Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Something Obvious, Something Alarming

Well, I'd file this one under "duh".
Only one in four Americans believe President Bush is a better president than his father, George H. W. Bush, a new CNN poll has found.

Six in 10 said the elder Bush, who served one term from 1989-1993, did a better job in office, according to a poll conducted by Opinion Research Corporation. Twelve percent said both were equally good or bad, and 2 percent offered no opinion.

I'd have to agree with that. Bush the elder had a better grasp on domestic issues and international relations. The main reason I believe he was not re-elected was because of how the first Iraq war ended. I think a lot of Americans felt let down by the fact we did not pursue Saddam into Baghdad.

However, this gives me a "Wha?" moment.
More than a majority of the people polled said congressional Democrats were better able than Bush to handle the situation in Iraq, foreign affairs and also taxes, the economy, and the federal deficit -- three signature GOP issues.

I think this may be whistling in the dark. I'd like to think they are better able to deal with these issues. But right now Pelosi seems more interesting in pissing matches and displays of pique and power. She's turning the House into a grade school playground.

I'd like to give them a chance. Many of them appear to be more moderate than is usually associated with the party lately. I truly think this upcoming congress has the opportunity to do some truly bi-partisan work. Especially in the realm of budget reform and lobby influence.

Unfortunately, I think the rejection of Murtha, who had been hand picked by Pelosi to be the majority leader, and the showdown that appears to be coming regarding the Intelligence Committee, portend events to come over the next two years. I fear the Democrats will revert to form and begin internecine fighting and implode.


And it will most likely cost them the House and possibly the Senate. If it's bad enough, the Executive Branch as well.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I read about this over the weekend, had time to think about it, and now I'm ready to comment on Rep. Rangel and his desire to re-instate the draft.

It's stupid.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it the Democrats that brought this issue up during the 2004 elections? That the Republicans were going to bring back the draft and that was a reason not to elect them?

We have a volunteer force. And it seems to work well. Pound for pound and dollar for dollar, we have the most effective military force in the world. Perhaps there are specific divisions or units that perform in a more exemplary manner (I'm thinking of the Gurkhas and the SAS). Perhaps there are forces with a greater number of units (hello, Chinese army). But I don't think there's an army right now that can stand against the US if we decide to bring the hammer down.

Granted, we don't seem to be much of an occupying force, but the Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Army are not policemen. That's the role they are thrust into at the moment. But when it comes to war, we have no peer.

Part of that is training, part of that is the weaponry. But the majority of it the mindset of our soldiers. Volunteers do it because they want to. They take pride in how well they wage war. The efficiency and the efficacy. I am not saying that our armed services are filled with a cadre of bloodthirsty animals. Far from it, but the men and women who serve to protect our interests and our lives take pride in the fact that when fighting is necessary, they do it well and are matchless in it's execution.

Conscription will reduce our ability to do that. There will be people trained as soldiers who do not want to be soldiers. People who will resent the fact that they have to serve. And even more than before, the poor and disadvantaged will get the pointy end of the stick.

Rangel seems to think that by having mandatory conscription all social stratas will be represented in our armed forces. Specifically, it will ensure that those in power will have children or grand-children who would be put in harms way when it hits the fan. He believes that this will curb our governments more hawkish tendencies.

I find it hard to believe that a politician on the national stage can be this hopelessly naive. Does he seriously think that people in positions of influence and power will not do everything they can to ensure that the people they care about are either waived from service, or guaranteed to serve state-side?

I do agree that we need an increase in manpower. Our military is being stretched ever thinner around the globe. Yes, something does need to be done. But I think better recruiting enticements, such as more money for education or increasing the pay for the various enlisted grade (my brother told me it was criminal how little his men were being paid when he was in the 82nd), would do more to swell the ranks of an enthusiastic volunteer force. It allow the US to maintain its exemplar position of military might. Relying on conscription would do nothing but weaken the overall effectiveness of the armed forces and create even greater class division than is already present.