strike in the 60's when Medicare was being adopted. I do know that no Canadian no matter their political stripes would willingly give it up.

If wishes and dreams and hopes will help, martooni,they are all yours.

Posted by: dr | September 12, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Do you have a drugstore (CVS e.g.)Minute Clinic nearby? That may work for little Bean.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | September 12, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

martooni, there's little that's more distressing than dealing with insufficent health care insurance for your children. I sympathize with you.

I've spent hours on the phone with Customer Service (ahem) representatives trying to right wrongs and make sure that people who need to be paid are, and that services are rendered when needed.

My thoughts go out to those in Indonesia right now...

... and maybe in Russia, too. Putin's firing of his PM and dissolving the government causes me concern. On the other hand, just about anything Putin does may be cause for concern.


Posted by: bc | September 12, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Pssst, Joel said "New Kit," didn't he???


Posted by: Scottynuke | September 12, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for the link about yellow-headed blackbirds. That is indeed what lands in my backyard. But not often, as I mentioned. I also get many red-wing blackbirds since I live near a pond. The reds are much noisier--guess it's the color. When the sun shines of the yellow heads they look regal.

Bob S. -- we are always learning new things on the A-blog!

Posted by: birdie | September 12, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: birdie | September 12, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Sure, it was an obnoxious comment.

I mentioned the word conformism, but I never said the military is populated with cookie cutter types. Maybe that is a logical association or maybe those are your innermost thoughts. What it is populated with is small-town folks and the poor. That is well-known and Ihope I don't have to have to start quoting John Fogerty.

I also didn't say that "inventions" have never come out of the military. Instant coffee and can openers, though? Instant coffee, when half of cizilization is roasting their own beans? I hope that was more satire. The answer I was looking for was more of a paradigm shift. I would be disappointed if all IIraq produced in the larger scheme of things was another consumer product.

OK, LSD leaked out of the military as much as it did Hoffmann's lab, and that was arguably an important step in our evolution. And I guess - going back to coffee again - I think the military is perfectly capable of eventually, maybe through hit and miss human neurotransmitter experimentation a la BZ, (and is) developing a drug that does away with the need for sleep altogether. But think how much that would actually impoverish us.

Posted by: benyamin | September 12, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

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